Most Hitchcock Films are Harrison Films – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, January 2023

Most Hitchcock Films are Harrison Films – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, January 2023

The main problem with the auteur theory that allows phrases like “Hitchcock film” to seep into our conversations is that it dismisses the work of the screenwriter who comes up with the theme, the plot, and the characters – or if they are adapting a novel, which themes, which plot lines and which characters they choose to include, combine or leave behind. The auteur theory is a false idea that grants all the credit for a film to one person despite our understanding that film is a collaborative medium. The films written and later produced by Joan Harrison prove this fallacy quite well. 

Read Most Hitchcock Films are Harrison Films


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A Woman’s Life – and a Story – Meant for the Movie – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December 2022

A Woman’s Life – and a Story - Meant for the Movie  – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December 2022
Script contributor Dr. Rosanne Welch celebrates the female screenwriters who came before us with this month’s spotlight on prolific screenwriter and author Lorna Moon. Between her start as a Scottish author to her time as a Hollywood screenwriter Lorna Moon lived a life meant for the movies, yet no one has tackled her bio-pic yet.

Read A Woman’s Life – and a Story – Meant for the Movie


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New Book Available: American Women’s History on Film – Hollywood History Series #2 – Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier

It never grows old… today the 2nd book in the Hollywood History series that I co-wrote with my dear friend and colleague, Peg Lamphier, arrived on my doorstep. American Women’s History on Film covers 10 films that focus on some area of women’s history, usually through the eyes of a bio-pic since that is mostly the way women’s history is told.

New Book Available: American Women’s History on Film - Hollywood History Series #2

American Women’s History on Film is part of the Hollywood History series from ABC-Clio that included our earlier title The Civil War on Film. What’s been most fun about being part of this project has been the perfect way it split between my and Peg’s specialties. She is a Civil War historian, and my specialty is Screenwriting Studies — together we are both women’s history professors – so each book focused on an area in which one of us had perfect expertise.

Hollywood History Civil War On Film cover

As well, we learned from earlier books that we had to be very specific about the cover art we wanted on each of these books – that it should have a female presence on the Civil War book (since the assumption was they’d choose some photo of male soldiers on a battlefield) so for that book, they gave us a photo including Sally Field playing Mary Todd Lincoln beside Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln. For the current book, we were even more specific and requested women of color – and they gave us this lovely photo from Hidden Figures.

Having it All: Phoebe Ephron Gave Birth to Several Classic Films and 4 Female Screenwriters – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, November 2022

Having it All: Phoebe Ephron Gave Birth to Several Classic Films and 4 Female Screenwriters – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, November 2022

In 1914 Phoebe Wolkind was born in New York City. She graduated from Hunter College and worked as a counselor at a summer camp where she met Henry Ephron, a stage manager for famous playwriting team George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. They married in 1934 and shortly thereafter they began writing together after encouragement from Kaufman and Hart.

Yet, it was not until after the birth of their first daughter, Nora, in 1942 that something they wrote, Three’s a Family, found financial backers for a Broadway production. Notably, it began their habit of using personal family experience in their stories. Three’s a Family ran for over a year. Rather than adapting their own play, RKO Studios hired Phoebe and Henry to adapt The Richest Girl in the World, a play by Norman Krasna, turning it into the film Bride by Mistake. With that assignment, they moved to Los Angeles full time and on to a contract at Warner Brothers Studios, where they became adept at adapting plays and writing screenplays based on stories created by other writers, including Reginald Denham’s Wallflower (1948), a second Norman Krasna play, John Loves Mary (1949), and Look for the Silver Lining (1949).

Read Having it All: Phoebe Ephron Gave Birth to Several Classic Films and 4 Female Screenwriters


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SRN 2023 Conference, Columbia, Missouri USA – Call for Papers – Proposals Due January 6, 2022

SRN 2023 Conference, Columbia, Missouri USA - Call for Papers - Proposals Due January 6, 2022

CALL FOR PAPERS

SRN 2023: GENDER AND THE FEMALE GAZE

September 20-23, 2023

The SRN (Screenwriting Research Network) is comprised of scholars, writers, and practice-based researchers. Started in 2006, the network currently has 700 members from 50+ countries. The aim of the annual International Conference is to continue, and expand, discussions around the screenplay and to strengthen a rapidly emerging, and global, research network. For more information, please visit our website: http://screenwritingresearch.com

The 15th annual conference is organized by the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting and the School of Integrative Studies at Stephens College. The arts and humanities thrive in Columbia, Missouri, as dozens of on- and off-campus performances occur year-round at Stephens, making the College one of Columbia’s premier centers for the performing arts.

Call for Papers:

Coming from a host college that focuses on female participation in the arts, the conference theme “Gender and the Female Gaze” wants to discuss the contributions of female screenwriters and the plethora of female-focused stories told on screen from the Silent Era through the modern-day. We encourage and embrace research that is around women of different ethnicities, religious and cultural backgrounds, and particularly hope to engage topics which relate to minority cultures within minority (and majority) communities.

