Thanks to the gracious invitation from my Screenwriting Research Network colleague Paolo Russo – and a grant he was able to procure (and in the before-Covid time) I was able to spend a week at Oxford Brookes University working with the screenwriting masters students in Paolo’s course. At the culmination of the week, I gave this lecture on how writers rooms worked in the States.
What happens with writers rooms because this is the place where work gets done. Where stories get told, created, honed, in a particular way. The very beginning, this is what everybody thought. This is a writer’s room because comedies did use them. Comedians, we’re used to having three or four guys — generally, always guys — who travel with them and help them make funnier jokes. In America that was best seen in the Dick Van Dyke Show which you can see on youtube in a million different ways and Sally Rogers was the only woman anybody ever saw who wrote television which was kind of shocking but many women who came later defined her as a role model because that told them they could get in a room someday right? If they found the right kind of guys who would let them in.
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