STOP FORGETTING TO NAME THE WRITERS! by Dr. Rosanne Welch

STOP FORGETTING TO NAME THE WRITERS!

STOP FORGETTING TO NAME THE WRITERS! by Dr. Rosanne Welch

Once again I’ve had to email a film screening program about the blurb they posted about an upcoming screening and Q&A with the creators of a new film. Here’s the post I read:

When single father Max (John Cho) discovers he has a terminal disease, he decides to try and cram all the years of love and support he will miss with his teenage daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) into the time he has left with her. With the promise of long-awaited driving lessons, he convinces Wally to accompany him on a road trip from California to New Orleans for his 20th college reunion, where he secretly hopes to reunite her with her mother who left them long ago. A wholly original, emotional and surprising journey, Don’t Make Me Go explores the unbreakable, eternal bond between a father and daughter from both sides of the generational divide with heart and humor along for the ride. From Amazon Studios, #DontMakeMeGo will begin streaming July 15 globally only on Prime Video.

Why We Love It: Don’t Make Me Go is an emotional and beautiful exploration of the struggle between chasing your dreams or settling on the safe choices. Mia Isaac and John Cho’s chemistry is captivating in this one of a kind father-daughter road trip film. Bring tissues.

Here’s the email I had to send to the programmer:

I saw your announcement and wondered if Don’t Make Me Go is “A wholly original, emotional and surprising journey, Don’t Make Me Go explores the unbreakable, eternal bond between a father and daughter from both sides of the generational divide with heart and humor along for the ride” then WHY wasn’t the writer, Vera Herbert, invited to this live discussion? Or even mentioned in your post, which makes the reader assume that the director is a writer-director, giving them all the credit for what sounds like a film based on characters, situation, theme, and dialogue – none of which are under the auspices of a director.

As the Executive Director of an MFA in TV and Screenwriting, I subscribe to all your posts to see what events I might want to bring my MFA candidates to – but I only attend events that include writers. It’s an insult to not even name the writer. The auteur theory was invented years ago by French film reviewers who found it simpler to list directors since many were writer-directors and sometimes a film is written by 2 people which was unwieldy in a review. That’s why it exists and it’s a shame for film experts/programmers/educators to continue that practice. More women have written films than directed them (the Joan Harrison/Hitchcock team is an example) so it was another way to erase the creative work of women when we only mention directors. I would say “Please stop” but I’m tired of saying “Please”.

Dr. Rosanne Welch

19 Conclusion From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

…But we can say it took from Treva in the 60s and early 70s, it takes until 2017 for an African-American woman to win an Emmy for writing again a comedy and that’s Lena Waithe who was writing on Master of None. She won the Emmy in 2017. She was also a performer on the show so much like Molly Goldberg she was in the show. She wrote an episode for her character and that episode was so honest and so beautiful that she won the Emmy award for it. So this is where we have come to right? This is where we have come to in our world. I am happy again to say that I work for Stephens College and we are all about bringing out these stories of women. We want more people to read about women, read books like Phantom Lady, who read books like my book on the Women of Early Hollywood, and know more of the names of these important women. For my world that’s pretty much what I’m here to say this morning. So we have I see 10 minutes on the clock here, so that if we would like to have any questions or chatting that’s totally optional. I’ve unshared my screen and I’m going to remake Janice the host again so I am no longer in charge of the screen. So that Janice can go from there.

Janice: Thank you very much Dr. Welch. It was just lovely. A wonderful, wonderful, wonderful program. You do so much to illuminate women and to rescue them from oblivion. As many of our women speakers have said women in various fields, we’ll do our part.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

