Fall 2019 Written By Magazine Features Transgender Writers (And On The Cover!); Entry- Or Mid-Level Writers; LGBTQIA+ Writers; Female Writers; And Writers Of Color

January 2019 Written By Magazine Features Transgender Writers (And On The Cover!); Entry- Or Mid-Level Writers; LGBTQIA+ Writers; Female Writers; And Writers Of Color

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Just on time for your Labor Day Reading! The Fall 2019 issue of Written By magazine, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West is now available online. 

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Executive Director Dr. Rosanne Welch, who serves on the Editorial Board of the magazine (along with program friend Glen Mazzara) is proud of this truly groundbreaking issue: it’s the first issue featuring transgender writers (and on the cover!); entry- or mid-level writers; LGBTQIA writers; female writers; and writers of color in every story.

CSUF lecturer, author shines light on lost legacies of Hollywood’s female screenwriters: Rosanne Welch tells her students: Make your voices heard

It’s always wonderful to be given another chance to talk about “When Women Wrote Hollywood” – the book of essays on female screenwriters who deserve to be much more famous and spoken of much more often in modern day film history courses. 

Women writers are fascinated to know how many women blazed the trail for them and more than happy to help make their names more well known. So this interview with Susan Gil Vardon of the OC Register turned into an hour and a half chat between two new friends. — Rosanne


CSUF lecturer, author shines light on lost legacies of Hollywood’s female screenwriters
Rosanne Welch tells her students: Make your voices heard

By SUSAN GILL VARDON | sgvardon@scng.com | Orange County Register

CSUF lecturer, author shines light on lost legacies of Hollywood’s female screenwriters: Rosanne Welch tells her students: Make your voices heard

Rosanne Welch has advice for female students who want to get their screenplays noticed: Speak up.

A lecturer in screenwriting at Cal State Fullerton, Welch says she has seen a pattern — even in her master’s classes. When she asks her students to pitch their scripts, the men start talking while the women sit quietly, as if they’re waiting their turn.

“They’re so polite,” Welch said about the women. “I say, Hollywood will never give you a turn. Open your mouth, overspeak the boy. You gotta be loud and proud of what you do.”

Welch did it. Leaving Cleveland, Ohio, with a degree in secondary education, she worked her way up in television from a job as a receptionist for a production company to writing for the shows “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Picket Fences,” ABC’s “Nightline” and “Touched by an Angel.”

In recent years she has focused on writing books, including several on women whose achievements and legacies have been sidelined or lost to history.

Her latest is “When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry.” The book, which she edited, features 24 essays her students wrote in a master’s of fine arts class at Stephens College in Missouri on such pioneering women writers as Adela Rogers St. Johns, Anita Loos, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker.

Read the entire article


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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Jackie Perez (2017) becomes semi-finalist in the 2019 ScreenCraft Public Domain Screenplay Contest

Congrats to Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Jackie Perez (2017) for having her STEM-centric screenplay – AMAZING GRACE (based on the life of Grace Hopper) move from quarter-finalist to semi-finalist in the 2019 ScreenCraft Public Domain Screenplay Contest.

“It wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in without the insightful notes and feedback from Julie Berkobien, Sarah Amble Whorton, Amelia Phillips, and Amy Banks. Really appreciate all the Stephens’ MFA love and encouragement,” says Perez.

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Jackie Perez (2017) becomes semi-finalist in the 2019 ScreenCraft Public Domain Screenplay Contest

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Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Alum Sarah Phillips (2017) among the Top Films for the Louisiana Film Prize!

Congratulations to alum Sarah Phillips (Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Inaugural class of 2017) for her film “Supplements” (which she wrote, directed and produced) being chosen among the 2019 Top Films for the Louisiana Film Prize!

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Alum Sarah Phillips (2017) among the Top Films for the Louisiana Film Prize!

Supplements” was created by Phileon Productions, a female-led production company located in Los Angeles.

In the film the year is 2289 and all that’s left on Planet Earth is the domed city of Old Centauri, roaming sun flares that scorch the land, and the nomadic tribes that mitigate the two. Kiirke comes from one such tribe, and she must travel to Old Centauri, along with her brother, to seek a small fortune to save her family.⁣ (Now if THAT doesn’t draw you in, we are at a total loss for what will!)⁣

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Event: Story Structure in Cinematography with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum, Sarah Phillips

Event: Story Structure in Cinematography with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum, Sarah Phillips

Story Structure in Cinematography with Sarah Phillips
Sep 05, 2019 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT
Canon Burbank

Get Free Tickets at Canon

Come join Cinematographer Sarah Phillips (and Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum (inaugural class of 2017)) as she talks about how to help (or hurt) your story structure with the way you (as a director, writer, actor, or producer) work with your cinematographer, and the way you craft light and character together. 

