I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus. As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch
The world’s 1st comedy, The Sprinkler Sprinkled (also known as L’Arroseur Arrosé and The Waterer Watered) was shot in Lyon in the spring of 1895. The film portrays a simple practical joke in which a gardener is tormented by a boy who steps on the hose that the gardener is using to water his plants, cutting off the water flow. When the gardener tilts the nozzle up to inspect it, the boy releases the hose, causing the water to spray him. The gardener is stunned and his hat is knocked off, but he soon catches on. A chase ensues, both on and off-screen (the camera never moves from its original position) until the gardener catches the boy and administers a spanking. Louis Lumière used his own gardener, François Clerc, to portray the gardener.
The first public screening of films at which admission was charged was held on December 28, 1895, at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. This presentation by the Lumière brothers featured ten short movies, including L’arroseur arrosé, which played sixth. — Change Before Going Produtions
Learn more about the Lumiere Brothers with these books
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