May 26, 2013

Sony's Amy Pascal Reveals the Gap Between Men and Women in the Film Industry

Amy Pascal SonyEarlier this month we opened up the discussion on female directors in Hollywood, sharing data that revealed that women weren't finding as much directorial success in Hollywood as their male counterparts. The reasons for this were more speculative than conclusive, but a recent Forbes' interview with Sony Head Amy Pascal, discussing the pay gap between men and women in the industry, offers an inside look into the business as well as insight into why incongruity between the genders exists.

Ranked 14th on Forbes' World's 20 Most Powerful Women in Business list, Amy Pascal is the only female head of a major studio, making the importance of this interview twofold. She also doesn't shy away from Forbes' Dorothy Pomerantz's hard-hitting questions, like why women get paid less than men in Hollywood and how she balances producing films geared towards men and ones geared towards women.

At one point in the interview, Pascal compares the movie business to the music and publishing business. She says that there are many successful women in music and publishing, because a musician or writer can produce their work without going through a gauntlet of rejection first.

I was trying to figure out why and what happens in those other industries. It is that you can write a hit song or you can write a book that everybody is going to love, and you just show up with it and there is no denying it, because everyone in the business is looking to make money. And when they see something that's going to make money, they want it. For a woman to direct a movie in Hollywood, she has to go through so many layers of rejection by the powers that be -- I suppose including myself -- that it is harder to get to that point. So you can't just create something. And I think there is a whole unconscious mountain.

Pascal touches on a lot of great points, so check out the interview below.

Though Pascal doesn't offer any much-needed solutions to the problems affecting her (our) industry, at least she owns up to the fact that they do indeed exist, as well as taking some of that responsibility. Admitting that female directors are working in a system that is "geared for them to fail" gives some reprieve to talented and capable female filmmakers who questioned, "Is it just me? Is it just us?" No, it's not.

However, we still don't quite know, at least from this interview, what exactly has been put in place -- if anything, and by whom, to both deter women from getting directing jobs and obstructing their ascent to success. So, unfortunately another story on females in Hollywood ends in speculation, but at least we've found another piece to the puzzle.

What do you think about Amy Pascal's interview? What are your thoughts on women in film?

Link: Sony's Amy Pascal On Closing The Money Gap Between Men And Women In Hollywood -- Forbes

[via Indiewire]

Your Comment

100 Comments

Stories about women who have a matter in the outcome of the plot; already exists.

May 26, 2013

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Vince

We have stories about everything - but saying that is missing the point entirely.

May 26, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

What is the point, exactly?

I sincerely mean this, not to be offensive in anyway, and I am so appreciative of the work that you (Joe), Ryan, Renée and all the rest of the staff have put into helping filmmakers everywhere. But if I had to boil down all the knowledge and insight from nofilmschool into a single overarching point, it would be that the limitations of gear, financial resources, outside permission, and distributive barriers have become inconsequential in a way they have never been before.

As a filmmaker, regardless of gender, what is the benefit of bemoaning a system that operates in the most competitive, exclusive, and closed off industry in the world?

The point is that, if you want to make a film, make a film. If you want to win an oscar, you're probably in it for the wrong reason. If you want to wield profound cultural influence (i.e power) you're probably in it for the wrong reason. If you want to tell a great story, don't wait for permission, get going!

It's been re-iterated so many times that Hollywood now caters to the lowest common denominator, goes for the biggest possible profit margins, and plays it safe. If you have a story that is worth telling, there will be an audience, find that audience, and don't worry about whether gender equality statistics vindicate your art.

May 26, 2013

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George

BOOM SHAKA LAKA!!!

May 26, 2013

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Abersouth

I love the reverse reverse prejudice that happens on the comments of this site when ever issues of minority or female filmmakers come up. Its a real product of millennials narcissism.

Hollywood does not cater to the lowest common denominator. It doesn't go for the biggest possible profit margin. It goes for the most secure subjective bet. If you get opportunity from that bet just take it, the advantage is there, just don't act like its not.

May 26, 2013

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ryan

The point is that she admitted that the system that she and many other studio heads run is rigged for women to fail. Now, when I heard this I was truly surprised -- not because I didn't know it, but because I've never heard a studio head admit it before. So, why aren't people up in arms about this? Either they think she's:
a.) a liar
b.) completely ignorant about her industry
To say, "Hey, just go out and make a movie and stop complaining," is ignoring the issue entirely. If a woman wants to go out and make money by being an actress or director or whatever in Hollywood, she should be judged not by the X's in her chromosomes, but by the content of her character driven plots -- and her talent. The way the system works now keeps women out, whether it's through not hiring them, harassing them, or underpaying them. That kind of treatment is what we call discrimination.

May 26, 2013

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V Renée
Managing Editor
Writer/Director

Hi Renée,

Thank you for your response, and for distilling your point so clearly. I absolutely agree that discrimination based on gender is unjust and that it happens as prevalently in the film industry as just about any other in the world. I would also like to specifically mention and validate your point on harassment as an especially egregious form of discrimination.

With that said, I still feel that the point you are making is, in some ways, contrary to the entire point of this site and community. If you want to make the kind of money that only a studio can pay you, it's a very valid concern. If you want to make movies, then utilize all the talent, resources, and creativity you can muster, and make a film. Regardless of whether conditions/opportunities are perfect.

There are plenty of issues/barriers that make it very difficult for me, as a human being, to get a movie made in Hollywood. While gender based discrimination is not one of them, as I mentioned, it's THE most competitive industry out there. The whole point of NFS is help everyone get to the most advantageous position possible for them to make their art, and encourage them to do precisely what you said I'm saying to do, "ignore the issue completely."

Whatever the issue(s) is for you, ignore it completely. Whether it's that you can't afford an Alexa, or that you have to edit in Windows movie maker, or that you can't get a movie made in Hollywood, we live in a time that allows us to literally watch the walls come down. Clamber over the rubble and enjoy the emancipation!

In response to Joe:

Thank you for your contributions to this conversation and a much bigger thank you for all the work you have done for this site. I personally owe so much to NFS, and every contributor has earned my respect and gratitude. To your point, and to Renée's point as well, I understand that it's an important discussion. But on a practical level, this site isn't dedicated to how to get paid $20 million to direct a blockbuster. It's about understanding that we live in an advantageous time for all aspiring filmmakers, and how to take advantage of that regardless of budgetary or any other form of limitation.

I wish you both the best of luck in all your endeavors, you're both in my prayers and I don't mean to evoke any ill-will or misunderstanding. Thanks for your patience with the long post!

May 27, 2013

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George

Pascal isn't "lying" ... but she is equivocating for her audience, which tends to lean a certain way politically and philosophically ... (and that's despite the interview being done for Forbes, whose readers tend to lean in the opposite direction). But, if one checks the list of the highest grossing US films for 2012, I don't see a single female director in the top 30 (Brenda Chapman co-directed "Brave" @ #8). Only 5 out of 30 (both Jennifer Lawrence flicks, Twilight, Les Miserables and Vow) had a significant female star contribution.

And, for the record, Kristen Stewart was on the same wage as Robert Pattinson, so it's hard to argue inequality there. Sandra Bullock also pulled in more than her male co-stars in "Proposal" and "Blind Side". Julia Roberts, at her zenith, was likewise paid more than her male co-leads - Hugh Grant, Richard Gere, et al.

May 27, 2013

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DLD

It's a feedback loop. If movies starring men make a ton of money, and they draw in a big audience of males 13-30, they make more of them. Why explore other kinds of films if these work, right? It becomes a cultural feedback loop as well. We expect to see certain kinds of movies with certain kinds of people in them. Children grow up seeing those ideas enforced. This is why whomever is dominant in a society stays that way for a long time. It's hard to change cultural ideas and preconceived notions.

