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Old 01-26-2013, 07:59 AM   #81
Richmond Weems
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by thestuart View Post
You're making your own sweeping generalisations too here, you're experience doesn't sum up everybody else's.
You're right, I am making a generalization to counter the opposite generalization. However, I never said it doesn't happen. I think it happens less often than is indicated by sc111s experience, and that opinion is not just based on my own, but from having worked for three female managers/executives, one of whom is also black and highly respected in that corporation, and, last I heard, is a VP in that corporation.

I don't know, maybe that corporation is more progressive than others, but I do take your point so I'll bow out of this discussion since I don't really have much more to add other than some minimal disagreements.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:07 AM   #82
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by Richmond Weems View Post
You're right, I am making a generalization to counter the opposite generalization. However, I never said it doesn't happen. I think it happens less often than is indicated by sc111s experience, and that opinion is not just based on my own, but from having worked for three female managers/executives, one of whom is also black and highly respected in that corporation, and, last I heard, is a VP in that corporation.

I don't know, maybe that corporation is more progressive than others, but I do take your point so I'll bow out of this discussion since I don't really have much more to add other than some minimal disagreements.
I feel there is certainly some industries that nurture better practices. As you point out, the true corporate world see's the bottom line and little else. I know some industries are rumoured to be particularly bad, the computer games industry in particular which generated a ton of sexist stories last year.

There can also be the issue of going in with a passive aggressive attitude that actually creates the divide in the first place. Angry vagina syndrome.

I have experienced women walking into an organisation and insisting her poor performance/relations is entire down to all the men being sexist, when they were in fact a incompetent under-skilled sociopath.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:07 AM   #83
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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It is half comprised of hard, documented facts (like the low percentage of women submitting films to Sundance) and half anecdotal evidence (like the anonymous survey respondent who said the reason women aren't submitting films is because the financing is controlled by the mostly male bankers, who won't lend women). ...

So basically, it's an unwinnable argument.

The truth is that the world can be a cruel, unfair place. It's full of politics and nepotism and coercion and bribery.

But for the most part, it's a meritocracy. Do great work and you will be noticed.

I'm glad that I am a white male, so I know that the only bias out there is against my crappy writing.
The reason it's half facts and half anecdotal is because every employer is sensitive to lawsuits and have been for the last four-plus decades since anti-discrimination employment laws were passed.

You will find no hard evidence -- written documents, comments witnessed by more than one person -- because it's engineered that way. That's why it's called institutionalized discrimination. It's a not a policy written in the employee handbook. It's in the metaphorical bloodstream of the system.

(I've been told more than once by bosses at two different agencies, after they actually admitted to me, for certain high-profile positions, they will only hire a man, "And if you repeat this to anyone I'll deny I said it." Yeah - I know, more anecdotal evidence.)

For those who experience it, the undocumented threat is -- sue us for discrimination and, even if you win, you'll never work in this industry again. And this applies to many industries.

Even with those who speak out, repeat what they heard -- like the quotes I posted last night -- in a courtroom it's hearsay. And even if you called witnesses to attest to what the actor said about hating female directors, or what the investor said about preferring a male director, more often than not they would simply deny they said it, or heard it said, to keep their own jobs. Whistleblowers are rare in every industry.

The film industry is even further unique because directors, writers, actors are all subcontractors, not salaried employees as defined by law. This is likely the reason it goes on unchecked -- it's near-impossible to prove anti-discrimination laws are being willfully and intentionally broken when you fail to win a contract.

I think there's more truth in your closing comments than you may realize:

But for the most part, it's a meritocracy. Do great work and you will be noticed. I'm glad that I am a white male, so I know that the only bias out there is against my crappy writing.

I will agree -- without a doubt -- that among the preferred group, white males, it is a meritocracy. Those white guys who have achieved and sustained success in the film industry have earned it by the strength of their talent and industry savvy. I do not doubt it.

But, for women, the numbers themselves defy the meritocracy argument.

Let's set aside numbers of those who enter and win contests for a moment and look the number of card-carrying members of the DGA who are experienced women directors (not members of director teams - directors): 1,000. One thousand! Yet, they're often excluded from lists of directors to be considered for a project? Not hired. Considered.

This is discrimination, plain and simple. And any contrary rationalization simply doesn't hold up. Here's more anecdotal evidence from Liz Garcia:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizgarcia/2012/08/24/women-cant-gain-influence-in-hollywood-because-women-dont-look-like-men/
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:14 AM   #84
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

First, I don't understand how the lack of female directors affects any of you in this business. I say this as a Korean-American who understands how difficult it is for minorities. I would say the biggest difficulty I face as a Korean writer is that my family and friends didn't understand what I was trying to do. They understand the pursuit of being a doctor, a professor, or a lawyer. But they have no understanding of this creative pursuit; there just isn't any proven track record that allows me to follow a roadmap. And that is probably the most difficult struggle.

Second, Hollywood is extremely cruel to everyone. Go to any agency mailroom and discover that Harvard MBAs are working 90 hours a week and eating Subway sandwiches while their classmates are making $200K and driving BMWs.

