A History of Screenwriting – 38 in a series – Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – Frances Marion

A History of Screenwriting – 38 in a series – Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – Frances Marion

A History of Screenwriting - 38 in a series - Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Frances Marion

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a 1917 American silent comedy-drama film directed by Marshall Neilan based upon the novel of the same name by Kate Douglas Wiggin. This version is notable for having been adapted by famed female screenwriter Frances Marion. The film was made by the “Mary Pickford Company” and was an acclaimed box office hit. When the play premiered on Broadway in the 1910 theater season the part of Rebecca was played by Edith Taliaferro.[1][2][3]

As described in a film magazine,[4] Rebecca Randall (Pickford) is taken into the home of her aunt Hannah (Eddy), a strict New England woman. Rebecca meets Adam Ladd (O’Brien), a young man of the village, and they become great friends. One day Rebecca promises to marry Adam when she becomes of age. Unable to withstand her pranks any longer, her aunt sends her away to a boarding school. She graduates a beautiful young lady. Shortly thereafter, Adam demands a fulfillment of her promise. — Wikipedia



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs *

* Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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

The Latest Journal of Screenwriting is HERE!

Journal screenwriting v8i2 cover

Journal screenwriting v8i2 mastheadJournal screenwriting v8i2 toc

Click for larger images

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!

A History of Screenwriting – 37 in a series – Writers in Hollywood 1915-1951, Ian Hamilton

A History of Screenwriting – 37 in a series – Writers in Hollywood 1915-1951, Ian Hamilton

The story of Hollywood has often been told from the point of view of the stars, the directors, the tycoons, but not until now from the point of view of the gallery of writers who helped shape it, including Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Chandler, and many others. – Amazon

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs *

* Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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

Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (17:44)

Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch

Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch

 

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

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.

Books Mentioned In This Presentation

Follow Dr. Rosanne Welch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosannewelch
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drrosannewelch/

About Dr. Rosanne Welch

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.

A History of Screenwriting – 36 in a series – Intolerance (1916) – D.W. Griffith

A History of Screenwriting – 36 in a series – Intolerance (1916) – D.W. Griffith

A History of Screenwriting - 36 in a series - Intolerance (1916) - D.W. Griffith

Intolerance is a 1916 epic silent film directed by D. W. Griffith. Subtitles include Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages and A Sun-Play of the Ages.[2][3]

Widely regarded as one of the great masterpieces of the silent era, as well as one of the first art films,[3] the three-and-a-half-hour epic intercuts four parallel storylines, each separated by several centuries: (1) a contemporary melodrama of crime and redemption, (2) a Judean story: Christ‘s mission and death, (3) a French story: the events surrounding the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, and (4) a Babylonian story: the fall of the Babylonian Empire to Persia in 539 BC. Each story had its own distinctive color tint in the original print.[3] The scenes are linked by shots of a figure representing Eternal Motherhood, rocking a cradle.[3]

Intolerance was made partly in response to criticism of Griffith’s previous film, The Birth of a Nation (1915),[4] which was criticized by the NAACP and other groups as perpetuating racial stereotypes and glorifying the Ku Klux Klan.[5] It was not—as is commonly implied—an apology for the racism of his earlier film;[6]in numerous interviews, Griffith made clear that the film’s title and overriding themes were meant as a response to those who he felt had been intolerant of him in condemning The Birth of a Nation.[7] In the years following its release, Intolerance would strongly influence European film movements despite its lack of commercial success domestically. —Wikipedia



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs ** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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

A History of Screenwriting – 35 in a series – Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)

A History of Screenwriting – 35 in a series – Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)

A History of Screenwriting - 35 in a series - Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)

Gertie the Dinosaur is a 1914 animated short film by American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay. It is the earliest animated film to feature a dinosaur. McCay first used the film before live audiences as an interactive part of his vaudeville act; the frisky, childlike Gertie did tricks at the command of her master. McCay’s employer William Randolph Hearst later curtailed McCay’s vaudeville activities, so McCay added a live-action introductory sequence to the film for its theatrical release. McCay abandoned a sequel, Gertie on Tour (c. 1921), after producing about a minute of footage.

Although Gertie is popularly thought to be the earliest animated film, McCay had earlier made Little Nemo (1911) and How a Mosquito Operates (1912). The American J. Stuart Blacktonand the French Émile Cohl had experimented with animation even earlier; Gertie being a character with an appealing personality distinguished McCay’s film from these earlier “trick films”. Gertie was the first film to use animation techniques such as keyframesregistration marks, tracing paper, the Mutoscope action viewer, and animation loops. It influenced the next generation of animators such as the Fleischer brothersOtto MessmerPaul Terry, and Walt DisneyJohn Randolph Bray unsuccessfully tried to patent many of McCay’s animation techniques and is said to have been behind a plagiarized version of Gertie that appeared a year or two after the original. Gertie is the best preserved of McCay’s films—some of which have been lost or survive only in fragments—and has been preserved in the U.S. Library of Congress‘ National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. — Wikipedia



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs ** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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

Dr. Rosanne Welch with her WGA Panel Participants from “Crafting Strong Female Characters”

One attendee comment made my evening, “This panel was both inspirational and aspirational!”