If you're trying to make a low-budget film with some sort of budget, you're going to need some financing. Sure, you could say, stop complaining, go make your movie for $500 with a cheap camera and free talent, but can't we say that about any movie ever? To get that financing privately, you're probably going to meet with some rich white guys. The richest people in America skews largely towards white males. Unfortunately, who do you think they're more likely to entrust their money to? Even if you think you are the most open person, there are major societal and cultural influences at work subconsciously. Just because a system doesn't technically have race or gender restrictions, absolutely does not mean that a particular races or gender is not at a disadvantage.

Is progress happening? Definitely, but it's happening more in the indie world and not in Hollywood, as our last post discussed. If we don't acknowledge there is an issue, then nothing changes.

You are right in saying that many barriers have been lifted in order to make movies, especially at the very low budget levels. But that doesn't mean there aren't still major societal forces at work that put certain people at a distinct disadvantage. Do I have a step by step plan for how we can improve the situation? Not really, but I think we should definitely be having these discussions, even if progress has been made in the indie world.

May 26, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Joe you are always very honest in your replies and that is one of the many reasons besides the education I receive that I keep coming back. No film school has become my favorite site on this subject. Thank you very much for your dedication.

May 31, 2013

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Gary Simmons

Thanks for the support. :) It means a lot.

May 31, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Thank you!

May 27, 2013

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vinceGortho

Women dominate all sorts of media. 80 percent of television content is aimed at women. Female driven television shows from comedies, cop dramas, psychic cop dramas who talk to dead people, reality television and commercials where smart wives look down at dumb husbands.
There are plenty of female action hero leads in movies and a plethora of side kicks who matter.
There's the horror genre, where its considered misogynist to have a man survive the outcome over a woman.
there are female led comedies. Then there are chick-flicks and movies made to inspire women like docudramas about courageous women who actually existed.
Is this just about salaries?
The industry is inundated with pretty faces. Some who have talent and plenty of those who make avalanches of cash for not having any talent at all.
Am I being sexist if I say you get what you're worth until you are in demand?
Maybe I need examples of some real people who got the short end of the stick.

May 27, 2013

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vinceGortho

"Am I being sexist if I say you get what you’re worth until you are in demand?"

Nope, not here in real life. There are some on this thread that are living in fantasy-land that may believe it to be so...

The best is when people like Oprah and Ellen complain about women being kept down and discriminated against. Do I even need to point out the glaring irony? I honestly thought they were just blowing-smoke to their demographics. I had no idea that there were still people that believe it be the truth...

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Two examples of successful women don't negate statistics.

May 28, 2013

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Luke

"Two examples of successful women don’t negate statistics."

Ok, then if you're going to argue like that then I guess there is no point in making any points anymore. If examples of the two, filthy-rich, and IMO grossly overpaid, female personalities of all of the worlds society doesn't convince you that there really isn't discrimination anymore, than I don't know what will. Really, what would you convince you then? No men working in entertainment AT ALL? Would that be "equal" enough for you?

If I'm not allowed to use examples of success for my argument, then why are you allowed to point to the fact that there are never really equal numbers of any race/gender employed at any single time (things fluctuate, even when completely equal) as an indication that things are unequal? Or put in another way... let's assume for your argument that men and women really are 100% equal at all aspects of film-production. Would you still really expect to see an even 50% 50% split of employment at all times? Of course not. That's almost mathematically impossible. Do you see where you argument is not really based on anything objective yet? It's all part of a vindictive "social-change" narrative you don't seem to be aware of.

Right now, you're really just fighting for "more equality". If you're able to look at your view now, from an objective point in the future, you'll realize that right now, you're really only supporting "special treatment"... not equality.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Umm... I repeat, statistics.

No, you're not allowed to use two example of successful women to prove that women are treated equally.

Because, you know, statistics.

And if you think I'm saying that equality means exactly equal numbers of people doing all things... then... need I say statistics again? I don't think you know what that means.

May 29, 2013

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Luke

Big stars make their bucks as the percentage of the back end participation. Women make less because flicks normally associated with the top female actresses - romance, comedies, melodramas - don't achieve the the same box office success as the action/special effects flicks. And, with all due respect to Kathryn Bigelow, she's no James Cameron in the "global grosses" department.

I will note that women do reasonably well in scripted TV, which is more dialog driven, but even then the big money is with the boys like Larry David and Chuck Lorre. The scripted TV (and now streaming) biz has a relatively low cost of entrance. All a writer has to do is to create a hit and many - Diane English, Linda Bloodworth, Amy Sherman, Shonda Rhimes, Marta Kauffman - have succeeded in that endeavor but the biggest hits still come from the male creators (to add the likes of John Wells, Phil Rosenthal/Ray Romano, Greg Daniels, James Brooks/Sam Simon/Al Jean, Christopher Lloyd, Seth McFadden, et al)

May 26, 2013

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DLD

Everyone including Amy Pascal misses the historical point that through 60's with exception of a few like Ida Lupino, women directors simply did not exist. The studio bosses did not tolerate it.
The 70's and most of the 80's was ruled by directors who came from television and exploitation films like Scorsese and Demme or successful screenwriters who made the leap until a few film school grads likes Amy Heckerling or actors like Betty Thomas had careers.
The 90's through the present have seen the rise of filmmakers coming from the male dominated commercials and music video industry.
There is no film director boys club left in Hollywood. You are as good as your last picture and how you strategize that success into a career.
Female screenwriters in movies and television are close to on par, genre specific of course as men in my opinion and woman producers I think dominate many sectors of the industry.
Remember Hollywood studios only make 400 films a year.
This year at Sundance and Slamdance there was a huge jump in films in competition directed by woman. It's not a trend, woman simply are figuring it out how to make films by themselves. It's a head space thing. Not gender.
Cinematography will always be dominated by men. The fanboy malecentric websites, including many entries on this site devoted to camera technology and the hiearchy of the film set proves this and unfortunately intimidates women to pick up a camera.
Men love cameras more than women. That's a fact. Ever hung out at B&H? A camera rental company?
The women in camera department on set are on the up but jumping off to make it as a DP requires dealing with yes... mostly male film directors. The commercial photography business suffers from this mind set as well. My message to those who want to be the next Nancy Schreiber is work with those men and women that are like minded and to those that want a career in Hollywood as a director... get an agent.

May 27, 2013

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Dan

You neglect to analyse the reasons behind all the things you're saying. For example, you say "Men love cameras more than women". Yes, that's a fact, but it's also a fact that more black people are stopped-and-searched in the US than white people. Is that because black people are somehow inherently "criminal"? No, it's because society is set up to assume they are. Likewise, there's no reason to believe that women are inherently less interested in cameras, as opposed to society having similarly sexist biases.

The same goes for your statement that "cinematography will always be dominated by men". Why? All your evidence merely proves that it is currently dominated by men, not that it always will be.

May 27, 2013

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Luke

Black people commit more crimes per capita. The fact that more blacks are searched for suspicion is merely representative of this fact. Regardless of whatever you'd like to argue the cause of their disproportionate criminality is, it's a fact.

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

How does that refute a single point I've made?

My entire argument was that there may be a societal cause. If black people are naturally criminals, fine. If it's because society is messed up, then it's our responsibility to fix it. Don't you care whose fault it is, and how to fix it? Or are you content sitting at the top of the heap saying "I'm not a criminal, so it's not my problem".

May 27, 2013

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Luke

The point was regarding their disproportionate targeting for searches and getting pulled over. I explained that it want "racist" as much as it was a simple result of the reality of their disproportionate criminality. "criminality" is a social construct to begin with and thus it isn't a value judgment on them as a whole. One factor, aside form environmental, is the fact that they have higher levels of testosterone. Evolutionarily speaking, this is a positive trait, especially in their k-type environment. It just so happens that higher testosterone leads to behaviour that is deemed "bad" in western civilization, such as being aggressive. Whatever traits any group has would by definition be evolutionarily "good", hence why they have those traits.

