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?

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† Available from the LA Public Library

Contract or No Contract, Bess Meredyth Made Movie Magic — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, September 2021

Contract or No Contract, Bess Meredyth Made Movie Magic -- Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, September 2021

Bess Meredyth is one more name to add to that list of Silent Hollywood’s most prolific and respected screenwriters yet few textbooks mention her name – or her work as both a writer and producer in that period. In fact, when her son John Meredyth Lucas wrote a memoir of his own screenwriting career he never thought to interview her about her career. That’s how easy it can be to be forgotten and why it is so important to highlight these stories today.

Read Contract or No Contract, Bess Meredyth Made Movie Magic — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, September 2021


Read about more women from early Hollywood


From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 3: Unspoken Desires: Lore as case study on shadow narrative by Margot Nash

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


Unspoken Desires: Lore as case study on shadow narrative by Margot Nash

This article explores the concept of a shadow narrative lying under the surface of the main film narrative through a case study of the 2012 film Lore. The film is based on the second story in Rachel Seiffert’s book The Dark Room. It was adapted for the screen by British screenwriter Robin Mukherjee and Australian director and screenwriter Cate Shortland. I will search for the structure of this narrative through an analysis of key emotional scenes, moments or spectral traces when the unspoken desires of the protagonist, Lore, surface and take form, when subtext becomes text and nothing is ever the same again. Using film analyst Paul Gulino’s argument that most narrative films consist of eight major sequences, each between eight and fifteen minutes, I will break the film into eight sequences and then identify one key emotional scene in each sequence. I will then analyse the eight key scenes and discuss the development of Lore’s shadow or unspoken narrative of desire. Some of these key scenes re-imagine or extend narrative moments from the book, but most are new, created by the screenwriters in order to make visible the invisible transformation of character and to heighten themes introduced in the first story in the book and brought to a resolution in the third.

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 3: Unspoken Desires: Lore as case study on shadow narrative by Margot Nash


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

Get your copy and subscription to the Journal of Screenwriting Today!



* 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!

15 Stumptown from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast [Video]

Watch the entire presentation – Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 here

15 Stumptown from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast [Video]

Transcript:

Host: Yeah, it seems like your not — not that into — not that engrossed in American television. Which, I mean, I do understand on a level.

Rosanne: I do agree. Now there was a great show like two years ago now, which got canceled too soon called Stumptownand it was the story of a woman who became a detective because she kind of couldn’t do anything else very well and she lived in Portland where there were reservations and Native American casinos and so she was sort of working in that world. She had a friend who ran a bar who was a former convict, so that was an interesting characterization and then they made a deal right away that they would never have a love relationship. They were just going to be friends and that was lovely to watch and that was really good because it was about real people going through problems.

It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.

Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).

We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.

Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!

The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.

Drs. Rosanne Welch and Sarah Clark discuss The Monkees “One Man Shy” episode on the Zilch Podcast’s Monkees 101 Series 

Drs. Rosanne Welch and Sarah Clark discuss The Monkees “One Man Shy” episode on the Zilch Podcast’s Monkees 101 Series 

Even though my book is now 5 years old, I’m still always happy for any excuse to talk about The Monkees TV show – and my Monkees 101 co-host gives me that opportunity once a month as we work our way through each episode (mostly) chronologically.  We cover the news of the day when each episode aired, the Top 5 on the Billboard Charts (which often includes a Monkees tune), and all the meta things about the production (from the writing to the casting choices choices to the props and sound departments).  It’s quite a fun way for 2 lady doctors (the Phd kind) who found each other online over our Monkee-fandom can spend our time.

Drs. Rosanne Welch and Sarah Clark discuss The Monkees “One Man Shy” episode on the Zilch Podcast's Monkees 101 Series 

It’s time for Monkees 101! Tim Powers and Sarah Clark host the show and talk Monkees current events in 2021, then Sarah and Rosanne talk “One Man Shy”, which aired Dec 5th 1966. Bashful Peter tries to win the heart of lovely debutante Valerie Cartwright (Lisa James) while dealing with her haughty boyfriend Ronnie Farnsworth (George Furth).

Songs: “I’m a Believer”, “You Just May Be the One” (original version)
1967 reruns: “I’m a Believer” was replaced with “Forget That Girl.”
Saturday mornings: “I’m a Believer” was replaced with “If I Knew.” 

Listen to this episode


Want to learn more about The Monkees? Buy Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture

 

A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Acheivement in Comedy.

Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined, and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.

This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers.

Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Riderand Five Easy Pieces.

McFarland (Direct from Publisher) | Amazon | Kindle Edition | Nook Edition

Want to use “Why The Monkees Matter” in your classroom?

Order Examination Copies, Library and Campus Bookstore orders directly from McFarland

McFarland Company logo

41 It Never Hurts to Ask from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

41 It Never Hurts to Ask 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:

…and to their credit, everybody in the room is kind of like “Oh duh yeah, why didn’t we think of that. Okay,” but a production problem. Della Reese was actually a minister in a church in Los Angeles and we filmed this in Utah. So she was given every Friday to fly back to LA to run her church for the weekend and then she’d come back Monday morning. So she didn’t work a day and a half of every week and so she couldn’t be in as many scenes as Roma Downey could. So immediately the supervising producer who’s in charge of scheduling shot that down and said “No we can’t do it,” and I thought damn, make me mad. I’m going to have to call my friend and say You’re going to hate this episode. Don’t watch it.” right and then I said “What if we asked Della if this particular week she would work a couple of extra days for the chance to play this character instead of that character” and they’re like “It can’t hurt to ask,” and you know to not play a maid she gave us another couple of extra days. So it was a move in the right direction right that had to be brought up. You have to think about it. Then you have to talk people into it. Persuasive speech is a good class to take if you want to be a writer in a writer’s room.

