On Friday, May 5th I had the honor of delivering the commencement speech at the 2023 Stephens College Commencement Ceremony for Graduate & Continuing Studies as part of having received the Distinguished Faculty Award for the year. The full commencement ceremonies for the 2023 Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting include speeches by MFA student commencement speaker Natalie Cash Petersson and Stephens College President Dianne Lynch.
Together we covered the gamut from “How Watching 1970s TV Gave me the Female Role Models to Succeed in Life” through “How to Channel your Knowledge into Action” and “How to be a Lifelong Learner – After a Well-Deserved Break”.
You can listen to the short ceremony here (the audio is a series of slides but the audio is smooth).
During every Residency Workshop the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Executive Director, Dr. Rosanne Welch, joins with the Writers Guild Foundation to moderate a panel on a topic of interest to female writers. This year we planned one on Writing Diverse Families – but in the last day before our panel 2 panelists had to drop out due to… family duties. So we pivoted, realizing the panelists who were able to appear all had shows that involved 3 generational families lead by matriarchs.
Hence the title: It’s All Relative: Writing Matriarchs.
This gave us a chance to explore how these female TV writers have expanded depictions of the relationships between grandmothers, mothers and daughter over the years and how they’ve developed storylines that reflect the complexity and universality of these inescapable bonds. Panelists include Sheryl J. Anderson – Creator and Executive Producer, Sweet Magnolias; Lang Fisher – Co-creator and Executive Producer, Never Have I Ever; and Valerie Woods – Co-executive Producer, Queen Sugar. Everyone shared memories of their own family matriarchs and the inspiration they continue to provide each woman’s writing.
Due to Covid we recorded this panel live at the Jim Henson Studios where we host our Workshop in front of the live audience of MFA candidates.
Dr. Rosanne Welch gave the welcoming remarks at this year’s commencement ceremonies for the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting for the Class of 2021, reminding everyone of the program’s motto: Write. Reach. Represent.
He’s come to speak on Italian Neo-realism to my MFA candidates and I had the pleasure of visiting with his masters candidates (in person! when that was still possible) and giving them notes on their drama series treatments.
This week I’ll be doing that again on Zoom with the help of Shannon Dobson Fopeano, my Graduate Assistant in the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting. Paolo and I are both interested in expanding the reach of this cross-ocean collegiality in the future!
This new “A Woman Wrote That” post is an echo of the Writers Guild campaign of a few years ago (“A Writer Wrote That”) where they noted famous movie quotes and credited the screenwriter rather than the director. The difference here being that we will be posting lines from films written by female screenwriters. Feel free to share! — Rosanne
One of the fun-nest things about many fun things at the Denver PopCon was the chance to see Stephens College film professor (and MFA alum) Chase Thompson debut his film Tampsen Air. He shared fascinating stories about the concept and the production work in the film with the audience- and the various other Screenwriting MFA alums who came out to show their support.