Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-30-2023

Document Type



Braxton, Anna Grace. A Seeing Place: Guiding Principles for Developing a Biopic Screenplay. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2023.


Copyright Anna Grace Braxton 2023.


This essay functions as a presentation of the process I developed for researching and developing a biopic screenplay. Since the Ancient Greeks, theatre has been the place where people came to see truth expressed. Today, that expression has evolved into the popular mediums of film and television. Within these mediums, the presentation of truth has taken on new meaning in the genre of the biopic. Exploring the truth of real events in a dramatic, artistic way, biopics can often come under scrutiny due to creative liberties that are often taken.

Using retired US colonel and former US Senator Martha McSally as my subject, I decided to use her story to develop a biopic script. The research process I created involved four key steps: understanding the difference between the Hero’s and Heroine’s Journey, understanding film structure and how to use it, understanding the biopic as an artistic medium, and consolidating all of this research into an organized reference document to use when writing. I found that such a process enabled me to ensure that, while I had to take certain creative liberties, the integrity of McSally’s story was maintained.