HOLLYWOOD’S GLASS CEILING (Female Directors. The Solutions)
by Dov S-S Simens on November 3, 2017
HOLLYWOOD GLASS CEILING: 1st PBS IS DOABLE
Yes, with respect to women, Hollywood is a Glass Ceiling and the way to break through is to approach it not as an Art Form, not as a Cultural Entity, not as a Social Entitlement but for what it is… a business … after all, it’s called “Show Business”.
However, PBS (Public Broadcasting System), which is not Hollywood but a government funded program, supported via under writings, pledges and public donations is a relative easy medium for women, if they unify, to break the female director’s glass ceiling.
QUESTION: OK, How?
ANSWER: With a simple edict by PBS… The edict being that 50% of all programs, PBS funds or programs, must either be Produced, Written or Directed by a woman… with bonus points for ethnic minority women.
Point. Period. End sentence
(“Angelina Jolie has used her marketable power to direct features like “By The Sea”, “In the Land of Blood & Honey” and the upcoming “First They Killed My Father.”)
So women how do you make this happen?
It is possible to stop PBS’s unwitting mysogynnistic programming practices by first mass calling the FCC (888-225-5322), where 50% of the 4 Commissioners are women (Ms Mignon Clyburn & Ms Jessica Rosenworcel) and PBS, whose President & CEO is a woman, Paula Kerger (703-739-5000), and notify all three women that the Women-of-America (“women control the purse strings”) will cease pledging donations to PBS and will boycott any corporation that funds any project, programmed on PBS, that is 100% produced, written and directed by men.
So women… you want it… you can get it… unite & take it.
It’s a business. Businesses understanding money. So stop talking emotion, band together and talk money…
Now, that is PBS but this blog is not about PBS but Hollywood, which is an industry run by corporations (Studios & Networks) with stock holders living with the subtle edict of “Want to send a message… call Western Union”… who acknowledges, behind closed doors of course, that they are in the business of renting seats, selling candy, generating downloads, peddling plastic discs and aggregating eyeballs.
Yes, the 6 major studios and 20-30 tv/cable networks called Hollywood is in the business of “renting seats, garnering eyeballs & making profits” and if women unify and approach studios and networks with their buying powers they will absolutely raise the level of female directors and producers from today’s 15% who have Development Deals to at least 30% in 3-5 years and tripling Feature Films directed by women with three practical solutions (see below) and quite possibly create parity in 5-7 years.
Permit me to explain.
HOLLYWOOD GLASS CEILING: BEST STUDIOS FOR WOMEN
First some groundwork: Today of the 139 Producer Deals (aka: Development Deals) dispensed by the 6 major studios for next year’s crop of features only 20 have been given to female producers or directors with two studios, both run by women, Universal (Donna Langley with deals to Elizabeth Banks, Deborah Forte, Tina Fey, Eva Longoria, Charlize Theron and Samantha Vincent) and Fox (Stacy Snider with deals with Nina Jacobson, Karen Rosenfelt and 3 Animation Companies owned by women), comprising 60% of those deals.
(“Charlize Theron has a Development Deal with Universal Studios, headed by Donna Langley, to direct feature films.”)
20 years ago there was only one woman, Sherry Lansing, who ran Paramount, so if I was a politician and pandering for the female vote, which I am not, I could tongue-in-cheek proclaim that under my tutelage there has been a 100% increase in studios run by women…but that’s being a politician (boy do I dislike politicians… Republicans & Democrats… they’re both the same) who refuse ruthless honesty and play misdirection games which is what my No-Bull Blog is not about.
First, the 6 major studios with director deals or opportunities for women, are…
(1) WALT DISNEY: 0 Deals (that’s correct 0 deals)
(2) PARAMOUNT STUDIOS: 1 Deal
(3) SONY STUDIOS: 2 Deals
(4) FOX STUDIOS: 5 Deals
(5) WARNER BROS: 5 Deals
(6) UNIVERSAL STUDIOS: 7 Deals
Now, the solutions…
HOLLYWOOD GLASS CEILING: THE 3 SOLUTIONS
There are 3 ways (solutions) for women to break Hollywood’s glass ceiling, with it’s corporations, who need to profit, and direct feature films.
