It was quite satisfying to receive my copy of The Journal of Screenwriting yesterday (Issue 8.2) with my first efforts as the Book Reviews Editor.
The issue also contains the conference report I co-wrote on the 9th Annual Conference, held in Leeds last year. I really enjoyed participating in the writing of that report because it gave me a chance to mention the many wonderful paper presentations that I saw. It also happens to include a wonderful article by my friend Rose Ferrell from Australia (who just completed her Phd thesis which you can access here) about the concept of National voice and how much of our national voice filters into our writers voice
Of course my mind is already rolling with ideas about how to write about this most recent conference at a Otago University. Right now I will enjoy this copy of the Journal looking at the book reviews and the articles with a new kind of focus. The new goal is to find reasons to bring students to read these types of academic journals and discuss them in class — and to find more college libraries that will subscribe so they can have the Journal on hand for their screenwriting students!
If you work for a university – give The Journal of Screenwriting a read!
I was pleased to be asked to participate in a panel designed by former student (and current kick-ass professor) Warren Lewis. The panel included two other former students from the MFA in Screenwriting program at CSUF: David Morgassen and Lucas Cuny. For the panel’s theme — “What Else Do We Teach When We Teach Screenwriting: Context And Controversy: Strategies For Teaching Film And Television History And Current Events To Screenwriters” — I chose to present on: “Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them”.
It involves the fact that when teaching screenwriting history, I begin chronologically. In essence I force students to watch the classic films of the silent era (happily accessible for free on YouTube) first because that is when women ran the town as evidenced in Cari Beachamp’s Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood”.) Beauchamp’s book is on my reading list so that they can encounter the careers of Frances Marion, Anita Loos, Lois Weber, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Eve Unsell and a host of other women who ran their own production companies for many years.
Secondly, knowing women once ran Hollywood makes it harder for today’s executives to wonder if today’s women can do the same. Third, I have learned that teaching silent films reminds modern students that in screenwriting the visual is as important as the verbal.
Fourth, recognizing the birth of major iconic archetypes helps them recognize those archetypes in modern films and develop their own characters more three-dimensionally. Fifth, I had to embarrassingly realize that in my zest to focus on forgotten females, I forgot to cover the careers of forgotten men and women of color and so expanded my viewing list to include the work of Oscar Mischeaux and other artists of color from the era.
Finally, I stretch back to the silents as a reminder that all artists stand of the shoulders of those who came before them – be they women or men.
Rosanne Welch, PhD has written for television (Touched by an Angel, Picket Fences) and print (Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space). In the documentary world she has written and produced Bill Clinton and the Boys Nation Class of 1963 for ABC NEWS/Nightline and consulted on PBS’s A Prince Among Slaves, the story of a prince from West Africa who was enslaved in the 1780s, freed by order of President John Quincy Adams in the 1820s and returned to his homeland.
My ABC-CLIO catalog arrived while we were off in New Zealand at the Screenwriting Research Network Conference and inside it was this page for my latest encyclopedia — which is now available for purchase. Please take am moment to recommend it to your local librarian.
My essay is on the 3rd Season, premiere episode “Evolution” by Michael Piller – because I was his script typist when he wrote that as a freelancer and it became his path into getting the job and eventually running the show. But I also get to comment on Beverly Crusher as part of the evolution of working moms on TV – and Will Wheaton as an example of evolving his brand over the course of a long career. — Rosanne
Celebrating 30 years of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Outside In Makes It So is a collection of 174 reviews, one for every story of the show, the four movies and a few bonus extras. Well, we say “reviews,” but we mean that loosely: within these pages, you’ll find scripts, recipes, a Monty Python sketch, a psych test, gossip columns, newspaper ads, a sitcom, a eulogy and a daily log from Riker’s beard, not to mention insightful and thoughtful articles examining Picard-era Star Trek from just about every angle imaginable…and then some!
The article provides a quick historical survey of the work of several prominent female screenwriters across the first century of filmmaking, including Anita Loos, Dorothy Parker, Frances Goodrich and Joan Didion. In all of their memoirs and other writings about working on screenplays, each mentioned the importance of (often) being the lone woman in the room during pitches and during the development of a screenplay. Goodrich summarized all their experiences concisely when she wrote, ‘I’m always the only woman working on the picture and I hold the fate of the women [characters] in my hand… I’ll fight for what the gal will or will not do, and I can be completely unfeminine about it.’ Also, the rise of female directors, such as Barbra Streisand or female production executives, such as Kathleen Kennedy, prove that one of the greatest assets to having a female voice in the room is the ability to invite other women inside. Therefore, this paper contributes to the scholarship on women in film and to authorship studies.
The title is a riff on a series of one-act plays I worked on in college called “Honey, You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running” written by Robert Anderson (author of the plays Tea and Sympathy and was Oscar-nominated for the screenplays A Nun’s Story and I Never Sang for my Father.)
You can read and download the entire journal, edited by Louise Sawtell, Stayci Taylor, which includes other fine articles have a global reach, covering questions of gender in screenwriting practice; reflections on the Irish film industry; Female Screenwriters and Street Films in Weimar Republic; Narrative and Masculinity in The Long Goodbye; How Hollywood Screenplays Inscribe Gender.
