05 Unreliable Narrators In Textbooks from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

05 Unreliable Narrators In Textbooks from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 

Transcript:

Screenwriters who write textbooks are unreliable narrators. When Mark Norman wrote What Happens Next he has about six women mentioned in the entire book and he declares that their work wasn’t very worth studying. So this is not a textbook that I use after two years of trying it and my students pretty much having a fit. Now I love Tom Stempel. Tom gave us the first book on screenwriting history but he didn’t know anything about Francis Marion at the time. He didn’t have much to say about her and I’ll tell you why in a second. For McPherson, he listened to what Cecil B DeMille had to say and that’s what ends up in his book. Now i’ve been lucky enough to have him come to speak to my students and he has apologized because he’s learned more in the days since he wrote that book and he asked the publishing company could he do a rewrite but they didn’t think that the ratio of new pages would make the higher price worth it and they didn’t give that to him but he has a column you can read in Script Magazine and he tries to cover for the things he missed originally.

 

 


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04 Joan Harrison & Jeannie Macpherson from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

04 Joan Harrison & Jeannie Macpherson from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 

Transcript:

Joan Harrison as we think about Alfred Hitchcock and we’re gonna hear all more about her later. So I won’t go into it but let’s remember that we call them Hitchcock films but they were written by other people. Hitchcock is not a writer all right. she wrote Rebecca which got the academy award nomination and there’s also in the corner here just a little bit on John Michael Hayes who wrote several other Hitchcock films. I really hate the fact that directors get authorship but that’s another story. Look at this picture. Almost everybody can name Cecil B. DeMille whether you recognize him or not. If I say his name you’ve heard it a million times in film history. So you know Jeannie Mcpherson? Jeannie Mcpherson wrote almost all of the films that Cecil B. DeMille made that made money and when they stopped working together his films stopped making money but when he was giving an oral history later in life, she had already died. He said “She was not a good writer. She would bring in wonderful ideas but she could not carry a story all the way through. I carried the story” and his word is the last word we have on her career because she died too young for people to start doing oral histories and by the way she was a pilot too. That’s not from her acting. She was actually a pilot. She was his private pilot.

 

 


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03 Teaching the History of Screenwriting from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

03 Teaching the History of Screenwriting from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]
Transcript:

I don’t teach the history of film. I teach the history of screenwriting because the history of film equals the history of directors which becomes a history of great men and great men are very unreliable narrators. They just are right? So let’s start with directors. Directors are terrible narrators. Alfred Hitchcock in his biographies has said that he learned everything he knew about making movies from a middle-aged American woman. He did not even name her, all right? He did not even name her which means she disappears in history but she was, in fact, Eve Unsell. Eve Unsell had been discovered by Beatrice DeMille, more than the mother to Cecil B. DeMille. She was, in fact, a screenwriter and a playwright and she helped many women get started in the business. Eve became a writer for Famous Players Laskey. She had her own production company – one of the earliest women to have her own production company – and she was so beloved by Famous Players Laskey – they sent her to England to right the mixed up studio they had started there and while in England she trained this young kid named Alfred what’s his name again. She told him everything she knew about making films and he can’t even remember to put her name in a book about him. That makes me crazy.

 

 


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02 How Do We Get Forgotten? from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

02 How Do We Get Forgotten? from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 
Transcript: My teaching philosophy is Words Matter. Writers Matter. Women Writers Matter and we need to pay more attention to them. So we’re back to what I’m originally talking about. How do we get forgotten in the books? Well, this is a lovely example not from screenwriting but from art. When this painting sold – the painting of David And Goliath – it was assumed to belong to Giovanni Francesco but in fact, it belonged to Artemisia and Artemisia Gentileschi is just now coming out as someone that we’re going to learn more about in the art world. So this happens to us all the time – it happens to women all the time.

(technical issues)

She painted that. Artemisia that’s her self-portrait. she painted David and Goliath. We’re doing this in all the different worlds and I think we need to pay attention to how we’re doing it in Hollywood.

Our intrepid panel leader, Christina Lane (author of Phantom Lady – the new biography of writer-producer Joan Harrison) kept us connected across the time.  Other panel participants included Philana Payton (UCLA) who is researching the memoirs of Eartha Kitt and Vicki Callahan (USC) who covered the career of Mabel Normand.  I was happy to highlight the many female screenwriters whose histories were left on the cutting room floor thanks to the unreliable narrators of their work who included directors, film reviewers, and husbands – all who left the female writers out of their own memories.