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

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 3: That was then this is now …  The Canyons – with Paul, Bret, James and Lindsay by Alex Munt

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


That was then this is now …  The Canyons – with Paul, Bret, James and Lindsay by Alex Munt
 
New Hollywood, from the late 1960s to early 1980s, was marked by an innovation in film business (production, marketing, audience) together with an opening up of film form. Today, some 50 years later, film culture is again in flux with new models of funding, production and distribution for the digital age. The impact of these developments on screenwriting is (necessarily) speculative at this stage. The focus of this article is on screenwriter/director Paul Schrader, a jump-cut from Taxi Driver (1976) to The Canyons (2013) – his experiment in ‘post-theatrical cinema’ with novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis. The film was written for microbudget and crowdfunded on the Kickstarter platform. It assembles the notorious cast of porn star James Deen and celebrity maelstrom Lindsay Lohan. The Canyons rolled out with an aggressive online marketing strategy and innovative ‘day and date’ distribution model with an eye to video on demand. Larry Gross has described the film as belonging to ‘this cultural moment’. In this analysis of The Canyons I ask: What does it mean to conceive, and write, a screenplay for the present, for ‘now’? How does screenplay development and creative collaboration differ in a crowdfunded/microbudget environment? How does the film interact with new forms, and aesthetics, appropriate to this ‘cultural moment’? In the final part of the article I attempt to situate the film within a wider narrative framework via Schrader’s diagnosis of ‘narrative exhaustion’, Douglas Rushkoff’s theory of ‘present shock’ and Ellis’ rumination on the American ‘post-empire’ condition.

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 3: That was then this is now …  The Canyons – with Paul, Bret, James and Lindsay by Alex Munt


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

Get your copy and subscription to the Journal of Screenwriting Today!



* 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!

14 International TV from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast [Video]

Watch the entire presentation – Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast | Episode # 29 here

14 International TV from Worry and Wonder | The Courier Thirteen Podcast [Video]

Transcript:

Host: Is there a show on today that you think is really good at capturing those really human moments and I mean is there a show that you really adore that does that does that? That accomplishes that well?

Rosanne: I watch such a wide variety of tv. I must say what i love for y’all’s generation is the existence of Netflix means that you can watch television from a variety of different countries beyond which all the various things being made here and of course between cable and streaming and whatnot, we laugh now there’s something like 420 new shows out in the world. So it’s almost impossible to keep track of all of them. I learn so much when students come in and want to pitch a show I’ve never heard of then I have to go watch it and figure out what’s going on with this right? So I watch such a variety of things it’s hard to say. I’ve been watching a lot of stuff out of New Zealand and I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and any kind of science fiction is fun because it is looking at modern-day problems but in that science fiction world. So it’s kind of fun to watch and go oh they’re having… this is a problem they’re dealing with but it’s happening to aliens instead of you know humans or something. So that’s fantastic. I watch a lot of Australian tv. A lot of English tv. A lot of the kind of murder mysteries they do where it’s not all about the gore. It’s not about CSI where’s all the blood and all the stuff I have to put under microscopes. It’s about again people and how come that person seems guilty but no and it turns out the red herring is that it’s because they knew they were having an affair but they’re not the one who killed him. So it’s like puzzles and I find that really interesting and I find they can make more real people in shows like that. So sadly in terms of what I think about you know American tv.

It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.

Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).

We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.

Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!

The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.

40 Breaking Stereotypes from There And Back Again: Writing and Developing for American TV [Video]

40 Breaking Stereotypes 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, this other episode — it’s called Smokescreen — had to do with an African-American executive at a tobacco company who of course has to deal with the fact that he’s selling a product and kills people. There was going to be a lawsuit and originally — we have two angels — one was Roma Downey — who comes from Ireland — an Irish woman and one was Della Reese, a famous jazz singer who’s a woman of color. We always made the angels real people in people’s lives and that’s how they got to talk to you and try to — they never told you they were angels till the very end when everything would you know they could get you to change your mind — so the very first thing because people fall back on stereotypes all the time. It is far too easy to go to the stereotype and you have to learn to go beyond it. So they’re going to make Roma Downey the lawyer — the guest lawyer — and Della Reese the guest maid in this family and one of my best friends — this is a terrible phrase from Seinfeld happens to be African-American right. She’s not my only African-American friend but my best friend and I knew she would cringe if Della Reese played a maid. So I raised my little hand and I said wouldn’t it be cool if Della was the lawyer and Roma was the maid.

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

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V5 Issue 3: ‘The Watergate Theory of Screenwriting’: A keynote presentation at SRN, Wisconsin, 2013 by Larry Gross

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


‘The Watergate Theory of Screenwriting’: A keynote presentation at SRN, Wisconsin, 2013 by Larry Gross
  
One way to start to think about making information in a script interesting is to rephrase the question that was posed by the Watergate investigators about then President Richard Nixon’s knowledge of the criminal deeds of his subordinates. The question reiterated obsessively during the Senate Committee investigation, voiced initially by Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker, was … ‘What did the president know, and when did he know it?’. In order to get going, scriptwriters must ask: what do the characters know – about narrative context, about themselves, and about each other, and when do they know it? This essay will explore Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film, Ikiru (co-written with Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni), and how the film is masterfully structured in relation to “who knows what and when.”

'The Watergate Theory of Screenwriting’: A keynote presentation at SRN, Wisconsin, 2013 by Larry Gross


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

Get your copy and subscription to the Journal of Screenwriting Today!



* 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!