23 Being True To Your Ideas from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

23 Being True To Your Ideas from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

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When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript:

In this particular episode, I was doing a piece about a married couple that I were using their children as weapons during the divorce and I wanted that lesson to be don’t do that and I had to bring in memories of Mrs. Doubtfire because on my show I was afraid the answer would be don’t get divorced and that’s not an honest answer to young children whose parents are getting divorced. So happily when Robin Williams did this film he only agreed to do it if in the end the couple never got back together. Since he was a divorced man and he didn’t want to lie to his kids. So i took that lesson and I made sure that one of the parents was already remarried so I thought that was kind of fun but I had to go around the desires of my executive producer in order to make sure that I got what I wanted right? So you have to learn the people in the room.

 

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


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09 Beverly Hills 90210 from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 [Video]

Watch the entire presentation – Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 here

09 Beverly Hills 90210 from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29

Transcript:

Host: Were you a writer? Were you a writer’s assistant in that?

Rosanne:I was a freelance writer on that. That was my very first script.

Host: Okay so wow yeah. How did you– how did you feel when you got like the um the chance?

Rosanne: That’s wonderful stuff. It’s wonderful stuff. It was because at the time I had a partner and she was the assistant to the executive producer of that show. So after reading four — count them — four spec scripts of ours, he finally agreed to let us pitch and so we came in and pitched and that was lovely. So she was much more comfortable in that room than I was because she knew everybody. She’d been there for two or three years at that point but you know I knew the gentleman in charge, Chuck Rosen was one of the quote-unquote good guys in town. A real — a sweetheart. He’d been on a show called Northern Exposure, which I adored. He’s an excellent writer — just and cared about the stories.

It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.

Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).

We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.

Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!

The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.

The Importance of Endings

The Importance of Endings

I had typed out one of those quotes I tend to use all the time –

“So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.”

— and in my habit I wanted to credit the writer of the quote, which we all know comes from the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, adapted by David Seltzer from the book by Roald Dahl. 

My question became “Did that line come from the book OR the film OR both?”  I couldn’t find any clarification on that right away – but I did find this great NPR interview with Seltzer about how he changed the ending of the film because the director felt “It ends with the word, yippee? He said that’s not a screen play. That’s not a movie. You can’t do that” so Seltzer rewrote the ending to be this:

Mr. SELTZER: It ends with the word, yippee? He said that’s not a screen play. That’s not a movie. You can’t do that.

COHEN: So, what did you do?

Mr. SELTZER: I said, well, let me think about it. You know, how long do I have? He said, how long? We’re standing here. It’s $30,000 an hour. You tell me. And, I said, well, give me a second. And I think it was about 6 in the morning. And I walked down, literally, looked over the lake in Maine. I thought, what the hell am I going to do? My head space was totally out of this movie. I could barely remember what had led up to this but I thought, OK, it’s a fairy tale. It’s a children’s story, and how do children’s stories end? I don’t know. How could – how do they end? They end with, they all lived happily ever after. But that’s not good. That’s not what a screenwriter writes. And so I took a deep swallow and I went to the phone. I said, Mel, OK, listen carefully. They’re going up in the spaceship and looking at the ground disappear. And Willy Wonka announces to Charlie that the chocolate factory is his. Then, Willy Wonka looks at him and he says, but Charlie – in a very cautious voice – you do know what happened to the little boy who suddenly got everything he ever wanted, don’t you? And fear comes across Charlie’s face and he says, no, what? And Willy says, he lived happily ever after. And it was a long pause, and I thought my career as a screenwriter is over.



 

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.

Watch this entire presentation

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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

22 Getting What You Want In The Room from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

22 Getting What You Want In The Room from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

Subscribe to Rosanne’s Channel and receive notice of each new video!

 

 

When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript:

In all of them, I learned something about how a room should be run, and one of the first things I teach my students is that you have to — you should take a class in psychology. You need you need to know how to read a room and know how to behave in the room with people and that’s something that sometimes people don’t know. So it’s a silly thing but it’s true. This — on this episode, Smokescreen, we have two people, Roma Downey who is an Irish-American woman and Della Reese, who is an African-American woman. They would pretend to be other people in people’s lives. In this particular episode, Roma always did more work because she was younger and Della only worked three days a week because she was in her 70s. They were going to have Roma portray this gentleman’s lawyer and Della portray his maid and I understood how upsetting that would be to my African-American friends if yet another maid character was portrayed by an African-American woman. So I said we shouldn’t do that. What if we switched it and the problem was production, Della didn’t have many hours in the week to do that filming. So we could have ended the idea there but I was a little pushy then and and I wanted the movement and i suggested we ask her, would she be willing to work an extra day that week for the chance not to play a maid and guess what she said. Exactly.

 

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


Ready to present my talk yesterday at the Screenwriting Research Conference here in Porto, Portugal via Instagram

Follow me on Instagram



* 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!

