Tom Stempel, Friend of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, and his blog, Understanding Screenwriting

Friend of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, Tom Stempel, (historian and author of one of the textbooks used in our MFA – Framework: a History of Screenwriting) has a blog – Understanding Screenwriting — where he analyzes the work of recent screenplays, many of which you may have just seen.

His latest post…

Stempel tomUNDERSTANDING SCREENWRITING: Ladies of All Kinds
Tom Stempel reviews Downton Abbey, Hustlers, and the lineup of this Fall 2019 Television Season.

Welcome Back, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and the Dowager Countess.

Downton Abbey (2019. Screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Characters by Julian Fellowes. 122 minutes)

A letter is signed in flowery handwriting. It goes to the post office. It goes on the Night Mail train to northern England (we know it is the Night Mail train because this montage bears more than a passing resemblance to the great 1936 documentary of the same name). The letter goes into the post office van, then the post office. A postal employee rides on a bicycle through the countryside . He goes up a familiar path to…Downton Abbey. He gives the letter to Andy, one of the footmen at the Abbey, who looks at the letter and says, “Blimey.” Andy takes the letter to Barrow, the head of household staff, who takes it to Robert, the Earl of Grantham. Robert opens the letter and tells his eldest daughter, Lady Mary, the contents. Lady Mary’s reply is, “What?”

Read Tom’s entire article


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31 Ruth Gordon from “When Women Wrote Hollywood” with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] ( 1 minutes 15 seconds)

Part of the California State University, Fullerton Faculty Noon Time Talks at the Pollak Library.

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Transcript:

Ruth Gordon. Now we’re up to Ruth. Ruth only wrote four movies together with her husband Garson Kanin. Two of them you’ve heard of Adam’s Rib and Pat and Mike these are Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy vehicles. This couple was best friends with Gordon and Kanin and they wrote the movies outside of the studio system. If you worked as a writer in a studio you got assigned something to work on. These two just wrote movies they wanted to in their own house and then sold them to the studio to actors they knew so nobody rewrote them and they were on the set through most of the production because they hired George Cukor who was a famous director, and another friend of theirs, to direct them. What I think is important for us to think about Ruth is that — and I love Katharine Hepburn and I don’t want to like mess with her reputation too much — but she has a reputation for being a feminist. That’s wrong. Katharine Hepburn stayed the mistress of Spencer Tracy their entire relationship. He never left his wife and she never left him for not leaving his wife. Rumor has it — stuff has come out lately — that he actually beat on her and she put up with that. That’s not a feminist woman. Her characters in the films were feminists because guess why? Ruth was. Ruth was writing herself and her own attitude.

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.


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16 Cultural Impact and The Monkees from “Why The Monkees Matter: Even 50 Years Later [Video] (29 seconds)

Enjoy This Clip? Watch this entire presentation and Buy Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture

From Denver Pop Culture Con 2019.

Wherever you go, you find Monkees fans and the Denver Popular Culture Con was no different.  Amid rooms full of caped crusaders and cosplay creations, I was initially not sure how many folks would attend a talk on a TV show from the 1960s – but happily I was met by a nice, engaged audience for my talk on Why the Monkees Matter  – and afterward they bought books!  What more could an author ask for?

16 Cultural Impact and The Monkees from

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Transcript

Obviously popular culture, which were here to celebrate. It mattered on The Monkees. They were moments in popular culture. A moment that has lasted for the last 50 years but a lot of what they did affected the other popular culture we know. Some people do or don’t know that when they added the Chekhov character to Star Trek in their second season Gene Roddenberry said “He needs to have a haircut that matches that kid on the Monkees” because he is here to appeal to the young girls right? So if you think about it, that’s that’s considered a hippie long hair haircut.



Buy Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture

A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Acheivement in Comedy.

Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined, and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.

This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers.

Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Riderand Five Easy Pieces.

McFarland (Direct from Publisher) | Amazon | Kindle Edition | Nook Edition

Want to use “Why The Monkees Matter” in your classroom?

Order Examination Copies, Library and Campus Bookstore orders directly from McFarland

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Jan Marino Scholarship: A Scholarship To The Stephens College MFA In Television And Screenwriting For Women Over 45

We at the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Program are excited to announce that we have lowered the required age for applicants of the Jan Marino Scholarship to 45 from 55 years old, opening the honor up for even more of our applicants. 

The deadline for applying to the MFA program ,in order to qualify for the scholarship, is March 31st, 2020.

