Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Slate: Still a Boys' Club

Brenda Chapman's recent post gets amplified a bit in Slate Magazine:

... Chapman's story is a striking counterpoint to the conventional Hollywood wisdom that a raunchy environment is a necessary condition for strong creative work. When Amaani Lyle, an assistant to the writers' room on Friends, sued Warner Bros. over alleged sexual harassment on the job, the defendants successfully argued that crude conversations about sex and women's bodies were a critical part of the creative process. ...

And when Chapman finally got a chance to break out of that mold, to tell a story that ended with a girl delaying the prospect of marriage, she ultimately ended up ceding control of her own story. Brave was Chapman's idea, and she was set to direct it, an appointment that would have made her another first—Pixar has never had one of its feature films directed by a woman. But she was ultimately replaced by her Pixar coworker Mark Andrews, who got to helm the story of Merida, the Scottish princess who works her way out of an arranged marriage. Women, it seems, may change the way men think about fairy tales. But men still get to be in charge of the final draft.

As I've related before, a Pixar board artist who worked on Brave for two-plus years told me the released feature was close to what Brenda had been doing before she was replaced. Same story and characters, if not as dark.

News flash: Hollywood, like much of American society, is male dominated. The chauvinism might not be quite as rampant as in, say, 1940, but it's still there. And animation is part of Hollywood, so it isn't radically less influened by men.

In 1970, 45% of TAG membership was female, but that was in the era of ink-and-paint, which was comprised almost totally of women. Today, there is no ink-and-paint departments, digital or otherwise. The work, such as it is, is offshore.

Women in the rest of the business? Animation? Story and writing? Design? Tech? In 2012 women make up 17%* of the Animation Guild.

Draw your own conclusions.

* Women make up 50% of the Cal Arts animation department.


Chris Sobieniak said...

It is certainly a tough road for women to go down these days.

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