Working with MFA Students via Instagram

Working with MFA Students via Instagram

Working with MFA Students

My Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting students are in town for the next 20 days and we are diving into our work.

This is a low-residency program where most of the work is done online but each cohort (1st year and 2nd year) comes to LA twice each year and meets for 10 days of intense workshops and research at the Jim Henson Studio (originally the Chaplin Studio) in the heart of Hollywood.

This week is the first workshop for our new class of 2020. 

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When Women Wrote Hollywood – 18 in a series – June Mathis

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 18 in a series – June Mathis

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 18 in a series - June Mathis

June Mathis (January 30, 1887 – July 26, 1927) was an American screenwriter. Mathis was the first female executive for Metro/MGM and at only 35, she was the highest paid executive in Hollywood.[1] In 1926 she was voted the third most influential woman in Hollywood, behind Mary Pickford and Norma Talmadge.[2] Mathis is best remembered for discovering Rudolph Valentino and writing such films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and Blood and Sand (1922).

Mathis was determined to become a screenwriter and, accompanied with her mother, she moved to New York City, where she studied writing and went to the movies in the evenings.[6] She entered a screenwriting competition; but despite not winning, her entry was so impressive it did bring job offers. Her first script, House of Tears, would be directed by Edwin Carewe in 1915 and led to a contract in 1918 with Metro studios, later to be merged into MGM. As one of the first screenwriters to include details such as stage directions and physical settings in her work, Mathis saw scenarios as a way to make movies into more of an art form. Much of the standard screenwriting styles can be attributed to her. Mathis later credited her success to a strong concentration on plot and theme: “No story that did not possess a theme has ever really lived…. Occasionally one may make money and perhaps be popular for a time. But in the end it dies.”[6]

By 1919 Mathis and her mother had moved to Hollywood. After only a year of screenwriting, she had advanced to the head of Metro’s scenario department.[7] She was one of the first heads of any film department and the only female executive at Metro.[8]

During her early years, she had a close association with silent star Alla Nazimova. Their films together can be said to be marked by over-sentimentality; what little praise these films received was due to Nazimova’s acting rather the conventional romantic stories.[6] Wikipedia 

Watch a movie by June Mathis

More about June Mathis


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

* 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

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 17 in a series – “It” (1927) Starring Clara Bow, Wr: Elinor Glyn , Hope Loring , and, Louis D. Lighton , George Marion Jr.

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 17 in a series – “It” (1927) Starring Clara Bow, Wr: Elinor Glyn , Hope Loring , and, Louis D. Lighton , George Marion Jr.

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 17 in a series -

“It” is a 1927 silent romantic comedy film that tells the story of a shop girl who sets her sights on the handsome, wealthy boss of the department store where she works. It is based on a novella by Elinor Glyn that was originally serialized in Cosmopolitan magazine.

This film turned actress Clara Bow into a major star, and led people to label her the It girl.

The film had its world premiere in Los Angeles on January 14, 1927, followed by a New York showing on February 5, 1927. “It” was released to the general public on February 19, 1927.

The picture was considered lost for many years, but a Nitrate-copy was found in Prague in the 1960s.[1] In 2001, “It” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Wikipedia 

Watch the Movie

More information on It

More about Elinor Glyn


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

* 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

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 16 in a series – Elinor Glyn

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 16 in a series – Elinor Glyn

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 15 in a series - Elinor Glyn

 

Elinor Glyn (née Sutherland; 17 October 1864 – 23 September 1943) was a British novelist and scriptwriter who specialised in romantic fiction that was considered scandalous for its time. She popularized the concept of It. Although her works are relatively tame by modern standards, she had tremendous influence on early 20th-century popular culture and perhaps on the careers of notable Hollywood stars such as Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson and Clara Bow in particular.