We are thus particularly interested in abstracts for presentations on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Female screenwriters in silent cinema
  • The influence of female writer (-directors) in contemporary culture
  • Case studies on individual female screenwriter’s work
  • Patterns in the women-centered stories that have been brought to the screen
  • Historiography of manuals and screenwriting pedagogy where this reflects the work of female screenwriters
  • Censorship of women’s stories and women’s writings
  • Female screenwriters within writing partnerships
  • The work of female screenwriters within script production (e.g. as showrunners, script editors or consultants)
  • The question of a female voice within screenwriting
  • The cultural influence of female characters created by female screenwriters
  • The way life experiences led to the story told
  • The challenges to their projects screenwriters often meet which speak to political, religious, gender or other barriers which may not apply to their male counterparts.
  • The real-world impact of the script on its audiences and society.
  • Examples of the ways women stepped out of traditional roles to work for change and an improved future for themselves and their communities through screenwriting.
  • How female screen stories tackled issues of culture, religion, identity, gender and race
  • How women have negotiated screen industry norms and practices, biases and social hurdles in order to tell their screen stories.
  • Ways in which the professional woman’s everyday life (e.g. romance, marriage, parenthood status or citizenship) has been challenged or made more challenging because of her professional work, and vice versa.
  • Issues caused by unreliable narrators of history
  • Studies of cultural appropriation in screenwriting; cultural imperialism; cultural disconnect and/or discord which comes about through discourses of power
  • Research into the ways in which money/ finance precludes certain stories from being told, even by successful screenwriters

Proposals for presentations beyond the theme of the conference are also welcome. The aim of the SRN being to foster research that rethinks the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values, and creative practices, any proposal underpinned by such research will be considered. We expect papers on the broad topics of pedagogy, theory, and practice – but even those may reflect the conference theme via the choices of writers chosen for inclusion in the study.

Essential Information:

Deadline for abstracts: January 6, 2023
Acceptances: February 15th, 2023
Registration by: June 30, 2023

Submissions via email and contact:

Rosanne Welch
rwelch@stephens.edu

Submission of abstracts/proposals

  • Proposals/Abstracts can be sent as either a Word or PDF document: please indicate
  • “yourname_PROPOSALTYPE” (i.e. paper or panel) clearly in the file title and in the subject heading of your submission.
  • All presentations will be delivered in person, in English, and be underpinned by original research work being conducted by the presenter. Multiple presenters (max. 2) for co-written papers are allowed.

1.) Proposals for traditional 20-minute papers, followed by Q&A. They should include:

  • Title
  • Author’s name
  • Affiliation (university, independent, practitioner, etc.)
  • Contact details
  • Abstract (max. 300 words)
  • 4-6 keywords
  • short bio (max 150 words), detailing your research activity, publications and/or screenwriting practice – and if the piece contributes to the conference theme please note.

2.) Proposals for Pre-constituted panels

Proposals for pre-constituted panels can be submitted by any of the presenters or the Chair of the panel and should include:

  • title of the panel
  • brief outline (100 words maximum) of the overall topic
  • abstracts of all the presentations – no more than 3 papers – following abstract guidelines listed above.

Abstracts should follow the guidelines for individual papers as above and include short bios and contact details of both the speakers and the panel Chair. Wherever possible, the Chair should NOT be one of the presenters. If a proposal for a pre-constituted panel does not include a Chair, the Conference Committee will appoint one. All proposals should indicate “Panel Proposal SRN 2022 in the file title and in the subject heading of the submission email.

Website and registration

The Website for the conference will include a wealth of useful information (e.g., registration, travel arrangements, accommodation options), as well as all the updates and the program leading up to the Conference. It will go live in early December.

The conference fee is expected to be in the region of $120 USD.

From ‘Greatest Girl Reporter’ to ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’ Adela Rogers St. Johns Wrote Herself into the History of the 20th Century – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, October 2022

Each month I celebrate the female screenwriters who came before us in an article in Script Magazine. This month’s spotlight comes from one of the first Hollywood memoirs I ever read from my small library in Bedford, Ohio – that of Adela Rogers St. Johns. They called her the Mother Confessor of Hollywood since so many stars of the 30s, 40s, and 50s came to her to help them out of a scandal (or two). A journalist who covered the film industry, she was first known as ‘The World’s Greatest Girl Reporter’ and then became ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’. Along the way, she garnered 38 writing or story by credits with the 1991 Final Verdict teleplay based on her memoir of sitting in courtrooms watching her famous father, trial lawyer Earl Rogers.

From 'Greatest Girl Reporter' to ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’ Adela Rogers St. Johns Wrote Herself into the History of the 20th Century – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, October 2022

After meeting Jane Murfin in last month’s column and hearing about her contribution to What Price Hollywood? (1932), it is time to meet that film’s co-writer: Adela Rogers St. Johns. Along with Murfin, she earned the Best Writing, Original Story nomination at that year’s Academy Award ceremony. Yet her true fame came in two titles that spanned her career as a journalist who covered the film industry. She began as ‘The World’s Greatest Girl Reporter’ and became ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’. Along the way, she garnered 38 writing or story by credits with the 1991 Final Verdict teleplay based on her memoir.

