Once upon a time in Los Angeles, seemingly everyone on the creative side in “the industry”—from actors and actresses to directors and writers—was either Jewish or Irish Catholic. The phenomenon was obvious well into the late 1970s for sitcoms and variety shows, where the writers shared something else in common: They were almost exclusively men. Later, in the 1990s, it seemed that every writer was a recent (again, male) alum of The Harvard Lampoon, the humor magazine published by students from the Fordham of Boston.
Many women writers can tell horror stories about the things said and done in writers’ rooms, but the old guard seems to be passing into the sunset to some degree, and new voices are making themselves heard. The gender disparity has happily decreased a bit in recent decades, and some of the stalwarts of writing for television and the big screen today are women. One still sees more than a fair share of Catholics (though fewer of the Irish variety). Without a doubt, these women are bringing different perspectives to the writers’ table.
In a series of interviews over phone and email, America asked Catholic women writers to comment on their experiences writing for film and television.
Most of the time, Catholics in the United States are remarkably similar to non-Catholics, screenwriters included, so connecting a writer’s work to his or her faith doesn’t always track well. “We’re just like anybody else,” said Gloria Calderon Kellett, the executive…