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

It's still entirely possible that the whole thing is a vicious cycle of racism. Higher incidences of stop-and-search might lead to mistrust of the system in general, leading to less respect for said system, leading to higher levels of criminal activity. Causality is not necessarily linear in complex systems such as societies.

May 27, 2013

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Luke

No, it's genetics. White men commit more crime than white women because they have more testosterone. If it was a "white mven rule society, that's why blacks commit more crimes", then more white women would be in prison than white men.

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

Rubbish. Sexism and racism place different expectations on white women than black men. Women are expected to cook, clean and raise babies, Black men are expected to commit crime.

May 28, 2013

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Luke

Weird eugenics advocacy here by piano. Well modern studies show that there is more genetic similarity between people of different races than people of the same race.

May 28, 2013

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ryan

"Weird eugenics advocacy here by piano."

You're the first person to bring up eugenics here. Piano was simply using objective/scientific knowledge to make a point. Eugenics is MUCH different than looking at genetics to explain large-scale behavior. Stop making straw-man arguments.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Business is not sexist. If it sells and has a market, it will accept. The idea that there are women with million dollar Ida's being rejected because they are women is silly and demonstrative of the fact that so-called "secular society" is just as dogmatic and idealistic as any other religion. The reason the average woman earns less that the average man is because the average man works longer hours, has more experience, has better spatial/reasoning skills, earns more difficult degrees in college etc. once you fix for all these things, women actually get paid more than men. The premise also presumes that men and women are the same, have the same skill, and thus should have the same results. This is objectively false. http://youtu.be/G_sGn6PdmIo

Also worthy of consideration, although men and women have a similar average iq, men outnumber women more and more the higher in the distribution chart you go (men outnumber women 8 to 1 by iq 145) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1274952/Men-ARE-brainy-women-s... . This alone would account for the disparity in the industry despite the system trying to artificially raise the female quota of participation with seminars, funding, etc. The question is as silly as asking why there aren't more Pygmy and Aborigine directors in Hollywood.

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

If the business isn't sexist, then the society it's catering to is. You're just shifting the problem around, not proving it doesn't exist.

Your pay gap argument is a commonly seen one, and is frequently debunked. When you adjust for hours etc, women still get paid less. I'm not particularly interested in arguing that though, as I've done it time and time again elsewhere, so sorry to just leave that hanging.

The idea that men have better reasoning skills is also absolutely false. The idea that IQ is a reasonable judge of intelligence is becoming less and less accepted. The idea that men are smarter than women is, quite simply, the result of sexism, just like the idea that one race is smarter than another.

Sexism exists, is an ever-present issue across the entirety of society, and frankly I think people who dispute that are simply unaware of the nature of their own privilege.

May 27, 2013

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Luke

Morality exhibitionism isn't science.

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

A couple of things. Firstly, I didn't claim that it was - my views are based in science, and the points I'm making are backed by scientific evidence. I'll admit that I'm not making any effort to actually show that backing, for the simple reason that I don't want to be drawn into a lengthy debate. I'm content to merely state that the points you make are flawed, and based in sexism and racism (whether maliciously or not). I'm not trying to convince you, I'm just ensuring that anyone reading your post doesn't think that your claims are generally accepted as being true. Hopefully people who don't know about this stuff will look it up.

Secondly (and I say this as a bona fide scientist by trade), science can be used and misused. Any time someone interprets results as meaning "men are smarter than women" or "whites are smarter than blacks" etc, we should be extremely wary. Assuming the results talked about in that Daily Mail article are correct, the jump from "high IQ" to "smarter" is a leap of faith, not science. Additionally, there is a history of science being abused by people with racist and sexist agendas, and such findings are consistently debunked. Science works on consensus, and while any well-researched data has the power to overturn consensus, claims such as the above are a long way from having found widespread credibility.

In particular, Richard Lynn is known for his controversial views on differences in intelligence based upon race and gender. To present his work (in a Daily Mail article, no less) as being indicative of the current state of scientific understanding is at best misleading, and at worst an abuse of science as I describe above.

May 27, 2013

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Luke

I never claimed that my views were vox populi or that my views didn't clash with secular dogma, your claim that IQ tests are not representative of intelligence is a joke. Of course you would hope that since it contradicts your idealistic egalitarianism. Notice that there is no evidence for egalitarian ideals. There is no study that supports that pipe dream, so people that subscribe to that secular dogma (although, it's simply a Christian dogma remnant) can only debate against reality by claiming that the evidence against them is false. You are essentially driven to argue absurd points, such as that intelligence itself doesn't even exist. If intelligence tests are unreliable, then what intelligence testing do you cite that shows that everyone has the same intelligence?

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

As I say, I'm not expecting to convince you. I'm merely hoping to convince others that you're a racist and sexist, whether you know it or not, and that your views should therefore be treated with caution.

For the record, one final point. The burden of proof of efficacy is very much upon the proponent of a given test. There's no reason to think that any test does anything (other than prove you can pass that exact test), until it is proven to do so. "Intelligence", in particular, is an extremely poorly defined concept anyway. Which bodes badly for trying to assign it a numerical value.

May 27, 2013

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Luke

Perpetuating this idea that women just aren't into or skilled in technology, filmmaking, leadership, etc. only makes it harder for women like me who are into and skilled at those things. Believing, repeating, and teaching these generalizations is why people with actual power are discouraged to "take a risk" on hiring these apparently less adept filmmakers called women. Here's why: in order to have your million dollar idea heard by someone you have to get into the door. If the door is closed to women because of a stereotype perpetuated by certain individuals, their ideas aren't heard and in turn never invested in.

May 27, 2013

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V Renée
Managing Editor
Writer/Director

Do the white gentlemen here really believe that everyone has equal opportunity in the film industry?

May 27, 2013

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ryan

If you can sell me on a good story, I wouldn't care if you were a green asexual turnip. If one person turns you down in the industry, go to another. If your idea has merit, find the right person who can help turn it into something concrete. Otherwise how are you doing anything but whining about how unfair life is? Cry me a river and please don't be surprised when I don't sympathize.

Of course there isn't equal opportunity. A person who is the offspring of a successful person in Hollywood has a proximity access to "talent" that us rubes in the sticks can only dream of. And? If you can sell your pitch, what exactly is the problem? If certain people pass, it's either because the idea isn't quite there, you suck at selling, or they are idiots who don't see how they can capitalize on it. So then what do you do? Gee, I wonder.

May 27, 2013

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Abersouth

Do you really think women are just giving up at the first rejection, having a little cry and saying the world is unfair? No. Women who want to direct films are just as passionate as men, and have to deal with many times the amount of crap that men do to get their films made. As is often quoted, for a woman to get half as much credit as a man, she has to work twice as hard, and be twice as smart.

If certain people pass on your pitch, it might be because you suck at selling. Or it might be that you're in an industry dominated by white males in a society with well-documented sexist bias, and you happen to be a woman. Maybe both, maybe neither. To summarily discount anything except "you suck at selling" doesn't prove that sexism doesn't exist, it's just a circular assumption that it doesn't.

May 27, 2013

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Luke

Prove it or your just asserting out your ass. Explain to me how it is twice as hard for half the credit like I'm a six year old. Because I'm skeptical.

May 27, 2013

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Abersouth

I'm not going to prove the existence of sexism to you on a comment thread. Look it up and stop trying so hard to defend the status quo.

May 28, 2013

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Luke

You fail. Try growing up sometime.

May 28, 2013

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Abersouth

Try seeing things from the perspective of someone without your privileged position sometimes.

May 28, 2013

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Luke

You care to tell me what my privileged position in the world is? Do you know what I do? Do you know how i was raised? How poor i was? Or perhaps you just like assuming I'm privileged, so you can hold me in contempt easier. Not trying to make this about me, but you seem to want to.

