This lack of female representation at the creative/gatekeeper levels is precisely what the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting aims to change! More prepared female writers = more prepared female showrunners = more believable female character and stories permeating our lives. — Rosanne
For the 2018-19 season, 96% of TV programs had no women directors of photography; 79% had no women directors; 77% had no women editors; and 77% had no women creators.
As a number of female-fronted TV shows, including “Veep” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” vie for Emmys later this month, a study released Wednesday finds that “historic highs” for women in television still leave them vastly underrepresented in key behind-the-scenes roles.
Whether big city or small-town USA, a show’s location can have a powerful impact. We are teaming up with Columbia College Chicago on this special evening to sit down with a panel of TV writers for a discussion about how writing location, whether real or fictional, sets the scene and can shape the motivations of the characters.
Ayanna Floyd – Writer, Executive Producer, The Chi
Anthony Sparks – Writer, Executive Producer, Queen Sugar
Stay tuned for more panelist announcements!
Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch.
Doors open at 7pm. Event starts at 7:30pm.
All events advertised on our Events page are open to anyone who wants to buy a ticket—not just WGA members!
In the case the event is sold out, we will have a first come, first serve stand-by line at the event. The stand-by line does not guarantee entry into the event and we will only accept credit card transactions for any released seats.
Proceeds benefit the Foundation’s library, archive and other outreach programs.
Any number of “badly-behaved” women preceded Lorna Moon, and a great many more will follow her. As Laurel Thatcher Ulrich noted in her academic paper, published in the journal “American Quarterly” in 1976 (and often misattributed later on), “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” In fact, with the exception of Frances Marion, most of the women who made it onto the pages of early cinematic history were on the unruly side of the coin.
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.
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
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.
Tara Hernandez started working on The Big Bang Theory as an assistant to the executive producer in season 4, and became a staff writer in the middle of season 5. From there she rose in the ranks to be a co-executive producer, helping to craft the series finale before moving to work on the show’s spin-off Young Sheldon.
The key to pitching sitcoms – there’s the event and then there’s the story. The event is the thing that happens but the story is her emotional realization that comes from the event… So for my first story that sold on Big Bang Theory was about the time Bernadette was getting married and Amy was going overboard so the girls decide to go dress shopping without Amy. That was the event that happened and then, because she was so devastated, Sheldon had to step up as a boyfriend and comfort her and it lead to their first cuddle. – Tara Hernandez
“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.
The hardest thing to do now — we’re having trouble reviving some of these female names but it is far more worse reviving African-American female names because these folks have had no paperwork left about them and even the men they worked with haven’t been cataloged in a way that we can look to them for information. Tressi Souders, we only have through newspaper accounts of films of hers that were opening in African-American neighborhoods. So we can see advertisements that she had product but the product doesn’t exist. You can’t find it even on — most of the women I’m gonna mention, the Caucasian women — the European women — and you could find some of their movies on YouTube because stuff has been kept in the Library of Congress. Sadly some has been saved because of men it’s connected to but at least it’s been saved. These women, none of their work exists anymore and that’s one of the most depressing things.
Dr. Rosanne Welch discusses the women in her new book “When Women Wrote Hollywood” which covers female screenwriters from the Silents through the early 1940s when women wrote over 50% of films and Frances Marion was the highest paid screenwriter (male or female) and the first to win 2 Oscars. Yet, she fails to appear in film history books, which continue to regurgitate the myth that male directors did it all – even though it’s been proven that the only profitable movies Cecil B. de Mille ever directed were all written by Jeannie Macpherson film ever won for Best Picture was written by Robert E. Sherwood (who people have heard of, mostly due to his connection to Dorothy Parker) and Joan Harrison.
“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!)
Despite this body of work, Gauntier is largely unknown in texts on screenwriting used in major universities today. She does appear in Cari Beauchamp’s Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood. In an interview with Beauchamp, David Sterritt posits that “Men have largely run the film industry from the start, allowing little power or prestige to their female counterparts. Men have also dominated the film-history field, writing books that take male privilege in Hollywood for granted.
Gene Gauntier: Ascending by Drowning by Yasser Shahin