(1st) SUPPORT EACH OTHER:
(“There are many women in Hollywood who have power… Now if each would only produce or finance their next films or tv shows with female directors… a movement will start”)
The first is to support each other: Women if you want to direct then pitch women with power, which means women with studio Development Deals… who in turn are pledged to support women.
Below is a short list of 8 females who have the power, with studio Development Deals, to hire a woman to direct and have the movie distributed by a major studio.
(1) NINA JACOBSON (Co.: Color Force, Deal: Fox 2000)
(2) KAREN ROSENFELT (Co.: Sunswept Entertainment, Deal: Fox 2000)
(3) AMY PASCAL (Co.: Pascal Pictures, Deal: Sony)
(4) ELIZABETH BANKS (Co.: Brownstone Prdns, Deal: Universal)
(5) CHARLIZE THERON (Co.: Denver and Delilah Prdns, Deal: Universal)
(6) DENISE DI NOVI (Co.: Di Novi Pictures, Deal: Warner Bros)
(7) POLLY JOHNSEN (Co.: Polymorphic, Deal: Warner Bros)
(8) MARGOT ROBBIE (Co.: LuckyChap Entertainment, Deal: Warner Bros)
These 8 women, with Development Deals, have the power to give other women the opportunity to become bankable directors but this likely is asking to much of the eight…
However, I propose a much better way for women to support each, to direct 50-100 feature films per year (see below, solution #3) which is titled “WOMEN-MAKE-MOVIES”.
But, for a moment, let’s continue to solution #2.
(2nd) DROP SALARIES & BECOME BANKABLE:
Create profitable feature film packages.
The business called Hollywood, controlled mostly by old white guys, will like that.
Permit me: There are numerous women, ladies with amazing talent, like Holly Hunter, Jessica Lange, Drew Barrymore, Susan Sarandon, Scarlett Johansen, Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon, etc., who as soon as you attach their name to a project you instantly think “That’s a movie”, for they are actors who do not appear on tv with a recurring episodic role, where when you watch for free… Although very good salaries the double edged sword is the audience starts thinking of them as a free commodity whose fan base, that is use to viewing them for free for 30-60 minutes, has no desire to pay $12-$15 to look at them for 90-minutes.
The point. If you, likely an A-list woman, want a movie package to get financed, with you as director… Attach movie actors not tv actors.
(“Drew Barrymore, a superb actor, initially lowered her per picture price and launched a directing career with her production company “Flower Films”.”)
Thus create a bankable project with you, a talented A-List movie actress, who has a burning desire to direct, is willing to lower her salary from Millions to Multi-Thousands to garner her 1st directing opportunity.
This will not be a major studio release, but a high profile independent distributor release and to offset her discounted salary she, in return, keeps a higher percentage of the back-end (aka: first position deferrals) and possibly direct ownership of one-two revenue streams (dvd, cable, tv, etc.) for the third and fourth windows.
Therefore, packaging your project, if you are not an A-List actor but with an A-List female’s movie name attached to direct, with only a $100,000-$200,000 salary for a 5-week shoot, with two of her fellow tv actor/actresses friends receiving $50,000-$100,000, to obtain an Opening Title Credit in a feature film, you should easily have your manager or agent, with what-they-call a $5-7 Million Feature, with 3 names attached, garner $1,000,000 in cash, which is enough money for a quality crew & equipment for a 5-week shoot, from a distributor while creating an opportunity for a woman to direct.
More important, if this $1 Million Feature Film (marketed as a $5-7 Million Feature), with a woman director, becomes a box office hit, she will now be able to garner $15,000,000 – $20,000,000 to direct her next feature film from a major studio.
