|Forums > Other topics > Female Directors
at 09:36, 4 Feb 2007
I know that you must get lots of requests like this, but I am wondering if you are able to answer a set of 10 questions via e-mail to help with my A Level Media Studies exam and also for my future expectations as an aspiring female film maker.
If you are willng, I would prefer to converse through an e-mail address (your agent?) rather than posting on forums. If that is not possible then I can post the questions on this thread. My e-mail address is email@example.com - I hope to hear from you!
at 04:22, 1 Mar 2007
The best thing is for you to post your questions on this message board. As you can imagine, if I was to answer each person individually (I tried to do that in the old days and failed) I would be repeating myself a great deal and others would not benefit.
I also recommend that you look as deeply as you can into this message board and elsewhere on this site. You may find that some of your questions have already been answered.
at 12:57, 3 Mar 2007
Thanks for your help. I hope that you find the time to reply to the following questions:
1. It is very difficult to get started in the film industry. How did you get your break and where did you start out?
2. Do you feel as though you are treated differently to a male director? If yes, in what ways?
3. Do you think that the film industry is sexist?
4. What other theories do you have about why there are so little female directors?
5. Did you go to film school/university? Did you feel any pressure/ experience any problems because of your gender at film school/university?
6. Do you think that you feel more pressure to make your film a big hit than a male director would? I.e. Do you think women can be punished more harshly by critics?
7. Do you think that the film industry has accepted women more during your career or is it the same as when you started out?
8. Where possible, do you choose to hire other women to work for you or does it make no difference?
9. Do you think that an ‘Old Boy’s Network’ exists in Hollywood - i.e. men hiring other men?
10. Is there anything you would like to add about this specific topic area?
Thank you and good luck with your future filmmaking.
at 11:03, 5 Mar 2007
Please browse within the FILMMAKING and OTHER TOPICS forums where Sally has answered similar questions, many at great length.
Please also see the British Film Institute's educational resource here http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/490062/index.html
at 02:39, 24 Mar 2007
I hope by now you have browsed the message boards and other references to help with your questions. One of the reasons you were referred to previous posts here and to take your own researches further is that your questions read as if they may have been sent out to several different women without tailoring them to the individual. In any case it was clear that you had not done much background reading. A quick look at the biographical information on this site, for example, would have answered the question about my educational background (I am a self-taught filmmaker, did not go to university or film school. ..my only training was as a dancer.)
One of the first things to learn as a female anything...including being a student...is to go that bit further if you are to get results. You must set very high standards for yourself, do your homework (I always look up everything I can about an actor or technician before I meet them for the first time, for example. It is a sign of respect. I also check out the previous work of a journalist before I do an interview, if at all possible. I want to know where the questions are coming from.)
As was mentioned by Webmaster above, I have answered many of your questions very carefully elsewhere and really do not need to repeat them. But I woke this morning suddenly thinking of your message and wanted to help, perhaps in a different way than you have anticipated.
There is much to celebrate about being female. But women historically tend to suffer from limited lives and limited visions of what is possible. Taking the long view it is relatively recent that we were even considered capable or deserving of the vote.
So we have learnt to confine ourselves to the preoccupations of our bodies, our children, our domestic existences...we have become expert carers, homemakers, empathisers. We know how to express ourselves emotionally. We are good at doing many things at once, at dealing with the essential underbelly of daily life. (All this has sometimes been reflected in the work of female filmmakers).
It has been harder to be ruthless in the pursuit of art or science, to breakthrough into excellence, passion, wildness, brilliance. We settle for less and are praised for our niceness. it is still considered uncool, even unnnatural, somehow, to try too hard, to be seen to be ambitious, to want too much. (Thus the occasional harsh criticism of female artists who are seen as 'pretentious' for taking on big subjects or pushing new forms.)
Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking our own problems and difficulties to be the worst or the most important. There are many ways of making a human being feel less worthy of respect than others....race, age, class are just some of the categories of existence which have led to suffering on a mass scale . Being a woman gives the opportunity to make the imaginative leap into the experience of those others who also secretly feel they have missed out on their birthright. (This can be a useful part of our armoury as filmmakers).
In the effort to be 'supportive' to women, however, in the struggle to help them break out of feelings of fear or inferiority - feelings which are often heavily disguised -the standards can get set too low.. sometimes a harsh criticism is the highest compliment. It means; I expect more of you. You can do better. You can soar. Which also means ; you must work at it. You must earn respect, care and attention by your own efforts. There is no inherent reason why you or any other female cannot overcome any obstacle, including the obstacles you would face as an aspiring filmmaker. But starting with a questionnaire like the one you have written above, I think you need to think harder and deeper and do more research before you expect me to help you with answers.
Which may not be what you want to hear, but nevertheless I hope it will prove to be helpful advice.
Enjoy your studies.
at 02:42, 24 Mar 2007
previous message was from sally potter
at 04:15, 24 Mar 2007
|Re: Female Directors
Thanks for replying. Yes I have scanned the boards and found out a lot of information which is of use. The questions that I previously posted were because as a part of my critical research, I have had to contact many people from the film industry and I needed to obtain personal replies from all of them. I appreciate that you don't want to keep repeating yourself etc, and the questions were meant to be general, they are not just aimed at you because I have had to ask the same questions to many other film makers/companies etc. But don't worry, I appreciate your time and I have had plenty of other personal responses from directors such as Andrea Arnold...I have lots of research to write up!
Thanks for your concern,
Best of luck
at 15:01, 24 Mar 2007
|...Prove to be helpful advice
How amazing...this forum where we're offered insights and waking-first-thing-in-the-morning-thoughts from Sally. I felt creatively ignited when I read the post...especially at the point where Sally wrote:
"But I woke this morning suddenly thinking of your message and wanted to help, perhaps in a different way than you have anticipated."
I read Sally's message aloud to my soon-to-be-17-year-old daughter, who is a talented, aspiring photographer/writer. I wanted her to hear this valuable message from a strong female perspective. We talked about it & were struck in particular with this:
"It has been harder to be ruthless in the pursuit of art or science, to breakthrough into excellence, passion, wildness, brilliance. We settle for less and are praised for our niceness. it is still considered uncool, even unnnatural, somehow, to try too hard, to be seen to be ambitious, to want too much. (Thus the occasional harsh criticism of female artists who are seen as 'pretentious' for taking on big subjects or pushing new forms.)"
I want my daughter to know & believe this at her core, as she leaps into the world to pursue her own life's passions. I hope she will develop naturally the instinct to cultivate that type of excellence that Sally speaks of. All the while, that little voice inside my head keeps reminding me as her mother, "By example, by example" -- my mantra. We teach our children -- all the world's children -- by example.
I'm glad Sarah was able to get the information for her class...those "plenty of other personal responses from directors such as Andrea Arnold." I doubt very much though that any of those responses came from people who offer such devotion to learning & sharing knowledge as Sally does here on the YES forums. The frequency of Sally's generous insights & attentive replies I believe are unparralled anywhere on the internet today.
Whether or not I agree, I will enjoy every word I read here on these forums while the YES message boards last, as no doubt Sally will eventually get too busy with work to keep this up...I can only wish & hope that it lasts a while longer.
To Sally's last line in her post to Sarah...
"Which may not be what you want to hear, but nevertheless I hope it will prove to be helpful advice."
...I say -- YES, most definitely helpful to me.
To "excellence, passion, wildness, brilliance."
at 15:09, 24 Mar 2007
|The last post...
....Prove to be helpful advice.
My name didn't appear.
The post just before this is from Anthea.