Melissa Rosenberg

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Melissa Rosenberg
Melissa Rosenberg posed.jpg
BornMelissa Anne Rosenberg
(1962-08-28) August 28, 1962 (age 52)
Marin County, California, U.S.
OccupationScreenwriter, television producer
NationalityAmerican
Alma materBennington College
University of Southern California
Period1993–present
Notable worksStep Up (2006)
Dexter (2006–2009)
Twilight (2008)
New Moon (2009)
Eclipse (2010)
Breaking Dawn part 1 (2011)
Breaking Dawn part 2 (2012)
SpouseLev L. Spiro (1995-present)
 
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Not to be confused with Melissa Rivers, born Melissa Rosenberg.
Melissa Rosenberg
Melissa Rosenberg posed.jpg
BornMelissa Anne Rosenberg
(1962-08-28) August 28, 1962 (age 52)
Marin County, California, U.S.
OccupationScreenwriter, television producer
NationalityAmerican
Alma materBennington College
University of Southern California
Period1993–present
Notable worksStep Up (2006)
Dexter (2006–2009)
Twilight (2008)
New Moon (2009)
Eclipse (2010)
Breaking Dawn part 1 (2011)
Breaking Dawn part 2 (2012)
SpouseLev L. Spiro (1995-present)

Melissa Anne Rosenberg (born August 28, 1962)[1] is an American screenwriter. She has worked in both film and television and has been nominated for two Emmy Awards, and two Writers Guild of America Awards. She won a Peabody Award. Since joining the Writers Guild of America, she has been involved in its Board of Directors and was a strike captain during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. She supports female screenwriters through the WGA Diversity Committee and co-founded the League of Hollywood Women Writers.

She majored in Dance and Theatre at Bennington College in Vermont, but she later graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master's Degree in Film and Television Producing.

She worked on several television series between 1993 and 2003 before joining The O.C. '​s writing staff, eventually leaving the show to write the 2006 film Step Up. From 2006 to 2009, she served as the head writer of the Showtime series Dexter, rising to executive producer by the time that she departed at the end of the fourth season. She wrote her second produced screenplay, a film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel Twilight in 2007 and has since adapted the novel's three sequels, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

She is married to television director Lev L. Spiro, and they live in Los Angeles.

Early life[edit]

Rosenberg was born in Marin County, California.[2] Her father is Jack Lee Rosenberg, a psychotherapist and the founder of integrative body psychotherapy. Her mother was Patricia Rosenberg, a lawyer. She was the second of four children by her father's first marriage and another by his second.[3] Rosenberg's father was Jewish, and her mother was of Irish Catholic background.[4]

As a child, Rosenberg enjoyed presenting plays and recruiting other neighborhood children to perform in them.[3] She attended a "massive public high school with a crowd of people bunched in a classroom and expected to learn" in Southern California. She later moved to New York City to join a small theatre company before moving again to Bennington, Vermont to attend Bennington College.[5] She originally aspired to work in Dance and Choreography. She says she began too late, however, so she moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in the film industry instead. She graduated from the University of Southern California's (USC) Peter Stark Producing Program with a Master of Fine Arts degree in film and television producing.[2][5]

Career[edit]

Rosenberg's first project was a dance film commissioned by Paramount Pictures that was ultimately never made.[2] She then shifted to television writing. She first wrote for Class of '96 in 1993, and went on to work on shows including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1995–1996), Dark Skies (1996), The Magnificent Seven (1998), Ally McBeal (2001) and Birds of Prey (2002) before she came to join the writing staff of The O.C. in 2003. Leaving The O.C. at the conclusion of its first season, she was hired to write her second screenplay, the 2006 dance film Step Up.[6] (Later, she was also offered the job of writing the sequel, Step Up 2 the Streets, but turned the offer down as she was busy with other projects.)[7]

Rosenberg went on to write for the television series Love Monkey (2006) and Dexter (2006–present). Her job on Dexter, which is broadcast on Showtime, was her first on a show written for cable—she stated in 2007, "Cable is the place to be ... it's just wonderful."[8] Rosenberg initially worked as a consulting producer and writer on the first season. She and the other members of the Dexter writing staff were nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for best Dramatic Series at the February 2008 ceremony for their work on the first season.[9][10] She gained a staff position as co-executive producer and writer for the second season in 2007 and continued in this role for the third season in 2008. The writing staff was again nominated for the WGA award at the February 2009 ceremony for their work on the third season.[11] As part of the senior production team she was also co-nominated for the Outstanding Drama Series award at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards.[12] She was promoted to executive producer for the fourth season in 2009 and continued to write episodes. She was nominated for the WGA award a third consecutive time at the February 2010 ceremony for her work on the fourth season of Dexter.[13]

Rosenberg at the 2008 Screenwriting Expo

Summit Entertainment, the production company which had produced Step Up,[14] offered Rosenberg the chance to adapt Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel Twilight into a film of the same name, which she accepted.[6] Her primary inspiration for the adaptation was Brokeback Mountain, which she described as a "great model" of forbidden love alongside Romeo and Juliet, and thought its adaptation from short story to film was "beautiful".[15][16] She was given a "manifesto" written by Meyer outlining everything that had to be included or could not be changed in the adaptation.[14] She wrote a detailed 25-page outline in August 2007, expecting to have another two months to write the actual screenplay, but had only five weeks to finish the script before the commencement of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[17] After the release of Twilight, she was hired by Summit to adapt the sequels New Moon and Eclipse, the second and third books in the series, respectively, and she had already begun drafting the New Moon screenplay by November 2008.[18][19]