And why do you assume I haven't explored what you more or less preach? I'm just not buying what you are peddling. Running theme here. You suck at selling.

May 28, 2013

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Abersouth

Your arguments smack of privilege. If you're not white, male and straight, then you're definitely drinking the kool-aid. For the record, I myself am white, male and straight. So privilege is not why I hold you in contempt. I hold you in contempt for your privileged views.

As for sucking at selling, it would appear that society tends, over generations perhaps, toward liberty and equality. So even if I personally suck at selling these ideals, they're still happening. In a few decades you'll just be another person on the side that lost the debate.

May 29, 2013

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Luke

If you have an idea that will connect with an audience, you have a responsibility to steward it to fruition. Fuck all else. The rest is noise.

Take a page out of Tyler Perry's book. Get your content to it's audience. If it doesn't work in Hollywood, rather than compwain about how unfwair da world is, do something about it. Complicit victims are really really annoying.

May 27, 2013

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Abersouth

Its a commonly know tactic of "R" to place one minority individual on a pedestal as a icon and vilify the rest of the minority group for not achieving the same outcome. The process of neglecting pertinent societal impacts vindicates the majority. Not word for word, but Franz Fanon. There are many aspiring black director that refuse to dress in drag for the amusement of white audiences to be "successful". But I guess they are just lazy.

I use the "r" instead of the actual word because nowadays the provocation of the existence of ethnic identity or discrimination usually infuriates white males, and a wave of insolent comments are directed to the minority
Responses like race doesn't matter anymore from whites are never with a friendly tone, its with aggression, and I always wonder where they think that aggression is derived from.

May 27, 2013

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ryan

Yeah, seriously, Tyler Perry? Great example. A black guy who plays to racist stereotypes of black people, in order to sell to subconsciously racist white audiences, and you're using that as evidence of the healthy state of the industry?

May 27, 2013

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Luke

Wow. You guys don't get it. Won't get it. Last I understood, Tyler Perry sells to black female audiences. Not many white people watch. Trying to turn him into a race baiter is pretty disingenuous. Done talking with y'all.

May 27, 2013

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Abersouth

"A black guy who plays to racist stereotypes of black people, in order to sell to subconsciously racist white audiences"

See, now I know you're just subscribe to a narrative instead of looking at objective observations. White people hate Tyler Perry. Are you kidding at this point? One of my best-friends, who I lived with for 2-years, is black... and I would make fun of him all the time for watching Tyler Perry movies. His response, jokingly... "you're white, you won't get it... "

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Firstly I think having articles and discussions on women's rights in the film industry and other related issues such as the vfx workers picketing the academy awards on nofilmschool is very important and needed. Especially on a site frequented by people who work in the industry.

To strive for equality and decent conditions for everyone in the film industry will lead to better films. As far as comments go about it being a very competitive industry. At the moment it is very competitive to get jobs, funding etc. But wouldn't it be better to strive for an industry that was based around helping each other create better films as opposed to competing for limited funding (where most of it goes to a very limited number of people, whilst the rest struggle)? To an extent we are starting to move towards more collaboration, but still have a long way to go and achieving gender (and racial) equality is a key part.

There is a large pay gap between men and women in most western countries. fact. This is something that needs to campaigned around. The only people who benefit from this division are a very small precent at the top.

The majority of hollywood films only portray women as sex objects, look up Laura Mulvey's theory of the male gaze in film. I don't aggress this is the case in every film or even hollywood film. An argument could be made that twilight has a female gaze.

The majority of hollywood films have male directors. I think this is more than just a case of gender, but that the films they are allowed to make reinforce the ideologies of the elite. Even the few female directors who have produced large hollywood films are making ones that reinforce the views of the powerful, such as Kathryn Bigelow supporting American military foreign policy.

The only people who gain from sexism in the film industry are those at the very top not the majority of men in the industry who are getting paid far less than studio heads.

@Pianohero I find you comments very ignorant, sexist and racist. I have worked with a number of Aboriginal people in the film industry and found them quite competent. One of the main reason's there aren't more directing in hollywood is they are being brought up in a world that discriminates against them in all kinds of ways, including making it harder to get a decent education especially as many are born into poverty.

On a side note, its all well and dandy to have a decent and affordable film kit (I have one myself) but to seriously make a film you need to be able to spend time doing that. Which means money, especially if you want to pull other people into the project and/or it involved travel etc. There is only so much you can do when working full time in another job.

Try applying the Bechdel test to the next few hollywood films you see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test

May 27, 2013

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Zeb Parkes

Notice most users of this site are men, yet we are complaining about the number of directors in hollywood being less than 50%. Why aren't 50% of the users here women? Is the website sexist? Certainly the answer CAN'T be that women are simply diferent than men and aren't as interested in film making (especially the technical aspect of it).

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

Way to only explore one possibility. How about this theory instead.

Society expects women to be less technically able, and as a result places expectations on girls to play with dolls while boys play with cars and trains. These differences in the formative years naturally transition to a difference in interests and drives later in life, resulting in fewer women being interested in camera tech.

Sounds at least as plausible as "women just aren't interested in film making".

May 27, 2013

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Luke

Even if they polled women stating that the majority of them aren't interested in film making, you would say they are wrong about their own opinion, and would refute that evidence while providing no evidence to support your contra-evolution premise. I also note that the majority of white knights complaining about the "racism" and "sexism" are white men.

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

Where would men first get the notion that women weren't as interested/capable in technical work in order to then have that stereotype of them? Is it possible that the stereotype came from a recognition of reality? If the "expectations" are what creates the reality (ie people expected to have a higher iq will socre higher), why do Asians score higher than whites? Why would whites create the stereotype that Asians have higher average IQs than whites? Also, how would these social expectations translate into physical traits, such as Asians having more brain mass than whites, who in turn have more brain mass than blacks? Since iq correlates To brain size at .40, how did society expectations know to make Asian brains bigger, and how did a social expectation control the physical size of the various brains? Are blacks taller than Asians because they are expected by society to be?

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

"Where would men first get the notion that women weren’t as interested/capable in technical work in order to then have that stereotype of them?"

Yep. Exactly what I was going to say. People talk about these "social constraints" like they were just arbitrarily made up at some point. The reality is, they came from observation over the course of human evolution and development.

And seriously who actually benefits from keeping women out the industry as directors? And what do they gain? This is absurd is such a childish and absurd fantasy I don't know where to begin. Nothing more than cognitively dissonant rationalizing. Sure some male directors might be butt-hurt, but if women were equal capable or profitable... the "greedy" studio executive would have caught on by now. Never underestimate the human potential to chase profits. People like profits more than discrimination. This delusional fantasy of some groups and genders being kept down in order for others to profit just doesn't exist.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Oh, the "white knight" argument. Tactic number one for dismissing your opponent.

And you're misrepresenting my point. I never said women are interested in film-making. I said the reason they aren't is because they're brought up playing with dolls, not because there's some magical film-making gene that women don't get.

As for society noticing the differences between people - really? Honestly? You think that societies, which have had these biases since we were in CAVES, started out based on logic? No. They started out based on men being in control because men are stronger and more aggressive. When logic came into it, we started rationalising why men should be in control, to perpetuate our power. If you seriously think otherwise, I don't even.

Your arguments are racist and sexist. They're the same arguments which justify slavery and segregation. Fortunately, society is leaving you behind.

@bwhitz: You assume the system is rational. It's not. There is no benefit to anyone to keep women down, but that doesn't stop our monkey brains doing it anyway.

May 28, 2013

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Luke

"Your arguments are racist and sexist."

There is nothing "racist" or "sexist" about any of these responses. And I honestly find it a bit close-minded and aggressive that any time a difference is brought up between groups of people you shout "racism". There is nothing more ignorant and close minded than that. Do you really believe all group of people, all over the world, with all their different cultures and practices... evolved 100% equal in all areas? There is nothing in science or mathematics to support this at all. And yea, as Pianohero pointed out... it's about as preposterous as secular religion.

