Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Onward and Upward: Trying to Stay Focused

I'm long overdue for a blog entry. My apologies on my lack of earnestness, but the last two weeks have not been very productive for me. I think it's because my head is in a lot of places and I haven't buckled down and focused on the writing. The stories that are in my head have not made it to paper or onto my computer screen. Trying to move onward and upward has not been an easy task for me.

I hope to change that this week. Writers write and since I haven't been doing that, I don't feel much like a writer. I don't want this blog to come off completely negative, because I do have some things I'm looking forward too. I'm estactic that After the Headlines will have its premiere at the Kent Film Festival, http://www.kentfilmfestival.org/, April 22 to 25, 2001. I give myself goosebumps knowing that the film will be screened at Kent. I feel so honored. It's my first and hopefully not my last film festival. I plan to do a grassroots publicity blitz, which will require sending out press releases to local media and hitting up local business to see if they will let me display the poster (which I still have to get made). There is no rest for the wary.

Trying to stay focused is a continual struggle for me, but I will need to overcome it in order to move forward. If I don't do the work, I will not have a product to pitch and promote and I need more scripts to get out there in the world. Yesterday, I went to the local library and picked up John Truby's, The Anatomy of Story. I hope this book will help center me and give me some tools to master my art of storytelling. I know I can't expect the book to fix my focus problem, but I do hope that it will point me in the right direction. I'm also reading QBQ: The Question Behind the Question. This book has been assigned for me to read on the work front. It's about practicing personal accountability at work and in life. I can use that too.

Onward and upward folks. Thanks for listening.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Glass Ceiling Cracked, But the Reality Remains

The Oscar hoopla is finally over. The feat to win a Oscar is no easy task. Some of the industry's best can go a lifetime and still never get the honor, so kudos to all the winners. I didn't watch much of the Oscars, but what from what I did see, I did notice there were a lot of firsts last night. The one I will focus my blog on today is the Best Director award that went to Kathryn Bigelow.

Bigelow cracked the glass ceiling last night when she won the award of Best Director for The Hurt Locker. She is the first woman in Oscar history to receive this honor. While Bigelow is the first woman to win the Best Directoring Oscar, she is only the fourth woman ever nominated. With the impact that women have had in the industry throughout the years I find it hard to believe that until last night a woman has not won the Best Director award. That was probably wishful thinking on my part, because when I looked at the hard stats, it becomes very clear that women writers, directors, and producers have not gained that much ground in the last 30 years.

Women make up 51%of the U.S. population and that number does not crossover to jobs in the film industry for women. According to Martha M Lauzen, of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women accounted for seven percent of the directors and eight percent of writers who made the top 250 grossing American films in 2009.  A new study released by University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which was conducted by professor Stacy. L Smith found that actresses nabbed only 29.9% of the 4,379 speaking parts in the 100 top-grossing films of 2007.

I'm not trying to take away from Bigelow's momentous moment, because it is a great accomplishment, but as I think of the role of women in society, I think we do ourselves an injustice when we don't acknowledge the inequities that we face as women. Once we acknowledge the problem, we must actively work to change it.
Hollywood is just one of the many industry's where women face an uphill battle in the fight fore equal pay, recognition, and the opportunity to be given a chance.  I think it's an important field because the visual stories we view can change our perception of the world around us. Sometimes for better, sometime for worse. Last night was a Hollywood first, I just hope it doesn't take the industry another 80 years before a woman is recognized in this area again. There are women writer, directors, and producers putting in the work and making great films.

Bigelow has done many interviews, but the following statement has stuck with me the most, "Don't give up on your dream - I mean it quite literally. Be tenacious, but work on the stories you truly, truly believe in."

I'm going to heed her advice, because at the end of the day, whether you are a woman or a man, it is about having a good story.