Did you know that in 89 years, only four women have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Director? Of those four, only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has won. Did you know that of all the words spoken in 2016’s biggest films, women only said 27%? Not to mention that they were all helmed by male directors. And 2016’s most hyped characters, such as Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, appeared and spoke fewer times than the less-advertised male characters. This is 2017, and it’s time to gain some perspective.
Firstly, I want to make one thing very clear. This is not about man-hating. Many still equate feminism to hatred of all men, but let me repeat that this is not the case. Feminism, and this gender issue entirely, is not about female domination but about equality. And if the stats above don’t prove that equality is still an issue, I don’t know what will.
The gender gap, particularly in the entertainment industry, is something that’s always upset and scared me. As a young woman who’s making her way into the business, it’s hard for me not to panic when I see how unbalanced the numbers are. Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve come a long way from where we used to be. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a long way to go.
2016 took leaps forward in many ways. I came out of the Ghostbusters reboot crying, so excited that these young girls would be able to see these kick-ass ladies saving the world, having female characters to look up to. Hidden Figures, based on a true story of three female mathematicians gives us real women to inspire us. And while it really is wonderful to see things starting to change onscreen for women, I can’t help but notice that behind the scenes things feel all too stagnant.
Let’s take a look at this year’s Oscars. For Directing and Writing (Original Screenplay), no women are nominated. You’ll find the same numbers, or lack thereof, in categories like Visual Effects and Film Editing. Now, the Oscars aren’t the be all end all. You don’t have to be nominated to be good at what you do. But I can’t help but ask the question: why are we seeing so few females recognized behind the camera? Not only recognized, but that can be found at all? In 2015, a study was conducted and it was discovered that of the top 250 films, only 7% of directors, 11% of writers, and a shocking 5% of cinematographers were female. Well, the women behind Or Die Trying are here to change that.
Or Die Trying is an upcoming web series about women in film, by women in film. This 8-part series will dive into the lives of four young women in the industry, trying to achieve success, and all the struggles that come with not only working in the industry, but doing so as a millennial and a woman. Personally, I can’t wait to binge-watch this. But what really blows me away is the series’ amazing commitment to hire. Or Die Trying is more than just talk. Not only is their story about women, but 85% of their team consists of women.
85%!!! I was speechless when I first saw that number. Why is this so important? Executive Producer and actress Sarah Hawkins says it best.
“We are incredibly passionate about the women in film community. As the story started coming together, penned beautifully from Myah Hollis, it became clear that focusing the larger conversation on the women in film movement and empowering other women with our commitment to hire, was a direct extension of the larger conversation at hand: creating content from women, by women.”
There are definitely some inspiring female characters out there, or empowering stories about women, but so many of them heavily lack female voices behind the camera. “We know that our project won’t solve this systemic issue, because it’s not one that can be fixed overnight,” says Hawkins. “But we hope our series continues the dialogue; on-screen & off.” With 85% of their team being women, there’s no doubt in my mind that Or Die Trying will do so much more than continue the dialogue. I believe this series will help to prove that this idea, this hope for equality in film is more than just a dream. And hopefully by continuing the conversation in such an inspirational way, it will help us to overcome the issue all together.
I am so excited to help share the story of this amazing series and the incredible women behind it. Season 1 doesn’t have a release date yet, but keep your eyes peeled! I’ll be writing more on both the series and the ladies involved closer to the release of the first episode, but in the meantime, be sure to show them so love over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This is only the beginning. And remember, dreams do come true.
Check out the trailer for Or Die Trying and, as always, feel free to geek out with me in the comments.