01 Introduction from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

01 Introduciton from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript: That was marvelous and I’m so excited about this panel because we’re all talking a little bit about everything which is really nice. Yes, love men. Don’t want to pick on men. Married to a man. Have a son but there you go. We’re going to talk about how men forget women in the archives. First, I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking from the traditional lands of the Tongva people and I want to respect their elders and their people that came before us. This was the ground of Los Angeles all the way out to the Catalina islands and I think it’s something worth people studying. Very briefly about me. I was a television writer for 20 years. So I wrote on 90210 and Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. Currently, I’m kind of using words from my book When Women Wrote Hollywood which is about the early silent screenwriters – female screenwriters – and how they have been forgotten. I also am the book review editor for the Journal of Screenwriting. So if you ever want to write a review or have a book that needs reviewing, let me know because I’d love to do that and I’m on the editorial board for Written By magazine which I always suggest people read. It is free digitally online about every six weeks the Writer’s Guild comes out with it and there are some wonderful interviews with movie star – movie writers and tv writers. So that’s kind of the world I’m in. I am the executive director of the Stephens College TV and Screenwriting MFA and our mantra is Write, Reach and Represent because I think that’s what writing is all about. The school is actually in Missouri but it’s a low residency program so people come to LA and we work at the Jim Henson Studios. So talk about Mabel Normand who worked at Charlie Chaplin studios with him. This was originally Charlie Chaplin Studios before A&M Records and Jim Henson. So it’s a beautiful piece of Hollywood memorabilia.

Our intrepid panel leader, Christina Lane (author of Phantom Lady – the new biography of writer-producer Joan Harrison) kept us connected across the time.  Other panel participants included Philana Payton (UCLA) who is researching the memoirs of Eartha Kitt and Vicki Callahan (USC) who covered the career of Mabel Normand.  I was happy to highlight the many female screenwriters whose histories were left on the cutting room floor thanks to the unreliable narrators of their work who included directors, film reviewers, and husbands – all who left the female writers out of their own memories.

Watch this entire presentation

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