I’m a scriptwriter who writes scripts that tell stories about women. Scriptwriting’s a solitary activity most of the time and it’s arduous, but the voices of other scriptwriters talking about writing nourishes me and my work. Often it doesn’t make a lot of difference if I hear a woman’s voice or a man’s. I need them all. But I was very unhappy when The Hollywood Reporter claimed that its annual writers roundtable “…typically draw a diverse groups of talented people. But the six men who gathered Oct. 2 … might be among the most eclectic bunch we've ever assembled”.
It’s not true that the annual roundtable is diverse and that this is an eclectic bunch. Last year it was all-male and all-white too, even though women wrote screenplays that were eventually Oscar-nominated – Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids and Bridget O'Connor with Peter Straughan for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. This year there are more women who would have shined at the roundtable, like Ava DuVernay whose Middle of Nowhere script must be a serious contender for a Best Original Screenplay nomination and Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who wrote The Hobbit alongside Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. Maybe the Reporter is saving Ava for the best director roundtable. (One can only hope.)
What about Rashida Jones who co-wrote Celeste and Jesse Forever or Vanessa Taylor’s Hope Springs? Or Sarah Koskoff who wrote Hello I Must Be Going? Or Melissa Rosenberg, screenwriter of the Twilight films, who is the highest grossing female screenwriter. And yes, Mark Boal’s there as the writer of Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s latest, but does the gender of his director make a difference? Not to me.
Who are the other women who could have been there this year?