Women in Film Chicago recently hosted an all female panel discussion at Columbia College to help students learn about the art of the industry and being a kick-ass female from a group of extraordinary and inspirational women, including our very own Colette Boyle, Operations Manager at The Mill studio in Chicago. Colette shares her experience on the panel and her advice to women hoping to move into the world of film and post production.
I was asked to take part in an interesting panel held by Women In Film Chicago, this past week, the discussion centred around women in the Film and TV industry. The panel was held at Columbia College and moderated by Career Development Chair Lejla Ceric. Panelists included Laurie Adrianopoli (Producer, Whitehouse Post), Gretchn Pitluk (Post Production Supervisor, Noise Floor), Cornelia Baum (Freelance Producer) and myself.
The students in the audience were all recent graduates looking for their first break into the Film/TV industry. The questions asked by the students and organiser were interesting, and thought provoking, especially when we discussed the statistic that women make up only 2% of the film industry. [While the number may vary across roles, women - 50% of the population - still only make up a small percentage of the film industry, especially behind the scenes.] This did raise some alarm bells, as a woman who has worked in this industry since 2000. I have never questioned why more women are not working in this area. I think it’s because students are unaware of the very many roles that are available to them in this industry. There a lot of technical and art schools that produce great talent for our industry, but there are plenty of roles for which no college degree can prepare you for, like production. It takes a diverse background, hard work, a liberal arts education, and the ability to understand people and communicate. So why are women under represented? Are we really held back from entering this industry? Would I have any advice to female students hoping to graduate and move into the world of film and post production? Simply put, yes, I have a lot to say. Prepare to work hard, take every opportunity offered to you, and always be happy to be part of something creative. Most importantly be passionate about what you do. If you have that, every facet of our industry should be open to receiving more women and supporting them in their journey. The advice I have for any woman looking to get into this industry is believe in yourself and it will happen, push through any barriers you come across, have faith that you will get there in the end. This industry may be more populated with men, but those men will support a creative, talented individual no matter who they are. The thought that only 2% of women have made it into the industry left me feeling exceptionally privileged. Not because I have made it thus far and others have not, but rather to have built, sustained, and elevated a career here for the past 14 years.