"Everyone is equal at everything. If they're not... someone kept them down." This is the new religion of the 21st century. (i.e. Based on nothing in objective reality, besides fear and ignorance... yet makes people feel good about their place in life.)

There ARE differences between people from different sexes and races. This is just biology. Racism is ACTIVE discrimination. Nobody is being racist here. And it's certainly not racist to point out objective difference that may have occurred during human development, and their causes, in a observation/objective discussion like we're having here. The fact that some people keep ending their statements with "that's racist/sexist" is nothing but proof that some are only subscribing to a specific narrative that has has been instilled in their minds, instead of providing the supposed "counter-racist" arguments with objective facts and observations.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Well, congrats on being born into the master race.

May 28, 2013

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Luke

Bwhitz what your saying is foolish, evolution takes tens of thousands of years, there is no behavioral or cognitive difference between any group on the planet. Race is a social construct not a genetical one. There actually are more genetic similarities between you and people of color than you and other white people.

May 28, 2013

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ryan

" there is no behavioral or cognitive difference between any group on the planet."

What!? What are you talking about? Do you live on the same planet as we do? Some groups live in the jungle, eating bugs and living in huts... others are building Particle Colliders and are on the brink of discovering the nature of mass and energy. Some cultures are basically still in the dark-age fighting over religion. Some are landing research vessels on planets 225 million km away from earth. I have absolutely no idea what you are basing your premise of "no behavioral or cognitive difference between any group on the planet" on. This is so empirically opposed to reality I don't even know what else to tell you. It's honestly not much different to somebody arguing that 1+1=47 and that it's simply just "society" telling me that it equals 2.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

"evolution takes tens of thousands of years,"

Ok, then... natural selection. Whatever. My point was pretty obvious regardless of technicalities on terminology I was using loosely...

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

I do live on the same planet, but not in the same reality. The stereotypes that you believe about Africa are classic racism. The origins of mathematics and the first universities are from the same place where you believe people eat bugs in the jungle. Whats funny is that in african universities, your fourth year was dedicated to ethics, you could not graduate without proving inherent morals. When europeans stole the idea they did not include ethics as a requirement. Also incase you didn't know the oldest stone build city is in Africa as well. Your perception and reality have large disparities, so don't get so angry when people are working of fact history and societal factors as apposed to fear of losing what you perceive to deserve.

May 29, 2013

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ryan

"The stereotypes that you believe about Africa are classic racism."

This is not racism. I didn't even mention "race" here. I just said "people who live in jungles". They could have been White, could have been Asian... it doesn't matter. It's not the color of skin, it's the behavior. You're staring to sound very childish and repetitive at this point. There are VERY different behavior patterns lead to VERY different societies and outcomes. You honestly have to to ignore all of reality to convince yourself otherwise. Please, provide some objectively quantifiable information to explain how some societies are producing particles of anti-matter, while others are still stuck in "hunter gatherer" tribes. It's either intelligence or behavior. There are no other plausible explanations.

Do you honestly believe all behavior leads to the same outcome? How can you ignore reality like this? At a very basic example level... are you really going to tell me that a society that consists of tribes fighting and killing each other will have the same outcome as society based on cooperation? Based on you premise, it would. You really should consider re-thinking the origins of your premises.

"The origins of mathematics and the first universities are from the same place where you believe people eat bugs in the jungle."

Ok, yea sure... and some humans were able to make sense and expand upon them, while other couldn't... to do intelligence or behavior. What your point?

"Also incase you didn’t know the oldest stone build city is in Africa as well."

Ok, yea, same thing here... so the first cities were built in Africa... and since then, people have constructed better cities and better civilizations. Theirs obviously didn't work for one reason or another. Are you trying to imply that since the first city was built in Africa, then that means it was the best? When has "the first" anything been the most successful? Are you starting to at least see that that your premises were "instilled" within your mind, than from you actually drawing conclusion based to non-contradictory knowledge?

"Whats funny is that in african universities, your fourth year was dedicated to ethics, you could not graduate without proving inherent morals."

Sounds like indoctrination to me. Who is to to say who's morals are better than others? Morals are subjective. To claim some morals are "correct" and "teach them" is no different than brain-washing. That being said I do have my own morals I have come to on my own. I don't need to "prove them" to anybody. Who are you, or anybody else, to judge my morals? And who am I to judge the morals of others? You're views and premises of cognitive operation are very Orwellian and totalitarian. I hope you realize this soon. Never forget that many of the atrocities over human existence have come about because "the collective morals" of society, at that point in time, allowed it. Morals are individual. To condone and validate "Collective morals" is to condone brain-washing and social conditioning. Very, very, dangerous stuff.

May 29, 2013

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bwhitz

@Luke

"Well, congrats on being born into the master race."

I'm not. If we're using cognitive potential as a basis of measurement, then it's actually Asians. I'm white. White's seem to just be the "jack of all trades" race.

May 29, 2013

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bwhitz

"Equality in films" is a disastrous concept. Is Uwe Boll as deserving of funding as Martin Scorsese? Men aren't created equal and that evolves the intraracial-intrasexual comparisons as above. One could just as easily take Michael Jordan or LeBron James and make him an equal number of shots as a random benchwarmer? The fact is that all disciplines have stars, be it sports, entertainment, law, science, etc.

And, I'll add, that even the hardline socialist/communist regimes that have on paper favored this equality - just attend a May Day parade on Red Square - in reality were nothing of a kind.

May 27, 2013

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DLD

Equality is never a disastrous concept. You're not describing equal opportunity based not on skill level. Uwe Boll and Martin Scorsese are not equal in talent or skill level. If the system rewarded talent equally there would be many more women, people of color, and LGBT individuals working in film in positions of leadership.

May 27, 2013

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V Renée
Managing Editor
Writer/Director

I don't know how interconnected the indy world is but there are very few secrets in Hollywood (i.e., the studio/agent/lawyer universe that represents/poaches talent whenever it can find him) proper. If there's talent already working at some level - above or below the title - s/he will be discovered rather promptly. Considering that the female representation in the most financially rewarding creative jobs - actor, writer, director, producer - has been fairly flat for a long time, it's pretty safe to surmise that whenever that talent is discovered, it'll be more or less in accord with the norm of the last 25-30 years. To assume that the "system" has been holding anyone down - aside of perhaps some Christian conservatives, who are not welcomed in that town, generally speaking - is rather silly. In fact, Hollywood executives, such as Amy Pascal, are very active with these "underrepresented minorities" just to stand on the united front with them. Having said that, the studios aren't in business of throwing money away. They'll toss crumbs and meaningless plaudits but the serious money will flow to anyone who is expected to make studios profit. If Larry/Lana Wachowski sees his/her opportunities drying up, it's because of "Speed Racer", not his/her choice of garb.

By the way, in porn/aka Valleywood, women earn more than men. I don't hear anyone screaming that this situation is somehow unjust.

May 28, 2013

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DLD

Penny Marshall broke into directing ok. Oh a hit series and her big time Hollywood brother may have gotten her stuff seen. But make no mistake about it, she's as gifted behind the lens as she was infront of it. I worked the K-Mart campaign (early 90's) with her and Rosie O'donnell. She was listed as a director as well as David Steinberg and the 2 of them worked flawlessly together. Point being if she wasn't that talented behind the scenes she would've never stuck around as long as she did. In my opinion she's a true pioneer...I agree with a lot of posters here who elude if a woman wants to "break in" these days it's gonna take a lot more than just being a woman. Hollywood may not be fit for just anyone, but one things for certain, it certainly has an eye for talent. Thanks. Good read, hope more women read this post and keep at it.

May 27, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Well, being a successful director is difficult thing to achieve, and there are many many talented men who never make it, who would deserve to make it just like many women.

