Host: You’ve mentioned being a professor of aspiring screenwriters. You know as they look to their future careers. What opportunities do you see or challenges that they, and maybe particularly your women students, will face but probably also your men students? What looks like it may be changing? What challenges are they facing what you know how are our Technologies changing that may affect this? What do you see looking forward?
Rosanne: So many things. I think what’s a good thing to look forward to is the studios are now recognizing thanks to “Wonder Woman” and “Black Panther” there are audiences for stories that are not from the main quote-unquote norm. So now they’re hungry for those because they want that money and it’s always about money. We always know that. It is a business about money. The art is secondary which is a bummer but people are beginning to look for them but they’re still hesitant. They’re still a little worried. So you’ve got to really be confident and you’ve got to be really well-researched on whatever the story is that you want to tell, also demographically. You really have to think about who is this audience. You want some proof about where they are and all that stuff and a lot of writers are learning to you have to do you know it’s show business. You have to do half business, half show and you know we like to avoid the business but if you want to get someone to do a new kind of story you have to do that.
The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting is building a relationship with the Autry Museum of the American West since both organizations are devoted to bringing out more diverse and untold stories. Last year we were able to take our cohort of graduating MFA candidates to the museum’s theatre for a showing of Michael Wilson’s Salt of the Earth and we had plans to present a film of our choice this year – but of course the pandemic changed all that. Instead, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis asked me if I would sit for an interview about female screenwriters in the western genre and so “When Women Wrote Westerns” came to be a part of their “What Is a Western? Interview Series”.
I had a great time discussing so many wonderful women writers – from Jeanne MacPherson to D.C. Fontana to Edna Ferber to Emily Andras. If you love westerns I suggest you watch Josh’s other interviews covering everything from the work of Native Americans in Western movies to films in the western-horror hybrid. —
What this entire presentation
As part of a series exploring the significance of the Western genre and the ways in which the movies shape our understanding of the American West, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Professor Rosanne Welch about the women screenwriters of Hollywood and their contributions to the Western genre.