Sarah Phillips is a cinematographer (and camera nerd) in Los Angeles who works in many areas of film. She primarily shoots independent films, including scripted features, documentaries, and short films, but also can be found the camera departments of national commercials and music videos, because her passion for writing story with light supersedes that of genre and form. sarahphillipscamera.com

Key Takeaways: 

  • Learn about story Structure as a Cinematographer 
  • Hear how to craft light and character together
  • Discuss working with directors, writers, actors and producers on building story structure

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Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Ilona Rossman Ho (Class of 2019) BAFF Screenplay Award Winner!

 Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Ilona Rossman Ho (Class of 2019) BAFF Screenplay Award Winner!

Major Congratulations to Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Ilona Rossman Ho (Class of 2019) who’s screenplay “Indivisible Mom” has been named a 2019 summer edition BAFF (Big Apple Film Festival) Screenplay Award Winner!

Ilona worked on the script with mentors Niceole Levy and Lisanne Sartor while in the MFA program.

Read more at BAFF site

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Anderson Cooper pays tribute to his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt via CNN

Who doesn’t love men who love their Moms – and have this extraordinary opportunity to celebrate their lives through the use of their own art – and position – in life?  — Rosanne

Anderson Cooper pays tribute to his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt via CNN

Anderson Cooper pays tribute to his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt via CNN


* 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!
† Available from the LA Public Library

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

“When Women Wrote Hollywood” In The News! – Righting history: Book by Stephens students elevates women screenwriters via Columbia Daily Tribune

When I learned that our humble little book about female screenwriters from Hollywood’s golden era, When Women Wrote Hollywood,  had been named runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award (an honor bestowed upon the “best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies in popular and American culture” by the Popular Culture Association of America) I immediately “Alerted the Media!” 

Happily, Aarik Danielsen, Arts and Music Editor for the Columbia Tribune responded, interviewed a couple of our contributors and produced a great article that you can now read. Then, as they say, you can “Buy That Book!” by clicking here and learn more about the many female screenwriters of Hollywood’s golden era!

Thanks Aarik – and thanks to all the contributors scattered across America.

Righting history: Book by Stephens students elevates women screenwriters

On a smash hit from 2011, pop luminary Beyonce engages in a subversive act of call-and-response.

“Who run the world?” she asks. The chant comes back, time and again: “Girls!”

Who wrote the films that entrenched Hollywood as a cultural force? A book written by Stephens College students creates its own antiphony, calling back with a confident answer: women.

W3h columbia

“When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry” elevates an important moment in cinema history. Despite the complicated, often exasperating, treatment of women in Hollywood, the collection reminds us that prior to World War II, women were a prominent creative force, penning some of the era’s most memorable films.

Released last summer, “When Women Wrote Hollywood” recently was named runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award, an honor bestowed upon the “best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies in popular and American culture.”

Read the entire article


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood or Buy the Book on Amazon

Paperback Edition | Kindle Edition | Google Play Edition

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

Pioneer Screenwriter Lois Weber’s Birthplace Honored With Pennsylvania Historical Marker

It has taken too long but finally many of the female screenwriters that appear in our collection are being recognized – and often honored. Such is the case with Lois Weber who birthplace has now been given a historical marker. She deserves it.

Read more about her in Chase Thompson’s chapter on Weber in When Women Wrote Hollywood. — Rosanne


Senator Costa Announces New Historical Marker in Pittsburgh

220px LoisWeberPittsburgh, Pa. − March 29, 2018 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. today announced the addition of an official Pennsylvania Historical Marker in Pittsburgh: film director Lois Weber.

Lois Weber was the first American woman film director and a pioneer in early film making.

In the era of silent films, she mastered superimposition, double exposures, and split screens to convey thoughts and ideas rather than words on title cards. She also used the nude female figure in the 1915 film Hypocrites and took on progressive and provocative topics, inciting both censorship and artistic praise.

“Lois Weber was a trailblazer for women and all filmmakers in the early 20th century,” said Senator Costa. “She is a worthy addition to this exclusive list.”

Her historical marker will be placed at 1230 Federal Street in Pittsburgh, in front of the new Carnegie Free Library Allegheny. She was born three blocks south of the spot and her childhood home was one block east.

The new markers, selected from 51 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,300 familiar blue-with-gold-lettering signs along roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.

Read Senator Costa Announces New Historical Marker in Pittsburgh


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood or Buy the Book on Amazon

Paperback Edition | Kindle Edition | Google Play Edition

* 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! † Available from the LA Public Library