If You Are A Woman With A Dream: You Can Make Films

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If You Are A Woman With A Dream: You Can Make Films

Some dreams are harder than others to achieve.

These are the dreams that test us at every turn with major obstacles thrown in our way, forcing us to twist and move our dream about. You have to decide within yourself if you have the guts to make the seemingly impossible possible.

For example: my dream of pitching a successful screenplay. I’ve been told the odds of a female screenwriter getting her script made into a movie are slim to none. And Slim’s out of town.

This is a constant reminder that we are still living in a man’s Hollyworld. The good ole boy’s network is still running the entertainment industry. The disparity of male/females working in the movie industry is alarming.

In The 2009 Celluloid Ceiling Study, women comprise only 16% of all directors, producers, writers, executive producers, writers, cinematographers and editors in Hollywood. I find this appalling. Women account for only 8% of writer’s working on the top 250 films of 2009.

86% of the films had NO women writers.

Feeling discouraged yet? Are you ready to fold up your tent and go home? There are NO female comedy writers on Leno, Letterman or Conan’s (his latest) writing staff. However, John Stewart just added two women to his writing team.  Thank you John.

Let’s just let these statistics marinate a bit.

Do they make any sense?

With females making up 51% of the U.S. population, the powers-to-be are sadly missing out on an untapped reservoir of talent and unique viewpoints from members of the female persuasion.

And don’t tell me women aren’t as funny as men. Look at Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, Roseanne Barr and The Latin Divas of Comedy to name a few.

Too many male filmmakers like to show off:

  • Their latest biggest baddest special effects
  • Rock ’em sock ’em action scenes
  • Car chases to ramp up the testosterone level to caveman proportions
  • 50 ways to leave them dead with an Uzi
  • New and nauseating ways to glorify blood and guts

While these movies may titillate some of the audience, they gloss over emotions in favor of action and violence. They lack the heart, emotion and soul that a woman’s screenplay offers.  Think of Kathryn Bigelow’s telling of war in The Hurt Locker.

A great movie should resonate with the movie goer long after the popcorn is finished and the final credits have rolled.

Women willingly unleash their arsenal of assets when penning their stories. They are:

  • Humor
  • Candor
  • Insight
  • Emotion
  • Truth
  • Their feminine wiles
  • Instinct
  • Support
  • Love
  • Empathy
  • Use of all six senses

Wow, imagine how much richer stories can be with more females in the movie-making mix.

Women want to see movies made by women for women.

We deserve a slice of the creative pie.

When women are “allowed” to make movies, magic can happen. These gems will translate into a bonanza at the box office. I believe the male side of Hollywood will soon see the light and acknowledge the market they’ve been ignoring for too long.

They will then hop on board and support more women films, even if this “enlightenment” is purely money-driven.

This post may have left you with the feeling that all hope is lost for women in the movie industry. It’s not.  But it is a difficult road, and it sure helps if you are the ex-wife of a famous director. When the odds are stacked, I think of these words by American poet Robert Brault, “Often what seems an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.”

The world needs to hear the voices of women in movies. We need to see their struggles, their triumphs, their plight and how they overcome. Don’t despair, there is a groundswell of strong women who are fighting to be heard in Hollywood.

They’re breaking down doors and gaining ground everyday.

One of these warriors, Anne Jordan of the Northern California Screenwriters Association will be highlighted in my post next week. You will see  how she is defying the odds. Other warriors are ones like Birds Eye View, a dynamic, fast growing organization determined to celebrate and support international women filmmakers, who, each year hold a film festival honoring women in film.

The following is a piece from Birds Eye View –

There is hope.

Are you a women trying to change the world with your dream?

Be safe, dreamers.


Toni left 8 Women Dream in November 2010 to work on Club B and work full-time on her screenplay.

  • We were was doing some research and impressed by the info you wrote. Read exactly what I wanted also. Keep it up

  • gillian

    I love that you are championing for women in films!

  • Bestsy

    I agree. I wish there were more films by women and not just stories about war.


    Just remember these quotes –

    “I find that screenwriting is at best kind of a hackwork in some ways.” ~John Milius

    “The challenge of screenwriting is to say much in little and then take half of that little out and still preserve an effect of leisure and natural movement.”~Raymond Chandler


    “An actor without a writer is a waiter.”~RJ Colleary

  • Toni Schram

    Thanks for your rallying cry and support. We do need to kick ass and take names…it’s only a matter of time!

  • Veronica

    We are women hear us roar!!! Time to kick some butt … mens butts that is.
    You go girl.

  • Remy, the photographer

    I had no idea the stats were so Low! My God.
    Some of my favorite movies were done by Nora Ephron. There is such a simplicity in every day stuff, which she seemed to capture incredibly well. I’m right behind ya…all the way! Rem

    • Toni Schram

      Nora Ephron wrote some of my faves-“Michael”, “Sleepless
      in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally”.

      How can you not love someone who thought up that scene in “When Harry Met Sally” when Meg Ryan imitated
      that fake orgasm.

      Did you know she has a sister, Deliah, who is also a writer/screenwriter?

      • Remy, the photographer

        Sally: “Are you saying that I should marry someone in case he’s about to die?”

        Marie: “I’m just saying that the right guy might be out there for you and if you don’t grab him someone else will and you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that someone else is married to your husband”


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  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I think women have a great perspective when it comes to films – think Nora Ephron and Jodie Foster.

    And theirs Nancy Meyers who produced and directed Something’s Gotta Give.

    Tina Fey is my hero too! Love 30 Rock!

    – Cath

    • Toni Schram

      Yes, these women do have a great perspective on film. It’s getting that voice heard by the male gatekeepers of Hollywood.

      Others who have successfully bucked the system:
      Amy Heckerling, “Clueless”, Callie Khouri, “Thelma & Louise” or Katherine Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker.”

      Thank God for these strong powerful warriors!

  • Heather, the e-commerce builder

    Damn right there is hope! Thank you Toni for shedding some light on the reality of women in movie and TV writing.

    I love Tina Fey, she is my hero!

    – Heather

    • Toni Schram

      Have I got some news for you!

      Tina Fey, your hero (ine) will be teaming up again with Steve Carell in the movie, “Mail-Order Groom”.

      It’s a comedy about a single woman who can’t find love and ends up with a husband from Eastern Europe, bringing him home to the United States.

      I hope that puts a big fat smile on your pretty face!