I always say if you want to be a director and make it as a director you have to be a mad man in the first place and fight for your goal no matter what, leaving everything else behind in the process.Probably women are less likely to succeed as they because they mostly don't want to leave everything else behind just become a big time director. I think there are just more men seriously mad enough to pursue the career path as a director, while women are mostly more sane and say at some point "no, I don't want to sacrifice everything else to become a director"

May 27, 2013

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Heiko

There have been a few women Studio Heads, starting with Sherry Lansing in the 1980s. More than a few female DPs. Even a lady Key Grip. Many of the best Film Editors have been women.

Mimi Leder was the first woman excepted at the American Film Institute (mid 1970s). She want on to direct TV (Hill St Blues, China Beach, LALaw, ER, etc). She also directed MOWs and even a few feature films. She also worked as a Producer.

How about Amy Heckerling, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) ?

Maybe documentary Director Barbara Kopple, who has won TWO Academy Awards ?

Also documentary Director/Cinematographer Joan Churchill who has been active since the 1970s.

May 27, 2013

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c.d.embrey

Yep. If your good, you'll find success. People here claiming "racism/sexism" are simply looking for "more equal" treatment. The truth is, that things are pretty darn accommodating for people these days if you're skilled. Film-making is just an elite craft... and scientifically, there are genetically more male elites. (do to more fierce evolutionary competition) Doesn't mean that women can't do it... just that the odds are, more males will have traits better suited to it. People just don't want to accept reality and are therefore fabricating fairy-tales of discrimination that doesn't exist today. And if that isn't rebuttal enough ... guess what? In a free-market, discrimination simply isn't profitable. So it makes no sense at all besides being a "cognitive-dissonance" argument...

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Hi bwhitz. I've been following your comments in this thread quite closely. You have a lot of interesting things to say but I am slightly confuse on some of your points.
Could you expand on the argument you seem to be making that men are more "scientifically" and "genetically" adapted to being filmmakers than women. You mentioned something about evolution and vaguely touched on "traits"... which scientific sources did you study to come to this decision and could you please share them with us? Also, how do your views on this translate to the point on race? It is obvious that white males occupy a vast majority of the top directing jobs in Hollywood (and elsewhere in the world). If you think that maleness makes someone inherently more suitable for these roles do you also think there is something "scientifically" or "genetically" superior about whiteness that explains the disproportional lack of other races in the top tiers of the industry?
You mentioned that you believe people are "fabricating fairy-tales about discrimination that doesn't exist today". This suggests that you believe discrimination did occur at some point. Could you please give an opinion on when you think discrimination in the industry ended.

May 28, 2013

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Mak

Just happened to see this on the "About" page of NFS:

"As a result, I wrote The NoFilmSchool Manifesto, which rejects the studio model in favor of independently finding new funding and revenue streams in the digital world — allowing for far more creative freedoms in the process. As I say in the manifesto:

I’m sure some people are going to think, “you’re only going the DIY route because you can’t make it in Hollywood!” My goal with NoFilmSchool is to prove them wrong."

This is the point. There is a better way---but only if you love and are passionate about making movies more than you are about money, fame, industry success, or any of the wrong reasons to aspire to be a great director.

May 27, 2013

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George

Wow 63 comments and not one woman besides Renée has said a word on this post. Its no secret the industry is male dominated because I speculate there's more males pursuing film carreers. Its not because men are smarter or more creative than women. What's the boy girl ratio in your average film class? Not to say discrimination doesn't matter or doesn't exist, we should all be fighting to stop it on any level. I think its all those focus groups, studies, reports and statistics on what the public wants and expects to see is what's hurting women in Hollywood. There may not be a definitive answer here. But look at the WNBA, You know they dont discriminate so why doesn't the WNBA garner more fans or attention? Those girls are incredible athletes, they have sponsorship, stadiums, tv deals and yet 90% of us couldn't name one team.
Myself, I believe it's a societal issue more than a discrimination factor. Who's the girl who made a WAR film and won an Oscar? I believe that's how it works in Hollywood more so than discrimination. You give them what they want it doesn't matter one way or the other.

May 28, 2013

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Anthony Marino

""Wow 63 comments and not one woman besides Renée has said a word on this post. Its no secret the industry is male dominated because I speculate there’s more males pursuing film carreers."

Yes, exactly. If we can't agree on the obvious facts that males (because of evolution again) happen to posses more of the needed skills for directing... then can we at least make the case that men are just more interested in these types of jobs? Shesh...

"Its not because men are smarter or more creative than women."

Well, I agree with you overall... but male-brains do actually posses more inherent creativity and visual skills than the female brain. These are just evolutionary traits. There are many studies on this. So even in a theoretical, completely equal environment vacuum, you would STILL see more males in the top creative/visual positions.

But anyways, the overall point is... that if you're not born-connected to Hollywood... it's hard for ANYONE. If you don't make it as a female director in this day and age there's about .000000001% chance of sexist discrimination, and a 99.9999999& chance that it's because you're simply not good at making movies...

I love how it's almost an unspoken part of the argument, that if women are being discriminated against... then that also means that all women are capable. It's almost secretly implied in some of these arguments. Or to put it another way... even if women were actively being discriminated against, that wouldn't then magically make "all-women" good at directing. Chances are you, as an individual aspiring female-director, would still most likely be terrible. Same case for males.

It's because people want to the the "I'm a minority" or "I'm a female" card, as a crutch for not turning out as good of a product.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

bwhitz: In this society (and I'd argue in all societies) the majority, or the people with the greatest influence/numbers/power/money/ etc. will reject those unlike them or consider them inferior. We see this theme played out in film all the time, especially in the horror genre, which is basically a massive allusion to "otherness".

Take a look at Robin Wood's writings. He proposes a lot of great theories. Here's one:

“Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with...in one of two ways: either by rejecting and if possible annihilating it, or by rendering it safe and assimilating it, converting it as far as possible into a replica of itself.”(73) Normality comes in conflict with the monstrous, and it is “the relationship between normality and the monster that constitutes the essential subject of the horror film”.

Speaking from my own experience, men aren't as comfortable with women working on their projects, nor working on women's projects -- especially in a support role. I've had men usurp my position, fire me, laugh at me, pat me on the head and say, "Well, maybe you won't be a director, but you're a writer. Maybe you could do that."

As the "only woman" commenting, I'll say society, even people close to me, have discouraged women from being opinionated, strong-willed, outspoken leaders, which I can only describe as the white male dominated bourgeois, perhaps unwittingly, attempting to assimilate and render women safe against the obvious yet conceivably unconscious gender power struggle. If they can't do that, then -- well, the other is destroyed (i.e. not treated fairly.)

I wonder what would happen if people started saying, "Yeah, let's make sure everyone is treated fairly. If you're talented and can do the job, you're in," instead of, "Sorry ladies. You're actually scientifically a bunch of evolutionary dummies compared to men, and men are more creative and logical than you. So, good luck doing menial work and being considered a poor man's -- man. At least you're pretty." Maybe more encouragement rather than cynical abrogation of and toward women would be better for the world and our society.

May 29, 2013

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V Renée

"“Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with…in one of two ways: either by rejecting and if possible annihilating it, or by rendering it safe and assimilating it, converting it as far as possible into a replica of itself.”"

Well, again, this is based on the premise that all things and behaviors are equal in nature and lead to equivalent outcomes. Which is false.

Assume for the sake of argument, that at sometimes, a particular "otherness" could actually be wrong or contradictory an efficient/working society. Wouldn't it then be the correct action to reject it? I know that perfectly symmetrical information like this does not always exist. But surely, you must be aware that some things just don't work in nature... and would therefore, be disastrous to implement in an otherwise functional society. It's logical for a functioning society, like we mostly have today, to be hesitant of "otherness". While it's not good to be completely conservative and reject all new ideas... it's quite disastrous assume that simply because something in new and different (or isn't in practice) that it must be good and will work. We're close to a stage-1 civilization (based on the constant of how we obtain and use energy), so basically what you see as functioning and successful today, is simply what worked the best. A degree of openness is good, but simply assume all we see today is the result of oppression, is intrinsically false and/or impossible. In the presences of true-oppression, progress is impossible in nature. Life and nature is not a zero-sum game.