18 Joanna Lee & Madeline Anderson From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

18 Joanna Lee & Madeline Anderson From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

Then we have to think about who’s getting recognized. In this case, Joanna Lee – in the early mid-1970s – is the first female to win her Emmy Award for a drama right? We have Treva winning for a comedy. Just about eight years later, Joanna Lee is going to win for the Thanksgiving episode of The Waltons. She had been an actress in the 40s and had sadly a car accident which made it difficult for her to perform and be on set for long hours. So she turned to writing. She became a television writer working on all of these many shows right? All the way through and it’s interesting to see how she went from comedies – we always think girls have to be funny first – and then she started to do dramas right? The Mod Squad and then moved into Dynasty but she got her Emmy award for The Waltons. So this is a huge moment – again a female winning this award on her own. That’s a big deal. Outside of that are there women of color in early television. Not as many as we would like as is always the case however Madeleine Anderson came up through the news business right? She started doing a black journal out of Chicago originally and then she got jobs on Sesame Street. So through the PBS network, she started working for them doing children’s programming and The Electric Company. Always things with an educational bent. She’s the first African-American woman who ever produced a nationally aired television series, also on PBS, and also an educational series. So Madeleine Anderson’s someone whose name does not appear in most of our history books. That’s always been a problem for me.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

17 Even More On Treva Silverman From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

17 Even More On Treva Silverman From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

That particular season The Emmys also gave an overall Emmy for best writer of the whole year and Treva won that. So she’s the only person to win two Emmys in one year. Happens to be a female who worked alone right which I love. Now before that she worked on – she did a couple episodes of That Girl and I simply want to mention that because we often say Mary Tyler Moore was the first single woman on television. She was not. Actually, That Girl was because she was an actress but we don’t take that job seriously but she was the first show. She came on two seasons before Mary Tyler Moore and even before that we should say that Julia was the first working woman on television right and that’s an early just before Mary Tyler Moore as well. So we have a few things to think about in terms of Treva Silverman. After she did television she did script doctoring. So we don’t see her name come up very often because she’s someone that would be hired — in this case for this movie Romancing The Stone — to fix it right? There’s something wrong. We want to make this movie but it’s not working. In this case, the adorable thing was the Kathleen Turner character everyone thought was too harsh and what can we do to soften her up without giving her, you know, a boyfriend or whatever because she’s going to end up you know with Michael Douglas and Treva’s idea was the idea that has spawned a series of books on how to write film and that’s called Save The Cat. She brought in a cat. She wrote an early scene where Kathleen Turner was feeding her cat and because she loved a pet the audience loved her and that salvaged the character. So that’s the kind of script doctoring that she would do pretty much for the rest of her career.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

16 More On Treva Silverman From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

16 More On Treva Silverman From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

She moved on from that show, as I said, to win two Emmys for writing this beloved show — The Mary Tyler Moore Show. When James Brooks put that show together and James again a very respectable Executive Producer in television. Love all of what he’s done. He was a very progressive thinking man and he knew that if the show was about a single woman they ought to have a female on staff and so he asked Treva if she would join the show. The Emmys she won twofold. She won this Emmy for writing an episode about Lou Grant. she had single female friends who thought Ed Asner was appealing but his character on the show, Lou, was married and they felt guilty for liking a man who had a wife because it meant that they might be you know stealing a man from another woman. So she came up with the idea that Lou’s wife and he should get a divorce but the progressive new thought was not because Lou did anything bad. He’s not a gambler. He’s not cheating on her. It was that Edie Grant had decided that she wasn’t fulfilled — that she hadn’t done in her life what she wanted to do. She had only ever served him and it was her turn before she got too old and that was such a wildly innovative idea and it was so poignant and so sad because the audience loved him but we liked her as well and we understood that this was such a problem and she had to take this chance. So it was a brilliant episode. It won her an Emmy.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

15 Treva Silverman From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

15 Treva Silverman From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

Moving into the 1960s one of my favorite people is Treva Silverman. She is one of the first female writers to win an Emmy. In fact, she won two in the same year for writing without a male partner. All the previous women who had won had had a male partner. Treva was a solo writer. She originally wrote for The Monkees. One show that I have written an entire book about that I’m very interested in and I will credit her with the fact that in 58 episodes of a show about rock and roll singers, every girl they met had a job and a career. They did not ever date bimbos. They dated girls who were journalists and who were worked at record stores or there was one who was a princess and a princess is a job right? So I think Treva was the feminist voice on that show.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

