PRESS: Screenwriters and academics converge on Stephens College for international conference, Columbia Tribune, Columbia, Missouri

While it was a pleasure to host the Screenwriting Research Network’s 2023 conference last week. I love reconnecting with all the folks we see annually in such wonderful places in the world (from Leeds to London to Dunedin to Milan). But the other great thing about this event was the chance to share the Stephens College campus in Columbia, Missouri with everyone. This article in the Columbia Tribune covered the conference’s opening night reception and interviewed some of our international guests so it gives you a lovely feel of who was there and why we gather annually:

PRESS: Screenwriters and academics converge on Stephens College for international conference, Columbia Tribune, Columbia, Missouri

Srn 2023 poster female gazeScreenwriters and academics converge on Stephens College for international conference

Screenwriters and screenwriting academics are gathering at Stephens College through Saturday for the Screenwriting Research Network Conference with the theme Gender and the Female Gaze.

A reception for conference participants was Wednesday night in the penthouse of the college library.

Participants are from at least 15 countries, said Roseanne Welch, executive director the Stephens’ Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting. Stephens College is a private women’s college in Columbia.

The female gaze refers to seeing life through women’s eyes, Welch said.

“We’re seeing that happen in all kinds of recent films, not just ‘Barbie'” Welch said.

Women’s stories were more complicated in the films of the 1930s and 1940s, she said.

“There were these complete stories with women anti-heroes,” Welch said.

Read the entire article – Screenwriters and academics converge on Stephens College for international conference

PRESS: International Screenwriting Conference coming to COMO, COMO Magazine, Columbia, Missouri

Srn 2023 poster female gaze

International Screenwriting Conference coming to COMO

September 20-23 event will highlight female influence on film, television industries 

Some of the biggest behind-the-scenes stars of television and motion pictures — the screenwriters — will converge on the Stephens College campus in Columbia from September 20-23 for the 15th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference. 

Focused on the theme “Gender and the Female Gaze,” the three-day conference will bring an international collection of film professors and practitioners from Finland, France, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other countries to Columbia. Attendees will get the chance to learn from experienced screenwriters, attend exhibitions, and network with other screenwriters. 

Keynote speakers include Columbia native Phil Lazebnik, who has written screenplays for films including Pocahontas and Mulan, and Meg LeFauve, who was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar for the Pixar blockbuster Inside Out. Along with the keynote speech, LaFauve will appear for a Q&A after a public screening of Inside Out at Ragtag Theatre on Saturday, September 23. 

Read the entire article – International Screenwriting Conference coming to COMO

A new review of “When Women Wrote Hollywood”

It’s been 4 years since publication of ‘When Women Wrote Hollywood’, a collection of essays by the inaugural class of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting but reviews continue to arrive in our inbox including this one today:

“WHEN WOMEN WROTE HOLLYWOOD” is a collection of more than 20 essays focusing on the lives of female screenwriters of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Their writings helped create unforgettable stories and characters beloved by audiences to this 2022 year. Whoever heard of Ida May Park, Eve Unsell, Gene Gauntier, Lillian Hellman, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Anita Loos, let alone what they wrote. Absolutely a must read for the serious Hollywood buff, or student of cinema resolute in finding a career in the motion picture industry.”


Many congratulations to all the writers who contributed to this volume. It is a staple of the History of Screenwriting courses in our Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and at a few other schools as I’ve been told.

Perhaps a sequel is in order…?

Professors Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier spotlight Gloria Steinem in women-centered book series – PolyPost

What’s normal in my world is working on books with my friend and colleague, Dr. Peg Lamphier, about brilliant women in U.S. history.  What’s not normal is having a brilliant young journalism student, Elizabeth Casillas, approach us to write an article about our work. 

This article in the PolyPost is the outcome of both of those events. 

It covers the latest book in the series Peg and I are editing:  Women Making History where we were asked to create 8 women’s biographies to include in the series – with the best part being we then chose the 8 writers for the job. That meant giving a few of them their first book project ever.  That is when this job become the most fun.  This article covers the latest book on the life of Gloria Steinem, written by William Pruden (the only male author in the whole series – why?  Because women’s history IS U.S. History so men can – and should – highlight it, too).