The awardee, will be announced May 1st, at SeriesFest held in Denver in April. There I will have my own honor, that of granting the scholarship to the student who will be a featured guest at the event. — Rosanne


Jan marino

Jan Marino Scholarship
A Scholarship To The Stephens College M.F.A. In Television And Screenwriting For Women Over 45

SeriesFest is honored to partner with the Stephens College MFA. in TV and Screenwriting for the third year on the Jan Marino Scholarship, designed to support women over 45 who are students in the Stephens College MFA in Television and Screenwriting program. 

Named to honor author Jan Marino, the mother of M.F.A. student Betsy Marino Leighton, the scholarship nurtures the power of strong, independent female storytelling in television and film. 

Stephens College MFA. in TV and Screenwriting


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Event: Between the Sheets: Writing About Sex on Television – Writers Guild Foundation – Friday, January 12, 2019

I’m so excited to announce the next panel I’ll be moderating at the WGA has been announced. Even more exciting — alum Sahar Jahani will be on the panel!  It will be my first chance to announce one of our students as a working writer. Join us as we discuss the delicate ways in which we can write about sex on television. — Rosanne


Between the Sheets: Writing About Sex on Television – Writers Guild Foundation – Friday, January 12, 2019

We’re teaming up with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting to pull the covers back on a topic that still makes viewers blush: sex. On this special evening, our panel of TV writers and producers share how they approach writing about sex, from intimate scenes to revealing dialogue, and the nuances they consider when crafting stories about sex and sexuality.

Between the Sheets: Writing About Sex on Television - Writers Guild Foundation - Friday, January 12, 2019

Friday, January 10, 2020
7:30 PM  9:00 PM

Writers Guild of America West/Writers Guild Foundation
7000 W. 3rd St., 2nd floor
Los Angeles, CA 90048
United States

GET TICKETS

Event: Between the Sheets: Writing About Sex on Television - Writers Guild Foundation - Friday, January 12, 2019

Panelists:

  • Michelle Ashford – Masters of Sex, The Pacific
  • Cindy Chupack – I’m Dying Up Here, Divorce, Sex and the City 
  • Sahar Jahani – 13 Reasons Why, Ramy
  • Stay tuned for more panelist announcements!

Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Doors open at 7:00pm. 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.

Proceeds benefit the Foundation’s library, archive and other outreach programs.

Got a question about events? E-mail us at events@wgfoundation.org.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood Archives 04: Facts and Fancies about a Woman You Know or Ought to Know. Motography, Vol. VIII, No. 8, October 12, 1912, 293-294

Months of research went into the creation of the essays in “When Women Wrote Hollywood.” Here are some of the resources used to enlighten today’s film lovers to the female pioneers who helped create it.


Facts and Fancies about a Woman You Know or Ought to Know. Motography, Vol. VIII, No. 8, October 12, 1912, 293-294

From The

From The

Download this magazine from the Internet Archive

IT has been your privilege to know something of the ups and downs of the film business, you who read the ever recurring numbers of this particular brand of yellow-backed journal, and you will be surprised to know that with it is identified a real, for sure woman. This woman, because she has dared to follow her own pleasure into the mysterious realm of motography. becomes at once more interesting than her sisters who merely contribute toward the making. Madam Alice Blache. president and general manager, director and producer, makes films. Get that; she makes ’em. There isn’t any part of the game she doesn’t know. Sbe started early, but she lays claim of being “the oldest man in the business!”

Read more


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28 D.C. Fontana from The Sisterhood of Science Fiction – Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (1 minute 9 seconds)

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The Sisterhood of Science Fiction: A Walk Through Some Writers and Characters You (Should) Know And Love

28 D.C. Fontana from The Sisterhood of Science Fiction - Dr. Rosanne Welch

 

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This one allowed me to riff on some of my favorite female science fiction writers across time, whether they be novelists or television writers. It also opened up a good conversation on what art we support and include in our lives – and what that art says to us and about us. — Rosanne

Transcript:

I like novels but I also like TV a lot. I’m a pretty big pop-culture person. So I wanted to look a little bit into the women who’ve written science fiction on television. We don’t hear a lot about them. We know this show. Everyone’s heard of it even if you’ve never seen it. Everyone credits it to Gene Roddenberry, who is the man who invented it. He’s quite a brilliant man. That’s wonderful but along the way he hired this lady DC Fontana who went by the name DC because she didn’t think they’d hire a girl named Dorothy to write a science fiction television show. So she got the job as DC Fontana and did it – she’s worked in every iteration of Star Trek including the games, including the animated series on Saturday. She’s been involved in Star Trek forever and was involved in the very beginning — Wrote several episodes in the first original series. Wrote a few early novels that were out. So she was deeply embedded in that show and embedded in creating powerful female characters and also on creating the alien — the Vulcan guy, Spock, giving him a background. She created much of the background of his culture because culture was important to her. So she’s pretty cool and of course they loved her so much they made — they put her in the animated show. They made an animated version of her.



