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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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.

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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


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Online Panel Discussion: It’s All Relative: Writing Diverse Television Families, Friday, August 6, 2021, 5:30 PM 7:00 PM – Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Online Panel Discussion: It's All Relative: Writing Diverse Television Families, Friday, August 6, 2021, 5:30 PM  7:00 PM - Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

It’s All Relative: Writing Diverse Television Families
Friday, August 6, 2021
5:30 PM  7:00 PM

Online – RSVP Required

At every MFA Workshop we host a panel of writers in a joint event between the Writers Guild Foundation and the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.

Our next will be focused on Writing Diverse Television Families.

Join us on Zoom on August 6th to hear from these writers:

  • Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch, Executive Director of Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting
  • Sheryl J. Anderson – Creator and Executive Producer, Sweet Magnolias
  • Lang Fisher – Co-creator and Executive Producer, Never Have I Ever
  • Marja-Lewis Ryan – Executive Producer, The L Word: Generation Q
  • Anthony Sparks – Executive Producer, Queen Sugar.

Online Panel Discussion: It's All Relative: Writing Diverse Television Families, Friday, August 6, 2021, 5:30 PM  7:00 PM - Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

33 Terence Winter and Boardwalk Empire from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

33 Terence Winter and Boardwalk Empire 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:

Terence Winter on Boardwalk Empire. He came off of The Sopranos so he had a very good pedigree and then he moved into Boardwalk Empire and the idea of how you parse out the story and this comes from structure. At what point to do give out what information. How do you string the audience along. I think that’s really interesting. That’s a whole other conversation.

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32 Writer’s Room As Dinner Party from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

32 Writer's Room As Dinner Party 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:

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is in charge of Riverdale. Was that here yet? Based on The Archie comics which is kind of funny. First season, pretty good. Second season, getting a little sillier. Third season, getting a little sillier. Not very good but the idea that a writer’s room is like a dinner party and you’re just kibitzing with people and having a good conversation and from that people go “Oh wait. i like that and I like what you said. I’m gonna put all these things together and we’re gonna end up with a story which we all like.” Love Tina Fey. Tina Fey is a great example of going from acting because of the strength of her writing becoming the first woman to run the evening report the weekend update on SNL. Then of course she did Mean Girls. She got hired from her comic chops to write Mean Girls. May or may not know that was recently nominated for Tony because she turned it into a Broadway show. Writers own the product throughout all of its lifespans. Directors do not right? The director of the movie Mean Girls was not invited to direct the musical but she was invited to write it. So I think it’s powerful. So her and her husband. Robert Carlock is her husband so they’ve worked the last two tv shows together and that’s their opinion. Again, diversity in the room with lots of things even educational status is an important thing.

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31 Drama is about making a choice from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

31 Drama is about making a choice 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:

On Orville. I don’t know if this is transferred to England yet but it’s — who’s seen Galaxy Quest — Alan Rickman. I love Galaxy Quest. That is a movie that is survived by the writing. It could have been a silly piece of nonsense that was just a couple of gags joined together but the story is so strong, the movie is actually really good and Alan Rickman is of course always wonderful but Seth McFarlane talks about this idea. You have to tell the stories of your life. You stumble upon things by saying this happened and that happened or I had a friend to whom this happened right? One of my early episodes of Touched by an Angel had to do with a couple who was going to having a baby and they found out it was going to have Down’s Syndrome and then they had to make the decision were they capable of being the parents of a handicapped child and of course there was a moment where they could have chosen abortion. They did not but they had that discussion right because drama’s built around making a choice and that’s probably the biggest choice a person could ever make right? So that was built on the fact that somebody in the room one day, that was happening in their cousin’s family and they were talking about it and how they’ve been on the phone with them and we thought oh my gosh that’s an excellent story to try to move into and why would you what are the possible reasons you would make this choice? What are the reasons you would be talked out of making this choice? How do you deal with that problem? It just came up in personal conversation. So being a good conversationalist makes you a good writer because you can tell stories about your life and your friend’s lives.

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30 Safe…But Open from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

30 Safe...But Open 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:

Safe… but open. There was a huge lawsuit in the United States in Hollywood. The writer’s assistant on Friends, which everyone knows because everyone’s seen Friends a million times, she sued them for harassment because in her job of listening to them talk, of course, they talked a lot about their raw sexual experiences. That’s kind of what Friends was about. Although you didn’t really see that part of it right? You got the… it was more soft and she was embarrassed but she knew she was getting a job on a sitcom where that kind of thing was going to be discussed. So kind of a mess because that is the job but then you have to be gentle about how you’re doing that and recognize who’s in the room and think about how you honorably discuss these things. It wasn’t really part of how people behaved a few years ago. So it’s that’s a that’s a delicate balance that a writer-producer is trying to create in their room.

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29 Write What (Emotions) You Know from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

29 Write What (Emotions) You Know 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 I think that writing what you know emotionally is an important thing to think about because you have to be comfortable doing that to be a writer. Tennessee Williams, who is a famous American playwright, once said that writers write from the first — the emotions of the first six years of their lives. Which I kind of thought was like, how do you make that up and then I look back at a bunch of scripts I’ve written in my life and I have this recurrent theme which is telling men that they should be good fathers — that raising — that having a child doesn’t make you a man — raising a child makes you a man. I’ve used that line several times accidentally in different scripts. My dad left when I was six. So either Tennessee Williams was right or that’s a nice coincidence. I don’t know but that’s an important thing to remember. You don’t just have to write the history of the life you’ve led. It’s the history of the emotions you’ve lived. That can bring you anywhere right because JK Rowling didn’t go to Hogwarts. She doesn’t do magic but she understood being lonely as a child right.

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Frances Goodrich Hackett (and Her Husband, Albert) Wrote Themselves a Wonderful Life, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, June 2021

Frances Goodrich Hackett (and Her Husband, Albert) Wrote Themselves a Wonderful Life, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, June 2021

You have watched countless films written or adapted by Frances Goodrich Hackett. She has four Academy Award nominations for screenplays AND a Pulitzer Prize. Yet I bet you didn’t know her name until now. True to the title of one of her most enduring creations Frances had A Wonderful Life. Yep, she (and her writing partner and husband Albert Hackett) developed that beloved film from the bare bones of a postcard. 

Though she was born in 1890, Goodrich found herself in an atypical family — one that accepted the idea of the theatre as a career — and she lived an atypical life for a woman of that era. Goodrich married three times (with the third to Albert being the charm that lasted over 50 years). When Goodrich showed an interest in the stage after her graduation from Vassar in 1912, her father arranged for her to join the Northampton Players stock company in Massachusetts. There her performances convinced her father that she should move to New York where she quickly earned bit parts on the Broadway stage.

Read Frances Goodrich Hackett (and Her Husband, Albert) Wrote Themselves a Wonderful Life on the Script web site


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