Professors Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier spotlight Gloria Steinem in women-centered book series - PolyPost

Peg Lamphier and Rosanne Welch, lecturers in the Interdisciplinary General Education Department, teamed up to co-edit “Gloria Steinem: A Life in American History,” the second installment of their book series focused on women’s contribution to American history and culture released Aug. 2.

The book, written by William Prudent and published by ABC-CLIO, covers the life of feminist journalist Gloria Steinem. After previously working with ABC-CLIO on “Women in American History,” an encyclopedia dedicated to detailing women’s contributions in American history and culture, Lamphier and Welch were sought out by the publishing firm to co-edit a larger book series.

Other subjects in the book series include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller, Sally Ride, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ida B. Wells and Delores Huerta.

“If we’re going to have a series on women, what I want is books on women that don’t have 13 other books about them,” said Lamphier on the decision to incorporate Steinem into the series. “We keep trotting out the same women; it’s like we can only know 10 women at a time in America, so we got some people like Wilma Mankiller and Gloria Steinem.” A world-renowned feminist, Steinem’s life experiences were crucial to the feminist movement which compelled the lecturers to include her story in the series.

Read the entire article


Dr. Rosanne Welch Quoted in Bitch Media article on Women Screenwriters

Journalist Alexis Schwartz contacted me a few weeks ago to be interviewed for an article she was writing about female writers in Hollywood on the eve of hoping a woman would win this year’s Oscar for Best Screenplay.

Alexis noted, teenagers entering high school this fall would never have seen a female win in that category since the last win was 13 years ago (Diablo Cody for Juno).  Happily, Emerald Fennell did win – for Promising Young Woman. Then Chloe Zhao won for directing Nomadland.  Yet notice how in the Chloe Zhao descriptions no one calls her the writer-director of Nomadland even though she adapted the book. They only call her the director – though she did both important tasks on that now Academy Award-winning film.  So there is still much work to be done for writers to be recognized on an equal level.

We had so much fun talking and there was so much to say that it’s no surprise something got mixed up.  The initial published version of the story reported that Eve Unsell was Cecil B. deMille’s mother – but that was playwright, Broadway producer Beatrice deMille who had hired Unsell after reading one of her short stories and therefore began Unsell’s career as one of Hollywood’s earliest writer-producer-directors – and as the woman who taught Hitchcock how to direct.  Read the article to learn more.  And then read our book – When Women Wrote Hollywood – to learn more about the important work women have been doing since the founding of the film industry.

As Alexis and I noted during the interview – we really could talk about this all day – and look – how wonderful for both Fennel and Zhao to win that night.

Dr. Rosanne Welch

Emerald Fennell attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival  Promising Young Woman premiere on January 25 2020 in Park City Utah header

A Woman Hasn’t Won a Writing Oscar in 13 Years. That Could Change on Sunday by Alexis Schwartz

The 2007 Academy Awards’ futuristic stage was adorned with three large pillars—some 25 feet in diameter—superficially holding up the Dolby Theatre. Within the stage’s center, an equally large Oscar statue loomed over the diminutive presenters like a god demanding hecatomb. Throughout the evening, celebrities weaved through the stage, including winners Alan Arkin, Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker, and Martin Scorsese, the latter of whom’s cop-and-mob film The Departed (2006) would go on to win four statues that evening. But something happened in the middle-pack of the awards—more “popular” than sound editing, less “popular” than original score —an unsuspecting former exotic dancer and first-time screenwriter, Diablo Cody, won Best Original Screenplay for her freshman film, Juno.


