20 More On Russell T Davies from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

20 More On  Russell T Davies from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

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.

Transcript:

This book here, I highly recommend if you like Doctor Who, but if you like writing, Benjamin Cook, the writer, the journalist asked Russell Davies in the last season of David Tennant’s era, could I email you across this year and just ask you questions like — what are you thinking of today and Russell was like sure and so it’s this it’s the collection of their emails as he wrote the last season. So you’ll start with something like well today I’m thinking what if water was deadly? I don’t know what to do with that but that’s on my brain today and a few weeks later it was — what if some astronauts were on Mars and Martian water was deadly and by the time you’re done we have an episode called Waters of Mars right? So he watched the progress and development of a story through these emails with Russell Davies.

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09 More on Stephen J. Cannell from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

09 More on Stephen J. Cannell from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

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When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript

I was able to interview a certain set of these men — actually, Stephen Cannell in the year before he died — to talk about their time at Universal and the transition from this pool into their own rooms and how they would comprise those rooms. again, all these men that I just mentioned are famous because of what they came up with. Cannel is someone we know from many action-adventure television shows. When he passed away the show, Castle, which was big in the United States — the men who worked on that show had been in his writer’s pools early in their career. So, he was famous for this ending on his show where he would type in the typewriter and pull the paper out — that was his brand. At the end of this show, Castle, which he did not work on. they gave this — colleague, mentor, friend ending — in tribute to him. So that’s how important he was to their careers. They learned how to run their own rooms from working with him. These are all the shows that we know him from at some point or another. So he’s certainly a man with a very distinct style that stood out for a long time.

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19 Russell T Davies and Doctor Who from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (40 seconds)

18 Russell T Davies and Doctor Who from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (40 seconds)

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.

Transcript:

I got a beloved chance to interview Russell Davies who came to the states to do the fourth season of Torchwood and the editor Written By knew how much I love Doctor Who, so he asked me if I’d like to interview him? Which I did and this was something that he said that meant a lot. Again you probably know he’s an openly gay man and it bothered him what he was seeing on television. So obviously, he invented Queer As Folk, and from that, he invented and revived Doctor Who and invented Torchwood, which allowed us, Captain Jack. it was just so adorable. I can’t stand it, but not on my team. So there you go. So this is really important. He was recognizing that in what he was creating for television and again made the programming more inclusive.

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08 Stephen J. Cannell and Adam-12 from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

08 Stephen J. Cannell and Adam-12 from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

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When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript

Stephen Cannell — who’s the first person I worked for as an assistant — they tell a great story when he was in the writer’s pool Universal. They came in for this show, Adam-12, they said we need an idea for the show. Who wants to write one and the first thing that came to him was — they’re policemen who rode around in a squad car all day — and his unique idea was, what if they got the squad car that was misbehaving — that had engine trouble and a flat tire and everything went wrong with the car. So the whole episode was about these men managing the tool of their job more than managing what the crime of the week was and that stood out in people’s minds. He was using the formula in a different way and that started to make people pay attention to him. So that he could leave and do other things.

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


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18 Where Are The Women? from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (40 seconds)

18 Where Are The Women? from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (40 seconds)

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.

Transcript:

Kenny moved into The Incredible Hulk really the first superhero show on tv that ever survived and then he did “V” which was redone a few years ago and then he did Alien Nation which is where I met him. I worked on that show. So but in all these early drama rooms, there’s something missing. Who’s not in that picture? Audience: Any woman. Thank you. There you go. That’s the problem because most all these stories are being funneled through the minds of guys and you can’t blame a person for writing about what they know and what means something to them. That’s what writers do and that’s why a room wants as much inclusivity as possible right? So we don’t have any girls.

