21 Truffaut and The Auteur Theory from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (56 seconds)

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21 Truffaut and The Auteur Theory from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered

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Transcript:

So how did this happen in a town called Hollywood where we thought we were all about filmmaking and caring about writers and all of that. Few directors are as fair as JOhn Carpenter, who basically said “It is a collaborative effort. All I take credit for is the directing.” That’s the kind of guy we need more of, right? We don’t have enough of that. The problem was, I blame France, not to insult anyone who might be here from France, but it was, in fact, Francois Truffaut, early in his career as a film reviewer her came up with what we call “The Auteur Theory,” which told us that directors were the “auteur”, the author, the writer of the film and that was the end of that. From that point on that’s how people referenced films and this is a deep problem. He was writing for this — Cahiers du Cinema — and this is where the auteur theory was born. To me the biggest mistake ever made.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Rosanne Hosting Screenwriting Discussion at The Athena TV Lab

Athena film festival logo

Rosanne Hosting Screenwriting Discussion at The Athena TV Lab Via Zoom

Rosanne Hosting Screenwriting Discussion at The Athena TV Lab Via Zoom

Many thanks to the many great MFA mentors who are doing double duty as mentors to this year’s Athena TV Lab. You can find them on the last two lines of this (now familiar) Zoom grid (starting on the 3rd tier/4th spot): Dawn Comer Jefferson, Jon Vandergriff, Rashaan Dozier-Escalante (also alumna of the MFA Class of 2018), Amy Straus, and Laura Brennan. And there are 2 MFA alums here, too (Sydney Haven and Pam Winfrey).

The Athena Film Festival Virtual Writers Lab

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab is for emerging women writers who have not had a feature-length narrative script produced within the past 10 years. Writers must submit a screenplay that includes a woman or women characters in a leadership role or position at the center of the story. Scripts must be feature-length narratives (between 80 and 120 pages).

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab provides women identified storytellers with training, skills, and a robust supportive network. Participants will have several one-on-one mentoring sessions with experienced screenwriters as well as peer-to-peer and group sessions.

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab will also include industry events where participants will learn about how to navigate the industry as well as a keynote conversation from an established filmmaker. Past panels have included: The Fluidity of Writing, How Does Representation Work, and The Art of Pitching and past keynotes have come from Gina Prince-Bythewood and Kat Candler.

20 Ruth Gordon & Garson Kanin from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video ] (53 seconds)

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20 Ruth Gordon & Garson Kanin from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video ] (53 seconds)

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Transcript:

So the problem here is we’re missing the writers. This movie, also famous in the United States is called George Cukor’s movie because George Cukor directed it. However, it was written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, another married couple who wrote films together. Ruth Gordon is more famous as an actress. She was in Rosemary’s Baby. She got an Oscar for that. She did several films in her early career. She did Harold and Maude which is also a cult classic. They wrote this film specifically and they cast it as we had a casting director speak this morning. They purposely said we’re only going to sell you the movie if you put Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in it. So they’re doing the work of the director but it’s George Cukor’s film. Makes them crazy. They also wrote several films together and as I said Ruth won an oscar for being in Rosemary’s Baby. That’s her very young. She was a Broadway actress and then, of course, she worked all the way until her death.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

19 Nunnally Johnson and John Ford from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (51 seconds)

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19 Nunnally Johnson and John Ford from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (51 seconds)

 

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Transcript:

And journalists, who are writers, have made this mistake. They had dismissed writers in talking about Hollywood. I find it terrible. One time, John Ford pointed out that a particular shot that he was going to use in a script was written into the script. The screenwriter envisioned how the camera should move and John Ford said to Nunnally Johnson “I don’t know if the critics will recognize you or me for doing this work.” and Nunnally Johnson responded, “I don’t who’s going to get the credit, but Iknow I did it” and even John Ford said, ‘I know. I recognize it”, but that doesn’t mean that when John Ford was interviewed later in life he remembered to mention Nunnally Johnson. No, no, no. It was John Ford, right?

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

18 Nunnally Johnson and The Grapes Of Wrath from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (1 minute 11 seconds)

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17 Nunnally Johnson and The Grapes Of Wrath from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered

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Transcript:

In this case — this gentleman Nunnally Johnson –I think got it even worse. He adapted this famous United States book, The Grapes of Wrath, into a film. You notice on the bottom it was directed by John Ford. We don’t see where — Nunnally Johnson’s name is right above it. Can you see the itty-bitty teeny-tiny print? John Steinbeck, the author of the book, actually said he thought the script was better than his book. He thought that the writing of the script improved this novel that is quite famous and taught in many American classrooms. When the woman who starred in the film — who married Nunnally Johnson — died just a few years ago, the obituary — her very own obituary — read that she was famous for John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath and she left acting when she married the film’s screenwriter. It’s his wife’s obituary and it doesn’t list his name because he’s just a screenwriter. He can’t possibly count as much as John Ford does. She wasn’t married to John Ford.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

17 Albert Hackett & Frances Goodrich from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (1 minute)

Watch this entire presentation

17 Albert Hackett & Frances Goodrich from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered

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Transcript:

In this case, Frank Capra took a lot of credit for this film, It’s A Wonderful Life. It plays in the United States often, It’s a Christmas film. You can see Frank Capra’s name in big red letters on the bottom over there. It was actually written by this couple — a married couple who wrote for over 50 years together — Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich. I think they’re quite wonderful because they also wrote the Broadway play and the film production of The Diary of Anne Frank. They won a Pulitzer Prize for that work. Frank Capra has never won a Pulitzer Prize. I believe these are Hackett/Goodrich Films. They are not Frank Capra films. So the unbalance of the credits — the lack of credit — for such incredible work — such incredible craftsmanship, I think is quite sad. They also wrote The Thin Man movies which were adaptations of a book by Dashiell Hammett. There was a book written by this couple by their nephew called The Real Nick and Nora. So they had quite the career.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

16 Robert Riskin from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (1 minute)

Watch this entire presentation

16 Robert Riskin rom Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered

Subscribe to Rosanne’s Channel and receive notice of each new video!

