Sunday, November 21, 2010

Women in Film...and On Websites

Housekeeping: Amazon Studios Day...Six? It's confusing because they launched at 5pm on Tuesday, but had such an onslaught of entrants right off the bat, that you pretty much need to count the day.
Things seem to tapering off a little. They're at 936 projects right now. Two of the first three that you see are actually movies that are too short to be eligible, which I find confusing and irritating. We'll see what happens with those as time passes.

The review sections now have a "helpful" / "not helpful" button for other readers, which I think is good.

Todays Topic: Out of interest, I did a quick gender analysis of the two pages of projects listed (by popularity) on the Amazon site--that's 60 projects. Out of 60, I'm certain that 3 are women. There are 3 more whose gender I can't determine by by name or profile information. So giving those 3 the benefit of the doubt, this small sample contains 10 percent females.

The thing that piqued my interest was noticing that my script, CHILDREN OF OTHERS, now has 6 reviews. 5 from men, 1 from a woman. Off the Amazon site, I have had 3 comments regarding the script, all from women who know me, but downloaded because of the site. Their notes were insightful, honest and relevant--speaking to things like clarity, tone, theme. Yet each chose to approach me outside of the public eye. This was for various reasons, the kind of things you appreciate from your friends, a reluctance to criticize (my work, or the words of other reviewers) publicly, revealing reactions to the script that were perhaps to personal for a public forum. Would these choices to talk to me "off the record" have been different if these were men? I have to guess that most men that I know would more easily offer compliments or criticism in a public forum--be it a workshop, a meeting in a conference room, or an online forum.

One of my women friends asked for clarification of a term I had used, and did something that I do: She asked her question assuming that if she didn't understand something it might be her fault and not the writing. I, of course, offered up that it was most likely the fault of the writing. Etiquette that works for us. Again, from my experience, it would be unlikely for a the men I know to think that their inability to understand something would be anything but a lack of clarity in the writing. And if that were not the case, it would be up to me to point out why. In one of my writing workshops this past year, an acquaintance (male) pulled me aside and told me that because of my habit of prefacing my notes with disclaimers, he had tended to discount what I was saying, even though I was actually making good points. And though he didn't say it specifically, I could tell my habit also just plain annoyed him. It was a good tip. What is accepted--perhaps even expected--in one environment is frustrating and annoying in another. As a woman, I am constantly trying to find right amount of confidence and assertiveness and balance that with my fear of being "domineering," "pushy," or "manipulative." It does make me more cautious about putting myself out there" publicly. My mom would probably never believe it, but even this blog is the source of some amount of second guessing, because it is so antithetical to the way I was raised, where there is something vaguely declasse about putting one's thoughts and feelings so on display.

How much of what I'm seeing in this virtual environment is merely a reflection of "real life?" Real life in its many aspects, but specifically in this case to movie development? How much does the fact that women operate differently accounts for statistics like these?

Women account for 19% of writers working on films appearing at festivals and 12% on top grossing films.
Women account for 33% of producers working on films appearing at festivals or 20% of those working on top grossing films.
Women comprised 22% of directors working on films appearing at festivals or 9% on top grossing films

Is there anything about this new environment that might allow for different dynamics, or do we just carry our habits from one venue to another?

1 comment:

  1. I loved this blog entry. It started me thinking about all sorts of situations in my own life. Have you read any books about the way men and women communicate differently? I'd love to read a good book on this topic. I'm always fascinated by the way my coworkers communicate with each other, and how my style of communication is interpreted. Well, maybe more frustrated than fascinated. :-)