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One of the best biographies of a writer – and a female writer at that – Without Lying Down tells the story of Frances Marion, the highest paid screenwriter and a double Oscar winner whose career spanned the Silent Era and transformed into Talkies quite well (judging by the Oscars). Since she surrounded herself with a cadre of other female screenwriters at the time, the book is a marvelous introduction to a time when women ran Hollywood. — Rosanne
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The Gold Rush is a 1925 American comedy film written, produced, and directed by Charlie Chaplin. The film also stars Chaplin in his Little Tramp persona, Georgia Hale, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman, and Malcolm Waite.
The Gold Rush received Academy Award nominations for Best Music and Best Sound Recording upon its re-release in 1942. It is today one of Chaplin’s most celebrated works, and he himself declared several times that it was the film for which he most wanted to be remembered.
The idea for this film came from Chaplin looking at the pictures of the Gold Rush in Klondike in 1896. At the same time, he accidentally read a book about immigrants who trapped the snow in Sierra Nevada, had to eat their own boots or the corpses of their friends. Chaplin, who believed tragedies and comics were not far from each other, decided to combine these stories of deprivation and horror in comedy. He decided that his famous rogue figure should become a gold-digger who joins a brave optimist determined to face all the pitfalls associated with the search for gold, such as sickness, hunger, loneliness, or the possibility that he may at any time be attacked by a grizzly. In the movie, we see scenes like Chaplin cooking and dreaming of his shoe, or how his starving friend Big Jim sees him as a chicken. — Wikipedia
The Kid is a 1921 American silent comedy-drama film written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, and features Jackie Coogan as his adopted son and sidekick. This was Chaplin’s first full-length film as a director (he had been a co-star in 1914’s Tillie’s Punctured Romance). It was a huge success, and was the second-highest-grossing film in 1921, behind The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In 2011, The Kid was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Innovative in its combination of comedic and dramatic elements, The Kid is widely considered one of the greatest films of the silent era. — Wikipedia
This is about strategies in teaching film and television history and current events — which is what David will do when I am done — and so, gee, I’m all about the chicks so we have Dorothy Parker and we have Tina Fey. There is a direct line between those women and if you love Tina Fey then you had better study a little bit of Dorothy Parker or you don’t understand why Tina Fey works today. So, why study screenwriting history? That’s actually the first screen of a lecture that I give on this very topic to my students on opening day because when you mention movies nobody says, “You know I love that shot in… ” They say, “My name is Inigo Montoya.You killed my father. Prepare to Die.” They remember the words in the movies. They remember the screenwriting, but when we look at the history of tv and film, we’re not doing that. We’re teaching directors. Everyone can name their favorite films and they can normally name the director of those films.
Updated and expanded for the third edition, this volume combines scholarship with movie lore to present a comprehensive account of the development and influence of the American screenwriter. The text is written in an informal style and includes anecdotes and stories that spotlight writer’s creative work and their struggle to achieve recognition.— Amazon
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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
I am also on the editorial board for Written By Magazine and the book review editor of the Journal of Screenwriting so if anyone’s interested in writing book reviews for the Journal of Screenwriting which publishes out of the UK, please let me know because I am always looking for book reviewers and you get the book for free, but also I have — the schools that I teach at have subscription to the journal. I have students read journal articles because I want them — it is a Masters Program — I want them to have a comfort level with that, but I have my undergrads at least do one journal article reading as well to have an accessibility to that. And then I get the schools and/or the kids to read Written By Magazine every month. We do a different screenwriter or television writer on the front cover. It’s a wonderful inside look at how the process of writing is done. The subscription is not that expensive, rather than a textbook for undergrads, but we also publish most of that online for free at the Written By web site, so they can read these articles on their own as assignments and learn about these writers. So I think all that stuff is valid for the class.