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But we always knew that writers were important — if not the most important — because, if the directors were so important — when we had the Blacklist, 9 out of 10 of those people were writers. It wasn’t the director’s philosophy that we were afraid of showing the world. It was the writer’s philosophy. It was their ideas about poverty and what it was like in America and how we needed to fix it. That’s what scared the big guys and that’s why they all went to prison, right? They aren’t directors. They’re writers. Yeah, they all went to prison for about 10 months because they wouldn’t give names of fellow communists and it didn’t even matter that nobody cared. Half of them weren’t — some were communists and it’s legal for them to be a communist in the United States, but they were mostly all writers. So we know that writers are deeply important because it’s the stories that matter because those were the things that changed people, right? That’s what fascinates me.
A Note About This Presentation
A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.
To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.
Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.
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