Writers such as Jeanie MacPherson, who wrote most of the profitable films credited to director and Hollywood tycoon Cecil B. deMille, have been all but forgotten. Meanwhile, deMille is described as “a founder of the Hollywood motion-picture industry” and is the namesake for the Cecil B. deMille Award of Excellence presented annually at the Golden Globes. Paradoxically, deMille’s mother, Eve Unsell, who taught Alfred Hitchcock everything he knew was later regarded as an erasable footnote by Hitchock himself. She was left uncredited in his memoir—only to be known as “a middle-aged woman.” Even worse, these titans set a precedent by often discrediting writers’ work during interviews. This became standard practice—if the writer was mentioned at all. “The [director-ownership model] destroyed writers, even great men, like Preston Sturges [the first-ever winner of the Academy Award for Original Screenplay], had to become directors to protect their words and characters,” Rosanne Welch, PhD, screenwriting historian and former Beverly Hills 90210 writer says. “No one was safe.”


Read the entire article — A Woman Hasn’t Won a Writing Oscar in 13 Years. That Could Change on Sunday by Alexis Schwartz

Rosanne presents to Oxford Brookes University Students in transatlantic creative education exchange

1200px Oxford Brookes University logo svg

Previous, on-site, presentation at Oxford Brookes

Thanks for our meeting at a Screenwriting Research Network conference almost 10 years ago Dr. Paolo Russo (of Oxford Brookes University) and I have been able to engage in a few transatlantic creative exchanges.

He’s come to speak on Italian Neo-realism to my MFA candidates and I had the pleasure of visiting with his masters candidates (in person! when that was still possible) and giving them notes on their drama series treatments. 

This week I’ll be doing that again on Zoom with the help of Shannon Dobson Fopeano, my Graduate Assistant in the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.  Paolo and I are both interested in expanding the reach of this cross-ocean collegiality in the future!

Stephens College MFA In TV And Screenwriting Workshop


Dr. Rosanne Welch Speaks On “An Introduction to the Women of Early TV: There are More Women than Lucy to Love“ for the American Women Writers National Museum [Virtual via Zoom]

I’m thrilled to have been asked to make a presentation for the American Women Writers National Museum (AWWNM) on the topic of “An Introduction to the Women of Early TV: There are More Women than Lucy to Love“.  I’ll be discussing the groundbreaking work of women from Gertrude Berg (one of the first women to create, write, produce and star in a long-running hit — The Goldbergs) to D.C. Fontana (Star Trek).    — RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

State Meant 50 5 U NBannerArtRevFeb2011b2

RSVP Today! 

Wed Feb 10, 2021 noon-12:45 EDT

“An Introduction to the Women of Early TV: There are More Women than Lucy to Love“

Sponsored by: American Women Writers National Museum

Time & Place: noon-12:45 p.m. EDT / 9 AM PDT via Zoom

All AWWNM programs are now via Zoom until further notice. Invitations are sent via email to AWWNM’s mailing list. RSVPS are REQUIRED in order to receive a link to a specific program. If you would like an invitation, email request to

Dr. Rosanne Welch, Executive Director of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, Author, Historian and Book Reviews editor of the Journal of Screenwriting will profile pioneer women who created, produced and worked on many of America’s most wildly popular early TV Programs. 

“My goal is to rescue these talented women from historical oblivion”, she said.

Some of the women writers she will discuss are:

  • Lucille Ball (1911-1989) of “I Love Lucy” fame, who also ran Desilu production company and greenlighted the blockbuster Star Trek productions.
  • Treva Silverman (1936- ) winner of two Emmy awards for the brilliant comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • D.C. Fontana (Dorothy Catherine) Fontana (1939-2019) a story editor of Star Trek
  • Leigh Brackett (1915-1878) known as “Queen of the Space Opera” who wrote on or worked on timeless films: The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Empire Strike Back (1980).
  • Peg Lynch (1915-2015) She wrote about 11,000 scripts for radio and TV

New Book by IGE Lecturers Critique the Civil War in Films via PolyCentric [News]

New Book by IGE Lecturers Critique the Civil War in Films via PolyCentric [News]

Recently my co-author Peg Lamphier and I sat for an interview about our Civil War on Film book to discuss the American film industry’s depiction of the American Civil War and the mythologies and ideologies surrounding the experience of that war. 

We completely destroy any idea that there is something noble and admirable about the Confederacy. There is not. They fought to preserve human bondage. That should be morally revolting to all twenty-first century Americans and the fact that it is not is a testament to how far we still have to go to heal the wounds of our nation’s history of slavery.

