It’s the New Year and 2018 seems like a promising year for Women in Film.
We all make New Year resolutions, or promises we make to our Self. For me, it’s in the form of lists. I list the goals I set for each separate part of my life. It reminds me of a painting I saw at the Dali Museum in St. Pete, Florida years ago, of a woman made up of drawers. In each drawer we have a different identity, a different goal. In one, I may be the mother of two adult sons choosing their partners in life and following their own lives’ journeys. In another one are my publications, while in another one is my relationship with myself. I know what I want in 2018 and beyond, what my desire looks like, sounds like, tastes like, and feels like. It feels just like now, me sitting here writing and the world is running through my fingers.
Before 2017, I would never have thought that we, the women of the world, would stand up for ourselves and face off to powerful men in media to put a stop to the casting couch test. What I mean by the phrase, casting couch test, is the abuse of power by men in positions where they can make successful careers from one day to the next in exchange for the silence of the lambs. After all, we have witnessed rape, misogyny, negligence, and other intolerable actions against women and we have stood by and did nothing to stop it. Examples include arranged marriages, prostitution, inferior salaries for women workers, and abuse of women professions sucha as teachers, actors and filmmakers.
But we have come a long way. I had the privilege of learning about a great woman feminist by researching so much about her life and reading the material over and over again so much I started to share her point of view, her psyche and her soul. I’m talking about Sojourner Truth, whose screenplay I wrote. It was one of those first contracts you make when you don’t know any better and after quitting my job and dedicating months to the job, at the end, never received compensation for it. I know that the man who signed that contract and who’s out there looking for funds should realize that I am Sojourner Truth and that what he has done to me he has done to her. So how could he make this movie happen even if he gets all the funds in the world, if he can’t start by doing the right thing for one woman who trusted him and put her livelihood on the line. It’s been two years since and not even a partial payment has been made after the initial one that got me started and covered travel and research costs. I hate lies. If you can’t pay for something don’t promise you will. Respect. That’s one of the forms of abuse we Women in Film experience when we’re learning our way in this business.
The promise I make to myself and my advice to all women in film and all media business is to sell my services high. Get paid upfront and deliver a good product. That’s my motto. I promise myself I will not fall prey to lies but will get a lawyer to draw the contract and have them to pay for it. If they pay you 1/4 up front and they’re supposed to pay the rest at a given date but don’t, don’t continue the work until full payment has been made. People will find the money they need if they are set on a goal.
Another promise every writer probably makes is to write everyday. I also promise to work on all of my projects at the same time. I know that sounds crazy but if I don’t spend a few hours each week on each, it is not possible to keep them all going somewhere. I may prioritize one over the rest, but I still have to keep them all in the game. I promise to believe in myself and give thanks. I know this is going to be a better year because I am wiser and have gained the courage to overcome my fears. I am unstoppable.
Here is a list of movies directed by women in 2017 by Refinery 29. I agree that to see more women behind the camera where we are still atrociously absent in all major networks and film houses, is to go see movies directed by women. The Women-Directed Movies From 2017 To Watch Right Now. How many times is Cinderella going to be rewritten and how long is Star Wars going to be the only Sci-Fi Film Series that makes it big? I know there have to be many authors and filmmakers out there with outrageously good sci-fi stories who are not given a chance to tune audiences into their plot. But just like the citizens of a nation reflect the type of government they have, so does the public dictate the fate of their artists. An educated audience, refined in their choice of entertainment, diverse in preference and appreciative of all sound story telling is somewhat of an ideal dream for us in the U.S.
Thanks to women who have put their jobs and reputation on the line, one hundred powerful men have been accused of sexual misconduct and many of them have lost their positions within their networks and even their own companies. Check out this article on 100 powerful men that have been accused of sexual misconduct. How many other sexual predators do you think are out there who have not been accused? I hope this is a lesson for all men and women alike. I’m so proud of the women of the year, the whistle blowers who have had the courage to stand up for all of us. Thank You!
Dali was deeply influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, contending “The only difference between immortal Greece and contemporary times is Sigmund Freud, who discovered that the human body, purely platonic in the Greek epoch, is nowadays full of secret drawers that only psychoanalysis is capable to open.”