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.

 

 


Watch this entire presentation

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.

 

 


Watch this entire presentation

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.

 

 


Watch this entire presentation

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.


Watch this entire presentation

01 Introduction 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”

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

 
Transcript: That was marvelous and I’m so excited about this panel because we’re all talking a little bit about everything which is really nice. Yes, love men. Don’t want to pick on men. Married to a man. Have a son but there you go. We’re going to talk about how men forget women in the archives. First, I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking from the traditional lands of the Tongva people and I want to respect their elders and their people that came before us. This was the ground of Los Angeles all the way out to the Catalina islands and I think it’s something worth people studying. Very briefly about me. I was a television writer for 20 years. So I wrote on 90210 and Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. Currently, I’m kind of using words from my book When Women Wrote Hollywood which is about the early silent screenwriters – female screenwriters – and how they have been forgotten. I also am the book review editor for the Journal of Screenwriting. So if you ever want to write a review or have a book that needs reviewing, let me know because I’d love to do that and I’m on the editorial board for Written By magazine which I always suggest people read. It is free digitally online about every six weeks the Writer’s Guild comes out with it and there are some wonderful interviews with movie star – movie writers and tv writers. So that’s kind of the world I’m in. I am the executive director of the Stephens College TV and Screenwriting MFA and our mantra is Write, Reach and Represent because I think that’s what writing is all about. The school is actually in Missouri but it’s a low residency program so people come to LA and we work at the Jim Henson Studios. So talk about Mabel Normand who worked at Charlie Chaplin studios with him. This was originally Charlie Chaplin Studios before A&M Records and Jim Henson. So it’s a beautiful piece of Hollywood memorabilia.

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.


Watch this entire presentation

24 Conclusion 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”

24 Conclusion 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:

…and then there were many many stories in this one particularly, very quickly, there were people in the room who wanted to shoot down your ideas. Again reading the room and I had an idea about dealing with teenage young men who were fathers and lived in gangs and they had to make a commitment to their real family not their gang family. I knew that someone else in the room would not want me to have the extra script that year because that’s a nice chunk of money he would rather have. So my joke is I followed my executive producer into the bathroom because she was a woman and so was I and then I pitched her while we were washing our hands. So that when we walked back in the room, she already liked the idea and for someone else to shoot it down would be to say she had a bad idea and therefore I got whatever. So reading the room has always been a very important lesson. As well as remembering the doctors have power. Whenever you think about side characters, think about making them ethnic because that’s really important and then these are just the things that I learned from the room. You have to do research. You have to think about your nightmares. You have to speak up. I teach my female students this all the time. Please speak up. Don’t wait for the boys to give you a moment because they won’t and then I learned a lot and then I will briefly just say teachers make great writers because they do and collaboration doesn’t just happen in tv right because these guys collaborated on those films we have to recognize that so collaboration and chaos makes good quality presentations. Thank you.

 

For more information on the Screenwriting Research Network, visit

Screenwriting Research Network Conference, Porto, Portugal, All Sessions


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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]

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 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


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!

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

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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!

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

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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!

20 A-Not-So Safe Space on Friends 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”

20 A-Not-So Safe Space on Friends 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

Friends provides an interesting case study because they were sued by the writer’s assistant who said that the room was unsafe to her. She didn’t like the kind of sexual conversation that went on. She did not win that lawsuit because it was understood that your presumption going into that job — a show about a bunch of single people in New York — is that we’re going to be discussing these things and you should be comfortable in that — or take a different job on a different show. so that was an interesting — how do we run a room? — Safe but open and I don’t that we’ve found a perfect answer to that yet. I think they got away with what they did because they were all new. It was their first show. Look at how young they were. This is them nowadays, right? So, it — they weren’t sure how to run things, right? They were working the best they could.

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!