Suddenly, the book seems even more timely than when we began writing it 2 years ago. — Rosanne

New Book by IGE Lecturers Critique the Civil War in Films 

For their third book project, lecturers Peg Lamphier and Roseanne Welch, in the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education, decided to write a book examining the American film industry’s depiction of the American Civil War. In their book, “The Civil War on Film,” the authors contend that American films are filled with mythologies and ideologies surrounding the experience of the war and further research is required to uncover the full, real history.

New Book by IGE Lecturers Critique the Civil War in Films via PolyCentric [News]

Peg Lamphier and Roseanne Welch, lecturers in the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education, team up on their third book, which examines the American film industry’s depiction of the American Civil War.

According to the authors, the Civil War, which occurred from 1861-1865, is contested ground both among historians and the general public. They argue that most are clear about the anti-slavery aims of the war, as well as the fundamentally treasonous nature of succession, but neo-Confederates cast the war in terms favorable to their white supremacist agenda.

In a joint statement, Lamphier and Welch wrote, “Our book is entirely unsympathetic to the Neo-Con/Lost Cause agenda and so we’re engaged in a vigorous refutation of a number of pro-Confederate myths that serve to hamper racial equality in modern America. We hope readers will better understand the nature of the war and the troubled way it’s been filmed as they work through our book. We also hope it shows readers that films always engage in a bit of fictionalization in order to heighten the drama.”

Read this entire article

Other Welch/Lamphier Books

Recent Excellent Review of “When Women Wrote Hollywood” in The Journal of American Culture

The Journal of American Culture

I’m happy to say our book just received a review in The Journal of American Culture.

The reviewer (from the University College of North Manitoba, Canada) singled out several chapters for being outstanding for various reasons.  They found Amelia Phillips’s chapter on Jeanne Macpherson to demonstrate “exacting research”, Julie Berkobien’s chapter on Francis and Albert Hackett to be “beautifully crafted” and Chase Thompson’s chapter on Lois Weber to be “trailblazing”.  They found that Pamela Scott gives “thorough and measured” coverage to the scripts of Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman; Laura Kirk “comprehensively” examines Sam and Bella Spewak’s signature style;  Kelly Zinge authored “carefully detailed discussion” of Lillian Hellman’s confrontation with the Blacklist, and that Elizabeth Dwyer’s work on Dorothy Parker is “riveting.”

Congratulations to all the contributors to our book!

Buy “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Today!

When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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“Name Screenwriters” says Dr. Rosanne Welch in Letter to Los Angeles Times

Because I believe that you can’t change things unless you challenge them, whenever I see a newspaper article about a film where the writer uses the director’s possessive (as in “Spielberg’s Lincoln) and never mention the writer (which in that case was Pulitzer Prize-winning Tony Kushner – Spielberg has never won a Pulitzer Prize), I try to write a letter to the editor explaining the mistake. 

Often they print them. Once my letter appeared alongside a letter with a similar point, written by the author of one of our History of Screenwriting textbooks (who has come to speak to our students during Workshop – Tom Stempel).

This morning the LA Times published this letter. — Rosanne

To the editor: Your editorial elevated “compelling storytelling” as a quality that makes a movie great, but when listing examples of noteworthy films — “Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Shining” and “Vertigo” — you used the director’s possessive to identify the films, not once mentioning the writers (both novelists and screenwriters).

“Lawrence of Arabia” came to screens thanks to the book by T.E. Lawrence, which was adapted by screenwriters Robert Bolt and the blacklisted Michael Wilson. “The Shining” came from the mind of prolific novelist Stephen King, whose book was adapted by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson, with Kubric directing. “Vertigo” is based on the novel “D’entre les morts” by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, which was adapted by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor.

I’ve never understood why newspaper writers forget to name screenwriters when discussing movies. It seems an absurd example of internalized artistic oppression.

How can I be able to teach up-and-coming screenwriters their own value if journalists keep naming films as the property of the directors?

Rosanne Welch, Van Nuys

The writer is executive director of Stephens College’s master of fine arts program in TV and screenwriting.