17 When Women Write Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (0:54)

17 When Women Write Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch

17 When Women Write Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch

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Transcript:

If we flip back to Flippen, and now she’s taking her friend seriously. This friend, Larue, is being bullied at school so talk about an interesting theme that is still very prevalent right? And it’s her friend Gidget who stands by her and doesn’t care what the other girls think. “You’re still my friend.” It’s because Larue likes to ride horses more than she wants to get a boyfriend and the girls don’t respect her for that. So again, a girl interested in a sport that she wants to be better at. That’s the kind of friend Gidget wants to have, not a friend who goes shopping and kisses boys all the time. So she takes care of her friend, the Dad helps out, which I think is really pretty, and in the end, again, we go back to, “As long as a girl’s got something to love, all’s right with the world and it can be an ocean, a horse, a friend of just incidentally, a boy.” Men are not the most important catch in her life. I think that’s really cool. Written by a woman in a TV show.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


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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.

16 Men Writing Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (0:57)

16 Men Writing Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch

16 Men Writing Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch

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Transcript:

But then you switch over and get an episode written by a gentleman and you see, basically, she wants to by this car of one of the surfers on the beach so she has the ability to go back and forth without bugging her friends for a ride. She decides to go to shop class at the school to learn how to take care of the car before she buys it where these things are all annoying to me.

“When a woman clamors about being equal to men, sometimes giving them exactly what they want convinces them they don’t want it.”

That’s the teacher’s way of getting her to quit the class and he spends the entire episode giving her terrible dirty, heavy, awful jobs in the auto shop so that she will quit. She never does, but at the very end she comes up with this message. She got the car fixed because she stood outside and looked helpless and that was the lesson she learned in an episode written by a man. So as far as I’m concerned they took character a few steps backward in the midst of this growth period and I think that’s so sad.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


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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.

15 Analyzing Episodes of Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

15 Analyzing Episodes of Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

15 Analyzing Episodes of Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference 2017

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Transcript:

Also in the episode, she talks about surfing — she eats, drinks and sleeps it. She says to her Dad, you do the same thing. Why should it be wrong that I have something I’m obsessed with being better at and he agrees with her. So, she’s able to debate with her father and they have this very equal relationship which makes me interested. In this particular episode, she brought her Dad to the beach to see what was so good about surfing. he met a girlfriend who is a research chemist. A woman writing the episode makes the woman not only a widow, not some little girly job. She’s a research chemist that he is going to go out with. His last girlfriend was the Dean of Female Students at UCLA. Every woman you meet on this show if the episode is written by a woman is a woman with a substantial career and an interesting person. That fascinates me.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

14 Gendered Writing and Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

14 Gendered Writing and Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

14 Gendered Writing and Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference 2017

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Transcript:

Now we think about the gendered writing that happened. In this case, an episode written by Irma Kalish who is very famous and Auston who was her husband at the time. This whole thing focuses on her having to a write a paper. She’s not doing well until she writes about what she knows, which is surfing and when she does that she actually gets the A she needs in the class. She’s very interested in her grades. She’s not a fluffy, superficial girl. She wants good grades. She wants to go to college. She takes her work seriously and that impressed me. I also think there is a little genre I want to do some studies on eventually — How many movies actually are the story of writers finding their own voice. The Little Women stories are really not about little girls playing in their house in New England. It’s about one woman discovering her voice with the successful telling of her family’s stories. I think there are a million films and stories that end up being about writers finding their voice so, you know, we are writing about what we know all the time.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

13 Gidget On Television from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

13 Gidget On Television from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

13 Gidget On Television from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference 2017

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Transcript:

So that’s the story of the pilot whereas in the films you didn’t have the sister, the parents were just goofballs and, as I said before, Moondoggie, the boy, made all the decision. So right away in the pilot, we get a Gidget who has power and is moving forward in her life. So, Ruth is bringing back the real character from the book. I think Ruth is a pretty funny writer. I didn’t realize this until I watched all her episodes. She names some of Gidget’s friends and she gets away with a double entendre in American television. I’m not sure how she got away with that in the 60’s and her sister, in one episode, calls all Gidget’s friends “sexteen” year olds. So it was kind of amazing that she got away with it if you ask me and I can see that she is being ironic and kind of sliding into what people think. So the other important thing about the TV show is that surfing is ever-present. She is almost always going to the beach to surf with the men and get better and better at surfing. Even here, I love, doing her homework at the beach on her surfboard. We do not forget that that is the definition of Gidget.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

