10 Three Women Of Color 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”

 

10 Three Women Of Color from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript:

They don’t tell the story of people like Marion E. Wong all right. Without having the material, these stories disappear. She’s just really coming into the textbooks now. She was from San Francisco. She only made one film which was “The Curse of Kwon Guan.” She tried to get it distributed and she was turned down by almost every distributor in New York. She traveled from San Francisco to New York with her parents and they could not get the movie sold. So they went bankrupt on it and they continued running their restaurant in San Francisco.

Jeannie Louise Toussaint Welcome was a famous African-American screenwriter in the early silent days. She worked out of Chicago. She comes from a famous family to the extent that her brother was a Harlem Renaissance photographer and her parents worked for President Ulysses S. Grant. We have advertisements of the work that she did and the films that she made but none had been preserved. So we do not have things to study right? So the archives can’t tell us the whole story because these women do not have their words in those archives. We have advertisements for what they did. That’s how we know that they worked. The same is true with Tressie Souders who worked out of Kansas, We have listings from movies that were made and distributed in black-owned theaters and those kinds of things and Eloyce King Patrick Gist. We know of course more about Zora Neil Hurston because she was doing documentary work through the WPA. So and because of her novels she’s a name that we recognize but these other people were all working in this time period and forgotten because they don’t exist in our archives.

 

 


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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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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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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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06 Female Writers Can Be 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”

06 Female Writers Can Be Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript:

Francis Marion. So female writers are their own unreliable narrators. She was throwing away all her papers at the end of her career. She felt nobody would care. Her secretary dragged them out of the trash and gave them to Carrie Beauchamp who ended up writing “Without Lying Down”, right? This is one of the most wonderful books about the history of Francis Marion which wouldn’t have existed because the female writer herself threw away her work. She did not think that it was worth keeping. She didn’t think anybody would care. Likewise, Carrie worked on “Anita Loos Rediscovered” I don’t think Anita Loos needed rediscovering because Anita was very good at taking care of herself. So I apologize to Mr. Stemple for having to say his book didn’t tell us what it should but I’m not going to apologize to Mark Norman because he knew better. His book came out after Carrie’s book did and he actually interviewed Carrie and he refused to use the information from her book in his. So there.

 

 


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05 Unreliable Narrators In Textbooks 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”

05 Unreliable Narrators In Textbooks from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 

Transcript:

Screenwriters who write textbooks are unreliable narrators. When Mark Norman wrote What Happens Next he has about six women mentioned in the entire book and he declares that their work wasn’t very worth studying. So this is not a textbook that I use after two years of trying it and my students pretty much having a fit. Now I love Tom Stempel. Tom gave us the first book on screenwriting history but he didn’t know anything about Francis Marion at the time. He didn’t have much to say about her and I’ll tell you why in a second. For McPherson, he listened to what Cecil B DeMille had to say and that’s what ends up in his book. Now i’ve been lucky enough to have him come to speak to my students and he has apologized because he’s learned more in the days since he wrote that book and he asked the publishing company could he do a rewrite but they didn’t think that the ratio of new pages would make the higher price worth it and they didn’t give that to him but he has a column you can read in Script Magazine and he tries to cover for the things he missed originally.

 

 


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04 Joan Harrison & Jeannie Macpherson 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”

04 Joan Harrison & Jeannie Macpherson from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 

Transcript:

Joan Harrison as we think about Alfred Hitchcock and we’re gonna hear all more about her later. So I won’t go into it but let’s remember that we call them Hitchcock films but they were written by other people. Hitchcock is not a writer all right. she wrote Rebecca which got the academy award nomination and there’s also in the corner here just a little bit on John Michael Hayes who wrote several other Hitchcock films. I really hate the fact that directors get authorship but that’s another story. Look at this picture. Almost everybody can name Cecil B. DeMille whether you recognize him or not. If I say his name you’ve heard it a million times in film history. So you know Jeannie Mcpherson? Jeannie Mcpherson wrote almost all of the films that Cecil B. DeMille made that made money and when they stopped working together his films stopped making money but when he was giving an oral history later in life, she had already died. He said “She was not a good writer. She would bring in wonderful ideas but she could not carry a story all the way through. I carried the story” and his word is the last word we have on her career because she died too young for people to start doing oral histories and by the way she was a pilot too. That’s not from her acting. She was actually a pilot. She was his private pilot.

