From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood Archives 28: Narrative ‘Confidence Games’: Framing the Blonde Spectacle in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) and Nights at the Circus (1984)

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.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood Archives 28: Narrative ‘Confidence Games’: Framing the Blonde Spectacle in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) and Nights at the Circus (1984)

From The

From The

“So tomorrow we will be in England bright and early. And I really feel quite thrilled because Mr. Eisman sent one a cable this morning, as he does every morning, and he says to take advantage of everybody we meet as traveling is the highest form of education.” Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

What makes Lorelei Lee from Anita Loos’s novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Gm) on appealing is her ability to manipulate her own image and effectively become miswess of her own grand confidence game. Throughout the novel, it is clear that Lorelei is aware of herself as an image, and she constantly adjusts this image whew “take advantage. of the situation aromd her. In effect, she is smaner than she looks, and she uses this to her rhetorkal (and financial) ad-vantage. Recently. Christina Britzolakis has questioned the viability of reading the”ferninine spectacle” as a particularly feminist undertaking? Although Brit-zolakis is right to point to the patriarchal underpinnings that inform the male gaze,’ argue that the rhetorical construction of the wise-cracIdng, self-reflexive blonde often enacts a critique on the system of commodification and ob-jectification that she appears to uphold, thus meriting more critical and schol-arly attention.’ More specifically, tlotestigste the parallel rhetorical strategies in Anita Loos’s novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Angela Carter’s Nights at Me Circus to reveal the self-reflexive and ultimately subversive nature oft de-liberately constructed blonde spectacle.’ In contrast, the main character in Dorothy Parker’s then story “Big Blonde.. Hazel Motes. is not in control of her own narrative and thus her “performance” as a blonde has disastrous re-sultn a brief analysis of Parker’s use of the blonde spectacle will provide a use-fid contrast to Loos’s Lorelei Lee and Carter’s main character, Sophie Fevvers. Loos and Carter draw our Mention to the image ofblonde beauty as a valuable

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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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Watch Now: Creative Career Kickstart: Catching and Pitching Panel – ASU Film Spark Program [Video] (1 hour 15 minutes)

Asu film spark logoFor a few years running my colleague Warren Lewis has asked me to be a panelist for the semi-annual Film Spark event for ASU  (Arizona State University) discussing pitching on a panel and then listening and giving notes to students during an afternoon pitchathon. 

This year, due to our sheltering at home during the virus the event used Zoom so for the first time they recorded the hour long panel – and here it is. 

We were each asked to give advice based on the stories of our best and worst pitches, which provided a few good laughs and hopefully a lot of good advice.

Creative Career Kickstart: Catching and Pitching Panel - ASU Film Spark Program [Video] (1 hour 15 minutes)

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 27: Feminism and the Female Author: The Not So Silent Career of the Woman Scenarist in Hollywood—1896–1930 by Donna R. Casella

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.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 27: Feminism and the Female Author: The Not So Silent Career of the Woman Scenarist in Hollywood—1896–1930 by Donna R. Casella

From The

In Of With Their Heads! A Serio-Comic Tale of Hollywood, scenarist Frances Marion speaks of her attempts to secures writing job in Hollywood ma reputable salary, particularly of her encounter with Fox who couldn’t understand why she would want to write. “Listen, cuteness, don’t try to be a foolish somebody. Nobody cares nothing about female writer,” She kept pestering him until he offered her a job as a staff writer for $80 a week. She then went across town to William A. Brady’s office at World Film Company and pushed her way in at $200 a week stating in her autobiography, “it’s about time the writers got on the gravy train.. It was the teens, the early days of scenario writing in Hollywood. Anita Loos was a staff writer at Biograph where she was paid by the story, eventually earning $200 a piece. Gene Gunder was acting and writing scenarios for Kalem, then her own company, Gene Gauntier Feature Film Company, and eventually Universal. Jeanie Macpherson was beginning along and prolific partnership with director Cecil B. DeMille. Grace Cunard was taming out and acting in action-packed serials at Universal. Arid by the end of the decade, June Mathis, a regular scenarist at Metro, was chief of their script department. Women did not struggle to be a part of the growing industry of scenario writing in its early days, for women dominated the industry, and women like Marion, Loos, Mathis and Macpherson were among the most successful scenarists finale on female) in film history.’


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Learn More About the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting with this Open House Session [Video]

Thanks to the wonderful women of the Stephens College advancement office who arranged a Virtual Open House for our MFA.

This gave us the chance to meet potential students (and a few who had already been accepted) and answer questions about how the program operates.

It’s always fun to engage with people and share our enthusiasm about the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and nowadays part of the fun of Zooming is checking out other folks’ backgrounds whether they are virtual (are they using the TARDIS of the Golden Gate Bridge) or their real office bookshelves. (Hey – I have that same book on my bookshelf!).

If you have any questions that weren’t answered during this Open House, send them directly to me at rwelch@stephens.edu and I’ll be glad to answer them.

