The Civil War On Film – 13 in a series – Movies that make dubious historical claims can provide rich opportunities for learning…

The Civil War On Film - 13  in a series - Movies that make dubious historical claims can provide rich opportunities for learning...

Movies that make dubious historical claims can provide rich opportunities for learning. Each of the movies we chose for this volume do a different kind of work and were ‘big’ enough films that they are still widely available should a reader chose to watch them. We also tried to pick films that covered a wide swath of film history or were representative of a certain type of Civil War movie. Most importantly, each film allows for a discussion of different facets of Civil War history.

Movies profiled in this book:

43 Murdoch Mysteries from Canada from Why Researching Screenwriters Has Always Mattered [Video] (1 minute)

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43 Murdoch Mysteries from Canada from Why Researching Screenwriters Has Always Mattered [Video] (1 minute)

 

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Transcript:

This is a police program it’s from the police — it’s a period drama. So it’s the police in 1902 in Toronto, Canada and so they don’t have guns and for an American to watch a policeman who can arrest people without putting a gun in their face is an amazing experience because we’re far too used to shoot-’em-ups right? So i am pleased with the idea that a younger generation of children are watching people do this job without violence and he’s the most famous detective. It’s the number one show in Canada. So i love the idea that you know you would think that we know a lot about Canada. The other funny thing is because it’s a period drama, they introduce us to famous Canadians in history — people who grow up to be Prime Ministers or one was the first woman lawyer in Canada and we never study Canadian history in the United States, so we’ll watch the program and that’s how I’ve learned more Canadian history in my life.

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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.


 

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

A Woman Wrote That – 9 in a series – Klondike Annie by Mae West (1936)

This new “A Woman Wrote That” post is an echo of the Writers Guild campaign of a few years ago (“A Writer Wrote That”) where they noted famous movie quotes and credited the screenwriter rather than the director.  The difference here being that we will be posting lines from films written by female screenwriters.  Feel free to share! — Rosanne

A Woman Wrote That - 9 in a series - Klondike Annie by Mae West (1936)

ROSE “THE FRISCO DOLL”

When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

“Writers are important” via Instagram

Writers are important.

Writer comes before director when people are writer-directors because writers are more important. You cannot direct some people walking around a room.

Somebody has to say why they’re there and what they’re doing.

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Where’s Her Movie? Civil Rights Activist, Elizabeth Peratrovich – 5 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Civil Rights Activist, Elizabeth Peratrovich - 5 in a series

By Source, Fair use, Link

from Wikipedia…

Elizabeth Peratrovich (née Elizabeth Jean Wanamaker, Tlingit name: Kaaxgal.aat; July 4, 1911 – December 1, 1958)[1] was an American civil rights activist, Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood,[2] and member of the Tlingit nation who worked for equality on behalf of Alaska Natives.[3] In the 1940s, her advocacy was credited as being instrumental in the passing of Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, the first state or territorial anti-discrimination law enacted in the United States.

In 1988, the Alaska Legislature established February 16 as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day “for her courageous, unceasing efforts to eliminate discrimination and bring about equal rights in Alaska”.[2][4] In March 2019, her obituary was added to The New York Times as part of their “Overlooked No More” series,[5] and in 2020, the United States Mint released a $1 gold coin inscribed with Elizabeth’s likeness in honor of her historic achievements.[6] The Peratrovich family papers, including correspondence, personal papers, and news clippings related to the civil-rights work done by Elizabeth and her husband, are currently held at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.[7]

“Let us simply celebrate good television” and Bridgerton [Opinion]

“Let us simply celebrate good television” and Bridgerton [Opinion] by Dr. Rosanne Welch

Leave it to NPR to get it right, which is why I’m posting this piece they did on Bridgerton (Netflix), the new show executive produced by Shonda Rhimes and created for television by Chris Van Dusen from the romance book series by Julia Quinn.

See ‘Bridgerton’ Is A Delicious, Raunchy Tale Of One Very Hot Family

Far beyond explaining the show’s popularity, this article interested me because it understood instantly that what works best and most binge-ably about this show is that

“Let us simply celebrate good television, made by a shop run by a woman who loves good television and written by people who are experienced in television.”

Bridgerton and

In fact, I found one of the cleanest, clearest descriptions of the difference between movie screenplays and television screenplays while listening to this.

