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

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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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38 Elaine May from “When Women Wrote Hollywood” with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (53 seconds)

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

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38 Elaine May from

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Elaine May is another name that’s fallen out of history and shouldn’t. Now we’re in the 70s. Elaine I think is a brilliant writer. Heaven Can Wait wouldn’t be what it was. Warren Beatty got tons of focus for that but she wrote it. She came out of doing nightclub things with Mike Nichols. They were Nichols in May and they wrote all their routines. It was like a traveling SNL sketch. You probably still know who Mike Nichols is, but Elaine May has fallen out of history because at a certain point she started directing. Which is cool, but she directed a movie called Ishtar which lost a ton of money and she was never given a directing job again. I can name you many a man who has directed a film that lost a ton of money and somehow they still got a second and a third and a fourth job. Elaine Mae was never given the right to direct a film again. Her writing is brilliant and as you know she still continued writing she did Primary Colors.

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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