Learn More About the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting with this Open House Session [Video]

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From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 26: Adela St. Johns, . The Honeycomb. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969.

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.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 26: Adela St. Johns, . The Honeycomb. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969.

“At eighteen I must have been regarded as a woman, writes the author in this colorful memoir, for I was one of the first women reporters, maybe as an all-around police beat, sports, sin and society reporter the first in the world.” “Although she chose what was considered a man’s career, she never forgot that she was a woman, and in her recollections, she also finds time to discuss her youghful flirtations, her bittersweet marriage to Ike St. Johns, a profound love affair, her difficulties with being simultaneously a wife, mother and coreer woman, as well as more serious personal problems. The result is a blockbuster of a story which catches the reader up in its drama and excitement and involves him in a personal confrontation with the events.” — Amazon


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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* 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

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 25 : Garson Kanin, a Writer and Director of Classic Movies and Plays, Is Dead at 86

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.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 25 : Garson Kanin, a Writer and Director of Classic Movies and Plays, Is Dead at 86

From The

Garson Kanin, who broke into show business as a saxophone-playing high school dropout and went on to write ”Born Yesterday,” direct ”The Diary of Anne Frank” and become the co-writer of two classic Tracy-Hepburn movies, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.

He died after a lengthy illness, according to a spokeswoman for the family. His wife, the actress Marian Seldes, whom he married in 1990, was with him.

In a life filled with work — ”I become physically ill if I don’t work for three days,” he once said — Mr. Kanin wrote or directed 32 plays, acted in 8, worked on 29 films and wrote more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, as well as hundreds of short stories and articles that were translated into numerous languages.

Read From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 25 : Garson Kanin, a Writer and Director of Classic Movies and Plays, Is Dead at 86


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
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From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 24 : Obituary: Jan Zilliacus. Independent. Pub. Monday, May 31, 1999, Kevin Brownlow

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.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 24 : Obituary: Jan Zilliacus. Independent. Pub. Monday, May 31, 1999, Kevin Brownlow

From The

JAN ZILLIACUS was the daughter of the pioneer American film director Laurence Trimble, owner of Jean, the Vitagraph dog, who won international fame long before Rin-Tin-Tin.

“Father wanted six boys and all he got was this miserable girl,” she said. “So he treated me like a boy. He gave me no quarter at all. I was breaking horses at the age of 10 and 11. I was very strong. I didn’t go to school properly – I had tutors from time to time. But somebody had to be chased by wolves, and the actresses didn’t like the idea.”

Read Obituary: Jan Zilliacus. Independent. Pub. Monday, May 31, 1999


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
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Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting [Video]

What is the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting? Here is a short introduction.

Stephens College  MFA in TV and Screenwriting  Official AD

We’re pleased to present a new slideshow designed by graphic artist Phoenix Bussey, a Stephens College undergrad, using photos taken by MFA candidates during the last few years of workshops. We think it tells our story well. Write. Reach. Represent.

Visit the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting web site to apply today!

Listen to the latest “How I Wrote That” Podcast with Screenwriter Dawn Comer Jefferson from Our Friend Martin, and South of Nowhere

Listen to the latest How I Wrote That Podcast with Tera Hernandez of The Big Bang Theory [Audio]

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Dawn Comer Jefferson is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning writer. On television, Comer Jefferson wrote on the CBS family drama Judging Amy, served as writer/consulting producer on MTV’s teen drama, South of Nowhere, freelanced on the CBS hit NCIS, and developed a drama pilot at NBC Universal Studios. She was nominated for an Emmy for writing the Fox-animated family film, Our Friend, Martin, and for the last nine years has written Emmy-winning arts programming for PBS, performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

As a non-fiction writer, Comer Jefferson has written about children, families and public policy issues for national print and online media including Garnet News, Working Mother, Fit Pregnancy Magazine and MomsRising, and her essays have been featured in the anthologies A Woman Alone (Seal Press) and Go Girl (Eighth Mountain Press). She adapted, produced and directed the eight-part NPR radio series adaptation of the biography Maggie’s American Dream, co-wrote the nonfiction book Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work, and Family, and the African American historical children’s fiction, The Promise. Visit her website. 

“My first piece of advice is to recognize that you are a writer and a storyteller.  A lot of people are hesitant to own that yet you really need to be in that mind space.  And then remember that your first draft is not your only draft. There are probably 15 or 16 more and you’re not really done until your done… and even then, you’re not done.“

-Dawn Comer Jefferson

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From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 23: Satire and Melodrama in a Newspaper Play Entitled “Clear All Wires”, New York Times

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.

From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Archives 23: Satire and Melodrama in a Newspaper Play Entitled “Clear All Wires”, New York Times

From The

With the perspiring assistance of Thomas Mitchell, who acts like a steam locomotive, the Spewacks have tossed another one of those melodramatic lampoons at the newspaper profession in “Clear All Wires,” put on at the Times Square last evening. It is brisk, noisy, extravagant and funny in “The Front Page” and “Broadway” tradition. 


Buy “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Today!

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* 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