Third, as far as strong female roles, you have control over that as screenwriters. Your background doesn't limit the kind of scripts you can write. If anything, channel all your hopes and fears from your unique life experiences to create characters who have real aspirations and failures. Connect with your characters and make your readers connect with you.

Finally, those who believe that there are gender, racial, or economic barriers to entry will always be proven right. Don't be that person. Prove yourself wrong by focusing on turning out your most personal and imaginative expression of your work. Prove everyone else wrong by rising above it all and letting your work speak on your behalf.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:50 AM   #85
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

Just thinking about the title of this thread:

Quote:
New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"
It's interesting how the two elements are conflated. I don't know that they should be.

I wonder if this will mean more opportunities for female directors as a whole, or only for those who wish to create certain kinds of female characters.

Let's say that a female writer/director is talented in terms of her craft, but wishes to celebrate a more traditional family structure, or have as her main character a homemaker, etc. Would her work be supported as well, or only that of female writer/directors who wish to celebrate female characters in career roles (in business, in the military, etc.)?

What if the former director is more talented strictly in terms of her craft than the latter? Is this a move to support women in general, or expressly women with a certain perspective?

Or what if a male writer/director crafts a piece with a strongly feminist message, while a female writer/director crafts a piece with a more traditionalist message? Would such a prodco support the male-directed feminist work over the female-directed traditionalist work?

And what is meant by a "strong role for women"? Strong in what way? A role that is rich and complex and nuanced, but does not show a female character taking a career path, or explicitly a role in which a woman is shown struggling and achieving career success? What if the former is a more layered and complex role and character, while the latter is a two-dimensional portrait? Would the latter be favored over the former?

This could go many ways.

Last edited by karsten : 01-26-2013 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:56 AM   #86
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by Hamboogul View Post
First, I don't understand how the lack of female directors affects any of you in this business. I say this as a Korean-American who understands how difficult it is for minorities. I would say the biggest difficulty I face as a Korean writer is that my family and friends didn't understand what I was trying to do. They understand the pursuit of being a doctor, a professor, or a lawyer. But they have no understanding of this creative pursuit; there just isn't any proven track record that allows me to follow a roadmap. And that is probably the most difficult struggle.

Second, Hollywood is extremely cruel to everyone. Go to any agency mailroom and discover that Harvard MBAs are working 90 hours a week and eating Subway sandwiches while their classmates are making $200K and driving BMWs.

Third, as far as strong female roles, you have control over that as screenwriters. Your background doesn't limit the kind of scripts you can write. If anything, channel all your hopes and fears from your unique life experiences to create characters who have real aspirations and failures. Connect with your characters and make your readers connect with you.

Finally, those who believe that there are gender, racial, or economic barriers to entry will always be proven right. Don't be that person. Prove yourself wrong by focusing on turning out your most personal and imaginative expression of your work. Prove everyone else wrong by rising above it all and letting your work speak on your behalf.
That's exactly what this prodco appears to be about. There's a problem. This is one possible solution.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:40 AM   #87
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by Richmond Weems View Post
I think it happens less often than is indicated by sc111s experience, and that opinion is not just based on my own, but from having worked for three female managers/executives, one of whom is also black and highly respected in that corporation, and, last I heard, is a VP in that corporation.
I just want to clarify why my experience seems so different to you. As an ad copywriter I provide work for vastly different industries. When on staff, I attended meetings with CEOs from all sorts of global companies, far and wide. (Years ago, I was in a meeting with Trump for his casino).

When you're a hired gun - not an employee - the suits say all sorts of stuff in front of you without fear of recrimination.When I went freelance it was even more so considering the non-disclosure agreements I personally have to sign with each client.

So when I say I sat in a meeting and heard or witnessed this or that, I'm talking about meetings in industries including:

Hotels/Resorts/Casinos
Travel (airlines, tourism)
Restaurants
Engineering
Architect groups
Fine Art Museums
College Recruitment
Theme Parks (Disney, Sea World)
Disaster Recovery Industry
Real Estate
Luxury home builders
Community Developers
Industrial absorbents manufacturers
Business brokers
Political Candidates & Motivational Speakers
Retail -- a wide range of consumer products from radial tires and vitamins to fine perfumes and fashion
HR (my gig for the next two weeks -- writing employee handbooks)
And a whole bunch of niche products/services run by entreprenuers with staffs of 50 or less, too long a list to add here. Plus some one-offs I've probably forgotten.

This is why there's an old joke that copywriters know a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of things they will likely never use for themselves.

Yes, I believe your experience is different than mine.
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Last edited by sc111 : 01-26-2013 at 10:01 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #88
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by Hamboogul View Post
First, I don't understand how the lack of female directors affects any of you in this business.
And I don't understand how one prodco that wants to promote female directors is such a big deal to men.

It's like getting mad at a hospital that only treats sick people.

The people behind Tangerine Entertainment see a problem, this is their solution. That other people don't see a problem isn't really relevant. If you (the collective you) don't think there's a gender disparity in the industry or any particular need to seek out women behind the camera, then shrug your shoulders and go about your business. This prodco is not hurting you.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:26 AM   #89
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
The reason it's half facts and half anecdotal is because every employer is sensitive to lawsuits and have been for the last four-plus decades since anti-discrimination employment laws were passed.

