Host: What are the examples of the heroine’s journey? What are some of those the stories that are in the heroine’s journey format template? I’m curious.
Rosanne: Oh I would obviously “The Wizard of Oz” like I said. In a TV world, we claim that for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” right? Very much so about that. The joke becomes you could say “Scooby-Doo” does that. It’s anything that involves a team coming together and so in a fun way that can also be sometimes a male-focused team. If you think about war movies they’re all about a team of people coming together for the betterment of each other. Even though they’re like the most dude movies and you could say the same thing about westerns. If it’s a group of people an Oregon Trail kind of thing or group of men in a town or the sheriff and a couple of his buddies. The heroine in terms of pulling away from being female and then pulling back into it, that tends to happen more often in sort of romantic comedy or something like “The Intern” where she’s trying to figure out how to be a leader of these other men and then she has to realize it’s about the nurturing that I do. That is better than me being more loud and annoying and stuff but I can make a list for you that I can have.
Host: Okay great. Well, I’ll claim “The Wizard of Oz” and “Buffy” as westerns. I think Sunnyvale – Sunnyvale? Is that – I think that’s in California we can call it
Rosanne: it is. That’s true. It is about making the town safe for the new inhabitants.
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.