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Women in film industry.


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#1 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 06:30 PM

What is a situation today? Is it true that only 4% of filmmakers are women in Hollywood film industry. Why is it so? Is it a case of discrimination, or women generally not being interested in production side of the film? Even here, on forum I have spotted one female only so far. Maybe I haven't seen a lot here, but this is my general view. So how would You comment?
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:33 PM

Its interesting, I know of quite a few female camera assistants, but plenty more male ones. I think there is more than one factor at work. Women traditionally were discriminated against in all fields, as the various womens movements made headway the notion of a woman in a traditionally "male" job became much more acceptable. I don't know too many people who look twice at a female camera assistant, or set electric for that matter.

I think there is still some discrimination directly in the movie business, but at the same time, little girls are still socialized by their parents and people around them to seek certain types of work. Thus, you find fewer women attracted to certain crew jobs.

Mary Pickford co-owned a studio in 1920, the same year the 19th amendment (women's suffrage) was ratified, though she was an exception, in some ways Hollywood was early in giving women a lot of power.

I think people tend to think the movie business exists in isolation, that what we do is so much more unique than everyone else. Of course the job has some very unique quirks, many of the issues people have are found here, discrimination, hating ones boss, etc, etc. Why are there so few women CEOs of fortune 500 companies? So few women race car drivers? So few women construction contractors? So few women presidents? The list is endless, and the question applies to all these other professions as well.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:46 PM

We've had this discussion before.

Personally, I think there are a number of factors at work. Discrimination is one aspect, but there are more subtle forms of discouragement that kick in at an early age, plus there is a lack of female role models, so right from the beginning, there are fewer women who even pursue a career in certain areas of moviemaking.

However, at CalArts, half the film school was made up of female students when I was there. Most were interested in areas that more women seem to drift into -- documentaries, experimental movies, and editing. Again, areas with more women role models.

On a film production, you see some departments that are evenly mixed, male vs. female -- production for example (UPM's, accountants, office PA's, producers, casting) or art department work -- and some heavily biased towards women (make-up, wardrobe, script supervision) -- and some biased towards men (grip, electric, transpo). I've also seen a fairly even mix of women in AD and sound departments.

Look at "Big Love" for example. The creators and show runner/producer are men, the main line producer is a woman, the writing staff is about one-third female, the office staff is about two-thirds women. We have a nearly all-female art department, wardrobe, and make-up. The two 1st AD's are men and the 2nd AD's are women, and the PA's are evenly mixed. The props master is a woman and asst. props is a man. Sound, grip, and electric are generally all men. Stills photography work has mostly been done by a woman. Camera department has been about two-thirds male. Editing department has got one woman editor and one male editor. Post-supervisor is a man and the assistant post supervisor is a woman. The two people in charge of clearances in legal and for music are women.

As a group overall, it seems to be about half-and-half men and women. But some departments are heavier in one direction than the other.

Like I said, there is a factor of women drifting into areas that seem open to them, less hassles in getting hired and more role models to inspire them.

Editing is one field where there have been successful women even in the Silent Era. Partly this is because directors were supposed to edit their own movies in the 1910's, early 20's, but they relied so much on the notes of their "script girl" (the script girl -- later, script supervisor -- job being an extension of secretarial work, which was traditionally done by women) that these women started getting involved in editing.

Camera work was traditionally considered to involve a lot of heavy-lifting, but that is less and less true these days, so there has been a greater influx of women recently into camera work than the other "heavy lifting" jobs (grip, electric).

But as for why there are fewer women "techno geeks", the type that hang out on cinematography forums, beats me -- I don't know whether to envy them or not.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:48 PM

I love this issue when it pops up on the forum, after this, you should ask why are there so few blacks in Hollywood?

Things will usually deteriorate on either question, we'll see how long it takes on this one.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:00 PM

It's one of those topics -- women in film -- that gets more and more ludicrous as more and more men weigh in. Just as with blacks in film, as more and more non-blacks make comments.

At some point, it's too easy to have an opinion when one is not the victim of that particular form of discrimination. It makes many of us, me included, sound glib. Which is why these discussions end badly, or just become pointless.
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#6 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:21 PM

But as for why there are fewer women "techno geeks", the type that hang out on cinematography forums, beats me -- I don't know whether to envy them or not.

I suspect that's because many women aren't quite as apt to make blanket pronouncements like many men are quick to do (as in this current pronouncement on the part of yours truly). Women prefer more conversational discussions with non-verbal feedback available - which isn't natural to a Forum.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:23 PM

I suspect that's because many women aren't quite as apt to make blanket pronouncements like many men are quick to do (as in this current pronouncement on the part of yours truly). Women prefer more conversational discussions with non-verbal feedback available - which isn't natural to a Forum.


