As some of you may know, over the past few years I’ve been researching and writing my PhD in Film at the University of Warwick. One of the real benefits of this long and arduous process has been the opportunity to teach undergraduates, and to try to convey some of my enthusiasm for the subject.
I’m really excited about next week, when I’m assisting Michael Lightborne on his Adaptation course. He’s asked me to teach a two-week module on transmedia Sherlock Holmes. Planning this work has been very pleasant indeed: I’ve been trawling through all my DVDs, books and comics finding examples of Conan Doyle’s immense influence on culture.
Next week, I’m going to be showing my students Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon alongside Brett’s The Dancing Men, two very different riffs on the same source material. We’re also going to be running a workshop which will project three different reels of Sherlockian material, allowing the students to explore the space, making their own connections between different adaptations.
Putting together these reels has been tremendous fun. We’re using clips from the Rathbone films, the Brett series, the Wilmer and Cushing BBC episodes, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Murder by Decree, Without a Clue and the recent Cumberbatch and Downey Jr. versions. We’ll also have a slideshow running displaying illustrations, advertising material and pages from comic books.
In the second week, I’m going to be lecturing on a more focused case study, comparing the approaches of the Cumberbatch and Downey Jr. Sherlocks, and asking what prompted their creative decisions.
I think it should be a stimulating couple of sessions and I can’t wait to see what the students make of it all! Needless to say, I shall report back on our findings here at Squeezegut Alley…