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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07 More On Dorothy Parker from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

07 More On Dorothy Parker from

Transcript:

Also has been said about her, her stories feature female characters trying to square exhilarating new choices with the enduring bold constraints of social expectation. The social expectation in A Star Is Born is that a man should be more successful than his wife. That is something that happened in any particular level of the society at the time. Also, her heroines are lovelorn and there are always suicidal alcoholics in so many of her pieces and this appears in other films she wrote without Alan. They did effect eventually split up and get divorced. So she wrote for Hitchcock. He specifically sought her out. He wanted a writer as famous as she and she got an Oscar nomination both for A Star Is Born and for Smash-Up, the story of a woman which was about a female alcoholic. So clearly these are all pieces of her little ingredient book that she threw together into A Star Is Born.

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Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.

It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.

Find out why in this lecture!

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45 Casting and Production Issues from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

45 Casting and Production Issues 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:

But now I had to deal with everybody else and their stereotypes. One of which was oh so the gang should clearly be Black or Hispanic and I was like no no we’ve done that too much. In my neighborhood, they were Armenian gangs at the time. Not that you want to pick on any one group but you know it was a new group that hadn’t been picked on too much on TV. I argued for a good solid two days in that room why it should be an Armenian gang and I kept getting flack about America doesn’t understand that. They only understand these two groups blah blah and I was losing that battle and one of the producers told me to shut up and I kept talking because I didn’t want to lose that battle until finally, the person who usurped me was the casting director who knew that was the storyline we were playing with and he came in the room and he said I don’t have an Armenian actor who could be a guest star but I have this guy Renoly Santiago who had just done Hackers, Conair and oh the Michelle Pfeiffer movie where she’s a teacher and she used to be the military. it’s not Stand and Deliver… Dangerous Minds. He had just started all three of those movies and he was willing to do a television episode. So the casting director came in and said we got him. He’s Hispanic. That’s the gang and I lost the argument based on the popularity of the guest actor they could get.

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† Available from the LA Public Library

06 Dorothy Parker from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

06 Dorothy Parker from

Transcript:

So that’s the writing credits but I will say that it was her voice that did it and this in fact is one of the quotes that makes me — gives me evidence for that. Somerset Maugham, a very, very famous writer in his own time. A novelist so much better than a movie writer. Much more literate and important and he recognized right away she had this gift for finding something to laugh at in the bitterest tragedies of the human animal and that is exactly what this story is — the bitterest tragedy of life that someone you love cannot deal with the fact that you are having more success or luck in life than they are and that is the saddest thing or one of the saddest experiences that they could imagine. So I think that’s important for us to keep in mind when we think about her voice and how it appears in this particular piece. I love her. As we said, her wittiness is there. She was talking about a time when the Motion Picture Academy was trying to create a union for writers and this is what she had to say about having them watch “…was like trying to get laid in your mother’s house. Somebody was always in the parlor watching.” They couldn’t trust them obviously. So this wit and this sadness I think very interestingly connects inside this story..

Watch this entire presentation

Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.

It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.

Find out why in this lecture!

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web



44 Sneaky Methods from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

44 Sneaky Methods 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:

Well, first of all, I wanted to pitch a show. I’d read an article about a priest in LA who worked with gang kids who were also parents and I wanted to do something where a boy had to pick whether he should be — oh look it’s a father episode — more devoted to the family he created or to the gang that was his fake family right? He had to learn that the gang wasn’t real but his own family was real.

I wanted to pitch that but I knew that one of the other episode guys– one of the other writers — didn’t like to do things with gangs. I was like well that’s stupid that’s writing out a whole sort of storyline. So I had to get my boss alone and the boss on this show happened to be a female and interestingly enough there’s one place that a girl writer could follow a female producer that none of the boys could follow us — the loo — ladies and gentlemen, so I waited until she went to the bathroom one day and I followed her in and while I was washing my hands very vigorously I said “Martha I’ve just read this marvelous article about this priest who works with gang boys and I thought what if he did an episode about a teenage gang dad,” and she was like “Well that’s marvelous. We should do that. Let’s talk about it,” and we went back into the room, where there were two guys I knew didn’t want to do anything about gangs and she pitched it and they can’t say no to the boss. So I got it.

