Tuesday, September 18, 2007
As the article states, there is a frightening lack of female creative talent in the top ranking films coming from Hollywood. At the EIFF, this figure was extended for the top 300 grossing films of the "West", and the figures were comparable, if not lower.
"Further analysis uncovered a complex set of obstacles for women: as writers and directors, they don't tend to get agents easily, possibly because agents tend to pick those candidates with the best career options. In a male-dominated business, women's stories weren't felt to be marketable to what has always been presumed to be a male-dominated audience" says Robin Swicord in the article.
Scary to think that an agent may not take you on if you are from a non profitable gender! Hmm.
One of the EIFF events I went to was called "Across the Divide," and focused on women in film and television - writers, directors, producers, editors and cinematographers in the main. Through a panel discussion and audience suggestion it aimed to (somehow) find reasons for the poor representation of women in the film industry. Questions such as "is it a confidence issue?" "are women tired of the fight?" and "is it because women may take time off for family?" were asked. I'll be honest, I found the whole hour frustrating rather than motivating, but I can't put my finger on why. It was argued that we ladeeez under 30 (I used to "z" there to sound trendy and young) are "deluding" ourselves if we think that the industry is fair, that we will reach a point after which the realisation of the struggle we face purely because of our gender will smack us in the face. Fab.
The event itself was not well turned out, unfortunately, and there were a few newbies like me in the audience too scared to contribute. Thankfully there were positives in the discussion, with a director in the audience saying how welcome she is made to feel on set (and that there are no big hairy gaffers there to mock you), and the panel were agreed that HD technology was making film more accessible for women - that "a lot of women are making HD their own."
Personally the thought of gender bias is absolutely hateful and I certainly hope it turns out NOT to be like this when I'm trying to make a proper go of things (any day now...). My course doesn't seem male dominated, and neither was the Producers course - although all the lecturing staff are male, I suppose. It's just a strange thought that statistically more of my male classmates are likely to "succeed" than the female. Can someone prove this wrong, please?
Anyway, this article also reminded me of the Birds Eye First Weekenders Club party that I attended during the festival. It aims to promote the work of women filmmakers, and there is a mailing list you can sign up to that will alert you when women-directed films are out. The point is to encourage people to go in the first weekend of a film's opening - as this is when the success of a film is often determined. I signed up at the Festival, but no emails yet! I'll post when I do get one though, as I do think this is important.
I know, there are so many horrific inequalities in the world, and that I should be worried about something so outwardly trivial as women being underrepresented in the film industry is probably pointless, but this made me want to rant. I want to tell people stories, make them laugh and cry, make them feel something special. I want other women to be able to do the same for me, from all over the world. I don't want this to be fail just because women might not push the buttons of the 18-25 year old male group - but then again, we might be able to so we need the chance for that too!
Sort it out, bigwigs. Rant - over.
We went to see Superbad on Sunday, and it was excellent.
I've been a fan of the wonderful Michael Cera since I first watched Arrested Development, and he's really the star of this show. He's sweet, funny, and doesn't have to act big to make an impression on screen.
The rest of the cast are great too, and the story is simple but effective. It's told mostly over one day in High School, and works well in that. The subplot involving the brilliantly named "McLovin" might sometimes detract from the lead story, but it's funny so that's ok.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Michael Palin's New Europe "explores 20 countries that were once off-limits behind the Iron Curtain." Last nights episode was concentrated on Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Albania, and really showed some beautiful places and wonderful people. As you would expect, the camerawork and editing are perfect, fitting in wonderfully with Palin's absorbing narration and the well chosen music.
I often think that, apart from Palin's job, it would be great to be the person who actually finds the places and the characters that appear on these travel programmes. There were some very strong personalities in last night's episode, particularly the opera singing captain who took him to Albania.
At this point I'm particularly looking forward to Episode 3, in which he will visit Transylvania - and the legendary home of Vlad the Impaler. Mwoahaha.
There is a book out to accompany the series, which should be worth getting. I have a few of his other travel books, and they make for a richer experience when enjoying the programme - and have some amazing photography in them. He's doing a book signing tour for it - he'll be at Waterstones in Edinburgh on 15th October - and so will I!
Clearly, I am not going to say anything bad about this. I loved it - an hour of Michael Palin and a glass of red wine was a good end to the weekend.
Friday, September 14, 2007
We have a panel presentation to go to at University this afternoon, which should be good. Staff members of the Screen Academy will be there, as well as 3 industry people as panel members. We've got to talk about our aspirations, current projects etc, and (theoretically) they will give us some advice on what to do in the next 6 months.
I really hope I get something out of this. I've had this strange feeling the last couple of weeks - ever since I handed in my feature. I've loved being back at University so much: I've met some wonderful people, been given confidence in my creativity and have pushed myself further than I have since high school. At the moment, though, I'm feeling very sad about it all coming to an end. I feel completely uncertain what to do with myself for the next year. I just want to write. I want to write anything and everything. At least I know that for sure now. It's just strange going into such a competitive industry, knowing how unlikely it is that I'll get a job, knowing how many great people I'm competing with - and knowing some of them personally.
When I did my first degree, getting a job after University didn't seem such a big deal. I had a maths and computing degree under my belt, and there are jobs aplenty if you have that. But I don't want to fall back on these old skills, I don't want to be an administrator or manager again, I want to be creative, I want to make people happy with my words, and I want to actually make a living doing something that makes ME happy too, and doesn't just pay the bills.
Time will tell. Wish me luck for this afternoon - panels make me nervous.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I got a deeply dissatisfying haircut yesterday, and although I know it's not entirely like his it reminds me of Jareth the Goblin King's hair from Labyrinth.
I used to find Bowie frighteningly attractive in this film.
So here's the Dance Magic Dance song. Try not to stare too much at Bowie's tights.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Blimey, it was good! The dialogue was just sparkling at times, and John Hurt was magnificent as Quentin Crisp. The pacing and formatting took a while to get used to, but once I did I just loved it. I haven't seen anything that great on TV in ages. Why is this?
Last night I was feeling a bit better, so my better half took me to see The Bourne Ultimatum. Also fantastic. I've not had any interest in the Bourne films until recently, but we ended up chain watching the first and second on ITV2 or something a couple of weeks ago. I think the first one is still the best - the camerawork and shot length is a bit too snappy in the 3rd one - but it was still good cinema.
Here's a piece of advice I will give as a bit of a geek who gets annoyed with this sort of thing all the time. If you're writing anything with computers, hackers, viruses or anything, please do me a favour. Never mention the firewall. It probably doesn't do what you think it does.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Just got to do a reflective essay on the screenplay and I will be all finished with Uni. I don't want to finish! I love being a student again. The essay should be quite easy, but I'm not actually sure how much of the grade it is worth. It's only 1500 words though, can't be as much as a feature...
Was in my grandparents attic getting the last of my books (we just moved) and I whacked my back on a beam. I tell you what: it's rather painful. I've been off work with it. I'm not used to getting back pain at all, it's weird. On the plus side, I have all of my beautiful books in the flat now. Ah, precious.