Screenwriters (once again) left out of Los Angeles Times Maleficent Story!

Screenwriters (once again) left out of Los Angeles Times Maleficent Story!

This is definitely driving me crazy!

After reading the attached article I had to write this letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Did Tracy Brown  really write a whole article (“How Angelina Jolie’s daughter inspired the secret backstory of ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’”) about the story process for the new Maleficent sequel WITHOUT ONCE mentioning the name of the credited screenwriters – Linda Woolverton (who also wrote the original film) and Noah Harpster?

The article even begins with naming the director in the first sentence. This is a ludicrous example of the unexplained contempt journalists (who are writers themselves) seem to have against screenwriters – or solid evidence that the now disproved-in-academia-but-still-mistakenly-believed-by-others auteur theory still holds sway. But directors do not write their films unless you call them ‘writer-directors’.

Read the entire article – “How Angelina Jolie’s daughter inspired the secret backstory of ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’”

Comments On Who Will Win The Streaming Wars?

How many streaming services will you subscribe to before streaming costs as much as that cable cord so many of us have cut?

I predict Netflix will survive based on being early to the game and how they have struck so many co-production deals in major countries all over the world so they are seeding their service with material to please a greater audience.

Yes Disney+ will do well but in my family we cut cable when my son outgrew the Disney Channel – which happens in all families eventually so I don’t think even the core of lifelong Disney fans will be enough to make the service necessary forever. Yes, they have the Marvel and Star Wars worlds now, but I own the films in those franchises already… so subscribing brings me nothing new…But we’ll see, won’t we? — Rosanne

Who will win the streaming wars?

Comments On Who Will Win he Streaming Wars?

An epic battle is brewing in the entertainment industry. In the coming months, most of the biggest media conglomerates will launch their own streaming services in a high-stakes effort to remain relevant by selling movies, TV programming and short-form videos directly to viewers.

While the much-anticipated slugfest between the Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc. is sure to garner the most attention, AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max and Comcast Corp.’s Peacock also are getting ready to enter the fray, as are Apple Inc.’s Apple TV+ and Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s Quibi.

The competition for subscription and advertising dollars has already led to disruption and anxiety. Studios are spending heavily to lock up prolific showrunners and popular older shows that they hope will get viewers to subscribe. Recently, tensions flared as Disney began rejecting Netflix ads on its TV channels.

Read the entire article – Who will win the streaming wars?

Dr. Rosanne Welch Named As The New Executive Director Of Stephens College MFA In TV And Screenwriting Program

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From Stephens College Office of Academic Affairs…

I am pleased to share with you the following announcement about an exciting change of leadership for the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting program. Congratulations to the team and thank you for all of your hard work building an amazing program.
– Dr. Leslie Willey, Stephens College Vice President for Academic Affairs

Rmw profile 2019The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting  established in 2014, has named Dr. Rosanne Welch as the new executive director. Program founder and former director Ken LaZebnik will serve as Writer-in-Residence, while Khanisha Foster ’17, a graduate of the M.F.A. program, will serve as associate director. The program also features 15 faculty mentors and a rotating group of guest lecturers, all working writers, members of the Writers Guild and successful industry professionals.

Welch has served as a faculty member in the M.F.A. program since its start, creating a set of courses around the history of screenwriting, and teaching courses in one-hour drama. Her television writing credits include “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Picket Fences,” “ABC News: Nightline” and “Touched by an Angel.”

She edited “When Women Wrote Hollywood,” a book of essays published in 2018 that was named runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award honoring the best anthology, multi-authored or edited book in feminist studies by the Popular Culture Association. She co-edited “Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia,” which was named to both the 2018 Outstanding References Sources List and the list of Best Historical Materials by the American Library Association, and authored “Why the Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Popular Culture.”

Welch serves as book reviews editor for the Journal of Screenwriting and on the editorial board for Written By magazine. She was elected to the executive committee of the International Screenwriting Research Network this year for a two-year term.

