All About The Almighty Johnsons with the Fake Geek Girls Podcast – Episode 165 [Audio]

As we’ve all been advised, if you put something out on the internet folks will stumble over you and your work and offer you new opportunities.

That happened last month when Melissa Banks, who co-hosts the Fake Geek Girls podcast found an essay I had written and recorded to my blog in 2015 (How the Female Characters in The Almighty Johnsons were Misused – and how that likely lead to the early end of a great series…). 

All About The Almighty Johnsons with the Fake Geek Girls Podcast - Episode 165

It’s about a New Zealand show called The Almighty Johnsons and my opinion had to do with how I felt the writers had done a disservice to the female characters on the show. So here in 2021 Melissa and her co-host were planning an episode around the show, found my essay and asked for permission to quote it, which I happily gave.

If you know the Almighty Johnsons this whole episode will be of interest; if not my quote comes into the conversation here at 1:18:25  when they Introduce to the section on gender in the show and then at 1:19:22 – when they begin using my quotes.

Listen to All About The Almighty Johnsons with the Fake Geek Girls Podcast – Episode 165

47 Selling Your Nightmares from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

47 Selling Your Nightmares 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:

What I learned from being in a writer’s room is the things you need to do most are the things you learn in English and Humanities classes. First of all, you’re selling your nightmares. What are the worst things you can imagine happening? Make stories out of that. They’re the what-ifs of your life. That whole Down Syndrome baby thing. I was pregnant when I wrote that. You have no idea when you’re going to have a kid right unless you get all the tests and even if you get all the tests you’re not sure until the day the kid shows up and you imagine all the awful things that might happen right? So I was in the middle of that when I wrote that episode. So that was my true emotion that was happening. I wrote an episode once about what if your husband committed suicide. I’ve got all kinds of episodes. I just thought what are the worst things that could happen to me and bam they became episodes over and over again right? So you’ve got to mine your nightmares and manage them.

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The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years (Complete) [Video]

It was great to be able to attend this year’s SD WhoCon in San Diego and present this lecture on “The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years” in which I discuss how successful I think showrunner Christopher Chibnall was in making that transition.

It gave me a chance to talk about the creative work of a showrunner/screenwriter while also reconnecting to some friends we had met at this same convention some 3 years ago – and to talk about one of my favorite subjects – Doctor Who!

The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years (Complete) [Video]


 

46 The Importance of Pronouns from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

46 The Importance of Pronouns 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:

So that was fine. Renoly was marvelous and we had a marvelous time working on that. One of the things I learned was remembering the importance of words. The simple act of in one scene, of course, he gets shot, right — because he’s in a gang — they had to go to the hospital and all I had to do was write “The doctor walks in and SHE says…” and they hired a lady as the doctor. If I had not used that pronoun they would have hired a man because that’s what an extra casting director would simply have gone to — his stereotype. Doctors are boys, right? So just because of the word she I got a woman a job and little girls in America the chances to know that doctors are girls. Now y’all, as I said better over here right because that’s very cool but that’s what Shonda Rhimes has built her whole career on right, colorblind casting and gender blind casting. Let’s just get in good actors to do these parts and see where we go from there, which I think is a really brilliant thing and what she’s built her whole thing on.

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“I mean, who doesn’t love Capt. Jack?!” via Instagram

“I mean, who doesn’t love Capt. Jack?!” via Instagram

I had a great time a speaking on Why Torchwood Still Matters at San Diego Whocon.

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Dr. Rosanne Welch’s Chapter in Doctor Who – New Dawn: Essays on the Jodie Whittaker Era from Manchester University Press Now Available

Dr. Rosanne Welch's Chapter in Doctor Who - New Dawn: Essays on the Jodie Whittaker Era  from Manchester University Press Now Available

I’m happy to announce the publication of Doctor Who New Dawn: Essays on the Jodie Whittaker Era for which I was invited to write a chapter. 

My focus was on the delicate work showrunner/writer Chris Chibnall had to do in realizing this new Doctor so it’s called “She is Wise and Unafraid” Writing the First Female Doctor and a Diverse Universe for her to Protect

I touch on the myriad decisions a showrunner makes in creating a character from costuming to sidekicks (called companions in the Whoniverse) to dialogue.   I was excited to have been invited to contribute to this collection and proud to showcase the way screenwriters work.

I know academic books can be expensive but you can always ask your local or college library to order a copy for you to read!  