Glyn pioneered risqué, and sometimes erotic, romantic fiction aimed at a female readership, a radical idea for its time—though her writing is not scandalous by modern standards. She coined the use of the word it to mean a human characteristic that “…draws all others with magnetic force. With ‘IT’ you win all men if you are a woman–and all women if you are a man. ‘IT’ can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.” [13] Her use of the word is often erroneously[citation needed]taken to be a euphemism for sexuality or sex appeal. Wikipedia 

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 15 in a series - Elinor Glyn

Elinor Glyn (a/w/d/p/o), Beyond the Rocks (1922). PC

Photoplay3334movi 0319

More about Elinor Glyn


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

 

 

* 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

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 15 in a series – “The Ancient Mariner” (1925), Wr: Eve Unsell, Actor: Clara Bow, Dir: Henry Otto/Chester Bennett

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 15 in a series – “The Ancient ” (1925), Wr: Eve Unsell, Actor: Clara Bow, Dir: Henry Otto/Chester Bennett

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 15 in a series -

The Ancient Mariner is a 1925 American fantasy-drama silent film based on the popular poem, The Rime of the Ancient  by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798.[1] The film was directed by Henry Otto and Chester Bennett, and it was adapted for the screen by Eve Unsell. The film stars Clara Bow, Gladys Brockwell, Nigel De Brulier and was distributed by Fox Film Corporation. The film is presumed to be lost.[2][3]

The official plot synopsis, as provided by the Fox Film Corporation to the copyright registration office and then entered at the Library of Congress:[3][4]

Doris Matthews, a beautiful, innocent young girl, forsakes her sweetheart, Joel Barlowe, in favor of Victor Brant, a wealthy roué. On the night before they are to elope, an old sailor gives Brant a strange potion to drink and then unfolds before his eyes The Rime of the Ancient . Deeply touched by this story about the consequences of the wanton destruction of innocent beauty, Brant leaves without Doris. After some time, he returns and finds to his pained satisfaction that Doris, having overcome her infatuation for him, has again turned her tender attentions toward Joel.

— Fox Film Corporation Wikipedia 

More about The Ancient Mariner

More about Eve Unsell


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

 

* 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

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 14 in a series – Eve Unsell

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 14 in a series – Eve Unsell

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 14 in a series - Eve Unsell

Eve Unsell (December 6, 1879[1] – July 6, 1937) was an American screenwriter. She wrote for 96 films between 1914 and 1933.[2] She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and died in Hollywood, California. Eve was an American scenarist who was known to also use the pseudonym Oliver W. Geoffreys as well as E.M. Unsell. Eve was married to a man named Lester Blankfield, but the year is disputed. Records list their marriage year as 1911, but it does not match up with other documentation. Eve Unsell was a professional in her career as a scenarist, overcoming many challenges along the way. Eve wrote for over 96 films in her lifetime, and edited over ten. Some of her most famous screen writes turned into productions include Shadows (1922), The Ancient Mariner (1925), The Plastic Age (1925), and The Spirit of Youth (1929). Although she was most famous for her work in scenario writing she can also be given credit as an adapter, company director, editor, play reader, screenwriter, theatre actress, and writer. She helped in the writing of many novels as long as editing many different pieces from literature to theatrical writing. Wikipedia 

More about Eve Unsell


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

* 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

My Next WGA Foundation Panel Discussion: It’s a Funny Story: A Conversation with Women TV Comedy Writers, August 10, 2018

I am very excited to be moderating another panel at the Writers Guild Foundation on…

My Next WGA Foundation Panel Discussion: It's a Funny Story: A Conversation with Women TV Comedy Writers, August 10, 2018

“It’s a Funny Story: A Conversation with Women TV Comedy Writers” on Friday, August 10, 2018

with these fascinating female writer-creator-artists:

This is going to be FUN!  Hope you can join us!

Get Tickets

From the Writers Guild Foundation

“We could all use a good laugh. Fortunately, we can all unwind with an abundance of outstanding television comedy shows that are available at the click of a button. But comedy isn’t just for the jokes anymore: an increasing number of shows tackle universal problems and surprisingly navigate us through our challenging world. And as writers rooms continue investing in diverse talent, the voices you hear from your television take on fresh perspectives. 

Join The Writers Guild Foundation in partnership with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting for a discussion surrounding how women television comedy writers got their start, how they use their experiences to inform their work, and the challenges they face in the writers room.”