Video games following path of films in their marketing and “Death Stranding” Game Trailer

What’s interesting about this video game trailer (is first of all that they have trailers for video games!) but that at the 5:36 mark they begin giving the credits for all the relatively big name actors in this – including Guillermo del Toro and (for me) Lindsay Wagner (the original Bionic Woman) which shows how this new-ish art form is following the path of films – which originally did not name their actors until they realized actors bring in audience.

Also, that the branding of the creator “Kojima Productions”. The parallels between these arts-turned-businesses are so interesting. — Rosanne

** Notes originally from discussion with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting students 


Video games following path of films in their marketing and

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Remember to Credit The Screenwriter!

Remember to Credit The Screenwriter!

While we at Screenwriting Research Network strive to force a focus on screenwriters, we need allies in the non-academic world to properly credit them.

In that vein, I recently wrote to the Guardian’s film critic about a moment in his review of ‘Gangs of New York’ where he credited the director for a visual moment that occurred, clearly and firstly, in the original script — something that happens far too frequently. Often, such letters yield nothing outside of getting the issue off my chest, but today I received this response:

“Dear Dr Welch: many thanks for your email, which has been passed on to me. Your comment is entirely fair: I should have credited this moment to the screenwriters: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian and Kenneth Lonergan. With all good wishes,”

I received this response after sending this email to The Guardian’s film desk:

“As a professor of Screenwriting History for an MFA program in the U.S. I greatly enjoy sharing your reviews of American films with my students, so I hope you don’t mind my noting a small mistake I found while researching your review of Gangs of New York – but again, being a professor of Screenwriting History (not film history because film history is the history of directors) I found you fell victim to one of the age-old issues of the old auteur theory. You credited a visual moment to the director when, in fact, it had existed in the original script, therefore the credit ought to have gone to the writer(s) and their imaginations and use of quality research.” 

“The streets erupt in a saturnalia of lawlessness, to which the director adds an inspired touch: an escaped elephant from Barnum’s circus trumpeting down the rubble-strewn streets.”

Yet that elephant was in the script (which I researched at the WGA Library in Los Angeles) all along, as you can see:

“116 EXT. CANAL STREET DAWN

The first thing we see is an ELEPHANT, who trumpets fearfully at the sudden sound of the shattered door. The gang stops, wary of this huge refugee from Barnum’s Museum, but the animal is more frightened of them. It hurries on down the street…”

I only make this point because those kinds of errors lead to the continued idea that directors are the only authors of a film – an idea most film programs are debunking by the day. I hope critics (since they are also writers) will remember screenwriters more prominently in their work in the future. I have taken to reminding people that, when you speak of your favorite films you rarely recount memorable camera angles, but in fact you recount your favorite dialogue and that is the realm of the writer. Often, as in this instance, many of the visuals credited to directors were first imagined by writers as well.

Dr. Rosanne Welch

Elena Ferrante: A Power of Our Own via The New York Times

Excellent opinion piece by Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym for an Italian novelist, author of the four Neapolitan novels beginning with ‘My Brilliant Friend’ that have been turned into an HBO series).

It covers the power of storytelling and the way the world needs to adapt to the way women wield power.

FerranteElena Ferrante: A Power of Our Own
Power is a story told by women. For centuries, men have colonized storytelling. That era is over.

Power, although hard to handle, is greatly desired. There is no person or group or sect or party or mob that doesn’t want power, convinced that it would know how to use it as no one ever has before.

I’m no different. And yet I’ve always been afraid of having authority assigned to me. Whether it was at school or at work, men were in the majority in any governing body and the women adopted male ways. I never felt at ease, so I stayed on the sidelines. I was sure that I didn’t have the strength to sustain conflicts with men, and that I would betray myself by adapting my views to theirs. For millenniums, every expression of power has been conditioned by male attitudes toward the world. To women, then, it seems that power can be used only in the ways that men have traditionally used it.

Read the entire article – Elena Ferrante: A Power of Our Own



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Jerrie Cobb, America’s first female astronaut candidate, dies at 88 via NBC News

I first learned about Jerrie Cobb when I wrote my Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space in 1998 (a great year all around!).