 

Doctor Who – new dawn explores the latest cultural moment in this long-running BBC TV series: the casting of a female lead. Analysing showrunner Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker’s era means considering contemporary Doctor Who as an inclusive, regendered brand. Featuring original interview material with cast members, this edited collection also includes an in-depth discussion with Segun Akinola, composer of the iconic theme tune’s current version. The book critically address the series’ representations of diversity, as well as fan responses to the thirteenth Doctor via the likes of memes, cosplay and even translation into Spanish as a grammatically gendered language. In addition, concluding essays look at how this moment of Who has been merchandised, especially via the ‘experience economy’, and how official/unofficial reactions to UK lockdown helped the show to further re-emphasise its public-service potential.

P.S. You can check out the trailer for Jodie’s upcoming 3rd season here:

45 Casting and Production Issues from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

45 Casting and Production Issues 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:

But now I had to deal with everybody else and their stereotypes. One of which was oh so the gang should clearly be Black or Hispanic and I was like no no we’ve done that too much. In my neighborhood, they were Armenian gangs at the time. Not that you want to pick on any one group but you know it was a new group that hadn’t been picked on too much on TV. I argued for a good solid two days in that room why it should be an Armenian gang and I kept getting flack about America doesn’t understand that. They only understand these two groups blah blah and I was losing that battle and one of the producers told me to shut up and I kept talking because I didn’t want to lose that battle until finally, the person who usurped me was the casting director who knew that was the storyline we were playing with and he came in the room and he said I don’t have an Armenian actor who could be a guest star but I have this guy Renoly Santiago who had just done Hackers, Conair and oh the Michelle Pfeiffer movie where she’s a teacher and she used to be the military. it’s not Stand and Deliver… Dangerous Minds. He had just started all three of those movies and he was willing to do a television episode. So the casting director came in and said we got him. He’s Hispanic. That’s the gang and I lost the argument based on the popularity of the guest actor they could get.

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44 Sneaky Methods from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

44 Sneaky Methods 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:

Well, first of all, I wanted to pitch a show. I’d read an article about a priest in LA who worked with gang kids who were also parents and I wanted to do something where a boy had to pick whether he should be — oh look it’s a father episode — more devoted to the family he created or to the gang that was his fake family right? He had to learn that the gang wasn’t real but his own family was real.

I wanted to pitch that but I knew that one of the other episode guys– one of the other writers — didn’t like to do things with gangs. I was like well that’s stupid that’s writing out a whole sort of storyline. So I had to get my boss alone and the boss on this show happened to be a female and interestingly enough there’s one place that a girl writer could follow a female producer that none of the boys could follow us — the loo — ladies and gentlemen, so I waited until she went to the bathroom one day and I followed her in and while I was washing my hands very vigorously I said “Martha I’ve just read this marvelous article about this priest who works with gang boys and I thought what if he did an episode about a teenage gang dad,” and she was like “Well that’s marvelous. We should do that. Let’s talk about it,” and we went back into the room, where there were two guys I knew didn’t want to do anything about gangs and she pitched it and they can’t say no to the boss. So I got it.

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43 Protecting Your Story from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

43 Protecting Your Story 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:

As I’m thinking about this idea, I didn’t pitch it for a while because I knew the answer would be to marry them and I didn’t want to do that and then one day Mrs. Doubtfire was on TV and I was watching. It reminded me of the article and I thought “Oh I will immediately pitch the story where the wife is already remarried” because the answer from angels can’t be get a second divorce in order to go right. So that was my reasoning around why they didn’t get back together and when I pitched it, it worked because I got the story I wanted and not the story that would have been molded from somebody else’s opinion. It’s hard when you’re in a writer’s room and you’re not the head of it because you are doing their show. It’s what they want done right but you have to keep some of yourself inside there too because that’s the theme. That’s the attitude. That’s the voice that you’re bringing to the story. So I couldn’t pitch it until I knew that I could protect the full story the way I wanted it to come out.

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42 Pitching Against Cliche from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

42 Pitching Against Cliche 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 particular episode was called “A House Divided.” It didn’t have Robin Williams in it. That’s from which movie? Mrs. Doubtfire, right, because I read an article about Mrs. Doubtfire. I wanted to do an episode about teaching parents not to teach their — make their child a weapon in their divorce right and because that’s the story of divorce. It’s like you love me more than you love him. My problem was i knew that my boss’s answer would be the parents — like The Parent Trap — should get married again at the end. That’s the answer that our show should give but i had read an interview with Robin Williams that had taken place several years earlier. When he agreed to do Mrs. Doubtfire, he put in his contract that the film could not end with he and Sally Field getting married again because he would not lie to his own children because he was divorced twice by then and he knew he was never getting back together with his first wife. So he would not do a movie that lied to his own children and that really struck me. So the way they fixed it was they made Sally Field already connected to Pierce Brosnan right?

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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
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