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Screenwriting Research Network Conference 2020 – Oxford, UK – September 9-12, 2020

Screenwriting Research Network Conference 2020 - Oxford, UK - September 9-12, 2020

Of all the conferences I attend, the Screenwriting Research Network conference has been the most valuable in both information I attain from the many panels – there are always too many to see and too little time to see them. (SMILE) But also from the connections I have made which have brought international guest speakers to my MFA program and new colleagues for me to collaborate with on articles, special issues of our journal – and books!  And I have been able to help publish several of the alums of my program as the Book Reviews Editor of our Journal of Screenwriting.

Yes, the conferences are typically held overseas, so travel can be costly, but they have also given my family the excuse to see Dunedin, New Zealand, Porto, Portugal, Milan, Italy and Leeds, England so the money has been well spent.

Most importantly, if you can’t make Oxford 2020 – I hope you mark your calendars for Missouri 2022 (on the beautiful campus of Stephens College).


From the Screenwriting Research Network

The 13th annual International Conference of the Screenwriting Research Network (SRN 2020) will be hosted by Oxford Brookes University in the UK, on Wednesday 9 through Saturday 12 September.

The Conference is organized by the Film Studies Research Unit with the support of the School of Arts of Oxford Brookes University through Quality-Related (QR) research funding. The main location of the Conference will be at Headington Campus. Oxford is well known for its history, culture and academic tradition.

In order to ensure timely notification of shortlisted delegates and subsequent travel planning, please note the deadline for the submission of all proposals/abstracts by 15 December 2019.
We will keep updating the website with useful information about the conference in the forthcoming months, so keep coming back!
 
Essential information
Calendar (summary of deadlines)

Submissions of abstracts by:                          15 December 2019

Shortlisting/notification of acceptance by:    End of January 2020

Early-bird registration:                                   From early March until 31 May 2020

Regular registration by:                                  15 July 2020

Late registration by:                                        25 August 2020

Conference:                                                     9-12 September 2020

Submissions via email and contact: info@srn2020.com

Keynotes speakers and special guests to be announced in early 2020

My Quora Answer: What is the best theory of story structure for screenwriting, and why?

What is the best theory of story structure for screenwriting, and why?

For the last several years I have taught using the 11 Steps of Dr. Jule Selbo’s “Screenplay: Building Story Through Character”. I find many of the other lists of Steps to be far too finicky while Selbo’s are streamlined to the most important moments to hit to illustrate character growth. Being both an academic AND a practitioner (having written scripts for everyone from Disney to Lucasfilm) she knows what she’s talking about and in her book she provides a huge section that shows how the 11 Steps appear in many classic and current films.

It is easy to use Selbo’s 11 Steps practically off the cuff in any classroom discussion on any movie by asking the questions and the moments are so ingrained in our minds that the answers come easily to questions like the master question “What does the lead character Want?” and even to trickier questions like “When do they receive their second chance at their want?”

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From The Journal Of Screenwriting V10 Issue 1: An insider perspective on the script in practice by Vincenzo Giarrusso

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


An insider perspective on the script in practice by Vincenzo Giarrusso

The machinations of industry, the exigencies of film funding and the producer’s prominent role in setting fiscal and marketing objectives for film production seem incongruous with scriptwriting as a generative creative practice in the filmmaking process. This article presents a case study that investigates the agency of creative practice from the insider perspective of a scriptwriter. In mobilizing the concept of the boundary object, the case links the problematic and transitional status of the script – as it passes out of the hands of the writer – to other roles under the control of filmmaking practitioners. In combining a practice-based reflexive narrative with theoretical observations, the article explores the processes and imperatives that mediate the script and scriptwriting as an embodied experience for the scriptwriter.

Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

Get your copy and subscription to the Journal of Screenwriting Today!


Screenwriting Research Network Conference 2020

Join me at the Screenwriting Research Network’s Annual Conference in Oxford, UK



* 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!