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01 Introduction from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

01 Introduciton from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

 
Transcript: That was marvelous and I’m so excited about this panel because we’re all talking a little bit about everything which is really nice. Yes, love men. Don’t want to pick on men. Married to a man. Have a son but there you go. We’re going to talk about how men forget women in the archives. First, I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking from the traditional lands of the Tongva people and I want to respect their elders and their people that came before us. This was the ground of Los Angeles all the way out to the Catalina islands and I think it’s something worth people studying. Very briefly about me. I was a television writer for 20 years. So I wrote on 90210 and Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. Currently, I’m kind of using words from my book When Women Wrote Hollywood which is about the early silent screenwriters – female screenwriters – and how they have been forgotten. I also am the book review editor for the Journal of Screenwriting. So if you ever want to write a review or have a book that needs reviewing, let me know because I’d love to do that and I’m on the editorial board for Written By magazine which I always suggest people read. It is free digitally online about every six weeks the Writer’s Guild comes out with it and there are some wonderful interviews with movie star – movie writers and tv writers. So that’s kind of the world I’m in. I am the executive director of the Stephens College TV and Screenwriting MFA and our mantra is Write, Reach and Represent because I think that’s what writing is all about. The school is actually in Missouri but it’s a low residency program so people come to LA and we work at the Jim Henson Studios. So talk about Mabel Normand who worked at Charlie Chaplin studios with him. This was originally Charlie Chaplin Studios before A&M Records and Jim Henson. So it’s a beautiful piece of Hollywood memorabilia.

Our intrepid panel leader, Christina Lane (author of Phantom Lady – the new biography of writer-producer Joan Harrison) kept us connected across the time.  Other panel participants included Philana Payton (UCLA) who is researching the memoirs of Eartha Kitt and Vicki Callahan (USC) who covered the career of Mabel Normand.  I was happy to highlight the many female screenwriters whose histories were left on the cutting room floor thanks to the unreliable narrators of their work who included directors, film reviewers, and husbands – all who left the female writers out of their own memories.


Watch this entire presentation

27 Conclusion from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

27 Conclusion from

Transcript:

So I think she’s a pretty cool lady all around. I think it’s cool to realize how much of an effect this movie has had on film history. If you are a die-hard fan and you watch it for Christmas, even though it’s not a Christmas movie, you’ll notice the big moment at the end is that all through the movie she’s defined herself as Holly Gennaro which is her maiden name because they’re separated but in the end when they make up and she runs to the police and they say something about our you so and so she says Holly Maclean. She takes his name back. So she’s doing exactly a homage to that moment. In the same way, some 20 years later — this is 1988 — in Notting Hill, we finally have a guy who doesn’t mind when they call him Mr Scott which is Anna Scott’s name right? That’s not his last name but he’s now fine with a wife who is five million times more famous than he will ever be. So our society had come to this point one assumes in 1999 and Dorothy yourself has been homaged and written about. Fitzgerald who knew her personally wrote about her in The Last Tycoon. She’s one of the characters in there. She’s in this Broadway play as a character and if you like the Gilmore Girls at all Amy Sherman Palladino’s production company is called “Dorothy Parker Drank Here.” That’s how popular she maintains in the modern world. I got a bunch of clips you can see at another time because we don’t have time. I always like to offer up a bibliography because you should know there’s a lot of stuff you could study and that’s it. That’s everything I can say in a nutshell about 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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26 Dorothy Parker and Social Justice from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

26 The Status of Men... from

Transcript:

I think it’s important to remember what it could have been if we’d had a chance to see a Whitney Houston version. I think that would have been an incredible movie. I’m still bummed I’m never going to get to see it and I think it’d really be cool if Dorothy had lived to see it all but she didn’t. She died in 1967 and I think it’s interesting to point out why it is Martin Luther King in this picture. People may or may not know that if you buy any of her writing — if you buy the portable Dorothy Parker — you will find that she gave all her money, when she died, to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. She did not know, of course, that he would die a year later and all of his estate went to the NAACP. So if you buy any of her writing, you’re supporting the NAACP and that’s because even as a young woman at the age of 27 she was reviewing broadway plays and she reviewed Emperor Jones and she had this quote about how people — how the producers in Broadway at that time — because it wasn’t you know she wasn’t involved in Hollywood — they were wasting the genius of the African-American community. Obviously, she’s using word of the day but she recognized the genius that was being lost. So she wanted to support the cause of social — civil rights — social justice and civil rights and I think that’s pretty cool.

