Dr. Rosanne Welch Speaks On “An Introduction to the Women of Early TV: There are More Women than Lucy to Love“ for the American Women Writers National Museum [Virtual via Zoom]

I’m thrilled to have been asked to make a presentation for the American Women Writers National Museum (AWWNM) on the topic of “An Introduction to the Women of Early TV: There are More Women than Lucy to Love“.  I’ll be discussing the groundbreaking work of women from Gertrude Berg (one of the first women to create, write, produce and star in a long-running hit — The Goldbergs) to D.C. Fontana (Star Trek).    — RMW Rosanne Signature for Web


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RSVP Today! 
Email AWWNM1@gmail.com

Wed Feb 10, 2021 noon-12:45 EDT

“An Introduction to the Women of Early TV: There are More Women than Lucy to Love“

Sponsored by: American Women Writers National Museum

Time & Place: noon-12:45 p.m. EDT / 9 AM PDT via Zoom

All AWWNM programs are now via Zoom until further notice. Invitations are sent via email to AWWNM’s mailing list. RSVPS are REQUIRED in order to receive a link to a specific program. If you would like an invitation, email request to AWWNM1@gmail.com.

Dr. Rosanne Welch, Executive Director of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, Author, Historian and Book Reviews editor of the Journal of Screenwriting will profile pioneer women who created, produced and worked on many of America’s most wildly popular early TV Programs. 

“My goal is to rescue these talented women from historical oblivion”, she said.

Some of the women writers she will discuss are:

  • Lucille Ball (1911-1989) of “I Love Lucy” fame, who also ran Desilu production company and greenlighted the blockbuster Star Trek productions.
  • Treva Silverman (1936- ) winner of two Emmy awards for the brilliant comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • D.C. Fontana (Dorothy Catherine) Fontana (1939-2019) a story editor of Star Trek
  • Leigh Brackett (1915-1878) known as “Queen of the Space Opera” who wrote on or worked on timeless films: The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Empire Strike Back (1980).
  • Peg Lynch (1915-2015) She wrote about 11,000 scripts for radio and TV

Watch Dr. Rosanne Welch on What Is a Western? Interview Series: When Women Wrote Westerns from the Autry Museum of the American West [Video] (27 minutes)

The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting is building a relationship with the Autry Museum of the American West since both organizations are devoted to bringing out more diverse and untold stories.  Last year we were able to take our cohort of graduating MFA candidates to the museum’s theatre for a showing of Michael Wilson’s Salt of the Earth and we had plans to present a film of our choice this year – but of course the pandemic changed all that.  Instead, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis asked me if I would sit for an interview about female screenwriters in the western genre and so “When Women Wrote Westerns” came to be a part of their “What Is a Western? Interview Series”

I had a great time discussing so many wonderful women writers – from Jeanne MacPherson to D.C. Fontana to Edna Ferber to Emily Andras.  If you love westerns I suggest you watch Josh’s other interviews covering everything from the work of Native Americans in Western movies to films in the western-horror hybrid. — RMW Rosanne Signature for Web


Watch Dr. Rosanne Welch on What Is a Western? Interview Series: When Women Wrote Westerns from the Autry Museum of the American West [Video] (27 minutes)

As part of a series exploring the significance of the Western genre and the ways in which the movies shape our understanding of the American West, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Professor Rosanne Welch about the women screenwriters of Hollywood and their contributions to the Western genre.

Find more information at the Autry Museum of the American West

07 The Monkees Writers Room from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (44 seconds)

07 The Monkees Writers Room from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (44 seconds)

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:

Neil Simon actually wrote about writing for Sid Caesar in a play and that was all about glorifying what happened in the writer’s room. So it’s really a fun kind of play if you see it. I did some work on this tv show which is from the 60s. It’s also all on YouTube if you care to see it. It was a comedy about four guys who ran a rock and roll band. They’re literally still around and still touring. They’re in New Zealand right now. That’s how long-lasting the effect of the show was but these folks were all the writers of it including Treva Silverman — the woman up in the corner. She was the first woman to write alone on a series without a male partner — a husband or a guy who happened to work with her. That’s a big move. It seems ridiculous but that was a big moment in TV history.

Watch this entire presentation

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Dr. Rosanne Welch Hosts “Act Two: Transitioning to TV Writing from Previous Careers” for the WGA Foundation [Video]

During every workshop intensive for the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting I have the privilege of creating and moderating a panel of female screenwriters discussing various topics. 

Our most recent panel focused on “Transitioning to Television” and included panelists who came to television from previous careers.  This allowed me to talk to women who came to TV whose first careers included being a doctor, lobbyist, college professor and, of especially pride for our MFA program, a former Senior Physical Security Analyst for federal agencies, U.S. Army Reserve veteran. 

All of them are now writing on major television shows and their advice and honesty was greatly appreciated. — Rosanne

Act Two: Transitioning to TV Writing from Previous Careers

For this session, we teamed up with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting for a discussion on transitioning to TV writing from other careers. Learn how our panel of TV writers and producers made the jump to television, how their previous experiences inform their writing, and how that lens impacts their approach in the writers room.

