09 Beverly Hills 90210 from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 [Video]

Watch the entire presentation – Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 here

09 Beverly Hills 90210 from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29

Transcript:

Host: Were you a writer? Were you a writer’s assistant in that?

Rosanne:I was a freelance writer on that. That was my very first script.

Host: Okay so wow yeah. How did you– how did you feel when you got like the um the chance?

Rosanne: That’s wonderful stuff. It’s wonderful stuff. It was because at the time I had a partner and she was the assistant to the executive producer of that show. So after reading four — count them — four spec scripts of ours, he finally agreed to let us pitch and so we came in and pitched and that was lovely. So she was much more comfortable in that room than I was because she knew everybody. She’d been there for two or three years at that point but you know I knew the gentleman in charge, Chuck Rosen was one of the quote-unquote good guys in town. A real — a sweetheart. He’d been on a show called Northern Exposure, which I adored. He’s an excellent writer — just and cared about the stories.

It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.

Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).

We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.

Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!

The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.

The Importance of Endings

The Importance of Endings

I had typed out one of those quotes I tend to use all the time –

“So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.”

— and in my habit I wanted to credit the writer of the quote, which we all know comes from the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, adapted by David Seltzer from the book by Roald Dahl. 

My question became “Did that line come from the book OR the film OR both?”  I couldn’t find any clarification on that right away – but I did find this great NPR interview with Seltzer about how he changed the ending of the film because the director felt “It ends with the word, yippee? He said that’s not a screen play. That’s not a movie. You can’t do that” so Seltzer rewrote the ending to be this:

Mr. SELTZER: It ends with the word, yippee? He said that’s not a screen play. That’s not a movie. You can’t do that.

COHEN: So, what did you do?

Mr. SELTZER: I said, well, let me think about it. You know, how long do I have? He said, how long? We’re standing here. It’s $30,000 an hour. You tell me. And, I said, well, give me a second. And I think it was about 6 in the morning. And I walked down, literally, looked over the lake in Maine. I thought, what the hell am I going to do? My head space was totally out of this movie. I could barely remember what had led up to this but I thought, OK, it’s a fairy tale. It’s a children’s story, and how do children’s stories end? I don’t know. How could – how do they end? They end with, they all lived happily ever after. But that’s not good. That’s not what a screenwriter writes. And so I took a deep swallow and I went to the phone. I said, Mel, OK, listen carefully. They’re going up in the spaceship and looking at the ground disappear. And Willy Wonka announces to Charlie that the chocolate factory is his. Then, Willy Wonka looks at him and he says, but Charlie – in a very cautious voice – you do know what happened to the little boy who suddenly got everything he ever wanted, don’t you? And fear comes across Charlie’s face and he says, no, what? And Willy says, he lived happily ever after. And it was a long pause, and I thought my career as a screenwriter is over.



 

35 More on Margaret Nagle from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

35 More on  Margaret Nagle 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:

She then moved into running a show called Red Band Society which only ran for one season and that’s a whole other conversation but I wanted to mention briefly because tone is something that we try to teach but it’s very difficult. It’s almost as difficult as style but if you go online which you can on youtube and look for the theme song the opening to this show Braccialetti Rossi which was done in Italy. They are both adaptations of a book. This show is so beautiful and magic and lovable and you just want to be with these children in their terminally ill part of this hospital and everybody’s wonderful. In this show, the opening shows what huge jerks every one of these children was before they got struck down with their disease. So I don’t really care if they die. The phone is all wrong. I need to love them and root for them and I find them being mean to each other. The one girl is this awful cheerleader who’s just and then she does so she got the tone wrong which fascinates me because when you are well practiced you don’t think that’s going to happen but that’s another show.

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From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 2: ‘A story is not a story but a conference’: Story conferences and the classical studio system by Claus Tieber

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


‘A story is not a story but a conference’: Story conferences and the classical studio system by Claus Tieber

In analyzing the script development of Grand Hotel (1932, Edmund Goulding), this article brings an insight into the workings of the classical studio system and the way screenwriting was organized and understood during this era. The protocols of story conferences that took place at MGM under the leadership of producer Irving Thalberg deliver an exhaustive picture of the whole process, from the first screen idea, to getting the rights for a novel, to the final discussions after the screening of a rough cut. The protocols deliver evidence of screenwriting as an ongoing work in progress that was done not by a single screenwriter, but by a group of film-makers, constantly discussing all elements of the production. The concerns of the participants of these conferences included more than just storytelling; they also focused on the emotional reactions of the audience and the presentation of stars. The criteria these decisions were based upon are not ‘rules’ of storytelling, but reasonable assumptions about the audience’s reactions. Screenwriting within the studio system was not an ongoing fight between screenwriters and producers, but an ongoing discussion about every detail of a film, constituting a rather modern and democratic system of film development.

