Link: Stephanie Beatriz on Why Diverse Casts Are Needed on TV | Latina Roles on TV & Movies

Stephanie Beatriz on Why Diverse Casts Are Needed on TV | Latina Roles on TV & Movies

Stephanie Beatriz on Why Diverse Casts Are Needed on TV | Latina Roles on TV & Movies

Everyone PLEASE read this awesome blog post by actress Stephanie Beatriz on Latina.com. I love Brooklyn 99, not only because it’s funny and it’s so similar to Parks and Recreation (same showrunner, so duh on that part), but because it’s so diverse and tries to actually look like a New York police station. The fact that there are TWO black men and TWO Latina women on the show feels like a first on network TV (psh, cable even) and it shouldn’t. But it is and the fact that Stephanie didn’t think she had another shot on the show after Melissa Fumero was cast is absolutely ridiculous but completely indicative of how the business works for people of color.

I am so glad that there are two Latina women on the show and the one is the main love interest and neither are made to be stereotypes of their culture, they just are and they don’t compete for men or attention, they coexist like real human beings. Just the fact that they’re both on the show and have such different personalities is fantastic because it immediately disproves the idea that people of color can only fulfill one type at a time on any given show. Brooklyn 99 just makes me really happy and I am glad that in this dwindling age of network comedy, it’s a beacon of hope for both a brilliant, hilarious show, but also for the future of what television will look like. I quoted Stephanie below, but click through for more of her blog posts.

When I was waiting to hear about my screen test for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I started looking at Deadline.com constantly. It’s a website that often posts up to the minute casting news, and is pretty handy during pilot season if you want to drive yourself absolutely bananas. I checked it, at minimum, eight times an hour. I was a woman possessed, because this show was the thing I wanted more than anything in the world. And then I saw that Melissa Fumero had been cast as Amy Santiago on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and I felt my guts roll up into my throat and try to escape out of my mouth. Omgomgomgomg that’s it then. There’s no way in hell a major network is gonna cast two Latina actresses in such a tight ensemble show I AM SCREWED.

And then next day my agents called and told me I’d booked it.

I couldn’t believe it. I had been saying to my boyfriend the night before how there was JUST NO WAY. Normally, The Latina is a singular element of the ensemble she is working in. She’s there to provide contrast, or sexuality, or humor. Or she’s there to clean the floors and/or steal your man. There are some serious stereotypes very much alive in film and TV today, and The Latina is one of them.

Here’s the thing though. The world is changing. Slowly but surely, television is changing. The character stereotypes are changing, or being turned inside out by some fantastic writers and actors (I’m looking at you, Orange is the New BlackScandal, and The Mindy Project). People of color are on TV playing roles that are fleshed out, complex, human. And yes, some of those characters are maids. Some are sexy heartbreakers there to steal your man. Some own BBQ joints, while some are Chiefs of Staff. Some are prisoners, and some are cops. All are real people with hopes, dreams, ambitions, fears, and all the other vast human emotions and desires.

Right now, you can turn on your television or log onto your Netflix or Hulu account and SEE YOURSELF. Not always, and maybe not as much as you’d like, but you can. You can find characters who look like you. I couldn’t do that very often when I was a kid, and it subtly informed me that I might be kind of unimportant. Thank God for Luis and Maria (Sonia Manzano and Emilio Delgado) on Sesame Street, who were the first Latinos on TV I ever saw. I was fascinated by them both, and remember thinking how lucky I was that my mom looked just like Maria. I watched Sesame Street into junior high, simply because I loved seeing Maria and Luis on TV. In fact, in my memory, PBS was one of the only places I regularly saw people of all races on my television.

This is important. Because young women are watching TV, and they are getting messages about who they are in the world, who the world will allow them to be. And in big important steps, television is showing a reflection back to those young women that YOU CAN BE WHATEVER THE HELL YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE, and that two Latinas on one show is NORMAL. I think that’s a win for everybody. 

–Stephanie Beatriz

Advertisements

ABC Heralds Diverse Lineup Of Shows At TCA

“Let’s not pretend we’re there yet,” when it comes to the television industry accurately reflecting the demographics of America, ABC president Paul Lee said at the Television Critics Association press tour Tuesday. “I think we’re taking a very good step along that journey. But to be able to pull this off, you need not just stars on air […] [y]ou need the storytellers and you need the executives. I’m very proud of the fact that if you look at the executives who do development and do programming and marketing, across ABC, it’s a very diverse group of people.

via ABC Heralds Diverse Lineup Of Shows At TCA.