Panelists are Zoanne Clack, M.D., MPH (Executive Producer, Grey’s Anatomy), Rashaan Dozier-Escalante (Staff Writer, SEAL Team), Akilah Green (Co-producer, Black Monday), and Calaya Michelle Stallworth, Ph.D (Executive Story Editor, Fear of the Walking Dead).
Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch, Director of Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.

Filmed on January 13, 2021.

 

06 Inside The Writers Room from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (43 seconds)

06 Inside The Writers Room from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV

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:

What happens with writers rooms because this is the place where work gets done. Where stories get told, created, honed, in a particular way. The very beginning, this is what everybody thought. This is a writer’s room because comedies did use them. Comedians, we’re used to having three or four guys — generally, always guys — who travel with them and help them make funnier jokes. In America that was best seen in the Dick Van Dyke Show which you can see on youtube in a million different ways and Sally Rogers was the only woman anybody ever saw who wrote television which was kind of shocking but many women who came later defined her as a role model because that told them they could get in a room someday right? If they found the right kind of guys who would let them in.

Watch this entire presentation

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
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05 Women Writers Matter from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (27 seconds)

05 Women Writers Matter from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (27 seconds)

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:

Women writers have always mattered. They certainly matter to me but we do not teach them very often and that’s a choice of the people who put classes together 50, 60, 80 years ago and didn’t mention the women. So I mention them a lot. These are women that you should know. These are women from American film history. There are women in English film history equally important. Hopefully, you’re having that covered in your classes.

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

04 Down With The Auteur Theory from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (54 seconds)

04 Down With The Auteur Theory from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (54 seconds)

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:

Writers. Really. Matter. I think it’s really true The Auteur Theory — and I don’t want to pick on the French — hopefully, there’s no one french in here — I’m picking on you — not my probably looking at your French friend, right — many people are now tearing down the Auteur Theory because it’s ridiculous. The director is not the only person responsible for why a film works. It has always begun with a writer. Yes, it moves to a director but that’s a collaboration and we made a mistake. Some people have written about the fact that in the early days of film critique critics couldn’t go through two or three names of writers so they went to the director’s name because it was the only one person named and slowly that became the idea of who the auteur was right? It’s not true. Vince Gilligan, very famous in America for Breaking Dad. Really considered one of our best showrunners — one of our best television writers — pretty much says it and I agree with him.

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† Available from the LA Public Library

03 Why Writers Matter from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (41 seconds)

03 Why Writers Matter from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (41 seconds)

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:

Likewise, writers are important. Writer comes before director when people are writer-directors because writers are more important. You cannot direct nothing. You cannot direct some people walking around a room right? Somebody has to say why they’re there and what they’re doing. So writers are very important and women writers — well this is one of my reasons why writers are important too — when you talk to friends about a movie you love, you do not generally say “remember the camera angle in scene five.” You say “remember the dialogue.” You quote dialogue to your friends. That’s the writer. That’s why the writer is more important. That’s why more people should want to be writers.

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02 Writers Matter from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (1 minute 3 seconds)

02 Writers Matter from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video] (1 minute 3 seconds);

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:

I do teach at Stephens College which is located in Missouri but we teach low-residency so they do everything online but they come to Hollywood — which is where I live — for 10 days twice a year and that’s a lovely thing. It’s at the Jim Henson Studios so there’s Kermit saying hi to you when you come in. Very lovely and very welcoming to see Kermit every morning. I have a teaching philosophy which is pretty simple. Words matter. Writers matter. Women writers matter. Thank you very much. Yes Indeed. We haven’t thought about women a lot over the years and I do. One of the things I think we need to think about — this is a Facebook post that I saw the other day and – how words can be misused. So I don’t want to get too political on you. I’m coming from a place where there’s a lot of politics going on, as you can imagine, but think about how these words were misused right? Take a little second. Your brain will wrap around the mistake in these words. Think about it you could have written that a different way but they had an opinion they wanted to put out, right, so words are important.

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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

01 Introduction from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American Television]: from Freelancing to Writers Rooms [Video] (1 minute)

01 Introduction from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American Television]: from Freelancing to Writers Rooms [Video] (1 minute)

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 Paolo said — so I won’t spend a lot of time on it — these are the shows –these are the books I’ve done. Sorry. Largely a big Doctor Who fan. Any Doctor Who fans in the house. Really we’ll talk a little bit about the writing of that. It’s quite a brilliant show, I think. These are most of the things I’ve done. Also, love Torchwood has also been quite well done. I am the book review editor, so if you’re Masters students — when you graduate — you can email me, and if there’s a book you’d like to have for free — because they don’t pay you to write in journals — you can review the book and I’ll have it sent to you so you can do that and it’s a credit for you so it’s a lovely thing and Written By Magazine is the magazine of the Writers Guild. You can read this online for free if you go to writtenby.com. You go to WGA, which is our website for the Writer’s Guild, and every two months or so it comes out. Always interviews with writers and showrunners, movie film writers, people like that, so it’s really I think an excellent thing it’s like having a guest speaker come to you and very in-depth interviews, right? We’ll talk about some of them that I’ve done over time.

Watch this entire presentation

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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