Women outwit Hollywood bias with help from industry insiders


By: AP | Los Angeles |

Updated: October 8, 2020 5:52:42 pm

In this picture supplied by Rey Obrero, Gladys Rodriquez poses for a portrait. (Photo: Rey Obrero by way of AP)

Kaitlyn Yang is aware of it’s uncommon for girls to work in visible results however wished to seek out out simply how a lot firm she has.

Devising an off-the-cuff survey earlier this 12 months, she painstakingly searched 24,000 LinkedIn entries for feminine visible results supervisors in North America. Her tally: 30.

“So you do the math,” she stated of the tiny share that represents. It’s not far afield of in-depth analysis exhibiting girls are underrepresented in behind-the-camera positions, together with writing, directing and producing, regardless of current progress.

A research of the 250 top-grossing movies in 2019 by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film discovered that ladies comprise 6% of visible results supervisors, 5% of cinematographers and 19% of writers. A middle report on final season’s TV exhibits discovered comparable patterns.

Yang, whose perseverance led to the creation of her personal agency, Alpha Studios, is amongst these succeeding in Hollywood. That’s true as effectively of Layne Eskridge, a former Netflix and Apple TV govt who simply launched POV Entertainment; author Gladys Rodriguez, whose credit embody Sons of Anarchy and Vida; and Sandra Valde-Hansen, cinematographer for greater than a dozen unbiased movies.

women in hollywood, hollywood women, women vfx artists Women of coloration who work behind the digicam in fields together with writing and visible results are discovering profession help, together with from the Television Academy Foundation and its internships. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images by way of AP)

The 4 share a key credit score: Each had an industry internship by way of the Television Academy Foundation, the charitable arm of the academy that administers the prime-time Emmy Awards.

For Valde-Hansen, the internship supplied the expertise of working alongside veteran cinematographer Alan Caso, who’d been a part of the acclaimed sequence “Six Feet Under.”

Getting to be taught from the person “who created the look of that show, that very cinematic look, I thought, ’Oh, this is better than getting into college,” she stated. “The internship just opened up so many doors for me.”

The program presents 50 paid, eight-week summer time internships on Los Angeles TV productions to varsity college students nationwide.

“We couldn’t be prouder to have helped launch the careers of these exceptional women. They are a testament to the foundation’s crucial work,” stated Madeline Di Nonno, chair of the inspiration’s board of administrators.

As the onetime interns have progressed of their fields, they’ve gained hard-won insights about Hollywood and the obstacles to girls and folks of coloration. Yang, who makes use of a wheelchair due to spinal muscular atrophy, faces different challenges. In current interviews, the ladies mentioned their experiences and the way the industry can evolve.


Bias could be refined, or not.

Rodriguez recalled a stretch by which she labored as a author’s assistant on exhibits with primarily white male writing staffs.

Men in jobs similar to hers have been “invited to play Ping-Pong, but they wouldn’t invite me, or they would invite them to after-work drinks and I wouldn’t get invited,” she stated. “I was definitely not part of the boys club, so that excluded me from certain opportunities,” resembling creating story concepts.

Eskridge has discovered that older writers could be uncomfortable with an govt who’s youthful and Black. That gave the impression to be the case with a sitcom creator she ushered into her workplace for a primary assembly.

women in hollywood, hollywood women, women vfx artists In this picture supplied by Kaitlyn Yang, Yang poses for a photograph on the set of “Polaris Primetime.” Women of coloration who work behind the digicam in fields together with writing and visible results are discovering profession help, together with from the Television Academy Foundation and its internships. But 4 former interns say the industry should do extra to foster range. (Photo: Kaitlyn Yang by way of AP)

“Maybe he thought I was an assistant, but when I closed the door and sat down he realized I was Layne,” she stated. “He was so flustered. And I think we sat there for about two minutes while he tried to gather himself. And then he eventually said he needed to call his agent and that he wasn’t going to take the meeting.”

Yang, who turned extra public-facing after beginning her firm, discovered she wasn’t what some anticipated.

One man “was very surprised that I attended USC film school, in a way that was almost questioning if my resume was made up,” she stated. ”I used to be like, ‘You want to see my student loans?’”

(Women are well-represented on the USC School of Cinematic Arts: This fall, they’re 56% of scholars, the varsity stated.)


Valde-Hansen stated she owes a debt of gratitude to Florida-based cinematographer Tony Foresta, who took her on as his assistant when no person else would.

“I remember walking into the (equipment) rental houses and they (film crew customers) would literally come up to me and say, ’Oh, I’ve worked with another woman camera assistant before…′ like I was an alien,” she stated. “It was unnerving at times. I was so thankful to have this one person who saw me, unlike anyone else.”

After Rodriguez accomplished her internship, she labored on CBS’ Cold Case, created and produced by Meredith Stiehm.

“It’s not that she gave me a leg up, more that she saw me and she didn’t dismiss me,” Rodriguez stated. It was on the present that she met Veena Sud, a “wonderful writer who became a sort of mentor to me.”

“She was the first person that took me aside and said, ‘I’ll read your stuff if you’re writing,’” Rodriguez recalled. “I think Meredith empowered her, and she was giving back to me by empowering me.”


A feminine colleague informed Valde-Hansen just lately {that a} director wished to rent her for a venture, however the producer thought the funds was out of her league — though there was a comparatively small hole between it and different tasks she’d labored on.

“This has happened to me. Why? Why is that story happening, when a white man makes a movie for $500,000, it does really well, and then suddenly he’s handed an $80 million Marvel movie,” Valde-Hansen stated. “That has to change.”

Rodriguez says that when studios complain that they will’t discover range amongst writers, she has lists on the prepared.

“It starts at the top, with execs realizing they have to do the work to look for writers of color, hire writers of color and give people chances,” she stated. “Just like they would take a chance on a white director or a white writer.”

Eskridge recollects a couple of occasions when she was the “highest-ranking person of color in the building, and I’m not a president or part of the C-suite. That shows you that’s a problem.”

Yang desires the industry to suppose range for each facet of manufacturing.

“The more down the credits you move, it’s still the same old, same old. And I don’t want to be the first one of the few,” she stated.


📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and keep up to date with the most recent headlines

For all the most recent Entertainment News, obtain Indian Express App.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here