A History of Screenwriting – 34 in a series – The Squaw Man (1914)

A History of Screenwriting – 34 in a series – The Squaw Man (1914)

Directed by Oscar Apfel and Cecil B. DeMille and produced by DeMille and Jesse L. Lasky, the screenplay was adapted by Beulah Marie Dix from the 1905 stage play, of the same name, written by Edwin Milton Royle.

This first screen version of the story was the legendary DeMille’s first movie assignment. It also holds the distinction of being the first feature-length movie filmed specifically in Hollywood. DeMille wanted to emphasize the outdoors and wanted to shoot the movie in a place that had exotic scenery and great vistas. Initially he traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona to film the movie.[3] After seeing the vast amount of mountains near Flagstaff; the filming was moved to the Los Angeles area. It was not the first film to be made in the Los Angeles area, and film historians agree that shorts had previously been filmed in Hollywood, with In Old California considered the earliest. Harbor scenes were shot in San Pedro, California and the western saloon set was built beside railroad tracks in the San Fernando Valley. Footage of cattle on the open range were shot at Keen Camp near Idyllwild, California, while snow scenes were shot at Mount Palomar.[4] Cecil B. DeMille felt that lighting in a movie was extremely important and viewed it as the visual and emotional foundation to build his image. He believed that lighting was to a film as “music is to an opera”.[1]

The Squaw Man went on to become the only movie successfully filmed three times by the same director/producer, DeMille. He filmed a silent remake in 1918, and a talkie version in 1931The Squaw Man was 74 minutes long and generated $244,700 in profit.[1] Wikipedia



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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

A History of Screenwriting – 33 in a series – A Trip to the Moon (George Méliès, France, 1902)

A History of Screenwriting – 33 in a series – A Trip to the Moon (George Méliès, France, 1902)

A History of Screenwriting - 33 in a series - A Trip to the Moon (George Méliès, France, 1902)

A Trip to the Moon (FrenchLe Voyage dans la Lune)[a] is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide variety of sources, including Jules Verne‘s novels From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon, the film follows a group of astronomers who travel to the Moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore the Moon’s surface, escape from an underground group of Selenites (lunar inhabitants), and return to Earth with a captive Selenite. It features an ensemble cast of French theatrical performers, led by Méliès himself in the main role of Professor Barbenfouillis, and is filmed in the overtly theatrical style for which Méliès became famous.

The film was an internationally popular success on its release, and was extensively pirated by other studios, especially in the United States. Its unusual length, lavish production values, innovative special effects, and emphasis on storytelling were markedly influential on other film-makers and ultimately on the development of narrative film as a whole. Scholars have commented upon the film’s extensive use of pataphysical and anti-imperialist satire, as well as on its wide influence on later film-makers and its artistic significance within the French theatrical féerie tradition. Though the film disappeared into obscurity after Méliès’s retirement from the film industry, it was rediscovered around 1930, when Méliès’s importance to the history of cinema was beginning to be recognized by film devotees. An original hand-colored print was discovered in 1993 and restored in 2011.

A Trip to the Moon was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice, ranked 84th.[6] The film remains the best-known of the hundreds of films made by Méliès, and the moment in which the capsule lands in the Moon’s eye remains one of the most iconic and frequently referenced images in the history of cinema. It is widely regarded as the earliest example of the science fiction film genre and, more generally, as one of the most influential films in cinema history. — Wikipedia



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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

A History of Screenwriting – 32 in a series – Long Distance Wireless Photography (George Méliès, France, 1908)

A History of Screenwriting – 32 in a series – Long Distance Wireless Photography (George Méliès, France, 1908)

A History of Screenwriting - 32 in a series - Long Distance Wireless Photography (George Méliès, France, 1905)

Into a photography studio full of large fantastic machines steps an elderly couple. The bearded proprietor explains the equipment and gives them a demonstration and projects a painting of three women onto a large screen; suddenly the women begin to move. The customers are impressed. First the women sits in the special seat: she’s projected onto the screen, and her good nature comes out in the laughing image. Then it’s the man’s turn, but on the screen it projects a painted, apelike Friar Tuck face. The man gets angry and tries to wreck the machine getting an electric jolt in the process. – Silent Film House



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


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