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 2: ‘A story is not a story but a conference’: Story conferences and the classical studio system by Claus Tieber

 


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

Get your copy and subscription to the Journal of Screenwriting Today!



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Review: Stories from the Epicenter Podcast, California History Journal, Dr. Rosanne Welch

I was pleased to be asked to join the Editorial Team for California History journal and am always impressed by the work of editor Mary Ann Irwin when each new issue comes out. 

As their expert on the popular culture of our State I have the chance to vet articles in that area – and to review books that cover it as well.  For this issue there was yet another new request – review a podcast “Stories from the Epicenter” that explores the experience and memory of the Loma Prieta Earthquake through oral history records and interviews with current residents of Santa Cruz and Watsonville.  A co-creation of the University Library at UC Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and Santa Cruz Public Libraries I found it fascinating to hear. — Rosanne

You can listen to it here

Epicenter banner

Daniel Story, series producer. Stories from the Epicenter. University Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

Podcast website: https://library.ucsc.edu/StoriesFromTheEpicenter
Listen on major podcast platforms or at https://anchor.fm/storiesfromtheepicenter
Podcast companion resource: https://arcg.is/04mPTG

Stories from the Epicenter is a ten-part documentary podcast that explores the experience and memory of the Loma Prieta Earthquake through oral history records and interviews with current residents of Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Coproduced by the University Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in partnership with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and Santa Cruz Public Libraries, this production shows its pedigree across the episodes sampled by this reviewer, herself a fan of such high-caliber podcasts as BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time and Thinking Allowed and popular culture podcasts such as Today I Found Out and The Dinner Party Download.

With so many new forms of distribution, the very definition of “podcast” needs to be reconsidered. Podcasts first emerged when MTV host/announcer Adam Curry wanted a self-loading iPod, and computer programmer Dave Winer invented the RSS feed, a computer program that allowed users to keep track of and subscribe to many different websites. Together Curry and Winer developed a way to allow RSS feeds to carry audio and video files, so that users could download files automatically to their iPods each time they synched to a computer. Cell phones with broadband connectivity negated much of the technical need for official podcasts, but the many eclectic early podcasts whetted audience desire for independent, non-gate-kept productions. Now the term refers broadly to radioand television-style shows delivered over the Internet. Audiences can subscribe to podcasts or find them on YouTube, which emerged at the same time as RSS feeds to offer yet another model of distribution.

As with all new forms of media, once established outlets began using them, they naturally gained more respect. Now many history-based podcasts can be found, like the esteemed British Library’s Curator’s Corner and Curators on Camera, or American History Tellers from Wondery, the network behind Tides of History and Fall of Rome.

On October 17, 2020, Stories from the Epicenter released ten episodes recorded in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake, a magnitude 3.5 earthquake that occurred nine miles from San Francisco at 5:04 P.M. on October 17, 1989. Damage included the collapse of a section of the double-deck Nimitz Freeway in Oakland that killed forty-two people. Three more were killed by the collapse of buildings along the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz. While many Californians felt the effect of the earthquake as it began, audiences elsewhere also learned of it almost immediately through the 1989 World Series, then airing live from Candlestick Park. The video signal broke up just after sportscaster Al Michaels announced the event.

The episodes follow chronologically from the opening, “Pacific Garden Mall,” which covers the growth of the area in the years before the quake, through “The First Thirty Days,” which involves the emergency response in Santa Cruz, and then to “The Politics of Rebuilding.” Among the ten main episodes, series producer Madeline Maria’s “The Kids Are Alright” stands out for looking through the eyes of those who were children at the time. Recording the voices and memories of teenagers paints the event in a particularly emotional way that stays with the listener long after the twenty-six-minute segment ends.