Oh, I'm sure there must be some forums dominated more by women. It seems the fan forums for TV shows like "Big Love" have a lot of women posters, for example.

But there is some truth in that -- my wife is a frequent internet user and goes to the Silent Era newgroups, etc. but is hesistant to post. Thinking that the world wants to hear one's opinion seems to be a particularly male behavior trait.
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:24 PM

There are a few women here off the top of my head, Niki, Anne, Julie and others I can't think of right now. Why is this even an issue anymore? For myself, I want a person who is capable, reliable, hard-working, creative and generally good natured on my set, I really don't give a rat's ass what gender, what color, what religion, how old or what nationality they are. If THEY don't make any of these things an issue why would I?

The ONLY issue I might have with ANY of these is in lead roll casting and that's ONLY because of foreign sales where black males and women statistically still do significantly less box office than white males. THAT is STRICTLY a business issue, in the indy world where your windows will probably only be foreign sales, second run TV and cable and MAYBE a percentage of DVD sales, it would make me think twice before casting an individual as the star of a low budget film that might hurt profit in the most lucrative of those three widows and THAT'S not so much my profit, it's everyone who invested in the film. It is vital to business success for my investors to make as much profit with their money as possible.

Now that being said, if I felt REALLY strongly that no one else could bring what a certain person brought to the role and it would raise the artistic quality of the piece to new heights, I WOULD cast that person REGARDLESS of box office considerations and hope the art would be recognized and box office would come. In other words, I would take the chance on exceptional talent, BUT if they were evenly matched, I have to be honest and in business terms, I'd have to go with the safer bet. Now if it were a medium budget picture where there was a greater chance of seeing some of the domestic B.O., OR if it were an established star, different story. Big budget films are packaged for the star so no issue there, because it's already set. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 13 November 2007 - 10:26 PM.

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#9 Adam Thompson

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:34 PM

I cant believe I'm commenting on this but....

Why is it so important to have women in film? It's not in their nature to hang out in work groups like men do and it's not in their nature to be involved in technical jobs. And the ones that are, are often lesbians with male traits.

I find it really strange that many people in the film world seem to be so concerned that everything seem equal to the point where it's absurd. Directing and DP work rarely involves a female because it's natural for men to be in such roles, always has been, always will.

Get over it. Nature will always rule, not laws, not opinions, not what the media or what your leftist school wants you to think.

Edited by Adam Thompson, 13 November 2007 - 10:35 PM.

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#10 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:42 PM

Hehe. My favorite female director now is Coppola. I loved Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation.

I will throw in some mysoginism and say I don't think females do well on a crew on very demanding and remote location shoots. Shooting under "military" conditions doesn't go well with most females. Word to the wise. :)
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:49 PM

Why is it so important to have women in film? It's not in their nature to hang out in work groups like men do and it's not in their nature to be involved in technical jobs. And the ones that are, are often lesbians with male traits.


I fear the wrath of the forum will soon be upon thee!

"Lesbians with male traits," oh boy that's classic, if I had said that people would call fer me head!!

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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:53 PM

2 words-Penny Marshall. Come on, women bring their own set of sensibilities and aesthetics to the screen and the art of motion pictures would and is a poorer place because women don't get the chance to contribute as much as they should. Grip work is a bitch, IIII hate doing it, but if a girl can pull cable and doesn't slow anyone down, why not hire her. Also, I doubt there are as many lesbians working as you might think (if their sexual orientation is anybodies business anyway), when women are surrounded by men, and there are no other women areound, they HAVE to get tough or get ran over. Whadaya expect them to do, wear a dress and bake muffins on set? Come on, dude, think! :rolleyes:
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#13 Adam Thompson

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 11:15 PM

2 words-Penny Marshall. Come on, women bring their own set of sensibilities and aesthetics to the screen and the art of motion pictures would and is a poorer place because women don't get the chance to contribute as much as they should. Grip work is a bitch, IIII hate doing it, but if a girl can pull cable and doesn't slow anyone down, why not hire her. Also, I doubt there are as many lesbians working as you might think (if their sexual orientation is anybodies business anyway), when women are surrounded by men, and there are no other women areound, they HAVE to get tough or get ran over. Whadaya expect them to do, wear a dress and bake muffins on set? Come on, dude, think! :rolleyes:


Who are you talking to? I'd love some muffins actually. Know any girls that want to make me some for the credit? :D

The wrath of the forum Richard? I think it's scary that people don't speak obvious truths anymore. They prefer to dance around it and what's worse is they even start to believe things and feel things they are told to by systems that develop simply to push their own economic interests.