She was among the Mercury 13 (whom no one has done a film on yet) who Jackie Cochran paid to take all the astronaut training given to the male candidates. Jerrie outscored them all – men and women – but then NASA added the requirement that astronauts also have experience as military test pilots – which, naturally, no women had ever done since they weren’t then allowed in those positions in any branch of the military.

What’s so cool about Jerrie is she taught me to keep on going no matter what – because when NASA said no, she spent the rest of her pilot career delivering humanitarian packages to the Amazon. She deserved to go into space. The best she got was when Eileen Collins became the first female pilot of the space shuttle and she invited Jerrie and the other surviving members of the Mercury 13 to the 1995 shuttle launch (Collins later also became the first female space commander.)

Amazing women all around – their names ought to be as well known as the boys who made it into orbit.

Jerrie Cobb, America's first female astronaut candidate, dies at 88 via NBC News

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — America’s first female astronaut candidate, pilot Jerrie Cobb, who pushed for equality in space but never reached its heights, has died.

Cobb died in Florida at age 88 on March 18 following a brief illness. News of her death came Thursday from journalist Miles O’Brien, serving as a family spokesman.

In 1961, Cobb became the first woman to pass astronaut testing. Altogether, 13 women passed the arduous physical testing and became known as the Mercury 13. But NASA already had its Mercury 7 astronauts, all jet test pilots and all military men.

None of the Mercury 13 ever reached space, despite Cobb’s testimony in 1962 before a Congressional panel.

“We seek, only, a place in our nation’s space future without discrimination,” she told a special House subcommittee on the selection of astronauts.

Read Jerrie Cobb, America’s first female astronaut candidate, dies at 88 via NBC News

JerrieCobb MercuryCapsule


Lear more about women in aviation and space with this encyclopedia

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Rosanne Hosts The New Mentoris Project Podcast – Episode 1 – No Person Above The Law – Judge John Sirica

Hosting the Mentoris Project Podcast has been both fun, engaging and educational – I love meeting and interviewing writers from all over the country and learning about their subjects.

In my latest conversation with Cynthia Cooper, author of No Person Above the Law: A Novel Based on the Life of Judge John J. SiricaI learned more about Watergate and Judge John Sirica, the justice who caused Nixon’s resignation than I thought possible. 

Did you know how many times those infamous tapes were requested by the court?  Or how many tapes there were in total?  Imagine being the man tasked with listening to them all and having to decide which information might be top secret and which information could be released to the public.

Listen to this interview and hear all about it!

Rosanne and “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Highlighted on Cal State Fullerton Web Site

How exciting – the folks who man the main website at Cal State Fullerton choseto highlight an article recently written about the book I edited – When Women Wrote Hollywood – on the very, very front of the university website – so when you log on, I’m the one of the first things you see.  Pretty cool. — Rosanne

Rosanne and


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Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science – 11 February 2019

Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science - 11 February 2019

Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science (un.org) by learning more about these amazing Women Scientists and Inventors and Many More in my books. Check your local library or bookstore today!

Maria Mitchell [pronounced “mə-RYE-ə”] (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) was an American astronomer, who in 1847 by using a telescope, discovered a comet, which as a result became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.”[1] She won a gold medal prize for her discovery, which was presented to her by King Frederick VI of Denmark. On the medal was inscribed “Non Frustra Signorum Obitus Speculamur et Ortus” in Latin (taken from Georgics by Virgil (Book I, line 257)[2] (English: “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising [of the stars]”).[3] Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer.[4][5] –  Wikipedia

* That’s Maria you see center stage on the cover of Technical Innovation in American History above!

Bette Nesmith Graham (March 23, 1924 – May 12, 1980) was an American typist, commercial artist, and the inventor of Liquid Paper. She was the mother of musician and producer Michael Nesmith of The Monkees.[1] Wikipedia

* I researched Bette for Technical Innovation in American History as well as Why The Monkees Matter, talking about her famous musician sone, Michael

Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American engineerphysician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. After medical school and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 until 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to found a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization. Wikipeda

* Mae appears in both Women in American History and Technical Innovation in American History

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