Anybody remember this elegant photograph? It appeared in Vanity Fair Magazine in 2002. If I were a young woman aspiring to a career in animation this wonderful picture would have truly inspired me and given me hope for the future.
The young women in the photograph are all directors and have at least one feature animated film under their belt. They are, Vicky Jenson, Lorna Cook and Brenda Chapman. Like their male counterparts they’re hoping for bigger and better things in their future. Sadly, that’s probably not likely.
You see, the movie business has always been a boy’s club. Although, many starry eyed kids might disagree, I’ve been around long enough to know how this game is played. Should you be lucky enough to gain entrance to the club consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Membership is limited, and even talent won’t get you in the door.
If you’re a woman it’s going to be even tougher. That’s because for all the talk about diversity, it remains just that. Talk. And, talk is cheap. If you’re a talented writer director and you happen to be a woman you already know what I mean. You may even get a shot at directing the motion picture you wrote. Naturally, the studio bosses will pat themselves on the back for being so generous. “We're even letting women direct at our studio,” they’ll say congratulating themselves. And, they’ll glean whatever good press they can before their "girl director" is replaced by a man.
I was watching a short film tribute to actress, director, Ida Lupino. Ms Lupino was an amazing actress who sat in the director’s chair back in the fifties. I’ll say that again. Back in the fifties! I remember Ida Lupino as a gifted actress, but she was an even better director. If you don’t believe me, take the time to view some of her films. Grudgingly, she was eventually allowed into the “boy’s club.” However, she never gain the respect she deserved. Given greater opportunity she could have soundly kicked the asses of her male counterparts. Many of Tinsel Town’s top directors weren’t about to let that happen. Ida Lupino was a woman after all.
I’ve been in this business since the fifties and I’ve seen many things change in the big Hollywood studios - including animation. However, when it comes to gender, well that’s another story. It may be 2013 but we’ve still a long, long way to go.