Read From ‘Greatest Girl Reporter’ to ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’ Adela Rogers St. Johns Wrote Herself into the History of the 20th Century


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The ‘Strongheart’ of Screenwriter Jane Murfin – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, September 2022

The 'Strongheart' of Screenwriter Jane Murfin – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, September 2022

Before there was the Lady Gaga remake of A Star is Born there was the 1937 original A Star is Born, written by Dorothy Parker (see Column #3 in this series). Before that, there was What Price Hollywood? (1932), written by Jane Murfin (and Adela Rogers St. Johns) which earned a Best Writing, Original Story nomination for the two female screenwriters at that year’s Academy Award ceremony.

Few Hollywood history books ever reference the name Jane Murfin even though she wrote and co-wrote and directed over 60 produced films in a career spanning over three decades and was a founding member of the Screenwriter’s Guild. She was one of the most prolific writers of the 1920s and ’30s.

Read The ‘Strongheart’ of Screenwriter Jane Murfin


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24 Conclusion from Why Torchwood Still Matters (2021) with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

I recently presented a talk on Torchwood (Why Torchwood Still Matters) where I highlighted a few ways in which the show (airing from 2006 to 2011) came up with progressive and innovative ideas that are being used by other franchises today. 

I always enjoy attending the SD (San Diego) WhoCon because the audiences are so well-informed on the Whoniverse and Whovians love Captain Jack and the crew that made this spinoff program so engaging.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

24 Conclusion from Why Torchwood Still Matters (2021) with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Transcript:

…because my argument with my friend that started all of this was that at the end of “Children of Earth” when Jack has to sacrifice his grandson, for all the good work that Russell has done with female characters my argument was, why wasn’t that his son? Because by making it his grandson – if you remember – the mother was outside the room banging on the door. So he usurped his daughter’s power as the parent of her own child and killed him as opposed to – if it was his son – I mean you shouldn’t kill your kid – you know what I am saying – that was like this one degree of separation and that made her character useless and unempowered and I don’t know why that occurred to him at all. So that was my argument and that’s actually what my article is about – why that didn’t work dramatically for me in that it dealt with that female character but it started the whole thing and caused me to be very interested in Torchwood.

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23 The Writer’s Tale from Why Torchwood Still Matters (2021) with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

I recently presented a talk on Torchwood (Why Torchwood Still Matters) where I highlighted a few ways in which the show (airing from 2006 to 2011) came up with progressive and innovative ideas that are being used by other franchises today. 

I always enjoy attending the SD (San Diego) WhoCon because the audiences are so well-informed on the Whoniverse and Whovians love Captain Jack and the crew that made this spinoff program so engaging.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

23 The Writer's Tale from Why Torchwood Still Matters (2021) with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Transcript:

…and I did want to make a quick bit about this yesterday. I mentioned this book to some folks it’s “The Writer’s Tale” where Russell talks not just about the last series with David Tennant but also he talks about writing “Children of Earth” and how the questions and the ideas were coming to him and what he worried about and then the actual watching the pilot and the different you know going to the edits. He really discusses the job of being Executive Producer and how much work it was. He was doing both of those things at the same time which is crazy but that’s how people do it when they do it in town. So to me, these are the many reasons why Torchwood is still worth talking about and I do wish they had kept to the alien of the week and done that for maybe five seasons before we went off into “Children of Earth” and then I would have done. I would have ended right?

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22 Sandman from Why Torchwood Still Matters (2021) with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

I recently presented a talk on Torchwood (Why Torchwood Still Matters) where I highlighted a few ways in which the show (airing from 2006 to 2011) came up with progressive and innovative ideas that are being used by other franchises today. 

I always enjoy attending the SD (San Diego) WhoCon because the audiences are so well-informed on the Whoniverse and Whovians love Captain Jack and the crew that made this spinoff program so engaging.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

 

22 Sandman from Why Torchwood Still Matters (2021) with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Transcript:

So, now that we have that happening, gee whiz, Neil Gaiman is doing “Sandman” in London and he’s brought over Alan Heinberg who’s an American writer who’s been in Shondaland for many years. He’s done several of her shows and then was the writer hired to write the first “Wonder Woman” movie. So, he’s an American guy through and through but Neil Gaiman was like “That’s the guy I need on my show.” So now, Allan has moved to London for the last nine months working with Neil, and what a – just as it was an honor for Jane to want Russell to work with her, Allan felt that way about Neil Gaiman choosing him. So, we’re going to have the two sensibilities in this one piece and this stuff didn’t happen in the past either, right? This is a new idea that we can do that. Partially that’s also built up with Netflix and the idea that we’re now watching more international television. It’s not just American shows going everywhere and Americans now have this access to newer things. So I just think that’s pretty amazing. All of this to me comes from Torchwood.

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