 

Transcript:

This is an anecdotal piece of history. Robert Riskin is a famous American screenwriter. He won an Oscar for It Happened One Night, which is the first movie to win all Oscars in all five of the major categories and there is a story in town — he often worked with the director named Frank Capra, also a gentleman of Italian heritage who I’m not very fond of these days — because in my research I’ve discovered that often he took credit from writers because he wanted it to be a Capra Production. He wanted to be the auteur of all things. So this story, which as I said is anecdotal, is that at one point Robert Riskin was tired of hearing that the Capra Touch made movies beautiful. So one day when he had a deadline on a script, he handed in 200 blank pages of paper and he said “Go ahead. Put your touch on that!” because you cannot direct if there is no material to direct. Alright. So we don’t know if that really happened but it’s a reminder that we have to think about the work of writers.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Rosanne is part of a virtual Bucharest Symposium in Screenwriting and Literature

I spent a lovely and engaging morning in the company of several international screenwriting academics discussing teaching online thanks to being invited to this virtual Bucharest Symposium in Screenwriting and Literature by Tudor Voican, PhD, WallachiaIFF Jury President.

Rosanne is part of a virtual Bucharest Symposium in Screenwriting and Literature

Bucharest

The invitation arrived in my email inbox and almost looked like a fake – until I saw the names of the other participants and knew them to be pretty stellar in their fields. So I said yes.  We’ll meet online each Sunday for 3 Sundays to make 20 minute presentations to each other and share our knowledge.  

Though I would have loved to actually fly to what Tudor calls “the legendary land of Principe Vlad III Drăculea aka Vlad the Impaler, Voivode of Wallachia” but for now I am outside on the patio using our built-in Zoom background.

15 More On Charlie Brackett from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (57 seconds)

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15 More On Charlie Brackett from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered

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Transcript:

This is the two men. Also now Charlie Brackett working with Billy Wilder. Also a man who’s more famous because he became a director as well. Together they wrote Sunset Boulevard. If you look at this poster, you can see Billy Wilder’s name on the bottom in the middle — very big letters. You can’t see Charles Brackett’s name. He’s not part of that poster, even though he co-wrote this very important film and then also in his diary he had this funny line about how he noticed when his own daughter eloped, he thought the trade papers would say that Billy Wilder was upset because his collaborator’s daughter had disappeared. He already knew that they weren’t going to remember his name. Which is terrible because he had an Oscar for writing the very first version of Titanic. Not the James Cameron one that most people know of today, but the very first. So the man was an Oscar-winning screenplay writer and yet does not appear in too many histories because the directors he co-wrote with overtook that fame.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Text of Rosanne’s Keynote at 10th Screenwriter Stories Seminar: Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil.

I’m happy to post this ebook of papers presented at the10th Screenwriter Stories Seminar: Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil

Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil.

I gave the opening lecture entitled, “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered” which appears here in English, though the rest of the papers (naturally) are in Portuguese.  It was an honor to be asked to do the lecture and privilege to spend time with Professor Glaucia Davino and her students who made me feel very welcome in their city.

Words matter. Writers matter and women writers matter in this world. It is important to consider writers because the word writer comes before the word director when you describe a filmmaker who can do two things. They are writer-directors, they are not director-writers. That tells us something. The vision of a movie cannot exist without the screenplay. A director cannot direct nothing. There must be an idea. There must be a philosophy. There must be a theme. There must be a story. This proves that the writer is of equal importance. We must remember writers have to be equal partners and I think we realize that without realizing it. When people talk about movies to their friends they don’t say “I loved the camera angle in scene 7.” They quote dialogue from their favorite movies whether they are from a Pixar film or a Disney one, they quote the dialogue and that is the work of the writer. That’s the person who should be given credit, yet often at the start a class I ask students to list their two or three favorite films, who directed those films and who wrote that film. They very often cannot name the person who wrote the film they claim to adore. How can you study to be a writer if you don’t remember writers yourself? Hence the reason to study Screenwriting. Hence researching screenwriters has always mattered.

When actors Frances McDormand won her Oscar for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri she said of the screenwriter Martin McDonagh, “He did not sketch a blueprint. That’s an insult to a screenplay. He didn’t string together a few words. He wrote, meticulously crafted, a tsunami, and then he allowed his troupe of actors to surf it into the shore.” (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sag-awards-three-billboards-takes-top-honors-at-a-show-women-took-center-stage-1076726) She credited the writer in a way that many people do not.

Stories – and therefore screenplays and therefore screenwriters — are important because they transmit culture around the world. The United States has had a corner on that market for far too many years but now we’re beginning to see other stories permeate our culture, a good and beneficial thing for a country made of immigrants and the ancestors of immigrants. Stories have always transmitted culture far back to the cave paintings of many ancient cultures, through Gilgamesh, and the griots of Africa. Humans have used stories to move culture forward. Movies are the most current version of doing that so why do we forget to study the storytellers? Now is the time to fix this glaring omission both in casual discussions of films and in academia.

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Read and Download The Entire Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered Presentation in PDF Format

Text of Rosanne's Keynote at 10th Screenwriter Stories Seminar: Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil.
Download the Portuguese PDF 

Watch the the entire presentation here

Photos from the event

Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil. Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil.

Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil. Screenplay-X at the Université Presbytériènne Mackenzie in São Paulo, Brazil.