12 Gidget Television and Films Compared from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (1:07)

12 Gidget Television and Films Compared from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

12 Gidget Television and Films Compared from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (1:07)

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Transcript:

So some differences right away. We see a TV show in the pilot that Ruth wrote, Gidget makes all the decisions. The show is built around the father/daughter relationship. So it’s a much more — the father takes his daughter seriously and they speak as equals in terms of education and making choices in her life. Nothing and that didn’t happen at all in the films. She has a sister in the film, where she has a mother — in the TV show she has a sister. The sister makes the mistake of reading Gidget’s diary and when Gidget describes the beautifulness in which “melted into the sand” the sister assumes it means she had sex at the beach and she tells the Dad and the Dad yells at the older sister for stepping into her younger sister’s privacy. That she didn’t have a right to read he diary. Those are her private words. The Dad is not worried that she had sex. He’s worried that he privacy has been invaded and that’s such a respectful stand between a father and a daughter. They come later to realize the “melting into the sand” is a description of surfing. So it all turns around.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

11 Gidget On Television from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:58) – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

11 Gidget On Television from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:58) – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

11 Gidget On Television from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:58) - Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference 2017

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Transcript:

So then we come to the television show, which stars Sally Field. This was her first major job. She’d never done a film or anything large before, so she is the active character in every episode which is the thing that we do in television so maybe that helped Ruth bring the story back to being about Gidget’s decisions. I don’t know, but I am sure that contributed to it and later in her career Flippen is going to write these other “plucky” women. That Girl being the first single woman on television to live without her parents and have a career. We always think about Mary Tyler Moore who did that but it was That Girl who did it first and her career was acting so that wasn’t taken quite seriously but she lived on her own. She supported herself, right? And Bewitched who, of course, had the power of magic and always ended up saving the day for her husband and I would say maybe see the Brady girls had some power in their lives — they brought Davy Jones into their world, so that’s a big deal. So I think it’s interesting that she always wrote female characters that are well remembered.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

10 Gidget Grows Up from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:44) – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference

10 Gidget Grows Up from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:44) – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference

10 Gidget Grows Up from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:44) - Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference

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Transcript:

This one was written largely by Gabrielle Upton and we have the Gidget who needs help and has to ask and is always worried about things and she cries which is always the thing that girls go to when they have to be dramatic. When we get over to this one, which is co-written with Katherine and Dale Eunson again she’s in college. Suddenly her vocabulary has popped up. the woman knew three-syllable words that she used with her friends as a normal and casual as you could be. She quotes Shakespeare and Dante’s Inferno because her father is a professor of literature so that’s the culture of her home, which is actually true and she is very proud of her independence in that film. So as Ruth Brooks Flippen gets ahold of the character, she starts to mold her back into who she was in her original book.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

09 Writers and Story on the Gidget Movies from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:55) – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference

09 Writers and Story on the Gidget Movies from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:55) – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference

09 Writers and Story on the Gidget Movies from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto [Video] (0:55) - Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference

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Transcript:

I also noticed when watching all the movies — first of all, the girl playing Gidget changed in every film. So it wasn’t even like we cared that she had to be the same woman. She was just this image and the boy stays the same. James Darrin plays Moondoggie in all three of these films. So it turns out to be a trilogy about the life of a boy who surfs and has an everchanging girlfriend with the same name. This is not at all what I expected to find when I came to this and he sings music. So then we get Ruth Brooks Flippen who shows up and Ruth, she writes a bit of Gidget Goes Hawaiian and she does Gidget Goes to Rome. The second one is kind of silly and dumb. I’m hoping that means the studio had choices about what got done and when it was successful enough she had more of her own power in the third sequel where suddenly Gidget’s in college. She reads books again, just like the actual first book and she makes more interesting decisions.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“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.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

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.

Reading, Writing and Resources from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

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Reading, Writing and Resources from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Reading, Writing and Resources from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

 

A recording of my presentation at this year’s University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2017 conference.

Transcript:

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

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