14 Joan Harrison From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

14 Joan Harrison From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

Joan Harrison is a woman few people know about today because this man, Alfred Hitchcock, overshadowed all the writers of all his movies. We call them Hitchcock films but I find that very very disingenuous because in fact they were written by other people. Often this woman, Joan Harrison. She wrote, in fact, the only movie that Hitchcock ever won an Oscar for — Rebecca. She’s the woman who found the story, adapted it, wrote the script was on the set for all the production of it. She was originally his secretary. She began as the secretary and there were many people who never forgave that title however she wrote many other films. She began to produce films and we’re talking about early in the 40s, 50s. She’s going to move into the 1960s as the producer of the Alfred Hitchcock’s Presents program. So she’ll do TV production, executive producing, long before that ever existed for most people and very recently a friend of mine — I met her online doing other work — Christina Lane –she’s a professor out of the College of Florida. She wrote Phantom Lady. Of course, that’s the name of a film but also it’s the story of Joan Harrison’s life. So it’s the first full biography of a female producer of that time period that takes her work very seriously but notice how the subtitle still has to be “The forgotten woman behind Hitchcock.” That’s the name that we recognize. That’s the name people relate to. So her career has always been overshadowed by the fact that she worked for Hitchcock. There’s another book about writing with Hitchcock by I believe his name is Michael Shane, I’d have to double-check but he wrote several Hitchcock films and he wrote a book about writing with Hitchcock. About what it was like to work with him and as much as we call them Hitchcock films and I’m very against that auteur theory because I think the writer is the person who brings you your theme — that’s what they’re considered. So we have to remember the people behind the directing. They were the writers and this is a beautiful picture of her as a producer looking at a piece of edited film and making some choices. So she did the full gamut of work in these early days of television.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

13 Even More On D. C. Fontana From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

13 Even More On D. C. Fontana From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

There’s a great story. Nichelle Nichols was going to quit because, if you think about it, stereotypically, she was the secretary. She took calls for the captain on Star Trek. So she kind of thought this is a waste of my time. She’d been a big band singer. She had more to do with her life and in fact, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King met her at some fundraiser and said “Oh no-no. You are deeply important because you are showing young children that we belong in the future.” So she stayed on the show and looked then she did the movies and of course, Nichelle is as iconic as any of the early females in television. This is all the work of Dorothy Fontana and I think we need to recognize her name and be really interested in all her other work. She later went on to do Babylon 5 of course another science fiction show. She worked on the video game versions of Star Trek. So she stayed in that realm and was sort of the cover who knew all the history and how all the characters should be portrayed long after Gene Roddenberry passed away.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

12 More On D. C. Fontana From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

12 More On D. C. Fontana From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

She started out, as often happens to women, as an assistant to Gene Roddenberry. She had written short stories. She had actually written episodes of shows like The Big Valley and The High Chaparral. Again, two very progressive early shows. Problem was, how do you get a gig? She got a gig as his assistant but she was there at the very beginning. In the early books about Star Trek they will talk about how intrinsic she was to coming up with the fact that females needed to be important on the show because it was about the future and of course someone like Nichelle Nichols right? We had to have African-American representation in the future and this is going to be, again, so important to representation because Nichelle Nichols is going to inspire Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut right? Mae Jemison saw Nichelle Nichols and knew that she could be in space because she saw it, so she could be it right?

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!

11 D. C. Fontana From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

11 D. C. Fontana From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

Most importantly the first woman who began in Star Trek — Dorothy Catherine Fontana. Now, this is something very important to me for us to recognize. She was told that boys would not watch programs or read books — she wrote short stories — that were written by a girl if they had male protagonists. So she was encouraged by both her publisher and her television agent to go by her initials DC which meant that legions of girls did not know that DC Fontana, their favorite Star Trek writer, was a female right, and that’s been, I think, a problem for years. We continue to do that. When I was a kid in high school you read The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton — Susan Elizabeth Hinton — because no one thought anyone would write a book about gang kids written by a girl. likewise, I think — I’d like to think we grow out of these things but in fact, in my son’s childhood, the major giant best-selling book around the world was written by J. K. Rowling because no one thought boys would read a book by a girl named Joanne. So we really need to get rid of that idea. We also need to recognize the women who came before us who were following that. So Dorothy Fontana…

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

Get your copy today!