In July 2010, Rosenberg left her role of writer and executive producer on Dexter, explaining that "For the past four years I've been writing Dexter and one Twilight or another." She had been hired to adapt the final novel in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, which would be split into two films, but she said, "I can do one Twilight and Dexter, but I couldn't do two." She was regretful about leaving the series and called it her favorite television experience to date.[20] She has recently signed on to write the script for a relaunch of the Highlander film franchise, with Justin Lin(Fast Five) directing.[21]

Rosenberg was on the Writers Guild of America's Board of Directors for five years before stepping back because "you can get really, really wrapped up in it". She was very active, however, in the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, standing on the line as a strike captain.[17] She is currently involved in the WGA Diversity Committee supporting female screenwriters, but is more active in the League of Hollywood Women Writers, which she and several other women set up while on strike, aiming to fight the "boys' club mentality" in television writing rooms.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Rosenberg's mother died when Rosenberg was a teenager, after her father had remarried to Lynn MacCuish; he later married again to fellow therapist Beverly Kitaen-Morse. She has an older sister, Andrea (born 1960), younger brother and sister Erik and K. C. (twins, born 1963), and a younger half-sister, Mariya (born 1981), by her father's second wife.[3]

Rosenberg lives in Los Angeles with her husband Lev L. Spiro, a television director, and their dog Zuma.[22] She joked that "At our wedding, half the attendees were shrinks, the other half, their clients," after explaining that "My sister is a dance therapist; my other sister is in graduate school to become a therapist. My husband's parents are both shrinks. His uncle, two aunts and sister are shrinks."[23]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

YearTitleCreditNote(s)
2006Step UpWriter
2008AlyxWriter; executive producerTelevision movie
TwilightWriter
2009The Twilight Saga: New MoonWriter
2010The Twilight Saga: EclipseWriter
2011The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1Writer
2012The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2Writer

Television[edit]

Year(s)TitleCreditNote(s)
1993Class of '96Writer; story editorEpisodes: "Midterm Madness", "The Adventures of Pat's Man and Robin"
1994Party of FiveWriter; supervising producer
1995–1996Dr. Quinn, Medicine WomanWriterEpisodes: "One Touch of Nature", "If You Love Someone...", "Reunion"
1996The Outer LimitsWriterEpisode: "The Sentence"
Dark SkiesWriter; story editor
1996–1997Hercules: The Legendary JourneysWriterEpisodes: "Mummy Dearest", "Beanstalks and Bad Eggs"
1998The Magnificent SevenWriter; co-producerEpisodes: "Working Girls", "Witness"
2000Boston PublicConsulting producerEpisode: "Chapter Two"
2001Ally McBealWriterEpisode: "Hats Off to Larry"
The AgencyWriter; consulting producer
2002Birds of PreyWriter; consulting producerEpisodes: "Slick", "Sins of the Mother", "Nature of the Beast"
2003–2004The O.C.Writer; co-executive producerEpisodes: "The Outsider", "The Rescue", "The Third Wheel"
2006Love MonkeyWriter; co-executive producerEpisodes: "Confidence", "Coming Out"
2006–2009DexterWriter; executive producer8 episodes; one Emmy Award nomination; two WGA Award nominations
2013Red WidowCreator; writer; executive producerEpisodes: "Pilot", "The Contact"

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
  2. ^ a b c Dawes, Amy (November–December 2008). "The XX Factor". Creative Screenwriting Magazine. 
  3. ^ a b c Itten, Theodor; Fischer, Martin (ed.) (2002). Jack Lee Rosenberg: Celebrating a Master Psychotherapist. Itten Books. ISBN 3-9522485-0-9. 
  4. ^ http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/jewish_screenwriter_newmoon_vampires_twilight_melissa_rosenberg_20091111/
  5. ^ a b "Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg '86 crafts sharp characters for film and TV". Bennington College. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  6. ^ a b "The Twilight Lexicon’s interview with Melissa Rosenberg". TwilightLexicon.com. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  7. ^ Ryan, Rotten (August 19, 2008). "Exclusive Interview: Twilight's Melissa Rosenberg". ShockTillYouDrop.com. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  8. ^ Douglas, Pamela (2007). Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV (2nd ed.). California, United States: Michael Wiese Productions. pp. 127–130. ISBN 1-932907-34-3. 
  9. ^ "2008 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced" (Press release). Writers Guild of America, west. December 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  10. ^ Perry, Byron (December 12, 2007). "WGA announce TV, radio nominees". Variety. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  11. ^ "2009 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced" (Press release). Writers Guild of America, west. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  12. ^ "2007–2008 Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations" (Press release). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. July 18, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  13. ^ Gregg Mitchell & Sherry Goldman (2009). "2010 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  14. ^ a b Martin, Denise (November 13, 2008). "'Twilight' Countdown: Melissa Rosenberg defends 'Breaking Dawn'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  15. ^ Carroll, Larry (September 16, 2008). "'Twilight' Tuesday: Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg Was Inspired By 'Brokeback Mountain'". MTV News. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  16. ^ Gnerre, Andrew (November 14, 2008). "Melissa Rosenberg Takes a Bite Out of Twilight". MovieMaker. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  17. ^ a b c Charaipotra, Sona (September 16, 2007). "Exclusive Interview: 'Twilight' Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg". Premiere. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  18. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (November 14, 2008). "'Twilight' film franchise looks ahead". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  19. ^ Sperling, Nicole (November 6, 2008). "'Twilight': Will the Movie Be a Hit?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  20. ^ Callaghan, Dylan (July 2, 2010). "Work Hard, Twihard". Writers Guild of America, West. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  21. ^ http://www.punchdrunkcritics.com/2011/02/twilight-writer-to-pen-highlander.html
  22. ^ Wagner Apfelbach, Paula (2001). "Alumni News". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  23. ^ Eramo, Steven (September 1997). "Dark Tales". Xposé 1 (14): 50–53. 

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