A recording of my presentation at this year’s University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2017 conference.
That’s NOT all folks. In my classes I make them read books — so they review books that are about writing and there are a ton of them, but I make these pretty little pictures because they’re fun. I love Doctor Who. I’ve done a lot of stuff on Doctor Who. This is a great book. Basically, a journalist (Benjamin Cook) connected with Russell T Davies who was producing the first five years of the remake — first seven years — and he said, “Can I email you anytime you have — and just say ‘What are you thinking about? and you just give me a quick answer'” So it’s a series of email, which makes it easy for kids to read even though it’s a very thick book and he will say things like “Well, today I had the idea, what if water was like acid and it killed people?”and about 5 pages later — ‘I wonder if it’s the water on another planet, like Mars?”and 2 chapters later he has written an entire script called ‘The Waters of Mars” and there’s a copy of the script and you can see the genesis from the idea all the way through and then he discusses production, because he was the executive producer. He’ll talk about “I got this guest star. Oh no, she pulled out. I need to rewrite the character to suit this person.” It gives you a real understanding of what the job is to be a writer in television. Obviously, John Gregory Dunne. All those guys, but I think they should always read one book and find many of them tell me they haven’t read a book in a long time and/or this is the longest book I’ve ever read, but they generally tend to like them if you force them to do it. I think that is a good assignment and I also make them write a paper on one famous screenwriter from any of the eras I talk about. I don’t just do silents. I start with them but of course, I move through the modern day so they pick someone and again I put up the encyclopedia because I think all university libraries should have a copy of it. It’s put out by a friend of mine. So I think that’s a really cool thing. It always brings me back to, it’s all about remembering the ladies. We need to teach as much of that as possible and get past all the stuff that hasn’t been settled years ago and that’s why Ido what I do.
Books Mentioned In This Presentation
- Without Lying Down
- Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker
- The Real Nick and Nora
- Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter
- The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and Their Guild
- Monster: Living Off the Big Screen
- “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age
- Women Screenwriters: An International Guide
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