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.
So, for instance, we were doing a story once about a young little girl. She was nine years old and she happened to be a young girl of color. She was lost at a park or something like that and you know the first thing that came to us — what do we do next in the story — well she’s gonna go find a policeman and the two African-American women in her room went “Oh no she’s not. My parents told me never to go to a policeman” and we were like but I was always told to find a policeman if I got lost somewhere. Yeah because you’re not a woman of color. So you can be safe with them. That was a whole new perspective, right? A perspective that I would not have had had I not had that other voice in the room.
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