“Writing television requires writing to the rhythm of the episode, not just the season. An episode must have its own shape, its own rise and fall… Obviously, in a serialized story, one episode will not be complete on its own when it comes to plot, but it should work on its own structurally. It should have a beginning, middle, and end.”

You could spend a whole semester in a writing class and not yet be able to define it so cleanly – or create a piece that demonstrates having digested that delightfully delectable tidbit. 

I also appreciated the note about how we may think streaming services invented binge-watching but

“Remember, binge-watching really came of age with DVDs, which didn’t have the Netflixian boosts of the auto-play and the credits-skipping and the part where they almost bodily shove you from one episode to the next episode. If you watched 10 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD, it was because you affirmatively said yes, over and over.”

I would go so far as to say TV in general invented that because before streaming it had to make characters and stories so compelling you would remember to be in front of the TV set at the same time every week in order to keep up.

That’s quite a lot of television writing (and history) information to glean out of one short public radio piece. Kudos to NPR pop culture correspondent Linda Holmes. And because we learn so much from any writer’s origin story – don’t miss her story at the end of the online post:

“She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living-room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Her first novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over, will be published in the summer of 2019.”


Rosanne Welch serves as Executive Director of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting. Television credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, Nightline and Touched by an Angel. Award-winning publications include When Women Wrote Hollywood, runner up for the Susan Koppelman Award for best edited book in feminist studies and Women in American History, named Outstanding Reference Source and added to the list of 2017’s Best Historical Materials, by the ALA.

04 Down With The Auteur Theory from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (54 seconds)

04 Down With The Auteur Theory from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (54 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:

Writers. Really. Matter. I think it’s really true The Auteur Theory — and I don’t want to pick on the French — hopefully, there’s no one french in here — I’m picking on you — not my probably looking at your French friend, right — many people are now tearing down the Auteur Theory because it’s ridiculous. The director is not the only person responsible for why a film works. It has always begun with a writer. Yes, it moves to a director but that’s a collaboration and we made a mistake. Some people have written about the fact that in the early days of film critique critics couldn’t go through two or three names of writers so they went to the director’s name because it was the only one person named and slowly that became the idea of who the auteur was right? It’s not true. Vince Gilligan, very famous in America for Breaking Dad. Really considered one of our best showrunners — one of our best television writers — pretty much says it and I agree with him.

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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

“A Man Of Action Saving Liberty: A Novel Based On The Life Of Giuseppe Garibaldi” – 17 in a series

“To them,” Giuseppe began. “To me. To all of us, this is the fire in which we shall be forged before we can light a flame of freedom in our homeland.” “You are capable of understanding a greater goal,” Anita said. “Most men are not,” Texeira stated, subconsciously including himself in that list. “All we can do is try,” Giuseppe reiterated.

Get your copy of A Man Of Action Saving Liberty Today!

The Civil War On Film – 12 in a series – Reformer Jane Addams condemned the film as ahistorical and prejudiced…

The Civil War On Film - 12  in a series - Reformer Jane Addams condemned the film as ahistorical and prejudiced...

Though the NAACP had little success banning the film, in part because film boards were all white and in part because the film was a monster success, they did prompt a national discussion about the film’s racism. Reformer Jane Addams condemned the film as ahistorical and prejudiced, while President Woodrow Wilson, himself an ex-historian (if such a creature can be said to exist), believed the film “terribly true.”

Movies profiled in this book:

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V3 Issue 2: Giving credit where credit is due: Frances Goodrich Hackett and Albert Hackett and The Thin Man by Dr. Rosanne Welch

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


Giving credit where credit is due: Frances Goodrich Hackett and Albert Hackett and The Thin Man by Dr. Rosanne Welch

This article addresses the long-lived literary and popular culture assumption that the beloved characters of Nick and Nora Charles in the MGM film The Thin Man (1934) were representations of the relationship between novelist Dashiell Hammett and his lover, playwright Lillian Hellman. However, in a comparison of the screenplay to the novel, the screenplay’s specific dialogue and plot changes incorporated by married screenwriters Frances Goodrich Hackett and Albert Hackett can lead to a different conclusion. I will explore the Nick and Nora marriage that has served for so many years as a benchmark in romantic comedy relationships and propose that, in fact, this relationship was based largely on the marriage shared by the Hackett’s. The results of my exploration suggests credit to the screenwriting couple and serves as evidence that some screenplay adaptations often prove more enduring than their original source material.


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!



* 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!