This solution will definitely work but, it assumes that you are an A-List movie actress or can hire an A-List movie actress who wants to direct but, in so doing, will accept a discounted salary.
This does happen each year… but it is rare.
Now let’s get to solution #3, which is for all women, which I truly believe is the absolutely best way to have 50-100 women (yes, 50-100) each year direct 50-100 feature films and will start a permanent movement that shatters Hollywood’s Glass Ceiling.
Let’s KISS (Keep-It-Simple-Stupid):
For your first directing project, drop the budget and direct not a Low-Budget Feature Film ($500,000-$1,000,000) but a Micro-Budget Feature Film ($20,000-$100,000)… and if you, a woman, direct a Micro-Budget Feature Film that profits you will direct a second, higher budget, Low-Budget Feature Film.
And if that one also profits you will direct an even higher budgeted Medium-Budget Studio Feature Film and if that profits… you are now an integral part of Hollywood and procuring a studio development deal, along with the 8 women in solution #1, and direct as long as you desire.
What I am about to propose cannot be done by men… it can only be accomplished by women.
But, once again, you must approach Hollywood as a business.
Now, permit me to explain how women can control their destiny and create 50-100 directing opportunities for women… each and every year… each and every year… and profit!
(“”Women-Make-Movies” and women directing is a concept I teach step-by-step at my “2-Day Film School” at www.WebFilmSchool.com “)
The idea of women directing, women crewing, women writing, women editing, women scoring, etc., when amalgamated into a single body, is highly marketable in today’s movie marketplace…
Micro-Budget Filmmaking is real: Camera’s are cheap, scripts are plentiful and making movies, with quality stories, for $20K-$100K, is absolutely doable.
So women, if you want to direct… then direct… but stop this insanity of directing shorts, which will never make a profit, as a means to demonstrate your talent… direct feature films… and the first feature film you direct will be a Micro-Budget Feature Film… but market “Women. Women. Women. Women. Women… Women-Make-Movies”
Point. Period. End sentence.
Raise a small amount of money (Call Oprah, call Hillary, call Ivanka, etc.), form a production company titled, “WOMEN-MAKE-MOVIES”, with a simple rule of No-Men-Allowed.
“WOMEN-MAKE-MOVIES” is a production/distribution company owned & operated 100% by women with projects created 100% by women and promoted 100% to women…
Women write. Women direct. Women crew. Women edit. Women market. Women distribute… Women make movies – for women.
With this highly marketable concept it is my firm belief that a movie, even a Micro-Budget movie, made by “WOMEN-MAKE-MOVIES”, with a quality story, with absolutely no men anywhere … will be easy to market, easy to self-distribute and easy to profit with while creating a platform for 50-100 first-time women directors per year… each and every year to direct.
In next week’s No-Bull Blog I will dedicate to creating, funding & launching “WOMEN-MAKE-MOVIES” that has an excellent opportunity (nothing is guaranteed) to go from Crowd Funding ($100,000), to Venture Capital ($3,000,000 & $10,000,000) to Stock Market IPO ($100,000,000) and become valued at $300-500 Million in 3-5 years… if you the “Women-of-America” support it.
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4 comments on “HOLLYWOOD’S GLASS CEILING (Female Directors. The Solutions)”
the free market works just fine. when females can make money their movies will be made and distributed so others can make money helping them.
pbs is a socialist boondoggle and should be killed. at a minimum stop wasting tax money on it as there is no requirement for yet another channel with several hundred already paying their own way.
Thank you, Dov, I appreciate you!
As a struggling actress/directors assistant; having a bad experience on 2 productions under the same Director; this puts light into what my perspective was. Thank you for offering this to the women in this tough industry for it is long overdue.
Thank you for this article and food for thought! As an actress and producer, I find that working with just women is very creative and productive. Time to get through that ceiling!