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07 The Writer’s Voice from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

Srn port07 The Writer's Voice from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

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When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript

And I think that’s where we started to learn that, particularly in television, you had to find people with a defined voice and that is something you could build a show around and so when I define voice everyone has a slightly different concept but to me, it’s a simple matter of your opinion and the style in which you deliver it and that tells us your different voice and I think some of the shows I’m going to mention — it’s very clear they have very unique voices and that’s where they come from. So we started to recognize that the idea of the creator and television was the writer and that person should run the entire show themselves and should begin to gather about them a group of people who could mimic their voice while still keeping their own. That was the difficult job of television which is also still a difficult thing to teach students to write a spec script that sounds like, but doesn’t obliterate, your own voice, and that’s what you’re trying to do in the room, which again, is more chaotic than I would say.

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
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17 The Bionic Woman from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (56 seconds)

17 The Bionic Woman from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (56 seconds)

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.

Transcript:

And better than, that she was the last episode of the first season of this show and the studio killed her so that there’d be a great tragic ending and Kenny, who was a young writer then, said this is like the middle of the second wave of the feminist movement. You can’t kill the most engaging woman that you have had on your program and the network said yes we can. Nobody wants a love interest for the lead character because women want to imagine he’ll fall in love with them and they don’t want to get in some of the girl’s way. That’s rude, right? So they killed her and the mail — because there wasn’t yet email — that they got complaining that they had the audacity to kill the most accomplished woman who had ever appeared on that show meant that miraculously at the beginning of season two she wasn’t actually dead. They had bionically saved her and then she got her own program and Kenny became an Executive Producer of his own program because of his creativity because he had come up with that character. He now owned that character.

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06 The Universal Studios Writers Pool from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

06 The Universal Studios Writers Pool from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

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

 

 

When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript

But one-hour dramas did not involve writer’s rooms in the beginning and I find that very fascinating because we rely on them now, but they did not in fact — they literally had writer pools and if you were running a show — so you were the creator of the show — you would walk down the hallway to the pool, of course, that’s the typing pool, and it was a bunch of guys not too many women involved at that time and you would say I need an episode of Columbo. Who’s free this week and that person would have to come up with an episode of Columbo. The NBC Mystery Movie was a perfect example of that because every Sunday there was a different one of these shows. They weren’t a weekly show and so you had some time to prepare it. So you’d walk down the street and say I don’t know which of these shows would we need this next week and that’s — so writer’s rooms took freelance ideas and you didn’t sit in the room and break the story together and that has been something that’s evolved over time I think is interesting. In this writer’s pool at Universal, which contributed to that show, were all these men who became the show runners of the second golden age of television and they all are men whose shows have run on television incessantly.

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
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05 The Monkees Writer’s Room from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

05 The Monkees Writer's Room from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

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

 

 

When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript

I did a whole book on The Monkees and they had one of the first writer’s rooms in a sort of a kid’s show sitcom and so I had the chance to meet with and interview all these writers back in about three years ago who were all in their late 70s and so heard about their stories of how the room operated. It was very important to have a female. It was the first sitcom that had a femle on staff and so she added a perspective. So it started the idea that we need inclusion in our rooms. We need to hear all the different perspectives. I thought that was pretty cool. So that’s the book and the article that I wrote for Written By.

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


Ready to present my talk yesterday at the Screenwriting Research Conference here in Porto, Portugal via Instagram

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* 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!

16 Producer, Kenny Johnson from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (51 seconds)

16 Producer, Kenny Johnson from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (51 seconds)

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.

Transcript:

Kenny Johnson is a guy I worked for as an assistant. He invented The Bionic Woman — again writer’s voice. He was on staff at Universal. They came in one day and they said “Hey we’re doing the Six Million Dollar Man. We need a storyline” and he said — which is a nice tip — know the classics — we fall back on classics all the time. Sons of Anaarchy is Hamlet on motorcycles. That’s how they got pitched right? Empire is King Lear in a rap record recording studio. Seriously, knowing Shakespeare does you well in life. I promise you. The Bionic Woman that’s that’s the Bride of Frankenstein. He walked in the room and said you’ve created Frankenstein. Why doesn’t he have a bride?

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* 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