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Old 05-22-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
LauriD
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Default LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

Despite the success of 'Bridesmaids' and other female-driven movies, female representation in films is at its lowest level in five years, a USC report says.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,2661695.story

'The USC researchers said these trends persist because those working in Hollywood believe attracting a male audience is the key ingredient to box office success.

"Industry perceptions of the audience drive much of what we see on-screen," said study author Stacy L. Smith. "There is a perception that movies that pull male sell. Given that females go to the movies as much as males, the lack of change is likely due to entrenched ways of thinking and doing business that perpetuate the status quo."'

EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN HARPING ABOUT!
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

Got it. I'm writing scripts about men.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

It's a complex issue and harping on it really doesn't do anything. We're living in a capitalistic society in which humanistic fairness takes a back seat to profit.

The economy has been weak over the last 5 years and the current recovery is rather anemic. History shows us when money is scarce and there's a lower number of opportunities, those fewer opportunities go to men. You can track this trend through every economic depression and recession.

Men 'get the job' because it's a deeply ingrained in our society that men are the breadwinners and women are the child-raisers. And because there is some truth to this, it's unlikely to change.

This, in addition to, institutionalized sexism (which exists in the majority of major industries with opportunities for high-paying positions) will always result in a stagnation of advances for women during economic downturns. As a result, you end up with a workforce where men simply have more job-specific experience in high-paying positions. And the problem perpetuates.

Now put your employer's hat on. Money is tight, investors are more cautious, stock holders are whining, and you can't afford to make costly, unjustifiable mistakes. You have a project and two candidates before you -- the guy with a few years experience with a documented track record and a woman with far less experience but some evidence of promise. Given the economic conditions, who do you choose?
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

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Now put your employer's hat on. Money is tight, investors are more cautious, stock holders are whining, and you can't afford to make costly, unjustifiable mistakes. You have a project and two candidates before you -- the guy with a few years experience with a documented track record and a woman with far less experience but some evidence of promise. Given the economic conditions, who do you choose?
Um... what does that have to do with whether you make movies about women or men?

I would think that, given economic conditions, it would be smart to decide which movies to make based on the actual demographics/preferences of the audience TODAY -- not in 1983.

We're dealing with VHS thinking in an iTunes era....
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

Nothing is stopping anyone from writing scripts with quality roles for women. I gave it a try and it turned out okay.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

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Um... what does that have to do with whether you make movies about women or men?

I would think that, given economic conditions, it would be smart to decide which movies to make based on the actual demographics/preferences of the audience TODAY -- not in 1983.

We're dealing with VHS thinking in an iTunes era....

I think your comment shows a lack of understanding about "demos" and "preferences" and the types of numbers investors want to see before they plunk down their money.

The same economic logic I outlined above applies in an industry that's highly risk adverse. The ongoing trend over the last - what 15 to 20 years? -- has been more films with male leads greenlit and released. Usually written and directed by men. These films have a global BO track record with a reliable market. They're the safer bet. They look good on paper.

What are you going to say to investors -- who have been a bit shell-shocked due to the bad economy:

"I'm not going to use your money to make a genre film starring Tom Cruise that will predictibly make you a profit with worldwide release. Instead, I'm going to risk your money on an a female-driven film with an actress who has never opened a film in a genre with little to no stats to discern it's probable success worldwide."

As for your mention of actual demographics and "preferences" -- I have no idea how you can come to any conclusion about the "preferences" of women movie goers. You can't assume that, since 51% of the population is female, they will all buy a ticket for a female-driven film. Marketing doesn't work that way.

Current demos show women go to see male-driven films. I do. You do. Of course we can argue when there's only hotdogs on the menu you'll settle for hotdogs. But demos mean nothing unless you can prove a particular portion of the potential market will buy your product. This is the way business works. You can't take the "build it and they will come" approach. Especially not when 100s of millions of dollars are at risk.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

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Nothing is stopping anyone from writing scripts with quality roles for women. I gave it a try and it turned out okay.
Of course no one's stopped from writing them. But if fewer movies with leading roles for women are getting made, then presumably fewer of these scripts will sell.

And if fewer will sell, then I suspect reps might discourage their clients from writing them; can anyone here confirm/refute that?
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

"Telling stories from the female perspective is good box office. However, only 16 percent of movies are made specifically with women in mind, even though half of the ticket buying public is female, which means Hollywood is missing the bet financially—with a few notable exceptions that prove my point.

Note to the studios: stop trying to get the boys back and go after the women.

Here are some facts: not only do women account for more than 50% of the ticket buying audience, they often choose the movie a couple sees, and choose movies for their children.

Here are some movie marketer/distributor observations: Women are often repeat viewers, and view cross-generationally – as they did for "The Princess Diaries," which was made for grannies and five-year olds but all the women of in between ages came too, making it a hit that grossed $126 million in world wide box office—although it cost just $26 million to make.


Women view therapeutically too—how many women do you know who watch "Sense and Sensibility," "Pride and Prejudice," or "Bridget Jones’ Diary" repeatedly and fight over who the best Mr. Darcy really is? Movies for women don’t have to be expensive because they’re more “people powered” than special effects-powered.

Think "Twilight": it cost $37 million and made a $384 million return! Or "The Help": a $22 million investment that generated $180 million at the box office – so far! That compared to a "Transformers" or "Spiderman" or "Pirates Of The Carribean" – which we may love but they cost well over $100 million to make and don’t have nearly the profit margin of a well-made romantic comedy."

More at: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsono...ase-the-women#

I have yet to see a reasoned economic argument for ignoring the tastes of half your market.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

It's probably not that complicated. I don't have any statistics or anything, but most working writers are white men, and people generally write what they want to see. Ir's probably just a case of men writing for themselves most of the time.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: LA Times: Where Have All the Women in Movies Gone?

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It's probably not that complicated. I don't have any statistics or anything, but most working writers are white men, and people generally write what they want to see. Ir's probably just a case of men writing for themselves most of the time.
That would make sense.

But if the producers want to expand their market, they could consider expanding their list of suppliers -- or encourage existing suppliers to think beyond the hot dog.
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