Aaron Zachmeier, fifteen at the time, recalls how his five-year-old sister stayed under a table for a few hours after the quake while he went skateboarding around town, surveying the damage. “It was exciting and interesting to watch things change … and when they settled down it was a disappointment.” Zachmeier felt he had discovered a magical place “that was then taken away from me, but maybe that was perfect because magical places don’t persist”—because, to his eyes, media outlets ignored Santa Cruz and instead focused on San Francisco. In an aside that will be familiar to contemporary readers experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, Zachmeier admits that “it was weirdly joyful to experience normal life being put on hold, which created an interesting space in which to exist.”

Another story Maria researched concerned a homeless nine-year-old who recalled waking up in her parents’ tent and watching the sidewalk move in waves. The segment ends with an interview with Kevin Waggoner, a six-year-old during the earthquake, whose father was the single park ranger assigned to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, the actual epicenter of the earthquake. Kevin had the chance to visit the epicenter with his father because his Campfire Kids group wanted a tour of the spot, to which his father agreed. His father had been in the park during the earthquake and declared that it felt milder than in the more urban part of the city, illustrating how nature is better prepared than the built environment to withstand such temblors.

Also of interest is episode 7, “A Tale of Two Newspapers,” which follows the ways that such disasters affect professionals charged with documenting them in real time. Episode 8, “The Memory Remains,” focuses on bringing back some UC Santa Cruz graduates whose experiences were recorded right after the quake; producers asked them to listen to portions of their original testimonies and to comment on how their earlier thoughts survived the test of time. Each episode utilizes the vast variety of music from the area, including excerpts from “El Sonido de la Vida” by Silva de Alegria and “Cinema Pathetic” by Blue Dot Sessions.

While Stories from the Epicenter is reminiscent of an extended National Public Radio series focused on a very personal, very seismic, and very geographically specific event, the episodes somehow manage to be universal in their coverage of the emotions that all listeners likely connect to events experienced in their own homes. The benefit of such podcasts to historians is obvious. There is great value to such oral histories being available online to researchers, sparing them the expense of traveling to distant archives. The downside to podcasts, in some cases, is an “amateur” quality—but the same can often be said of radio, television, and other media. At a time when inclusivity is more important than ever, podcasts like these offer individuals the chance to share their voices and, simultaneously, to facilitate wide sharing of experiences, ideas, and emotions.

Well executed history podcasts like these suit our times perfectly.

Rosanne Welch

And of course you can check out the California History journal at your local library.

California History Cover

22 Getting What You Want In The 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”

22 Getting What You Want In The 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:

In all of them, I learned something about how a room should be run, and one of the first things I teach my students is that you have to — you should take a class in psychology. You need you need to know how to read a room and know how to behave in the room with people and that’s something that sometimes people don’t know. So it’s a silly thing but it’s true. This — on this episode, Smokescreen, we have two people, Roma Downey who is an Irish-American woman and Della Reese, who is an African-American woman. They would pretend to be other people in people’s lives. In this particular episode, Roma always did more work because she was younger and Della only worked three days a week because she was in her 70s. They were going to have Roma portray this gentleman’s lawyer and Della portray his maid and I understood how upsetting that would be to my African-American friends if yet another maid character was portrayed by an African-American woman. So I said we shouldn’t do that. What if we switched it and the problem was production, Della didn’t have many hours in the week to do that filming. So we could have ended the idea there but I was a little pushy then and and I wanted the movement and i suggested we ask her, would she be willing to work an extra day that week for the chance not to play a maid and guess what she said. Exactly.

 

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

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01 Left Out Of The History Books from Concord Days: Margaret Fuller in Italy [Video]

In researching and writing my book on Giuseppe and Anita Garibaldi and the unification of Italy (A Man Of Action Saving Liberty: A Novel Based On The Life Of Giuseppe Garibaldi)  I re-discovered the first American female war correspondent – Margaret Fuller — who I had first met in a college course on the Transcendentalists. I was once again fascinated by a life lived purposefully.

Then I found Tammy Rose’s podcast on the Transcendentalists – Concord Days – and was delighted when she asked me to guest for a discussion of Fuller’s work in Italy as both a journalist – and a nurse. — Rosanne

Concord Days: Dr Rosanne Welch discusses Margaret Fuller in Italy [Video] (53 mins)

Watch this entire presentation

Concord Days sends love to Margaret Fuller on the anniversary of her death in 1850.