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

05 More Credits for A Star Is Born (1937) from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

05 More Credits for A Star Is Born (1937) from

Transcript:

I like this. It’s hard for you to read but it’s literally in an archive — the front cover of the first script and I do love to remember that it all started on the page. It is something that was written first and so amazing these folks touched this and we can go look at it at the Herrick Library. These are the credits on this 1937 A Star Is Born that you just watched. So you notice that the major screenplay credits are up here. Then we have from a story by so Wellman and Carson wrote the basic story. These guys translated it into a screenplay right and then because IMDb tries to resurrect people who worked on things but weren’t credited at the time, you see all these names in here. It is in Ben Hecht’s autobiography. He claims to have written the final line — ” I am Mrs. Norman Maine.” Did he? Did he not? There’s no paper trail for that right and he was known to be kind of an arrogant guy and he like to take credit for a lot of things but he’s on the list. We should pay attention.

Watch this entire presentation

Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.

It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.

Find out why in this lecture!

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web



04 The Writers of A Star Is Born (1937) from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

04 The Writers of A Star Is Born (1937) from

Transcript:

So when we come along and redo it, it’s going to be this team that is assigned — can you do this differently? Can you do this better? Dorothy Parker, who I adore. Her husband, Alan Campbell who no one has probably ever heard of and that’s maybe fair. Maybe not. he was an actor on Broadway when he met her and they got married. He was her second husband. He wanted to come to Hollywood and be a writer. She did not. She was, as we mentioned earlier, a member of the Algonquin Round Table. She wrote witty things for the New Yorker, She did not want to live in Hollywood, but she did what her husband wanted because she wanted him to be happy, These other gentlemen — Carson and William — came along. They’d done some polishes, some pieces, but I’m going to maintain that the voice of A Star is Born — and that carries across almost all four of the iterations — is Dorothy Parker’s voice and to me, that’s what’s interesting — a screenwriter’s voice.

Watch this entire presentation

Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.

It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.

Find out why in this lecture!

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web



43 Protecting Your Story from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

43 Protecting Your Story 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:

As I’m thinking about this idea, I didn’t pitch it for a while because I knew the answer would be to marry them and I didn’t want to do that and then one day Mrs. Doubtfire was on TV and I was watching. It reminded me of the article and I thought “Oh I will immediately pitch the story where the wife is already remarried” because the answer from angels can’t be get a second divorce in order to go right. So that was my reasoning around why they didn’t get back together and when I pitched it, it worked because I got the story I wanted and not the story that would have been molded from somebody else’s opinion. It’s hard when you’re in a writer’s room and you’re not the head of it because you are doing their show. It’s what they want done right but you have to keep some of yourself inside there too because that’s the theme. That’s the attitude. That’s the voice that you’re bringing to the story. So I couldn’t pitch it until I knew that I could protect the full story the way I wanted it to come out.

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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

42 Pitching Against Cliche from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

42 Pitching Against Cliche 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:

This particular episode was called “A House Divided.” It didn’t have Robin Williams in it. That’s from which movie? Mrs. Doubtfire, right, because I read an article about Mrs. Doubtfire. I wanted to do an episode about teaching parents not to teach their — make their child a weapon in their divorce right and because that’s the story of divorce. It’s like you love me more than you love him. My problem was i knew that my boss’s answer would be the parents — like The Parent Trap — should get married again at the end. That’s the answer that our show should give but i had read an interview with Robin Williams that had taken place several years earlier. When he agreed to do Mrs. Doubtfire, he put in his contract that the film could not end with he and Sally Field getting married again because he would not lie to his own children because he was divorced twice by then and he knew he was never getting back together with his first wife. So he would not do a movie that lied to his own children and that really struck me. So the way they fixed it was they made Sally Field already connected to Pierce Brosnan right?

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

03 What Price Hollywood from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

03 What Price Hollywood from

Transcript:

Jane Murphin also wrote on this original “What Price Hollywood. Jane Murphin had a long screenwriting career. You don’t hear a lot about her. This is — I love this picture — Strongheart was her own personal dog. She also was the woman who invented the dog movie before Rin Tin Tin and Lassie there was Strongheart. Believe it or not, the franchise of Strongheart created dog food which was available up to about 10 years ago. Even though obviously the dog and she are long gone. So two women wrote on that piece. In a nutshell, what is “What Price Hollywood?” It’s an ambitious actress, a drunken director, who she doesn’t marry. She marries a polo player. A very famous man who’s jealous of her fame. Her friend the director commits suicide and she travels to Paris and reconnects with the husband who left her because he was jealous. Kind of the bones of “A Star is Born” but not exactly.

Watch this entire presentation

Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.

It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.

Find out why in this lecture!

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web