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



Watch this entire presentation

25 How Did The Characters Grow? from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

25 How Did The Characters Grow? from

Transcript:

Think about how men feel today. I think men have changed. That’s why they gave more attention to Bradley Cooper’s character. There are seven million men who are sort of stay-at-home dads. That’s a huge thing. That’s a huge difference. There are a lot more men getting used to the fact that their wives will have more money than they do right? Colleges are like 60% women, 40% men which means you’re likely to be in a marriage where your wife will make more money than you, and your generation is likely to be more comfortable with that. I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s important to see that the female characters grow a little bit in every one of these iterations. The last two are more ethnic women. That wouldn’t have happened before right? Barbara is so clearly a Jewish woman and very proud of it and Allie represents herself as a Sicilian American woman. Her father is a Sicilian guy who owns a bunch of limos, you know. He’s a driver for a limo company. This is a very New York Sicilian kind of thing. In both cases, the women in these last two films — the female performers — wrote the songs they had their characters sing, and they both won Academy Awards for writing one of those songs. Which is a huge deal right to me again making it more of a female franchise. Allie accepts more of the stuff that happened to Janet Gaynor. You know, look at me. Check me out. Make sure that you know I can change. I’ll do anything you want to be successful. She accepts the dancers and things she doesn’t need and in this case, people feel like she was more on her own because she didn’t say I’m Mrs. anybody but she took his name which was again following that pattern of respecting him. So I think it’s really important to remember them.

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



Watch this entire presentation

24 All About The Women…from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

24 All About The Women...from

Transcript:

This is the only time they made separate posters and focused on them. Almost every movie iteration you see them both together because it’s a love story. That’s what you’re being told in that poster. I don’t know what these posters are telling you except do you know the title of the movie then you’ll understand but I had several students who never knew it was a remake when they went to see it. So they had no idea. The title meant nothing to them. It’s always the female that carries the story right? This is this giant poster of Ally. That’s what this is all about. All these women are the reasons these movies were made in the first place. That’s what drew the box office. That’s what drew the studios to support and every one of these is the story of a woman doing something new against the culture of her time. Facing one of the various waves of feminism right? If you think about 1937 women had had the vote for under 20 years. A bunch of women were still not voting because their husbands wouldn’t let them even though it was legal right and 54 we’re 10 years after the end of the war and the Rosie the Riveter and all that stuff when women were told to go back home, put on your pearls, and start vacuuming right? Don’t try to be in the man’s world. That’s your job. We get around to 76 and we’re in the second wave of feminism. That’s just three years after Roe versus Wade and we’re still doing the equal pay marches. We’re still looking for equal pay and if you get around to the current version, it’s ten years after the Lilly Ledbetter act, which gave fair pay to people doing the same job. So each of these movies takes place in their female characters working truly in a world where there were still feminist issues going on. Which i think is also part of what Dorothy started with.

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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!

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web



Watch this entire presentation

23 More on The Bradley Cooper Version…from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]

22 The Bradley Cooper Version?...from

Transcript:

In this scene, and these are quotes from Bradley Cooper as he was making the film he’s being interviewed right, he says he’s on stage trying to support her but his demons won’t let him right? So we still have the debacle but it’s not because he wants to ruin her night. He’s trying to be there to support her and then it’s embarrassing and terrible and sad and also he says that at the end of the movie, she’s just starting right and what she’s going to create is going to be bigger than what we’ve seen prior. That means her movie isn’t this movie — that her movie is the next one which will never be made. That means this is the Jackson Maine story and that’s not what I signed up for. I signed up for the star — the female star — being born. So I think that’s a huge change that he as a male writer has brought to this franchise. You look at the writing credits, right? So if Bradley wrote it with this guy Will Fetters. If you go to the Writers Guild when you have time when it’s open again in the library, they have a copy of the first draft and if you read it to compare to the film that you saw in 2019 you will be shocked because it is not brilliant. It is this guy who’s an Academy Award winner for Forrest Gump and I think he has two Academy Awards, Eric Roth who came in to do the rewrite that really molded the piece but he’s taking the ideas that Bradley Cooper had which are to focus more on Jackson Maine’s character. They base themselves on the Moss Heart screenplay, right? So by the time we’re done with this Dorothy’s name has finally disappeared entirely even though all the bones of it are really still there and really still her if you ask me.

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



Watch this entire presentation