52 Conclusion from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

52 Conclusion 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 if you don’t think novelists are writers who collaborate think about the fact that all these guys hung around with each other in a writer’s group and read stuff to each other and took notes from each other and made changes based on those notes. Those were writer’s rooms. The Eagle and whatever that pub is called I haven’t gotten to yet …that was a writer’s room right and from that room not only did we get those books. We got this collaboration. Phil Jackson is great. I love him. He’s brilliant. He does great stuff. He doesn’t do it alone. He’s just the guy who’s willing to do the interviews. His wife doesn’t care to do interviews. I don’t know what’s wrong with her but she’s making me crazy right because we’re forgetting that two women co-wrote this movie. That’s what makes it so much better for our times right? They got the best-adapted screenplay award. Two women and a guy made The Lord of the Rings into what it is. I think that’s really important. So who remembers what I said my teaching philosophy was

three things matter

Words matter, Writers matter, and Women Writers matter.

Thank you very much. You’re listening. This thing is good. All right and this is important to me. It’s not just what I know. It’s spreading that around this is my first graduating classroom at Stephen’s MFA. As I said it was an all-female college. So it’s about spreading the word. Writers are teachers with a giant podium. What’s your opinion of how this world should work? Put it out there and the bigger audience you get the more influence you get. Forget YoutTube and who does makeup well. Those aren’t influencers. People who tell stories — I seriously — they’re not — people who tell stories are influencers because stories teach us to feel and that’s what you get paid to do which I love. So again these are a bunch of books I use when I’m just thinking about putting this together. So if you’re interested in reading about showrunners, those are a bunch of books that do interviews with them, and of course, this is the bunch that I’ve written and that’s all I have to say. So I guess we’re doing a q a now right? so if people have questions, I am totally open to your things.

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51 Teacher Make Good Writers from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

51 Teacher Make Good Writers 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:

For me, teachers make good writers. Right? Obviously Icatered this to where I have come and been happy to be. I actually — went too fast — this was my facebook post the other day. I don’t like a lot of words on the screen but I couldn’t resist this because I’ve never been to Oxford before.

So I found this little church just off Wharton Road where he was once a congregant and I had to find the picture and send it back to my husband and the cat just found me which I thought was cute but seriously I mean how long has the guy been dead and I’m still fascinated by the things he wrote? They still mean something to me and my family. Likewise, writers make good teachers.

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50 Collaboration Is Required from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

50 Collaboration Is Required 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 hope you learned from me today is that a writer’s room requires collaboration. It’s always about sharing and talking with the other people to make the product better and participation. You can’t just sit in a corner. You have to be part of that conversation or your perspective will not be included and that’s bad for you and anybody else who looks like you. It’s your job to represent when you’re in the room. So you need to be able to do that. Plus I love this quote of Einstein’s — Imagination. You’re selling your imagination. Who gets to do that? What job do you get to do that in except writing? I think that is the coolest thing in the world.

 

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† Available from the LA Public Library

Why Torchwood Still Matters with Dr. Rosanne Welch (Complete), San Diego Who Con 2021 [Video]

I recently presented a talk on Torchwood (Why Torchwood Still Matters) where I highlighted a few ways in which the show (airing from 2006 to 2011) came up with progressive and innovative ideas that are being used by other franchises today. 

I always enjoy attending the SD (San Diego) WhoCon because the audiences are so well-informed on the Whoniverse and Whovians love Captain Jack and the crew that made this spinoff program so engaging.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Why Torchwood Still Matters with Dr. Rosanne Welch (Complete), San Diego Who Con 2021 [Video]

49 Speaking Up In The Writer’s Room from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

49 Speaking Up In The Writer's Room 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 really say that to the girls a lot because when I have my classes, often when I just open pitching up — anyone can start pitching their ideas — who’s first? We’ll go through a line of like four guys and then I have to stop and go “Does anyone notice anything odd right now?” and I promise you it will be a boy who says “None of the girls have pitched yet.” The girls haven’t even recognized that they are waiting their turn. No one will give you a turn. You have to take a turn or you won’t move as far as you like as fast as you like. So speaking of the big deal and I hate to say it but I learned how to cuss in a writer’s room because sometimes that was the only way to get attention. If I threw out a good four-letter word, all of a sudden everybody was looking at my section of the table which doesn’t make my mother very happy, but it was a silly thing right? So you have to think about managing yourself and managing the other people that you are around. That’s a big deal.

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On The Writers of Doctor Who: Maxine Alderton and The Haunting of the Villa Diodati

On The Writers of Doctor Who: Maxine Alderton and The Haunting of the Villa Diodati

While preparation for some lectures I was giving at the San Diego Who Con (a small and friendly, all vaxxed and masked politely convention celebrating the English sci-fi drama Doctor Who) I researched how the new showrunner, Chris Chibnall, turned the 50 year old character into a female (long story unless you know the show).

That lead me to researching the writers he chose for the last two seasons to bring more diverse stories to the show.

On The Writers of Doctor Who: Maxine Alderton and The Haunting of the Villa Diodati

One such story, The Haunting of the Villa Diodati, written by Maxine Alderton, involved meeting Mary Woolstencroft on the weekend of inventing Frankenstein. For that I found this post about the importance of writing soaps and how, because so many women do it, it has often been dismissed as lesser writing – but in fact, of course, it is not. I think it is yet another area of bias against female writers that needs to be quashed.

PROFILE: Writer Maxine Alderton – Doctor Who: The Haunting of Villa Diodati

Maxie Alderton joins the world of Doctor Who this Sunday, far from her usual stomping ground of Emmerdale. But as the architect of some of the soap opera’s most innovative and exciting episodes of the past decade, she’s a name to watch
 
At first glance Maxine Alderton, writer of The Haunting of Villa Diodati, seems like a strange fit for Doctor Who. After all, of the new writers to join the Doctor Who team this season, she easily has the least background in science fiction and fantasy. And her main track record so far has been across the Yorkshire Dales for popular soap opera Emmerdale. But as soon as you scratch the surface she quickly emerges as an exciting and dynamic writer. One showing every sign of bringing something very special to Doctor Who indeed.

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Watch the trailer for this episode

 

48 Do Your Research and Speak Up There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

48 Do Your Research and Speak Up 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:

You have to always do research. You don’t know everything and you don’t have to but you have to be willing to look. I’ve got a whole lecture I do on the tv show Gidget from the 60s that I discovered every episode written by a woman treated the Gidget character like a real human being and every episode written by a male writer treated her like sort of a doofy, stupid girl and I thought they didn’t even go into reading the book that that show was based on to understand her mentality. Her dad was a college professor and she was studying literature in college. She’s not a ditz right but they didn’t even research that. So you have to really look into everything. You have to like research right? That is something a writer must do.

You have to speak up. You all are shy. I’ll give you that right? You don’t know me so it’s a new thing but you can’t be shy in the room. If you don’t open your mouth, what are they paying you for? You’re only going to write two episodes of a tv show that runs 13 episodes. You get two a year. All those other episodes is you talking. What makes this one better for this writer so we all keep employed next year? So you have to speak up.

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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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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
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† Available from the LA Public Library