 

 


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03 Teaching the History of Screenwriting 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”

03 Teaching the History of Screenwriting from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]
Transcript:

I don’t teach the history of film. I teach the history of screenwriting because the history of film equals the history of directors which becomes a history of great men and great men are very unreliable narrators. They just are right? So let’s start with directors. Directors are terrible narrators. Alfred Hitchcock in his biographies has said that he learned everything he knew about making movies from a middle-aged American woman. He did not even name her, all right? He did not even name her which means she disappears in history but she was, in fact, Eve Unsell. Eve Unsell had been discovered by Beatrice DeMille, more than the mother to Cecil B. DeMille. She was, in fact, a screenwriter and a playwright and she helped many women get started in the business. Eve became a writer for Famous Players Laskey. She had her own production company – one of the earliest women to have her own production company – and she was so beloved by Famous Players Laskey – they sent her to England to right the mixed up studio they had started there and while in England she trained this young kid named Alfred what’s his name again. She told him everything she knew about making films and he can’t even remember to put her name in a book about him. That makes me crazy.

 

 


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Dr. Rosanne Welch at Broadcast Educators Association (BEA) 2022

Broadcast Educators Association (BEA) 2022

I attended my first Broadcast Educators Association (BEA) conference last weekend on the invite of Dr. Ed Fink, my former department chair, and greatly enjoyed hosting a pitchathon for graduation bachelor students interested in creating their own television shows. 

My co-panelists included two fun colleagues who have become good friends  –  Jon Vandergriff (Stephens College) and David Morgassen (CSUF).  We gave feedback on 9 different pitches and followed it up with a Q&A about the world of being a professional writer.  The audience was so interested and engaged that after our session ended, we all grabbed a table together and kept talking until we closed the venue down for the night.

Dr. Rosanne Welch at Broadcast Educators Association (BEA) 2022

Meeting potential MFA candidates is one reason to attend events like this one – but mostly it’s to make new friends in the academic world and strengthen the friendships you’ve already created; to learn how they approach the teaching of screenwriting or media history and bring those ideas back to my own classrooms. 

On this trip, I met professors from Illinois and Michigan and reconnected with folks I’ve worked with at CSUF and elsewhere.  Having lunch and hashing over which films or television shows to teach and how to best help students learn to analyze these in order to improve their writing is the heart of such a conference.  Meeting the students and hearing their ideas is the icing on the cake.

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

02 How Do We Get Forgotten? 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”

02 How Do We Get Forgotten? from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 
Transcript: My teaching philosophy is Words Matter. Writers Matter. Women Writers Matter and we need to pay more attention to them. So we’re back to what I’m originally talking about. How do we get forgotten in the books? Well, this is a lovely example not from screenwriting but from art. When this painting sold – the painting of David And Goliath – it was assumed to belong to Giovanni Francesco but in fact, it belonged to Artemisia and Artemisia Gentileschi is just now coming out as someone that we’re going to learn more about in the art world. So this happens to us all the time – it happens to women all the time.

(technical issues)

She painted that. Artemisia that’s her self-portrait. she painted David and Goliath. We’re doing this in all the different worlds and I think we need to pay attention to how we’re doing it in Hollywood.

Our intrepid panel leader, Christina Lane (author of Phantom Lady – the new biography of writer-producer Joan Harrison) kept us connected across the time.  Other panel participants included Philana Payton (UCLA) who is researching the memoirs of Eartha Kitt and Vicki Callahan (USC) who covered the career of Mabel Normand.  I was happy to highlight the many female screenwriters whose histories were left on the cutting room floor thanks to the unreliable narrators of their work who included directors, film reviewers, and husbands – all who left the female writers out of their own memories.


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