To Any Aspiring Female Filmmakers...
To whom it may concern,
So, this is the 16th year that Dr. Martha Lauzen has put out her “Celluloid Ceiling” analysis of women working in film. The study comes out of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University and gages women’s involvement in the top 250 domestic films during the pervious year.
It revealed that the percentage of women working behind the camera dropped 2% from 2012, and is slightly lower than it was in 1998, the first year of the study.
Overall, women accounted for 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors, representing a decrease of two percentage points since 2012.
Women comprised 6% of all directors working on the top 250 films of 2013, meaning a 3% decrease over 2012.
Women accounted for 10% of writers, 25% of producers, 17% of all editors, 3% of all cinematographers, 2% of all composers, 23% of all production designers, 2% of special effects supervisors and 4% of all sound designers working on the top 250 films of 2013.
The numbers are pretty dismal, that much is apparent. But they can go up. They will go up. They have to go up. Let’s make sure that they go up.
In any extremely impacted industry, change comes slowly. That being said, 16 years seems like a long enough time to yield some movement, any movement.
So, to all the girls wanting to get behind the camera, I see only one viable solution: Inundate the industry. Make your work amazing. Give them no other choice, other than you. And when you know that you were the top candidate and they still didn’t pick you, then know that their work will suffer for it and try again.
Art is subjective; hard work and talent are not.
Look to Lake Bell and Maggie Carey, the writer-directors of In a World and The To-Do List, respectively, whose indie films received critical and commercial success, however modest it may have been. Or take note of the lesser-known vanguards like Alyson Dee Moore and Mary Jo Lang – exceptional Foley artists, who have worked on films like Fight Club, Inception and The Matrix.
I know that these numbers are demoralizing, but try to remember them. Make them your mantra or your battle cry. Get mad as hell and then give ‘em hell. Become exceedingly knowledgeable in your chosen field. Know that you can become the best, ensure that you are the best and then be the best. Cause we really can’t settle for anything less — our student loan debts and mortgage payments won’t allow for it.
So if anyone wants to call me naïve or stupid, to tell me that I have no idea what the hell I am talking about or that that I’m just a student and that I couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like out there, I would tell that person that they are 100% right.
I have an uncanny proclivity for naiveté and stupidity. I know that I have absolutely no idea what I am in for. I know that it in my industry of choice, I am going to get shoved down and when I am on the ground I will get kicked in the stomach, like I’m the sorry protagonist in a Coen Brothers movie.
But I am gonna do it anyways.
When graduation day rears its ugly head, the vast majority of my friends – whether they are male or female — will more likely than not be unemployed. We aren’t trying to go into film because it is easy. It will never be easy and we aren’t expecting otherwise.
We are going into film because we are clearly all masochists. But we are also going into film because we could never begin to imagine doing anything else. And this type of passion is something that knows no age, no ethnicity and no gender.
May the force be with you.
Here’s looking at you, kid.
You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
It’s all happening.
Thank you for your time,
Featured image via.