WHERE ARE THE WOMEN WRITERS?

March 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Here’s a question for screenplay writers Julie Delpy and Melisa Wallack-

Is there something different about the way men write scripts? 

Have a look at this list, from the Oscars official website, www.oscars.org.  Nominees for the 86th Oscars:

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • “Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
  • “Captain Phillips” Screenplay by Billy Ray
  • “Philomena” Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
  • “12 Years a Slave” Screenplay by John Ridley
  • “The Wolf of Wall Street” Screenplay by Terence Winter

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • “American Hustle” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
  • “Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
  • “Dallas Buyers Club” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
  • “Her” Written by Spike Jonze
  • “Nebraska” Written by Bob Nelson

 Of the fifteen writers involved in these scripts, two are women.  Neither of the two is a script’s only writer.

Hey, I like writing. Thank goodness folks write stuff.  Like books. I read not for gender of author but for subject matter, style, quality.    

I watch movies.  Thank goodness folks write movies.  I watch movies for subject matter, style, quality, and, hmmm.  Sensitivity to issues which are close to my heart, or to issues which teach me something.

More so than with books, and probably because

two quick hours- movie time- is a harder hit on the brain housing group than a leisurely read through pages, the timing of which I control.  There’s all that sound and CGI and visuals, and heart racing not from what I’m reading and running through my brain but from what’s literally happening on screen in front of me.

For that reason, I may be more careful of the movies I watch than the books I put on my bedside table and say I’ll get to soon.

My world is small.  I’ve been around long enough to know that small is okay, and that when something’s enjoyable I’ve lucked out.  Enjoyable yesterday was going with a friend to get her allergy shots because I was already out in traffic with her when the predicted sleet started to fall and the city was literally shutting down and it felt like a holiday suddenly.  And allergy shots, well, what an adventure!

The clinic was full of women panicked to get their allergy shots before the whole town slipped into the ocean on an arctic ice floe.  In tidewater Virginia, mind you.

We had a blast.  That’s my small world.

So, the Oscars is big for me.  It’s glam.  It’s glitzy.  It’s people who mess with my brain housing group on the big screen, when I allow them access.

Like any larger than life thing, it represents “the best.”  Right?

I AM NOT stupid.  I KNOW it doesn’t.  But it does represent what the industry leaders think is best.

One would hope that they haven’t gotten where they are as leaders in their field without some sense.

And I’m not debating whether or not they have sense.

But I WOULD like to know why, in the year 2014, only two out of fifteen screenwriters involved with Oscar contender scripts were women.

I do not think it’s for lack of talented women screenwriters.

I suspect that

TO ACTUALLY GET A STORY from an idea all the way to the SCREEN, with the hype, the popularity driving, the artistry and politics, is SUCH AN ENERGY and ANGST RIDDLED EVENT that THE WAY WOMEN WORK is less than compatible with eventual success.

In the context of current day industry realities.

My question to Julie Delpy and Melissa Wallack is still, is there something different about the way men write scripts?

A larger question could be is the industry and the audience just not yet ready for whatever women bring to the work of writing motion pictures?

The simple answer, chauvanism?  No.  That just won’t do.  Will it?

 

 

 

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