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

Watch this entire presentation

 

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.

A History of Screenwriting 59 – Screenwriting (Behind the Silver Screen Series) by Andrew Horton (Editor), Julian Hoxter

A History of Screenwriting 59 – Screenwriting (Behind the Silver Screen Series) by Andrew Horton (Editor), Julian Hoxter

Screenwriters often joke that “no one ever paid a dollar at a movie theater to watch a screenplay.” Yet the screenplay is where a movie begins, determining whether a production gets the “green light” from its financial backers and wins approval from its audience. This innovative volume gives readers a comprehensive portrait of the art and business of screenwriting, while showing how the role of the screenwriter has evolved over the years.

Reaching back to the early days of Hollywood, when moonlighting novelists, playwrights, and journalists were first hired to write scenarios and photoplays, Screenwriting illuminates the profound ways that screenwriters have contributed to the films we love. This book explores the social, political, and economic implications of the changing craft of American screenwriting from the silent screen through the classical Hollywood years, the rise of independent cinema, and on to the contemporary global multi-media marketplace. From The Birth of a Nation (1915), Gone With the Wind (1939), and Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) to Chinatown (1974), American Beauty (1999), and Lost in Translation (2003), each project began as writers with pen and ink, typewriters, or computers captured the hopes and dreams, the nightmares and concerns of the periods in which they were writing.

As the contributors take us behind the silver screen to chronicle the history of screenwriting, they spotlight a range of key screenplays that changed the game in Hollywood and beyond. With original essays from both distinguished film scholars and accomplished screenwriters, Screenwriting is sure to fascinate anyone with an interest in Hollywood, from movie buffs to industry professionals.  — Amazon.com


* 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 at the LA Public Library

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

Watch this entire presentation

 

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

Watch this entire presentation

 

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.


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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.

On the passing of Steven Bochco…

On the passing of Steven Bochco I was reminded of the wonderful opportunity I had to interview him for Written By Magazine back in 2010 thanks to the aide of my former boss, Kenny Johnson, who was a former college buddy and lifetime friend of Mr. Bochco. That was the year of the (deservedly) failed re-imagining of The Bionic Woman and talk of film versions of 21 Jump Street  and The A Team so I had come up with an article idea to interview the creative geniuses behind the originals. 

I emailed Kenny to see if he would sit for the interview, and if he thought his friends the two Steves (Bochco and Cannel) would do the same. He called around and they all said yes. I had only to approach Don Bellisario on my own to fill out the foursome and I was on my way. Funny thing was I had told Kenny about the story idea but admitted I was swamped finishing my PhD so I might not get to it for another few months. Kenny encouraged me to go for it “now” – so I did – and in the course of seeing the article through to publication, Mr. Cannell passed away of cancer only his family and friends knew about – including Kenny. So Kenny had urged me to work in the piece knowing I wouldn’t be able to include Mr. Cannell if I waited too long. The magazine was able to collect letters from writers who had been given their start at the Cannell company and publish a tribute to him alongside my article.

On the passing of Steven Bochco...

Now we’ve lost Mr. Bochco as well – a man I never had the chance to work with, but whom I have always admired. Even today I rave to my one-hour drama students about “Hearts and Souls” – the NYPD BLUE episode where Jimmy Smits’ character Bobby Simone dies (story by Bochco, David Milch and Bill Clark, teleplay by Nicholas Wootton- and I get tears in my eyes just recounting the story to them all these years later.  He truly created what we now call the 2nd Golden Age of Television Drama from Hill Street Blues forward, though NYPD BLUE will always be my favorite. 

I still have the book about the making of the show on a list for my MFA students to review — True Blue: The Real Stories Behind NYPD Blue Hardcover by David Milch and Bill Clark. Do yourself a favor and binge watch some of his work this weekend.

Read the entire article – The Class of ‘80

* 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

A History of Screenwriting 58 – Smilin’ Through starring Norma Talmadge, Written by Alan Langdon Martin (aka Jane Murfin and Jane Cowl) (original play), James Ashmore Creelman (scenario), Sidney Franklin (scenario) – 1922

A History of Screenwriting 58 – Smilin’ Through starring Norma Talmadge, Written by Alan Langdon Martin (aka Jane Murfin and Jane Cowl) (original play),
James Ashmore Creelman (scenario), Sidney Franklin (scenario) – 1922

A History of Screenwriting 58 - Smilin' Through starring Norma Talmadge, Written by Alan Langdon Martin (aka Jane Murfin and Jane Cowl) (original play), 
James Ashmore Creelman (scenario), Sidney Franklin (scenario) - 1922

Smilin’ Through is a 1922 silent film based on the 1919 play of the same name, written by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin (together under the pseudonym Alan Langdon Martin). The film starred Norma Talmadge, Harrison Ford, and Wyndham Standing. It was co-written and directed by Sidney Franklin, who also directed the more famous 1932 remake at MGM. The film was produced by Talmadge and her husband Joseph M. Schenck for her company, the Norma Talmadge Film Corporation. It was released by First National Pictures. Popular character actor Gene Lockhart made his screen debut in this film.[3][4]

The story is essentially the same as the popular Jane Cowl play, with Talmadge in the dual role of Kathleen and Moonyean. Kathleen, a young Irish woman, is in love with Kenneth Wayne but is prevented from marrying him by her guardian John Carteret. John is haunted by memories of his thwarted love for Kathleen’s aunt, Moonyean.

The story was an especially popular one and was filmed twice more by MGM: in 1932 with Norma Shearer and 1941 with Jeanette MacDonald. – Wikipedia


Learn More About Norma Talmadge with these books

* 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 at the LA Public Library

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

Watch this entire presentation

 

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.


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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.

A History of Screenwriting 57 – New York Nights starring Norma Talmadge, Written by Hugh Stanislaus Stange and Jules Furthman – 1929

A History of Screenwriting 57 – New York Nights starring Norma Talmadge, Written by Hugh Stanislaus Stange and Jules Furthman – 1929

A History of Screenwriting 57 - New York Nights starring Norma Talmadge, Written by Hugh Stanislaus Stange and Jules Furthman - 1929

Poster - New York Nights (1929) 01.jpg
By Employee(s) of United Artists – http://doctormacro.com/Movie%20Summaries/N/New%20York%20Nights%20%281929%29.htm, Public Domain, Link

New York Nights is a 1929 American pre-Code crime film, directed by Lewis Milestone, and based on 1928 play Tin Pan Alley by Hugh Stanislaus Stange.[2] The film is known for being leading actress Norma Talmadge’s first sound film.

Jill Deverne is a chorus girl married to alcoholic composer Fred. She wants to show Fred’s latest song, A Year From Today, to racketeer Joe Prividi. Prividi is the producer of the musical show in which she is working, and agrees to use his song. Fred, however, refuses any favors and rejects Prividi’s offer. When Prividi uses the song anyway, Fred and his friend Johnny Dolan become drunk and show up at a nightclub.

In a raid, the police discover Fred with chorus girl Ruthie. Jill is disgusted with his behavior and dumps him. She is soon courted by Prividi, who is very overprotective. At a private party, a gambler forces himself on her and is shot by Prividi. Prividi is arrested and sent to jail. Jill does not want to be left behind, and plans a future with Fred. Prividi becomes jealous and sends gunmen to shoot and kill Fred. He is eventually stopped and put in jail, while Jill and Fred ride off in a train to start a new life. – Wikipedia


Learn More About Norma Talmadge with these books

* 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 at the LA Public Library

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

Watch this entire presentation

 

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.


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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.

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)

Watch this entire presentation

 

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.