It’s always fun when a new issue of the Journal of Screenwriting arrives in my mailbox, but this one’s pleasing on several fronts.
First, in my capacity as Book Reviews Editor, I’m able to publish several of my now-graduated students, often for the first time.
In this issue I am also the co-author of an article extolling the marvelously successful conference held at Otago University in 2017.
Also, two of the articles come from that conference – one by my friend Carmen Sofia Brenes (Chairperson, full professor of poetics and screenwriting at the School of Communication of Universidad de los Andes) is about the 2016 film Jackie, about the life of American icon Jackie Kennedy, written by an American, Noah Oppenheim, and directed by Chilean Pablo Lorrain.
The second article is (not so jokingly) “10 Ways to f#ck up Your Female Characters” by two New Zealand female producers, Fiona Samuel and Kathryn Burnett. I’ve already talked about that one with many an MFA student.
In another wonderful example of how The Monkees bring people together I’m happy to help announce an exhibit open to all our Australian Monkees fans. I met Derham Groves, professor architecture at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne because he wrote a review of Why The Monkees Matter for The Journal of American Culture and was kind enough to send me a link. Then he happened to be in Los Angeles for a conference so we met for a marvelous dinner of pasta and Monkees conversation in Hollywood.
Thanks to having met Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal (Dr. Jawa) while we were both doing TEDx talks in 2016, he invited me to present on the pedagogy of the flipped classroom that I practice in my classes in the IGE Department for his panel: “Advances in Engineering Education Symposium” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference held on the CalPoly campus last week.
Titled “From Atoms to Applications” this conference is the 99th annual Pacific Division Meeting of the group and the first ever held at CPP.
I ended up using the title “We Live Interdisciplinary Lives/We Need Interdisciplinary Education” for my presentation and it dovetailed quite nicely with the other presentations made by Dr. Jawa on Framing as an Effective Pedagogical Approach, Paul Nissenson on Creating An Online Engineering Video Library At A State University, and Kamran Abedini on “Puzzles Principles“. Both Professor Abedini and Jawaharlal are past recipients of the Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching awards on campus so it was an honor to be asked to share the panel with them.
Each of us advocated for flipped classrooms and for hands on exercises and experiences that make learning something that lasts.
I’ll have a chance to tell an international crowd of engineering and science professors about other models of education beyond lecturing and standardized testing.The presentation will offer definitions and examples of ways to use well studied pedagogies such as flipping the classroom, Socratic seminars and hands-on exercises. By practicing creativity and highlighting the relevance of each lesson presented, students own much more of the information than when relying only on lectures and test-based assessments.
Flipped Classroom Pedagogy
ROSANNE WELCH (MFA in Screenwriting Program, Stephens College and Interdisciplinary General Education Department, Cal Poly Pomona)
Based on my nearly 20 years of working to advance creativity in college classrooms both among students and faculty, this presentation will focus on the pedagogy of the flipped classroom and how that particularly suits science and engineering students in classes outside their discipline – and inside it as well. The presentation will offer definitions and examples of ways to use well studied pedagogies such as flipping the classroom, Socratic seminars and on hands on exercises. By practicing creativity and highlighting the relevance of each lesson presented, students own much more of the information than when relying on lectures and test-based assessments. That is not to say those do not play a part in these pedagogies, but they are not the only way to educate millennials.
I met Dr. Jawa when both of us gave TEDxCPP presentations in 2016. Here’s a link to my talk from that night:
And here’s a link to his (which happened to be on Becoming a Bette Teacher – which is what started a conversation that has continued across both years and resulted in his visiting my classes as a guest speaker and my being asked to present at his conference):
This will be a fun new presentation to put together – before I begin the planning for the session I’ll be presenting in Milan for the next Screenwriting Research Network conference (that one will be on how and why I created my History of Screenwriting course – so stay tuned for more info on that one as well!).
So, I really wanted to wrap up with the idea, so where did we get the Gidget book right? Was it in the movies or in the TV show? I’m going to guess, just because I’m pushy and that’s what I pushed on you, it is, in fact, the TV show and I’m going to say that’s because TV is where meat-and-potatoes stories can be told. We have a hundred or 200 hours to tell you the story of one character. They can’t be weak and superficial or you won’t come back. We need to really get into their hearts and hear about them and that’s the beauty of television as opposed to bubblegum in films and also TV has often been — and I’m not saying Gidget is part of the golden age of television — but when we discuss the Golden Age of Television we discuss it like Dickensian novels, that every month, every week, you get another section of the story and that’s the power of television. We can expand on a character because you’ve come to love them and you’ll watch them go through two or three or seven years of their lives and that’s much more in-depth than you can get into a film which is where Gidget falls apart if you ask me.
“How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto by Accident (and How We Can Get Her Out of it): Demoting Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas from Edgy Coming of Age Novel to Babe on the Beach Genre Film via Choices made in the Adaptation Process.”
It’ a long title, as I joke up front, but covers the process of adapting the true life story of Kathy Kohner (nicknamed ‘Gidget’ by the group of male surfers who she spent the summers with in Malibu in the 1950s) into the film and television series that are better remembered than the novel. The novel had been well-received upon publication, even compared to A Catcher in the Rye, but has mistakenly been relegated to the ‘girl ghetto’ of films. Some of the adaptations turned the focus away from the coming of age story of a young woman who gained respect for her talent at a male craft – surfing – and instead turned the focus far too much on Kathy being boy crazy.
Along the way I found interesting comparisons between how female writers treated the main character while adapting the novel and how male writers treated the character.
Dr. Rosanne Welch teaches the History of Screenwriting and One-Hour Drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting.
Writing/producing credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. In 2016 she published the book Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop; co-edited Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia; and placed “Transmitting Culture Transnationally Via the Characterization of Parents in Police Procedurals” in the New Review of Film and Television Studies. Essays appear in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television and Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology. Welch serves as Book Reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting and on the Editorial Advisory Board for Written By magazine, the magazine of the Writers Guild.
The Screenwriting Research Network is a research group consisting of scholars, reflective practitioners and practice-based researchers interested in research on screenwriting. The aim is to rethink the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values and creative practices.