Sarah Terry
December 06, 2016 12:49 pm
Emma McIntyre / Getty

Hollywood desperately needs more female voices behind the camera. And we’re so excited when powerful creators do their part to bring in more women. As an extremely powerful show creator and showrunner, Ryan Murphy pushes for equality by hiring female directors on more than fifty percent of the episodes of his current series. Those series include American Crime Story, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, and the upcoming Feud.

Through his foundation called Half, Ryan made it his mission to hire at least half female directors on all of his shows. The Half mentoring program tries to prepare women, people of color, and members of the LGBT community for opportunities to direct in television. Ten months after starting the program, Ryan can now boast that sixty percent of directors on his shows are women. And that’s pretty awesome.

Ryan’s fervor for inclusiveness comes from his early days in TV, when diversity was hard to find.

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In 1999, when Ryan created the show Popular, he felt out of place as a young gay man.

One of the keys to getting more diverse voices into the business is having experienced directors help them develop their skills.

Therefore, Ryan created Half to help directors who might not as easily find mentors to learn from experienced helmers. Ryan also pushed for hiring fifty percent women in all the other departments. He wanted to see women throughout the crew, and he wanted his crew training women if they didn’t have enough in their ranks to pull from. Those mandates will hopefully pay off in by creating an industry with more trained and experienced women than ever before.

One of the directors that found her voice was the awesome actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Along with giving Jamie an opportunity, Angela Basset had directed a Lifetime movie, but hadn’t gotten another opportunity until Ryan hired her to direct an episode of AHS: Roanoke. Similarly, Maggie Kiley, who has directed three successful independent films, hadn’t found her place in TV until Ryan’s Half program.

We are so excited to hear about great artists supporting the diverse voices of new artists.

We hope lots of others follow Ryan’s lead and hire more women to direct.

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