The conversation focuses on Margaret’s exciting days in ITALY!

Dr. Rosanne Welch takes us through her adventures and enthusiastically reminds us what she was like when she was living her best life!

Transcript:

Tammy: I am very pleased to be able to welcome Dr Rosanne Welch who is the Executive Director of the Stephens College program for the MFA and who is an author on many topics in American History and American culture. Welcome, Rosanne.

Rosanne: Thank you so much for having me. I love to talk about these things as you know.

Tammy: Exactly. Exactly. So can we start with your how did you first discover Margaret Fuller.

Rosanne: I discovered her a roundabout way. I would say I first had her mentioned when I was in eighth grade in Ohio and we studied Ohio history which was abolitionists and really got into “We’re on the right side of the Civil War and John Brown was somebody very important to them because he’s from Ohio so very proud that he was anti-slavery and I started to learn about abolitionists and then you forget. You go to college. I was studying theater but I needed a class once — an elective — desperately to fill out my schedule and the only thing available was this transcendentalism class and I had completely forgotten anything I might have learned previously and I begged to get in the class and he let me in and there I found Margaret among all these other gentlemen and it was another one of those examples of “Wait it sounds like women never did anything until the modern-day but they always did they just got left out of the history books.”

 

 

08 Playing The Game… from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 [Video]

Watch the entire presentation – Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 here

08 Playing The Game... from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 [Video]

Transcript:

…and you really need to understand how the business works not just the people management then but now move up to understanding how the network makes their decisions and how do you sell things to them. I mean I’ve had showrunning friends who will tell stories about how there were moments they wanted in a script and they knew the network wouldn’t like those moments. Maybe they’re pushing the envelope on something. So they put in a couple of worse moments knowing that when the network said oh you can’t do that or that or that they’d go I hear what you’re saying. I understand. I won’t do that or that but I’ve got to have this and they’d get the one thing they really wanted. So they were playing a little chess game as well right? So at every level, there’s an understanding of what do people need. How do I give them what I want and still what they need at the same time.

It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.

Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).

We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.

Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!

The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.

34 Margaret Nagle and Warm Springs from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

34 Margaret Nagle and Warm Springs 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:

And Margaret Nagle came off of Boardwalk Empire. She’s a pretty brilliant writer in many ways. She started her career — she was an actress. She moved into writing and she knew she needed to write something powerful and different. You’ve got to find something that hasn’t been done million times before and Warm Springs was the story of Franklin Roosevelt and the time he spent at a spa when he had polio. We’ve seen a million Franklin Roosevelt stories in America because he’s one of our big heroes right? We’ve seen the relationship with Eleanor. We’ve seen the relationship with his mistress. We’ve seen World War II in any different way you can figure it out. Nobody had done the story of how a rich boy dealt with being diagnosed with polio. What did he do and how did he survive and it was in the spa full of other people who weren’t famous or rich and he had to meet people he had never met in his normal life and that’s what formed the man who became the president who created all the programs that helped us survive the depression and the war and so that was a brilliant idea for us and it was just reading history and she stumbled on that thought. Why have i never seen this story? I’ll write it. What a lovely idea. Reading history is a brilliant thing to do.

Watch this entire presentation

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Ruth Gordon (with Her Husband, Garson Kanin) — Truly The Marrying Kind, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, July 2021

 Ruth Gordon (with Her Husband, Garson Kanin) -- Truly The Marrying Kind, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, July 2021

Mention the name of Ruth Gordon and most people remember her as an actress ranging from Abe Lincoln in Illinios (1940) to Harold and Maude (1971) or for her Academy Award-winning role in Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The impromptu acceptance speech she made that night identified her as the writer she actually was. Being 72 at the time she quipped, “I can’t tell you how encouraging a thing like this is.”

Ruth Gordon Jones came into the world on October 30, 1896 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Though her sea captain father seemed steeped in the past, she convinced him to let her move into the new century by moving to New York as a single nineteen-year-old to study acting. She began appearing on Broadway in Peter Pan in 1915. Acting in movies soon beckoned, as did writing them, which was enhanced when she married her second husband, director Garson Kanin.

Read Ruth Gordon (with Her Husband, Garson Kanin) — Truly The Marrying Kind, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, July 2021 on the Script web site


Read about more women from early Hollywood