09 Friends & Archives As Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

09 Friends & Archives As Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript:

Friends can be unreliable narrators. Salka Viertel was an early screenwriter. She wrote several Greta Garbo films and was in fact sidelined when Greta decided to stop making films. Her home in the Hollywood Hills is a big salon. The new book out “The Sun and Her Stars” is all about that but men who write about her write about her chocolate cake. The only man to write about her as a writer that he respected was Christopher Isherwood the playwright who she rented her guest house to with his lover Don Bachardy and so he respected her work enough to mention that but her friends – her male friends – all thought about her cooking. Archives don’t want to be unreliable narrators but they can be if women don’t send their work to them. If other people don’t preserve the work of women. So as much as we adore these places they don’t tell the whole story either. I don’t think it’s their fault.

 

 


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19 More On Diverse Characters…from The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years [Video] [Doctor Who]

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!

19 More On Diverse Characters…from The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years [Video] [Doctor Who]

Transcript:

We even had a female Jadoon right? That’s like okay I forget – I mean they’re ugly elephant rhino characters right but there are females in there somewhere. No one ever mentioned that before. So he’s really thinking about it all the way and I’ve never forgot how cool it was – I had never heard of Noor Inayat Khan, right? I had never heard the story and now I know right? I know that there were women who were doing radio operations and all this stuff in World War II. I wouldn’t have known that except he decided to include her as an example of a female hero. So I think he’s really going wide to give us these stories and that impresses me.

 

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10 Gwen & Rhys from Why Torchwood Still Matters with Dr. Rosanne Welch, 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

10 Gwen & Rhys from Why Torchwood Still Matters with Dr. Rosanne Welch, San Diego Who Con 2021 [Video]

Transcript:

What’s beautiful about Gwen right is that she’s beautiful but she’s powerful. She’s smart. We eventually get around the fact that she has a baby and she’s still gonna be as empowered and smart as she is and she’s gonna keep her job and because she has a family that will help that happen right? So we have actually not just that she’s powerful but she’s in a balanced marriage. She’s in a marriage with someone who’s her partner, not someone above her or below her right? They’re equals and they’re sharing in their business and finally, I’ve got a couple of friends like this. One’s a lawyer at a big law firm and she got partner and her husband didn’t at his firm so when they decided to have a baby it was like well who’s going to stay home? The lady who’s making all kinds of money or the guy who’s not. I think it’s the guy and he was totally cool with that because they’re making tons of money and he gets to be with the baby but we’re still looking at that like it’s an oddity when it needn’t be. It’s what’s best for this family right and this balanced family came to us in Torchwood. This idea that a man would be okay with his wife having this more exciting life.

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14 More On Books I Couldn’t Teach Without from In Conversation with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

14 More On Books Couldn't Teach Without from In Conversation with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Transcript:

…and there were some older books they argue about. So I won’t say that. I don’t want to put anybody down but we notice in some later texts they’re still not mentioning women enough and so that’s a big deal. That’s something – there’s no one who’s written that history of screenwriting that has the balance that without having to bring in two other books to teach you everything and then there is a great book called Anita Loos Rediscovered where they found a bunch of her written screenplays which were more or less short stories right back in the silent era but you can see the germs of who she was and how her voice came through those stories and much of her stuff has been preserved. So you can then go watch the silent film on youtube because it does still exist. So that’s a lovely way to see the growth of a writer. I like those kinds of books that – so, of course, any biography of a writer. There’s a new one on Salka Viertel that just came out and she wrote for Greta Garbo and then she also hosted salons that had most of the German refugees that moved to Hollywood. So she was sort of giving them a place to be together while they sort of found their legs in this new city.

One of the benefits of attending conferences is that you can meet the editors from the companies that have published some of your books face to face. That happened at the recent SCMS conference where I met Intellect editor James Campbell and he invited me to be a guest on his InstagramLive show.

