Phil Mathews

Dr Phil Mathews

  • 01202 965952
  • pmathews at bournemouth dot ac dot uk
  • Principal Academic and Deputy Head of Department in Media Production
  • Weymouth House W210, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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The Limits of the Character Arc in Romance narratives.

The aim of this practice led research is to test the form of the character arc narrative form within a practise model comprising of an original cinematic screenplay. The character arc is ubiquitous in screenwriting terminology, but there is as yet no clear definition of the form and how it operates in isolation to many other screenwriting craft components and theoretical paradigms. The term character arc is adopted by Mckee (1998) and acknowledged as the same by Christopher Vogler (1992) but there is no consensus on the term itself. Dara Marks (2009) uses the term ‘transformational arc’ and is careful not to use the term character arc, although she does use the term ‘arc of character’ (Marks, 1009, p. 169) rather than her preferred term transformational arc. Upon scrutiny the transformational arc and character arc amount to the same idea, but it is easy to see how a lack of consensus on the terminology alone, let alone the mechanics of the form, can potentially confuse or confound. Another theorist Steven V. Duncan (2008) states of the form

Journal Articles

  • Mathews, P., 2023. ‘Soft’ the life of an award-winning short film about trauma. International journal of screenwriting.


  • Mathews, P., 2015. 'What is this Show About?' The Renaissance of Theme in contemporary Television Drama. In: The Film and History Conference 27-31 October 2014 Madison WI, USA.
  • Mathews, P., 2010. Is happily ever after a romance imperative? In: The PC/ACA Conference 31 March-3 April 2010 St. Louis, MO, USA.
  • Mathews, P., 2010. All you need is Love In defence of the love story as the dominant form of cinematic storytelling. In: PCA/ACA 8-11 April 2009 New Orleans, USA.
  • Mathews, P., 2010. The Bond Girl as Protagonist. In: International Film and History Conference 10-14 November 2010 Milwaukee WI, USA.


PhD Students

  • Omer Uguz, 2024. An Exploration of New Heterodox Contemporary Screenwriting Practice and Theory through the Works of Ingmar Bergman, (In progress)

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Introduction to Scriptwriting
  • The Resolved Drama
  • Creating Narrative Formats
  • Industry Perspectives


  • Student Journey Resource (The Centre of Excellence in Media Practice., 05 Oct 2011). Completed
  • Script Ease (The Centre of Excellence in Media Practice., 05 Oct 2011). Completed

External Responsibilities

Internal Responsibilities

  • Member, QUASG
  • Programme Leader BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film and Television, BU
  • Undergraduate Framework leader Media Production, BU

Journal Reviewing/Refereeing

  • Journal of Screenwriting, Anonymous peer review, 22 Jan 2022

Conference Presentations

  • NAHEMI TALKING SHOP Conference, Decolonisation and collaboration across postgraduate media production courses, 01 Jul 2022, London College of Communication


  • PhD in The Limits of Character Arcs in Romance Narratives (Bournemouth University, 2019)
  • MA in Screenwriting (2000)
  • MA in Screenwriting (London College of Printing, 2000)


  • The short Film 'SOFT' which I co-wrote with Director Simon Ellis was nominated for a BAFTA for the Best short film in 2008. (BAFTA, 2008)
  • The short Film 'SOFT' which I co-wrote with Director Simon Ellis, won the Audience award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance International Film Festival, 2008)



  • Creative Skillset BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film and Television is accredited by Creative Skillset and I am on their Film Programme Leaders Network Group.