May 29, 2013

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bwhitz

First of all, how does one define what "wrong" is? "Wrong" is defined by whoever imposes power. It was "wrong" for people of color to socialize with whites. It was "wrong" for women to work outside of the home. It was "wrong" to not be a part of the "master race" in Nazi Germany.
Furthermore, let's put that quote back into context. Wood was explaining how societies make "others" of people who don't fit the status quo and how this is represented in the horror genre. For example, some of these "others" were people from other cultures (Dracula) and promiscuous women (Halloween -- and pretty much every slasher film). The purpose behind Wood's theory was to expose what people are fearful of -- it's not of a bloodsucking vampire nor a machete-weilding maniac, it's of people who are different.
This could explain why women find it much more difficult to find success in film, because they are different from the majority of those in the industry -- they're women. A more inclusionary attitude would help encourage more women to get involved. They have just as much to give creatively as men.

May 29, 2013

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V Renée

If it's so obvious that men "evolved" to be more visually creative than women please provide one shred of evidence. Please link to a refutable science article or go into further detail about what you believe the selection pressures involved are and how exactly they have influenced the drift of genetic materials. I haven't been able to find any (but I'm not a white-heterosexual-male so my Googling skills probably haven't evolved to be as good as yours).
Again, you speak of obvious traits but fail to expand on this. Could you please list the traits that you believe men have that make them more "scientifically" and/or "genetically" appropriate to direct films at the top level. Maybe you could also list the traits that white people and heterosexual people have that make them more appropriate for directing films than non-white people and LGBT people.

May 29, 2013

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Mak

"Could you please list the traits that you believe men have that make them more “scientifically” and/or “genetically” appropriate to direct films at the top level."

Basically, it's just visual/spacial cognition, and better problem-solving skills.

I could site example (although you'd probably vilify them, so what's the point?) Or we can just look at nature. Men were simply more expendable. Men were the competitors for mates. Where there is fierce competition, you see more progress. Men spent more time fighting (visual/kinetics), building (visual/spacial), and general problem solving (logistics/mathematics). That, and the competition for female mates, bred out the males who were not at successful at these things. Women were basically (by and large) selected only for nurturing skills and fertility. Thousands later, viola, you get a species where the males are more exceptionally apt to these jobs. Not difficult to observe. Do you really need "studies" to see this? Just use some simple observational logic. Humans didn't "arbitrary" evolve. That would have never worked and we would have never became the dominant/intelligent species on this planet.

May 29, 2013

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bwhitz

It's not adequate to simply "just look at nature". This approach would leave any interpretations wide open to the biases of the observer. Science exists to try and eliminate observation bias as much as possible and come to some sort of objective overview of things. You can't just throw around terms like "scientifically" and "proven" without backing them up with evidence. Not your spurious opinions on the way men and women evolved, but actual evidence. You also don't seem to be using the terms evolution or natural selection in the scientifically correct manner.
What you are talking about resembles a branch of evolutionary study called evolutionary psychology. It is very difficult to study because behaviours don't fossilize and neither do brains. Any kind of extrapolation you might want to make about male and female behaviours leading to differences in current day capabilities are not science. They are merely your opinion.
People have been using pseudo-science and twisting actual science to try and justify bigotry for a very long time now. If you can't defend what you are saying with facts you are really no better than a 19th century phrenologist.
Also, you still haven't commented on how your "theory of evolution" explains the disproportionate lack of homosexual and non-white people in the upper echelons of film directors. Are you avoiding this point on purpose?

May 31, 2013

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Mak

"People have been using pseudo-science and twisting actual science to try and justify bigotry for a very long time now. If you can’t defend what you are saying with facts you are really no better than a 19th century phrenologist."

Why is the burden of proof only on me? Let's make a deal here then... you show me a scientific study/research that supports the idea that all people, from all areas of the planet, given different climates and survival methods (i.e. variables) would have all evolved (or been selected) 100% percent equally across-the-board and are now all 100% equally capable at all things. If you can find this, then I will show you some of the studies I have read.

So far you have only been invalidating my conclusions. It's about time you at least validate yours with something. You're certainly more scientific than I am, right? Seriously, just anything will work. Show one bit of evidence, or study, that people are inherently equal in all areas.

Also, while were on this topic now, and since you are very scientific yourself... what exactly is the area of science where multiple-variables have ever show themselves leading to equal outcomes? You don't have to be a master of science to realize that such assertions only exist in the realm of mysticism.

May 31, 2013

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bwhitz

The burden of proof falls on you because you are the one making assertions that "scientifically" men are "proven" to have evolved more advanced "visual/spacial" abilities than women. And that this somehow "obviously" translates to the fact that the top directors roles in Hollywood are occupied almost exclusively by men.
These are all words/phrases and arguments that you have used. Nobody put any words in your mouth or misquoted you. YOUR assertions = YOUR burden of proof: this is the way logical scientific and philosophical debate has operated for centuries, millennia even! If it is such an obvious point why isn't there tons of scientific data supporting you. As I said in a previous post I searched and couldn't find anything that supported your claims. If you make unfounded assertions and shift the burden of proof onto other people to prove you wrong we end up in "flying spaghetti monster" territory.
It has been known for some time now that race DOES NOT EXIST in a genetic sense: http://wupa.wustl.edu/record_archive/1998/10-15-98/articles/races.html
There are tiny variations in the amount of skin pigment (and other superficial biological traits) and the likelihood of contracting certain disease but that is it. It may come as a disappointment to you, but genetically you are as closely related to a black african or a chinese person as you are to your white neighbour. White people (male or female) have not evolved separately from non-white people. I can't address your non-specific "multi-variables" claim because it is simply too broad and I am not even making that argument. If you want to talk about specific variables related to gender and race please state them clearly.
You can't provide evidence to support your claims. You can't use the scientific terms you are invoking to justify the subjugation of women and minorities correctly. Don't whinge about being called out. You're the one who brought up evolution and natural selection. There are innumerable sources available on the internet for you to educate yourself. It's no ones fault but your own if you don't understand those concepts properly.

June 1, 2013

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Mak

FWIW, FIDE (the international chess governing body) gives mathematical rankings to both male and female players under the same scale, as it allows the cross-gender competition these days. The highest ranked female (of all time as well) Judit Polgar is ranked 52nd and is the only woman in the top 100.

That unfair, sexist, biased chess board ...

May 28, 2013

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DLD

Yes... We must ban Chess from society now.

May 28, 2013

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bwhitz

Would you be interested to know that FIDE itself disagrees that this represents a disparity in intelligence between men and women?

http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/15-chess-news/3664-the-sci...

May 29, 2013

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Luke

It is important to have discussions on underlaying issues in this particular industry , as long as we keep our civility and respect for one another and the various viewpoints that may contradict our own convictions . Keeping emotions aside provides a necessary pause for objective observation, and will allow the opportunity to hear new topics for the first time. Our mutual education . And just to keep it on topic...How many women will read these posts and fill inspired to join in the conversation? A working balance of the genders is desirable in our society as a whole, but equality between them in every aspect of life is unreasonable and unrealistic. Is like expecting a constant dry Summer or an endless day. And just to be clear, I believe that women will achieve equality when, just like men, they can walk into a mall, Old, Bald, Fat and Ugly and still think they are sexy.

May 29, 2013

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Agni Ortiz

"I believe that women will achieve equality when, just like men, they can walk into a mall, Old, Bald, Fat and Ugly and still think they are sexy."