We chatted about my work with the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, and then my work with co-editor Rose Ferrell on the Journal of Screenwriting’s special issue on Women in Screenwriting (Volume 11, Number 3) that came out recently and which featured articles about an international set of female screenwriters from Syria, Argentina, China and Canada (to name a few).

We even had time to nerd out on our own favorite classic films across the eras which brought up fun memories of Angels with Dirty Faces, Back to the Future, Bonnie and Clyde, and of course, all things Star Wars from the original 3 to The Mandalorian. It’s always so fun to talk to fellow cinephiles.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

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With Intellect Books Editor James Campbell (@IntellectBooks)

Speaking with Dr. Rosanne Welch, Author, teacher, and television screenwriter. Today we cover everything from women in screenwriting to our favorite Jimmy Cagney movies and Friends.

Journal of Screenwriting Cover

08 Bess Meredyth from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

08 Bess Meredyth from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript:

Bess Meredyth had the same thing happen. Her husband Michael Curtiz pretty much neglects to mention her. He of course directed Casablanca and the Epstein brothers are fond of saying that whenever there was a problem on the set Michael Curtiz would say I have to go figure this out and they knew he went to the office and he called his wife at home and she would solve the story problem and he would come back to the set and say he’d figured it out but the Epstein’s knew that he couldn’t figure it out. It was Bess who was doing it for him from home. Sadly her son did the same thing to her. In his own memoir about his television writing career, he didn’t bother asking his mother much about what she did because what could she really have done that was very important right? She was a girl. So by accident he dismissed his own mother and her career which was quite long and quite famous.

 

 


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18 Diverse Characters…from The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years [Video] [Doctor Who]

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!

bbc,chibnall,doctorwho,history,screenwriting,television,thedoctor,tv,video,Whittaker,whoniverse,women

 

Transcript:

Again he promised that all the stories would be more gendered in terms of more female-focused and so think about the people we met along the way all right. Obviously, they decided to do the Rosa story which I find interesting from an American perspective because here’s a large piece of American history we’re going to see how it is envisioned by another country right? I loved when they asked Ryan what do you know about her –– like she was a bus driver. Why should he –– like he doesn’t have to know that. We know that because we teach it to our kids more often in the same way that if we asked about certain kings I’m not sure which one did what/ Who signed the Magna Carta again? I don’t know. Do we teach that in the states as much as they you know… So it was a lovely moment to go the whole world isn’t America focused right? There’s a bigger world out there but again a great choice to do her as a character.

 

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09 Gwen Cooper from Why Torchwood Still Matters with Dr. Rosanne Welch, 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

09 Gwen Cooper from Why Torchwood Still Matters with Dr. Rosanne Welch, San Diego Who Con 2021 [Video]

Transcript:

Of course, one of the reasons that I love Torchwood is Gwen Cooper, right, and this comes directly, again, from Russell. One of the quotes he gave me was your know, I never see good gay representation. I never see good African-American representation, but what really stinks is how badly women are represented on television and that’s an amazing thing for a guy to recognize, but that is, of course, who he is. He’s a writer. He’s an artist. He’s thinking about people as whole beings and it’s true, right? I mean that’s why there’s a show on American TV now called “Kevin Can Go F*** Himself.” They’ve taken – because, for years, as I’ve watched comedies, you know, sitcoms, when I was a kid you were always like why is that really useless man married to that really excellent woman? I don’t believe for 3 seconds that he’s forgotten their anniversary for 12 years in a row and she still puts up with it. Like why am learning that’s how I’m supposed to accept my mate. This is nonsense and that’s what that show is about now. She actually – you get two versions. You see the sitcom scenes and then see her alone in a scene where she’s planning to murder him because he deserves it. And you’re like Wow, Ok. So Russell recognized he wanted to bring forth a real;y interesting woman and you can’t necessarily see a million of those yet on TV. We still don’t see as many empowered women – in this case, Gwen Cooper.

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13 More On The Classic Books Couldn’t Teach Without from In Conversation with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

13 More On The Classic Books Couldn't Teach Without from In Conversation with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Transcript:

Host: What are these books that they couldn’t teach without? The people you know were interested in screenwriting or studying screenwriting maybe go check out or it could be film theory in general.