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 13 in a series – The Lying Truth & The Lost World, Wr: Marion Fairfax

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 13 in a series – The Lying Truth & The Lost World, Wr: Marion Fairfax

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 13 in a series - The Lying Truth & The Lost World, Wr: Marion Fairfax

Marion Fairfax (October 24, 1875 – October 2, 1970) was an American screenwriter and playwright. Born as Marion Neiswanger in Richmond, Virginia, After she graduated from Chicago’s South Division High School, she enrolled in Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She was married to actor Tully Marshallfor forty-three years. Fairfax worked as a company director, director, editor, editorial director, playwright, producer, screenwriter and theatre actress.

Fairfax first started her career as a stage actress, just like many other women did in that era. By 1901 she was appearing on Broadway and soon after that her own plays started appearing on Broadway. Before she went into pictures she was known for being one of the most distinguished stage authors in the United States, writing Broadway hits such as The Builders (1907), The Chaperon (1908), The Talker (1912), A Modern Girl (1914), In 1915 The Lasky Feature Play Company entered into a contract with Fairfax. This opportunity gave Fairfax the chance to work under William C. DeMille who is known as the author for many successful plays such as “The Warrens of Virginia” and “The Woman.” The success of Fairfax comes through wide knowledge of dramatic values, not only from an author’s perspective but also from that of the artist.[1] Wikipedia 

More about Marion Fairfax


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

* 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

Show Boat and the History of Screenwriting

Among the many films I have my History of Screenwriting students watch as we march through the chronological eras of that history from Silents to (what I call) Superhero Saturation, I include a couple of musicals to illustrate that genre. Among those musicals I include Show Boat for many reasons. 

First, because they ought to know about Edna Ferber, who wrote the novel on which the show is based, had an interesting history with Hollywood in that she did not approve of selling off her IP (intellectual property) completely – so she leased novels to Hollywood (including the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big, and the popular Giant (starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean and adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat). 

Second, because they ought to know Paul Robeson who starred in the 1936 film adaptation after having played “Joe” in the London production and became synonymous with the song “Ol’ Man River”.

Third, because it was one of the earliest musicals to take a social justice stance and even handle the subject of miscegenation.

Fourth, because it’s a classic. 

But, I recognize even being socially conscious for their times that there are moments in the portrayals of the African American characters that aren’t always comfortable for my students of color so I’m always on the lookout for ways to teach this.  That’s why I was happy to come across this 2013 book by Todd Decker Show Boat: Performing Race in an American Musical where he focuses on how the story is really the story of how a white girl singer becomes famous on the riverboat by using a ‘black’ voice, making the story more a study of cultural appropriation. I’ve only begun reading it out of order (movie section first, stage play section second) but have found what I’ve read fascinating. 

Check it out at your local library or find it here

Also of interest is the various changes to the original lyrics of “Ol’ Man River” made by artists over the years.

* 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

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 12 in a series – Marion Fairfax

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 12 in a series – Marion Fairfax

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 12 in a series - Marion Fairfax

Marion Fairfax (October 24, 1875 – October 2, 1970) was an American screenwriter and playwright. Born as Marion Neiswanger in Richmond, Virginia, After she graduated from Chicago’s South Division High School, she enrolled in Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She was married to actor Tully Marshallfor forty-three years. Fairfax worked as a company director, director, editor, editorial director, playwright, producer, screenwriter and theatre actress.

Fairfax first started her career as a stage actress, just like many other women did in that era. By 1901 she was appearing on Broadway and soon after that her own plays started appearing on Broadway. Before she went into pictures she was known for being one of the most distinguished stage authors in the United States, writing Broadway hits such as The Builders (1907), The Chaperon (1908), The Talker (1912), A Modern Girl (1914), In 1915 The Lasky Feature Play Company entered into a contract with Fairfax. This opportunity gave Fairfax the chance to work under William C. DeMille who is known as the author for many successful plays such as “The Warrens of Virginia” and “The Woman.” The success of Fairfax comes through wide knowledge of dramatic values, not only from an author’s perspective but also from that of the artist.[1] Wikipedia 

Lying truth

Lost world

More about Marion Fairfax


Buy a signed copy of when Women Write Hollywood

 

* 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