Not Just a Hollywood Problem

I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of women in the world.¬†¬†¬†Hollywood was reeling over the avalanche of harassment and sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.¬†¬†The #MeToo hashtag is near-constant in my various feeds.¬† I am saddened.¬† I keep asking myself, “How do I take action?”¬† And more importantly, how to take action that reverbs beyond just Hollywood?

I see Saudi women claiming their right to drive and wanting more of the rights that we in the USA take for granted.¬† There’s been significant action to stop child-marriage in India.¬† ¬†Men are expressing remorse, sympathy and solidarity for the women brave enough to tell world their “Me Too”.¬†¬† There IS progress.

I had a conversation with Nada Nasserdeen of Rise Up For You this morning.¬† ¬†It will be up soon.¬† We discussed so many things and one of the things that came up was the pay gap.¬† What Harvey Weinstein did was horrible, and once the headlines fade on this, we still have to keep pushing for economic equality.¬† Abuse of power is intimately tied to money. Having money does not give you the right to abuse other people.¬† One of the things that stands out about the Harvey Weinstein debacle was how¬† he was perceived as¬† a “golden goose” to quote Scott Rosenberg, a long-time associate.¬† If you haven’t read Rosenberg’s comments, read it.¬† Weinstein’s ability to make box office money left him unchecked. Considering how little progress has been made to include more women in the decision-making process of commercial film and television, it’s no wonder that he would-be-Harvey-s would feel invincible.

How do we move forward beyond this week?

  • Reach out to a woman in entertainment and let her know you support her.¬† Let her know that you care.
  • Go to a play or movie directed or produced by a woman.¬† Support women in the arts.¬† There’s an old maxim that “You’re only as good as your last picture.”¬† Let’s support women making art.
  • Do not tolerate bad behavior, “locker room talk” or any action that demeans a woman or girl at home, work or school.
  • Support women globally, especially to empower them economically.¬† A threat to women’s freedoms anywhere compromises women’s freedom everywhere.¬† One of my favorite ways to do this is by funding a micro-loan on Kiva.

This is about more than the transgressions of one man.¬† There are more Harvey-s in every industry, every country.¬† This is not just a Hollywood problem.¬† It’s a power imbalance that manifests everywhere from gilded Hollywood to the most humble villages on earth.¬† As long as the pay gap is tolerable to the majority, women will still be a minority, even if women outnumber men.

 

 

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Matt’s Management Raises Money for Houston

My talent manager Matt Chassin has glowing testimonials on his website and if you’ve ever met Matt, you’d see why. ¬†In honor of his upcoming milestone birthday, Matt is raising funds for Habitat for Humanity of Houston.

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Happy Birthday, Matt!

It’s so important to support Houston at this time with funds to trusted charities like Habitat for Humanity. ¬†If you’d like to understand how funds do more than donations of items, please check out this article.

Check out Matt’s fundraiser on Facebook!

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Hollywood Dreams Announces Nominees

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Photo courtesy of Hollywood Dreams Film Festival

I am very honored that Seeking Valentina, a short film which I produced with Armin Nasseri, has garnered two nominations at this year’s Hollywood Dreams International Film Festival, including BEST SHORT & BEST VISUAL EFFECTS. ¬†Our film screens later this week, in Las Vegas. ¬†Want to catch it in Vegas? ¬†See here.

Hollywood Dreams calls itself,

“A blend of new classic world film, hospitality, industry connections and of course a hearty brand of distributors, buyers, audience and special guests will round out what is sure to become a major stop in the vein of top U.S. and international film events.”

¬†¬†For a full list of nominees for this year’s Hollywood Dreams International Film Festival, click here. ¬†Congratulations to our cast and crew, whose talents and efforts continue to receive world-wide acclaim and many thanks to Del Weston and Theresa Weston, the founders of Hollywood Dreams Film Festival.

Development Hell

If you’re an industry person, you may have heard this term or used it–development hell. Development hell refers to the often chaotic, messy, frustrating business of getting a script ready to go into pre-production. ¬†No script comes to a¬†producer perfect and camera ready.

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Draft 1

We like the script, but there are few things that we need to change. ¬†Here is what we want changed: ¬†add this character, expand another character, take away the annoying mom character–and can you get this down to 90 pages?

Draft 2

This wasn’t what we had in mind. ¬†You know, ¬†I had this really great idea for some comic relief at the beginning, since it’s a heavy drama…

Draft 3

This is a mess.

Draft 4

Why is the subplot so much more interesting than the main plot?  Should we go a different direction?

Draft 5

We should go a different direction.

Draft 6

Is this too political?

Draft 7

It’s coming together, but we need to find a compelling role for (insert expensive actor’s name here).

Draft 8

Repeat process, starting above.

 

Churchill said,

“If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

Hollywood’s Problem Starts in High School

The success of Wonder Woman and the live action Beauty and the Beast has generated a great deal of discussion about women in cinema and woman-centric narrative. ¬†A Variety article pointed out, though, that despite record box office, women, “made up only 7 percent of all directors working on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases in 2016. That represented a decline of two percentage points from the year before.” ¬†Without getting too heady or too political, I need to point out that women’s narratological problems start off long before a screenplay gets optioned by the studios and directors are hired. ¬†It starts in high school, with the ways we are taught narrative structure.

Read more on Mogul.

Reeling in Our Focus

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There are so many distractions.  Sometimes, in our hectic lives, we have competing priorities, which can make focusing even harder.  This past week on What Women Want Talk Radio, Judy Goss and I had guests Christine Hassler and Nancy Ganzekaufer, who coached us on how to make our lives more reflective of our deeply held priorities.  If you’ve been overwhelmed by your to-do list or suffering from a bad case of analysis paralysis, you’ll find the candor of Christine and Nancy refreshing.

Learn more on Mogul.