Rosanne: Right. Well, I definitely like Carrie Beauchamp’s book “Without Lying Down” which is the story of Francis Marion and all the other women who worked at the same time. She was a sort of a salon kind of person, lots of female friends and they helped each other. So that’s a great book. I used Tom Stemple’s “Framework” which is older now. It’s one of the first textbooks of screenwriters, not directors. He was a student at UCLA and he wrote that he was assigned to cover the –– to create the oral history for Nunnally Johnson and in getting to know the man I think he did 11 hours of tapes and so then he wrote the first biography of Nunnally Johnson. One of the earliest biographies of a writer and then we’re going to get the biographies of Dalton Trumbo coming from other people. So he sort of started this niche –– what is the history of screenwriting? Then Horton and Hockster have a really good book on screenwriting which is more modern which is good but it’s been out for about eight or nine years now and my students tend to like that.

One of the benefits of attending conferences is that you can meet the editors from the companies that have published some of your books face to face. That happened at the recent SCMS conference where I met Intellect editor James Campbell and he invited me to be a guest on his InstagramLive show.

We chatted about my work with the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, and then my work with co-editor Rose Ferrell on the Journal of Screenwriting’s special issue on Women in Screenwriting (Volume 11, Number 3) that came out recently and which featured articles about an international set of female screenwriters from Syria, Argentina, China and Canada (to name a few).

We even had time to nerd out on our own favorite classic films across the eras which brought up fun memories of Angels with Dirty Faces, Back to the Future, Bonnie and Clyde, and of course, all things Star Wars from the original 3 to The Mandalorian. It’s always so fun to talk to fellow cinephiles.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Watch this entire presentation

 

With Intellect Books Editor James Campbell (@IntellectBooks)

Speaking with Dr. Rosanne Welch, Author, teacher, and television screenwriter. Today we cover everything from women in screenwriting to our favorite Jimmy Cagney movies and Friends.

Journal of Screenwriting Cover

07 Husbands As Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

07 Husbands As Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript:

Husbands are unreliable narrators. Sarah Y. Mason wrote with her husband Victor Herman who later became a director of the Marx Brothers comedies. They won an Oscar for adapting Little Women and they wrote it twice right? They wrote the original version and they wrote the Katherine Hepburn version. They won to oscar together. When he did his oral history he said that he was the better writer than his wife. She was already dead. She didn’t get to say how much work he really did but if you look them up on IMDb, she has about 20 credits before she marries him and about 20 or 30 credits after they stop writing together because he becomes a director. He has about seven credits and half of those are writing with her. So who’s the real writer in that team. I don’t know but I think I can tell you. Clara Behringer’s husband did pretty much the same thing and Clara helped found the writing department at USC. She wrote one of these earliest books on how to write for the screen –– which is very difficult to use because it costs about $600 online right now –– because it’s like there’s few copies left but she wrote 85 different films. Her name is not particularly brought up often at USC even though she helped found the school and her husband was William DeMille who wrote about his career and not about hers.

 

 


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17 Diverse Writers…from The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years [Video] [Doctor Who]

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!

17 Diverse Writers…from The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years [Video] [Doctor Who]

Transcript:

This comes from the writer’s room and they do those a little bit differently in the UK as well. They don’t necessarily have everyone on staff meeting every day the way we do in the states but he hired a group of people to write certain freelance episodes expecting to get this variety of stories that we had not yet seen before and so he was looking to hire more women of course and more people of color which was not you know a record that Doctor Who had going well for it even moving into the Steven Moffat years. So he made a commitment and he followed through. What’s interesting about a lot of these writers is they came out of theater where there’s a little bit more chance sometimes because you can do smaller plays in smaller locations around the country and then someone can sample your writing. It’s hard to break into television even in the UK. It’s even a smaller business than here. So he was looking into other places to find new writers for these shows and I think again I think he succeeded there.

 

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