Adobe recently hosted a panel at NAB on the gender gap between male and females in post-production on TV and film. Strategist and digital storyteller Amy DeLouise moderated the panel. The panelists included freelance editors Kylee Wall and Siân Fever, production manager at PBS Frontline Megan McGough Christian and Adobe senior product manager Ellen Wixted. Below are a few highlights from the panel. Watch the entire discussion above.
Despite there being just as many, if not more, women enrolled in film schools as men, the number of women in behind-the-scenes roles in film and TV is very low.
46 percent of students enrolled in the USC School of Cinematic Arts are women. 56 percent are women at the Savannah College of Art and Design. And 54 percent are women at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Yet, only 21 percent of people in post-production on film and TV are women. To combat what is referred to as the ‘potential” vs. the “proven” ability to do the job, Fever had some advice for aspiring females in post-production. “It took me a while to realize that I need to speak up and I need to get in people’s faces and say ‘I want this and I want this really badly.’ Not assume that people psychically know that, which is sort of what I thought, actually,” she said.
For freelance editors, networking is a must.
Especially in those last-minute situations. “Send an email Friday night or Monday morning because that’s when they’re looking for people to fill a job because that’s when they get their pictures in. Time that, work that out,” said Fever. “When you’re freelance those networks are crucial because they do bring you to mind when we say ‘I need an editor tomorrow, who do I call?'” said Christian.
When it comes to bridging the gender gap, whose responsibility is it more: men or women?
This was a question asked by an audience member, and the panelists had different perspectives. “I think that it’s women’s responsibility to do their due diligence in this industry and be the very best that they can be in this industry, but I don’t think that things will change unless men take responsibility because in a male dominated industry, they are the ones primarily in charge and for the most part the ones who don’t understand the gender bias the same way that women do,” said Wall. “I think that there’s an equal responsibility but maybe a little more on the male side because we have a lot of work to do to be great editors, but also convince you that we’re worthy.”
Wixted had a somewhat different take. “Most of the things I perceive as challenging because of my gender are inadvertent. My experience when I’ve had conversations with colleagues and managers about that it’s actually been a really positive experience and actually resulted in meaningful change. It’s really uncomfortable to do that and it’s incumbent on all of us as individuals to speak up when something’s not right and there’s a category problem….I don’t think that is so much a problem of gender but it’s about having a very clear vision of the kind of work places we want.”