The editors had also asked all contributors to create video abstracts for each piece. Thanks to Doug’s help, mine came out pretty good:
Here my co-editor (and the funnest office mate ever) Dr. Peg Lamphier are smiling besideLibrary Dean Dr. Ray Wang at the Cal Poly Pomona Golden Leaves Award ceremony celebrating professors who have published in the past year.
Summary From Raff & Gammon price list: A very interesting and amusing subject. $10.00.
Contributor Names Dickson, W. K.-L. (William Kennedy-Laurie), 1860-1935, production. Heise, William, camera. Welton, Henry, cast. Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Hendricks (Gordon) Collection (Library of Congress) Created / Published United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 
Subject Headings – Cats–Training–United States – Boxing–United States – Animal fighting – Animal trainers–United States
Genre Novelty films Peep shows (Motion pictures) Silent films Nonfiction films
Notes – Copyright: no reg. – Featuring: Henry Welton. – Camera, William Heise. – Duration: 0:20 at 27 fps. – MAVIS 179897; The boxing cats (Prof. Welton’s). – Filmed ca. July 1894, in Edison’s Black Maria studio. – Sources used: Copyright catalog, motion pictures, 1894-1912; Musser, C. Edison motion pictures 1890-1900, 1997, p. 104-5; Raff & Gammon. Price list of films, ca. June 1895, p. 1 [MI]. – Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files. – Received: 1994-05-13; viewing print; preservation; Hendricks (Gordon) Collection. Medium viewing print 1 film reel of 1 (ca. 33 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
Additional Metadata Formats MARCXML Record MODS Record Dublin Core Record
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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
This book signing at Book Soup was wonderful – good people, good conversation (before and after the signing). Just another example of the kind of quality positive people who have been drawn to The Monkees across generations – I even met a former head of publicity for ScreenGems who had some fun stories to tell. — Rosanne
…and The Monkees were part of the childish period where they were playing around with what they could do. I think that makes them very special. We think about where we were in 1966. it was only two decades after World War II. People were still holding on to memories of rationing– whether you’re in England or here in the United States — you remembered that period and the United States was still trying to figure out where it fit in the world. we were becoming a super power, but we didn’t know what that meant and so here come these four kids with the long hair breaking all the rules showing up on television and when you’re supposed to be the nice kids on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet or Leave it to Beaver and that made people sit up and take notice.
The latest latest is the Martian which is a really interesting book on several levels. You guys know it was self-published and he would put chapters online one chapter at a time and he would take input from people and then he would add that to the stuff he was writing as he went further and he had so much of a following online he was able to take it to publishing companies. They said “well so many people care about what’s happening we’ll try publishing it.” It became a best-seller now of course it’s become a movie with Matt Damon hugely successful the last two three weeks at the box office. It’s been the number one movie. What have they changed? Well happily not too much. In the book they jump right into him being there you know in the movie they have to show you how stuff exploded so it’s big and exciting. That’s why we know he’s stuck at Mars. That’s a small change no one’s too upset. What bothers me is we have another Argo situation. There’s a character in the book named Mindy Park and she is his connection down at NASA right. If I say the last name Park to you does any ethnicity come to mind? Korean-American that’s who she is in the book. In the movie can’t get much blonder than that. Absolutely every bit of ethnicity has been washed out of that character which is amazing because clearly it’s a very successful and popular character inside the novel. Why they didn’t think that they could allow a Korean-American actress to portray here kind of fascinating but also kind of sad because if you don’t read the book you don’t really get the story. and so frankly the moral of the story which I thought was hilarious is actually a book called the moral of the story. The Morel of the Story, you got to read the books. You can’t just see the movies.You have to read the book so you’re not really having the experience that the person wanted you to have and I think that’s the coolest thing because it lets a movie continue to live with you. If you liked it that much you’re going to love the extra details you get inside the book. That’s it. Thank you very much.
About this talk
Dr. Rosanne Welch (RTVF) speaks on the craft of history of film adaptations from the controversy of the silent film Birth of a Nation (protested by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1915) to Breakfast at Tiffany’s (to which author Truman Capote famously said, “The only thing left from the book is the title”) to The Godfather . Naturally, the behemoth in adaptation – Harry Potter (which depended on the relationship created by adapter Steve Kloves and author J.K. Rowling) will be discussed, as will the subject of this month’s celebration: Dune.
Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
About Dr. Rosanne Welch
Dr. Rosanne Welch is a professor in the Low Residency MFA in Screenwriting Program from Stephens College, California State University, Fullerton, Mount San Antonio Community College and Cal Poly Pomona. In 2007, she graduated with her Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S./Film History from Claremont Graduate University. She graduated with her M.A. in 20th Century United States History from California State University, Northridge in 2004.
Welch is also a television writer/producer with credits for Beverly Hills 90210 , CBS’s Emmy winning Picket Fences and Touched By An Angel . She also writes and hosts her own podcasts on 3rdPass.media, her first one titled “Mindful(I) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch.”