08 Playing The Game… from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 [Video]

Watch the entire presentation – Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 here

08 Playing The Game... from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 [Video]

Transcript:

…and you really need to understand how the business works not just the people management then but now move up to understanding how the network makes their decisions and how do you sell things to them. I mean I’ve had showrunning friends who will tell stories about how there were moments they wanted in a script and they knew the network wouldn’t like those moments. Maybe they’re pushing the envelope on something. So they put in a couple of worse moments knowing that when the network said oh you can’t do that or that or that they’d go I hear what you’re saying. I understand. I won’t do that or that but I’ve got to have this and they’d get the one thing they really wanted. So they were playing a little chess game as well right? So at every level, there’s an understanding of what do people need. How do I give them what I want and still what they need at the same time.

It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.

Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).

We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.

Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!

The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.

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.

Watch this entire presentation

Subscribe to Rosanne’s Channel and receive notice of each new video!

 


* 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

21 In The Room Where It Happens from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

With the full recording of “How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television”

21 In The Room Where It Happens from How The Chaos Of Collaboration in the Writers Room Created Golden Age Television [Video]

Subscribe to Rosanne’s Channel and receive notice of each new video!

 

 

When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.

Transcript:

Tina Fey obviously has run a couple of shows quite well and I like what she has to say about what happens in the room.

Her voice is always so clear. You know that’s her — that humor she can’t keep away from. That’s really kind of interesting and they run the room together — and a married couple — that’s a unique and interesting way to run a room right and that’s true for 30 Rock and Kimmy Schmidt and he did the music for her broadway play on Mean Girls. Now when I was on Touched by Angel, we had a whole lot of other things that we learned. I began in the business as a receptionist and then I became a writer’s assistant on these shows, so I sat in these rooms as these ideas were being broken. I got to watch the evolution of that job which was a new thing letting someone in the room with the writers. They hadn’t done that before but with the advent of computers, they wanted someone to keep a log of who said what. So we always had that information. So that was interesting to me. Then I was I did freelance writing and all the shows before I got on staff.

 

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


Ready to present my talk yesterday at the Screenwriting Research Conference here in Porto, Portugal via Instagram

Follow me on Instagram



* 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!

Concord Days: Dr Rosanne Welch discusses Margaret Fuller in Italy [Video] (53 mins)

In researching and writing my book on Giuseppe and Anita Garibaldi and the unification of Italy (A Man Of Action Saving Liberty: A Novel Based On The Life Of Giuseppe Garibaldi)  I re-discovered the first American female war correspondent – Margaret Fuller — who I had first met in a college course on the Transcendentalists. I was once again fascinated by a life lived purposefully.

Then I found Tammy Rose’s podcast on the Transcendentalists – Concord Days – and was delighted when she asked me to guest for a discussion of Fuller’s work in Italy as both a journalist – and a nurse. — Rosanne

Concord Days: Dr Rosanne Welch discusses Margaret Fuller in Italy [Video] (53 mins)

Concord Days sends love to Margaret Fuller on the anniversary of her death in 1850.

The conversation focuses on Margaret’s exciting days in ITALY!

Dr. Rosanne Welch takes us through her adventures and enthusiastically reminds us what she was like when she was living her best life!


 

 

William Blinn, Brian’s Song, Purple Rain, and Screenwriting

William Blinn, Screenwriting, Brian's Song, and Purple Rain

Sometimes I love the way the internet lets you drill down layer after layer of research when you only had one small question – but you learn things you forgot you wanted to know.  When I saw a question on Quora’s Ask a Screenwriter forum about the best “Based on a True Story” films the one that came immediately to mind was Brian’s Song so first I found the trailer:

Naturally then, I wanted to know who wrote it, which brought me to the film’s Wikipedia page, which brought me to William Blinn’s Wikipedia page

There I came to find that not only did he win an Emmy for writing that TV film but also one for writing on the original Roots.  Here he receives the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television for “a WGA guild member who has advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.”

His advice to young writers is to “get off you’re a** and do the work” and to “Tell the truth in an interesting way.”

(If you listen to nothing else in this blog post – listen to that speech!).

Blinn was nominated 3 times for episodes of Fame. And he won Humanitas and Peabody Awards along the way.   Blinn also produced Starsky and Hutch (both the TV show and the 2004 movie!). Finally, he co-wrote Purple Rain

THAT is a career –  and you probably have never heard of him. 

Finally, I came to remember how much I had resisted watching “a football movie”  but I kept hearing how much other people loved it so when it re-ran on the 11:30pm film one night I snuck out of bed in the childhood home I shared with my grandparents and watched the film – finding myself sobbing as it ended.  I had never seen a film about such a strong male friendship – and I have rarely seen on as strong since.

Yay for the internet – and Yay for William Blinn.