The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and Their Guild (None)

Miranda J Banks (Author)


Screenwriters are storytellers and dream builders. They forge new worlds and beings, bringing them to life through storylines and idiosyncratic details. Yet up until now, no one has told the story of these creative and indispensable artists. The Writers is the only comprehensive qualitative analysis of the history of writers and writing in the film, television, and streaming media industries in America.
Featuring in-depth interviews with over fifty writers--including Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Carl Reiner, and Frank Pierson--The Writers delivers a compelling, behind-the-scenes look at the role and rights of writers in Hollywood and New York over the past century. Granted unprecedented access to the archives of the Writers Guild Foundation, Miranda J. Banks also mines over 100 never-before-published oral histories with legends such as Nora Ephron and Ring Lardner Jr., whose insight and humor provide a window onto the enduring priorities, policies, and practices of the Writers Guild.
With an ear for the language of storytellers, Banks deftly analyzes watershed moments in the industry: the advent of sound, World War II, the blacklist, ascension of television, the American New Wave, the rise and fall of VHS and DVD, and the boom of streaming media. The Writers spans historical and contemporary moments, and draws upon American cultural history, film and television scholarship and the passionate politics of labor and management. Published on the sixtieth anniversary of the formation of the Writers Guild of America, this book tells the story of the triumphs and struggles of these vociferous and contentious hero-makers.

Product Details

Rutgers University Press
Publish Date
January 05, 2015
6.33 X 1.05 X 9.58 inches | 1.58 pounds

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About the Author

MIRANDA J. BANKS is assistant professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College. She is the coeditor of Production Studies Cultural Studies of Media Industries.


"A monumental task--no one has ever tackled anything like this in writing about writers. Well done."--Mel Brooks
"A comprehensive tome that will be appreciated by the film and TV writers who wrote, are still writing, or will someday write."--Carl Reiner "Director, Writer, Actor "
"A beautifully researched history. Miranda Banks digs deep into the archives to bring out a very powerful, moving--and, at times, gossipy--history of Hollywood and the writers who make it all possible."
--Matt Tyrnauer "director, "Valentino The Last Emperor" "
"An original and immensely interesting book, addressing a topic of both scholarly and general interest."--Charles Wolfe "University of California-Santa Barbara "
"What an important story Miranda Banks tells, and how brilliantly she tells it. The voices of hundreds of writers shine through this history of a neglected but crucial sector of Hollywood production culture. A vital contribution to the field."--Michele Hilmes "University of Wisconsin-Madison "

"Well-informed survey of film and TV writers' decadeslong battle to defend their economic and creative interests. Banks writes lucidly about complex financial and technical issues, giving a solid, unromantic sense of working writers' lives."

--Kirkus Reviews
"Banks uncovers the role the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has played in the entertainment industry. With accounts from more than 200 writers and solid access to the Writers Guild Foundation, the book discusses the importance of authorship, name recognition, and membership boundaries. [The Writers] presents a previously lacking exploration of writers and the WGA itself, particularly educating readers on the precedents set for other entertainment guilds. Highly recommended for film buffs and aspiring screenwriters."--Library Journal