ANYWAY... James, you ACTOR, DIRECTOR, CAMERA GUY, FILMMAKING MASTER OF ALL...... you SHOULD stop USING CAPS all the time BECAUSE it's REALLY annoying.
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 11:26 PM

ANYWAY... James, you ACTOR, DIRECTOR, CAMERA GUY, FILMMAKING MASTER OF ALL...... you SHOULD stop USING CAPS all the time BECAUSE it's REALLY annoying.


James: (sarcastically, with confidence) Well I could type in stage directions but I thought caps were a little more subtle....and I'm not a master of all.....(with a little smile) just of women.

Is that better? B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 13 November 2007 - 11:29 PM.

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#15 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 11:30 PM

Let it begin . . .

Adam, "not in their nature", please provide me some evidence that gender roles in the US are driven solely by nature, that it really has nothing to do with the socialization of how women are raised in the US, finally settle this whole nature vs. nurture debate thats been going on in the sociology/ communications fields for god knows how long since you clearly have the answers.

I don't think the question was why are there not equal amounts of males and females, but really why do the various genders gravitate towards various jobs, and is one of the factors discrimination?

Do things have to be equal? No. Should we discriminate based solely on gender? You tell me.

All this said, I can honestly say I am more prone to hiring male crew members for the simple reason that I find I communicate better with other males. Why? because I am a male, so we communicate in the same way. Does that mean I would not hire female crew members, definitely not, I have in the past.

"I will throw in some mysoginism and say I don't think females do well on a crew on very demanding and remote location shoots. Shooting under "military" conditions doesn't go well with most females. Word to the wise."

Yeah? Say that to some of the ladies of the IDF (or any military with women serving), see how well that goes over.

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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 11:50 PM

"The wrath of the forum Richard? I think it's scary that people don't speak obvious truths anymore."

You seem to be able to get away with, "Lesbians with male traits."

I'd be banned.

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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 12:07 AM

I think it's scary that people don't speak obvious truths anymore.


Well, "obvious truths" part is sort of debatable.

Some of us were raised to believe that inequality in society, in the workforce, etc. was ethically and morally wrong even if "perfect" equality was not possible or practical. This is why questions of representation in the workforce are still relevent -- it mattered historically and it still matters. The restrictions to advancement in society should be based on individual merit and ability, not on our sex or race. And I'm not willing to draw the conclusion, when you see a lack of women CEO's, for example, that it is due to some inherent lack of ability on the part of women, some sort of genetic disadvantage -- that sort of thinking is dangerous.

The attitude that inequality of opportunity, or discrimination, is "natural", "just the way things are", "traditional", "not so bad", whatever -- well, just look back in time an imagine the sorts of injustices that would still be in place if everyone had that attitude. We'd still have separate bathrooms and lunchcounters, etc. for blacks and whites in the South. We'd still have Jim Crow laws, etc.

I'm hoping that you aren't using the term "obvious truths" as some sort of coded language for racist or sexist beliefs. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that it was not your intention.

Everyone has opinions and some are misguided, even mine. I tend to judge them (my own included) on the core philosophy around which they are based and whether it is an admirable one. For example, though I don't always agree with a lot of Libertarians, I can appreciate their core philosophy and respect it, I just don't always agree with their conclusions. I'm Pro-Choice, but I respect the opinions of Pro-Life people because I understand their core belief, I just don't agree with their conclusions. But I have trouble respecting certain other philosophies because of the foundation on which they are based.
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 12:18 AM

"The wrath of the forum Richard? I think it's scary that people don't speak obvious truths anymore."

You seem to be able to get away with, "Lesbians with male traits."

I'd be banned.

R,


Well, overtly-prejudiced comments like that should be banned on a forum that needs to be inclusive, and I don't mean inclusive of people with abhorent philosophies, I mean inclusive of a wide swath of filmmakers, some of who are lesbians (in fact, I've shot two features for lesbian directors, and they didn't have "male traits") I don't know if Adam should get a one-time-only pass or not, that's sort of Tim Tyler's decision.

Richard, you're smart enough to not make such comments anymore. Let's see if Adam is as bright as you are.
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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 12:49 AM

"Richard, you're smart enough to not make such comments anymore."

Yes of course. And I have no comments on the discussion at hand.

But it did seem odd that such a wild statement was ignored by the group, that's all.

R.
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#20 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 12:56 AM

Fair enough, though I certainly did not ignore it, I figure most people on here don't need someone to point out how stupid a comment that was to make on a public forum.
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