I thought I ought to share it with the whole community, so here it is… — Rosanne
As established members of the entertainment community, we are frequently asked to speak to aspiring filmmakers. And with the success of our book, The Hollywood Pitching Bible, the number of speaking invitations has greatly increased. We are now regularly invited to speak at numerous entertainment industry events, festivals, film schools and conferences.
No matter what the topic of the event, inevitably the dialogue with the audience veers onto our views about the industry in general and life in the biz. Overwhelmingly, there’s one question we get asked more than any other: “How do I get an agent?”
Often the question is asked with such intense interest that we sometimes wonder if the rest of our lecture has been “filler” for the audience who are just waiting to get to this topic. Because of the overwhelming concern with this question, we are presenting this in-depth, three-part article on the topic for the benefit of LA Screenwriter readers.
When Lois Weber disparaged happy endings in favor of more complicated plots, she was not simply rejecting filmmaking formulas; she was calling for a wholesale rethinking of tropes surrounding heterosexual romance… When she advocated nuanced character development over action… she was demanding that we rethink roles typically assigned to men and women on screen.
Here’s a great Forbes article by Shelley Zalis that our Dean recently shared about the power of women supporting women in their professional worlds.
It illustrates ideas already in place within the alumni and current students in our Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting from “Finding your Squad” to “Amplifying other Women” to “Taking the ‘work’ our of ‘Networking’”. — Rosanne
I always say a woman alone has power; collectively we have impact. Traditionally we have been taught to be competitive with one another, because there was such a scarcity of jobs at the top. It’s so clear that strategy doesn’t work. The truth is that raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration is truly how we’ll change the equation—and have a lot more fun along the way.
There is a boys’ club where women never felt comfortable, so we decided to create a Girls’ Lounge more than six years ago where everyone feels like they belong. We discovered two things:
There is power in the pack. You realize your strengths make the table better.
On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 several of the contributors to When Women Wrote Hollywood gathered at the Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, Missouri for a signing and launch party that functioned like a mini-reunion of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Class of 2017.
Many thanks to all who came to hear them each speak with passion about the research subjects who became whole chapters in this book of essays on female screenwriters from the Silent Era into the 1940s.
It was a double-header for the 2nd year MFA candidates when they were visited by two writers from The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon on consecutive nights this week. On the first night, Eric Kaplan (also a former David Letterman staff writer) came at the invitation of student CJ Ehrlich.
As any writer does, we invited a technical consultant – Dr. Marissa Stevens – to give the teams some historical background in the culture of ancient Egypt before they broke into groups to brainstorm their new ideas.
Cindy Chupack has won two Emmys and three Golden Globes as TV writer/producer whose credits include “Sex and the City,” “Better Things,” “Divorce,” “Modern Family,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and most recently Showtime’s darkly comic hour “I’m Dying Up Here.” She is the author of two comic memoirs: the New York Times bestseller The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays, and The Longest Date: Life as a Wife. Last year she directed her first episode of television for “I’m Dying Up Here,” and her first feature, OTHERHOOD, starring Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman. OTHERHOOD is a comedy Chupack co-wrote that premiered this week in select theaters and on Netflix.
It feels very paint by numbers so it seems so easy – but it’s not. As soon as I get good and comfortable I want to take a risk. To challenge myself.
I thank them for being so honest and real about describing the way they balance the lives they love and the work they love. It’s never easy for any of us and sometimes that’s the best lesson of all. Though each of the writers talked about how the skills of being a mother are so perfectly attuned to the nurturing and multitasking required of showrunners in television.
We also learned about offices that have nurseries provided for their writing staff and the fact that, as with all things in life, moms have to make tough decisions between being on set when your pilot is filming or catching your 2nd grader’s talent show… But we also all admitted that it’s a privilege to make the stories that are watched by other people’s children – and to share stories with your own children all their lives. — Rosanne
Talking TV writing and motherhood with writers/producers and working moms Julia Brownell (THIS IS US), @jamiedenbo (AMERICAN PRINCESS), Valentina Garza @totalvaligirl (JANE THE VIRGIN), and moderator @RosanneWelch.
Thanks to producer/writer Rob Lazebnik for showing our students around and explaining what makes a good Simpsons script – a story that involves the whole family, which is hard to come by after being on the air so many wonderful years…