I don't think I have enough room in my purse next to my lipgloss and my boyfriend's credit card for that big of an inflated ego. Just kidding -- I don't own a purse.

Seriously though -- yes to civility and respect. I totally agree.

May 29, 2013

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V Renée

The last part was just a joke intended to break the solemnity of the previous paragraphs. My apologies for my bad sense humor.

May 30, 2013

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Agni Ortiz

I caught that! No worries! And thanks for adding some humor to a touchy subject. Much appreciated!

May 31, 2013

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V Renée

" A working balance of the genders is desirable in our society as a whole, but equality between them in every aspect of life is unreasonable and unrealistic."

Agreed. Why shouldn't a women try to direct? Directors are the creative/visual elite from either gender. Just because women may have lower odds overall, doesn't mean that "all women can't direct". It's absurd that people are drawing conclusions like that. Were talking about large-scale data here, not individual cases. An individual women can still be a creative/visual elite on her own. This is why individualistic-societies are always more successful and fair overall.

"And just to be clear, I believe that women will achieve equality when, just like men, they can walk into a mall, Old, Bald, Fat and Ugly and still think they are sexy."

Some already do. This has nothing to do with "equality" though really. This is just subjectivity. People can think whatever they like. I have no problem with this. But a woman having the confidence to "think she's sexy", is very different than actually being sexy. Subjective vs. reality.

I'm personally attracted to "attractive" women because of they display signs of fertility and stable genetics. Facial symmetry, correct body proportions, ect... are signs of good genetic material. This is why we instinctually find them attractive. I do not, and never will find overweight women attractive. I just don't. It's not in my (or most males genetic programming) Out-of-proportion bodies and obesity are signs of poor genetics. They are unattractive because they are unfavorable material for offspring. Nature has just organized things a certain way. And nature, by it's very existence MUST be contradictory free. (i.e. what is in nature MUST work, or it cannot exist). 1st law of the universe.

May 29, 2013

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bwhitz

Let's get back on topic here. This article is not about how gross fat chicks are (a stance which I find incredibly distasteful and inaccurate -- but, to each his own.)

So, here are some thoughts:

First of all, let me address this theme of evolution being the main factor influencing our "innate" cognitive abilities as men and women. That is just a theory. It is not a fact. Just because it has been published and even accepted by a certain group of people doesn't make it true. There are many theories -- one being that our environment influences male and female behavior and development. This theory has also been published and accepted.

Dr. Cordelia Fine, a neuroscientist and author described the "hard-wiring" of our brains as -- not "hard", but "flexible, malleable, and changeable." She says things like reasoning, speaking, computing, emphasizing, and navigating, "are learned and neuro-plasticity – the modifications of neurons and their connections in response experience – trumps hard-wiring every time."

Dr. Lise Eliot says, "Yes, there are basic behavioural differences between the sexes, but we should note that these differences increase with age because our children's intellectual biases are being exaggerated and intensified by our gendered culture. Children don't inherit intellectual differences. They learn them. They are a result of what we expect a boy or a girl to be."

Dr. Robert Plomin says, "If you map the distribution of scores for verbal skills of boys and of girls you get two graphs that overlap so much you would need a very fine pencil indeed to show the difference between them. Yet people ignore this huge similarity between boys and girls and instead exaggerate wildly the tiny difference between them. It drives me wild."

Here's the article I got that from -- I'm sure there are tons of others: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/15/girls-boys-think-same-way

Secondly, the qualities of a good director are vast, and leadership, creativity, and being logical are only a few. I'd say empathy, understanding of emotions, and an ability to communicate would be a few more. These are things women are stereotypically thought to be far more advanced in than men.

Lastly, Hollywood is NOT made up entirely of the creative/visual elite. The bar is set much lower than people think. There are plenty of male and female directors/screenwriters/cinematographers/etc. that are just terrible. To bring up the argument of creative and logical abilities in men and women in the first place is kind of irrelevant when you look at the grand scheme of things -- especially if you look at this supposed creative disparity between the sexes. How big of a "disparity" is there? Huge? Are most women scribbling stick figures and overexposing every photograph? No. If there is a disparity, it's minute. And if it's minute, and if there are male directors churning out vapid drivel then there should be more women in Hollywood -- if in fact women are just -- less creative and talented as men. (I wrote that shaking my head and smiling by the way.)

May 29, 2013

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V Renée

I love this site more and more after every article. Where else can you discuss film, explore other artists, read about the latest and greatest gear and get a lesson in psychology? Keep writing please. It gets better and better with every word. :)

May 30, 2013

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Anthony Marino

The second point is an excellent one. You could make a very convincing argument that the films coming out of Hollywood are based more on story and actor performances than they are on purely visual storytelling. The over-arching style of directing in Hollywood has been studied and broken down extensively. You could learn the basic camera coverage patterns to create a film that accords to the "Hollywood style" from any number of books. It definitely doesn't require a visual genius to direct the vast majority of films that come out of Hollywood. Leadership, communication, empathy and a good grasp of story structure are easily just as important as visual/spatial skills in my opinion. Also, I think people underestimate how important the marketing of a film is to it's eventual commercial success. It's probably the most important thing. Obviously this doesn't apply to all films and directors working in Hollywood and a minority of them clearly display very advanced visual stroy-telling skills.
In my country people used to say the same things about women and the medical profession. They weren't intelligent enough or logical enough or strong enough leaders to be doctors. The medical profession was overwhelmingly male for hundreds of years. However, after women were given fair access to university places and medical placements the numbers have evened up. I think female doctors might actually out-number male ones in the UK now.

May 31, 2013

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Mak

"Dr. Cordelia Fine, a neuroscientist and author described the “hard-wiring” of our brains as — not “hard”, but “flexible, malleable, and changeable."

Sure, there's a degree of flexibility... but there is still "potential" that is limited by genetics. Does this mean you would actually agree with right-wingers (who I assume you oppose, based on other comments) on homosexuality then? That you might be able to "treat" it, like the hard-core Christians say? If not, then why are "aptitude" and "ability" "flexible" and "mailable" but then when we talk about human sexuality... then it's all the sudden hard-wired? It's all the same brain. It's all a product of genetic code. Do you see how you're not logically fallowing any specific premise? You're simply reciting a social-change narrative. It's not based on anything but subjectivity and moral-relativism.

The study is partially right though, genetics are not absolute... there is flexibility. But there is also a potential-limit as I said before. You can't simply teach anybody to have an IQ of 200. That's just not how things work. Some people just have genius potential, and some don't. Who would have exactly "taught" Einstein E=MC^2 then?

May 31, 2013

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bwhitz

Once again, off topic, but no. Sexuality is innate. Cognitive capabilities are not so much. You're still fixated on this notion that people are born with or have evolved to have a certain cognitive superiority, but so far, I haven't seen one link or reference. And saying that something is self-evident is a cop out.

Again, if this "science" is more divisive than enlightening, then what purpose does it serve? To "know" men tend to be more "advanced" than women? Sounds like a pissing contest to me, which isn't really a "girl thing." Plus, if indeed it's true (it isn't) that men are the superior gender in cognitive excellence, hopefully the female response to that in the film industry is, "Cool story, bro."

Also, Karatheodoris taught Einstein.

June 1, 2013

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V Renée
Managing Editor
Writer/Director

There's also that part where something that doesn't work still exists before it goes extinct.

May 30, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

I agree with you, although I was just joking, implying we think differently, beyond upbringing and society.

May 30, 2013

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Agni Ortiz

There is no doubt about how creative and capable women can be, but those doing the hiring may bring their own personal experience on how reasonable and accountable an intelligent woman can be as well, and unfortunately that is an aspect that may be unspoken, but considered at the time of giving somebody a chance.

May 30, 2013

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Agni Ortiz

Wow. Men, you need to consider more carefully what you say in debates like these relating to gender equality because you just come off sounding like tools.

June 1, 2013

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TJ