The Numbers are Dismal, Let’s Illuminate

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been following the response to screenwriter Julie Bush‘s post What It Means When a Producer Says They Don’t Hire Women Writers. The post was referenced in Danielle Henderson’s Fusion article Women Working in Hollywood: The Numbers are Dismal, and expanded upon by Bush in another post, Women in Hollywood: A Shit Show. If the titles of the preceding posts aren’t clear as to their collective subject, I’ll just say this: it’s hard out there for women. It’s worse for women of color. And these posts are illuminating.

These are not opinions, as the second article I linked to pointed out, these are quantifiable facts. There are numbers and charts and graphs and people with functioning eyes who indicate the arts and entertainment industries are decidedly male and decidedly white. This is likely status quo for most industries, but it’s a hard fact to come to terms with when you’re starting out in a particular industry, are within that industry trying to move up and feeling stuck, and it’s hard for women who have achieved levels of personal success but find themselves surrounded by many versions of the same person man.

The arts and entertainment industries are collaborative arts. It just makes sense – you’re better when you’re constantly learning and evolving and opening your eyes to new perspectives. If the industry is ever going to be more inclusive, it will be because it is saturated with people who do this. I’m actively seeking inspiration and motivation, and in my future posts, you’ll see the fruits of that effort. Here’s one:

The interview below is with screenwriter/director Susannah Grant. It’s fantastic. She’s written the screenplays for Ever After, 28 Days and Erin Brockovich (the latter of which she was nominated for an Academy Award); she’s directed episodes of Party of Five and the film Catch and Release and yesterday, it was announced that Grant will be penning an Anita Hill biopic for HBO Films, starring Kerry Washington, tentatively called Confirmation. I saw the link to this “lecture” in an article this morning and was sucked in for the 25-minute duration, which includes a brief presentation and a fantastic Q&A.

“Failure is constant, for everyone. And I mean it. Everybody fails at this all the time. Not just screenwriters, but I think anyone who tries to illuminate the  human experience in an authentic way. [. . .]

The popularity of your unique voice is not what matters. What matters is staying true to it — writing the voice that is uniquely yours.”

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