You will find no hard evidence -- written documents, comments witnessed by more than one person -- because it's engineered that way. That's why it's called institutionalized discrimination. It's a not a policy written in the employee handbook. It's in the metaphorical bloodstream of the system.

(I've been told more than once by bosses at two different agencies, after they actually admitted to me, for certain high-profile positions, they will only hire a man, "And if you repeat this to anyone I'll deny I said it." Yeah - I know, more anecdotal evidence.)

For those who experience it, the undocumented threat is -- sue us for discrimination and, even if you win, you'll never work in this industry again. And this applies to many industries.

Even with those who speak out, repeat what they heard -- like the quotes I posted last night -- in a courtroom it's hearsay. And even if you called witnesses to attest to what the actor said about hating female directors, or what the investor said about preferring a male director, more often than not they would simply deny they said it, or heard it said, to keep their own jobs. Whistleblowers are rare in every industry.

The film industry is even further unique because directors, writers, actors are all subcontractors, not salaried employees as defined by law. This is likely the reason it goes on unchecked -- it's near-impossible to prove anti-discrimination laws are being willfully and intentionally broken when you fail to win a contract.

I think there's more truth in your closing comments than you may realize:

But for the most part, it's a meritocracy. Do great work and you will be noticed. I'm glad that I am a white male, so I know that the only bias out there is against my crappy writing.

I will agree -- without a doubt -- that among the preferred group, white males, it is a meritocracy. Those white guys who have achieved and sustained success in the film industry have earned it by the strength of their talent and industry savvy. I do not doubt it.

But, for women, the numbers themselves defy the meritocracy argument.

Let's set aside numbers of those who enter and win contests for a moment and look the number of card-carrying members of the DGA who are experienced women directors (not members of director teams - directors): 1,000. One thousand! Yet, they're often excluded from lists of directors to be considered for a project? Not hired. Considered.

This is discrimination, plain and simple. And any contrary rationalization simply doesn't hold up. Here's more anecdotal evidence from Liz Garcia:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizgarcia/2012/08/24/women-cant-gain-influence-in-hollywood-because-women-dont-look-like-men/
I couldn't have done a better response to what's being said overall.

As to this ideas that those of us who see/know the problem shouldn't dupe ourselves into this self fulfilling prophecy - I agree. But, I assure you nothing is stopping me from going after my dreams, but that doesn't mean I should ignore the issues faced by those who came before me. I'm aware of the various roadblocks I may encounter, but I assure you all the knowing in the world won't stop me from accomplishing my goals. I've been through too much and accomplished too much to allow bias, prejudices, and isms stop me. In the end all I want is to be judged on the merit of my work/writing, not what's between my legs or the colour of my skin.

I have one motto my only deflector in life is sickness and death. Hell, I think even on my deathbed I'd still try to accomplish any unchecked goal.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:32 PM   #90
WaitForIt
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by karsten View Post
Just thinking about the title of this thread:



It's interesting how the two elements are conflated. I don't know that they should be.

I wonder if this will mean more opportunities for female directors as a whole, or only for those who wish to create certain kinds of female characters.

Let's say that a female writer/director is talented in terms of her craft, but wishes to celebrate a more traditional family structure, or have as her main character a homemaker, etc. Would her work be supported as well, or only that of female writer/directors who wish to celebrate female characters in career roles (in business, in the military, etc.)?

What if the former director is more talented strictly in terms of her craft than the latter? Is this a move to support women in general, or expressly women with a certain perspective?

Or what if a male writer/director crafts a piece with a strongly feminist message, while a female writer/director crafts a piece with a more traditionalist message? Would such a prodco support the male-directed feminist work over the female-directed traditionalist work?

And what is meant by a "strong role for women"? Strong in what way? A role that is rich and complex and nuanced, but does not show a female character taking a career path, or explicitly a role in which a woman is shown struggling and achieving career success? What if the former is a more layered and complex role and character, while the latter is a two-dimensional portrait? Would the latter be favored over the former?

This could go many ways.
Given the kneejerk "I AM MORE THAN MY UTERUS" reactions other women often have when certain subjects are brought up or certain choices are made, this will be something to watch. Have you heard of so-called Mommy Wars? Women so often feel threatened by choices other women make. Irrational. As if one mother's choice is a way of saying to all other mothers who would or did choose differently, "Fvck you." When it's more likely just whatever happened to work for her at any given time.

After this thread, I had a conversation with my husband and said something along the lines of "Is it fair that, as a woman, when I write a woman and write her making certain choices, I will inevitably be judged by many other women as having made a statement?" And I went back over my current project and, with that in mind, tried to see it through different eyes. It was instructive. I didn't change anything major, but the exercise helped make me more aware of certain things.

I like to ramble and mull things over in general, just for the experience of having thought about things, with no expectation of coming to hard conclusions. So for what it's worth to those who have disagreed with me here, it's all good. I didn't come here with an axe to grind. I'm a ponderer.
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