There Can Be Only One

So I’m in this Advanced Producing class on Tuesday nights. There are about twelve student in the class total and I’m the only girl.

Now, admittedly I’m a little bit sensitized to this because I just did a review of a book about the female characters in “Game of Thrones” which bandied about pretty liberally with arguments about female representation in television. The discussion of the representation of women in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera, is a pretty trendy topic these days. There’s a lot of hand wringing about whether Hollywood is a boys club and whether women are actively being excluded or if it is just a tacit, circumstantial tend. Either way, it’s a topic too big for me to even know all the variables much less speculate about how they may or may not discourage women from reaching the top echelons.

All I know is that I’m a woman in Hollywood and I’m the only girl in my producing class.

Now, one class is a pretty small sample size to draw upon: it could easily be a fluke that I happen to be the only girl. There were a lot more women in the class during the first few weeks who left before the add/drop period ended and I presume they left for good reasons. There were plenty of women in my Intermediate Producing class last semester. There is a solid representation of women as producers on actual productions through the school, so clearly the interest and skill is there. The prerequisites for the Advanced Producing class are fairly basic and there is no screening process or submission of resume our reels to prevent women from being accepted for any reason. I just can’t help but find it interesting that the gender balance changed so radically from one class to the next.

Another thing I find interesting: Advanced Producing is the class that focuses on development, financing and distribution instead of physical production. That means that this is the class where we learn how to be the people who decide what films get made, who gets to make them, and where they are going to be seen. That seems like a pretty important place to start getting some women’s voices if we want more opportunities for women.

I’m kind of glad that I’m the only woman in the class. This is for two reasons: first because it really makes me realize that wringing my hands and whining about the opportunities that are being kept from me by those mean old boys in the club is not going to help me one iota, but that actually developing projects with an eye towards hiring female filmmakers will. Second, I find it pleasantly reassuring to discover that nothing was actually standing in my way: all I did to become the only woman in the class was sign up in the first place and not leave.

Heck, if that’s the way to opportunity then there’s nothing that’s going to hold me back.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 29, 2015.

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