Seems like the president of ABC, Paul Lee isn’t trying to say they’ve reached Diversity (yes, capital D) on TV just yet, despite ABC’s wide selection of both supporting actors, leads, and full series that feature diverse families as the lead (though not sure how I feel about Asian “clan,” you already used family twice, either use three different words for family or all the same. Anyway–). It’s nice to see that ABC isn’t trying to say they’ve won anything or that there isn’t more work to be done. There definitely is.

Quote: Co-Screenwriter of ‘Noah’ Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film | Shadow and Act

What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise.”

What’s wrong with the Starship Enterprise?! What’s wrong with some diversity?! In order to maintain the story that Noah and his family repopulate the earth, the casting directors went with all white actors. And People of Color have had enough with the whitewashing (Noah, as a resident of the Middle East, would not have had Russel Crowe’s complexion) but if you want to say race doesn’t matter, then why not have each member of the family come from a different part of the world? I know from the story that Noah’s sons had wives: why not have them be non-white?

White as the default is very strong, but especially in mythic stories even when the story doesn’t belong to white people. It was a relief when I learned that the new FOX show Hieroglyph isn’t cast with all white people, but actual People of Color (we haven’t gotten as far as casting people directly from or descendent of the region, though).

There’s the idea that if something in a character description isn’t relevant to the plot, don’t write it in. So if a character isn’t described as being Black or Asian or Indian, it’s usually thought of to be white, even though the race of the character has nothing to do with the plot, hence why it wasn’t mentioned, so the character should be able to be cast as any race. We need to get past white as default, because it leaves so many people with no representations of themselves in the media in places where they could have been or even should have been represented.

It’s awful that he said this. I don’t think he realized the problems with his words, but it’s certainly not earned him anything from People of Color. It is clear that he thinks that in order for a story to be accepted by everyone and to stand on a grand, epic scale, only white people can be in it. Asian people or Black people or Hispanic people can’t be epic or represent mankind. Again, I think a better, more diplomatic solution would have been to cast everyone as a different race, but I suppose that would have been too controversial for them.

via Co-Screenwriter of ‘Noah’ Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film | Shadow and Act.

Spec Inspiration: How to Raise the Stakes by Challenging a Character’s Identity

Spec Inspiration: How to Raise the Stakes by Challenging a Character’s Identity

Make the character prove his point. Once your character’s identity has been challenged, make him or her prove that the challenge is incorrect.

This idea might help me with my Scandal spec. I’ve been struggling with giving Olivia more to do. She has some role in the major plots of the episode, sure, but a lot of that is easily delegated. I’m struggling with her wanting something, more than “to clear his name” or whatever the case may be. But this helps.

I’ve been trying to find a way to explore Olivia’s relationship with both Fitz and her dad and by using this idea, I can have one refer/label her relationship with the other, then have her rebel against the idea. Haven’t figured out which way yet.

Shonda used this herself, when she had Cyrus question Fitz’ “balls.” Fitz went off and proved himself and went back to Cyrus asking, “How presidential are my balls now, Cy?” The audience loved it, but it also gave Fitz something to do, something to want in that episode. I need to use it with this one.

More spec updates soon! Once I stop distracting myself with other blog thoughts (new blog coming soon lol).

via How to Raise the Stakes by Challenging a Character’s Identity [Read to Write Stories]

Link: 2014 is the Year Black Women Take Over Hollywood | Clutch Magazine

“What I love about this list is that it is made up of black women who are content creators. It’s wonderful to have talented actresses in front of the camera, but what we desperately need is more black women behind the camera, shaping the portrayals we see on-screen.  Often times we complain that black folks only get awards for playing slaves, maids and prostitutes/pimps. We can change that! The way we change that is to have equally diverse and talented people back-stage as on-stage.”

This is exactly it. Hopefully if we can get more (black, asian, hispanic, all WoC) female content producers, we’ll be able to see more PoC on our screens!

Click through to read more: 2014 is the Year Black Women Take Over Hollywood | Clutch Magazine

Related:

Blackout: Hollywood

The most offensive statement I’ve heard people make is, ‘If 12 Years hadn’t been released in 2013, The Butlerand Fruitvale would have had a better chance.’ Is there only room for one?” – Scott Feinberg

Oscars’ Insult to Black Movies: There’s Room for Just One (Analysis)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Link: Writing and the Creative Life: Three types of creators | Go Into The Story

What type of creator may I feel the pull to become?

Perfecter. Synthesizer. Innovator.

Which type of creator are you?

Writing and the Creative Life: Three types of creators | Go Into The Story.

I think I am Synthesizer.

I like to look at different genres (usually speculative in nature) and find ways to combine them with things they haven’t been combined with before. I’ve thought a lot about fairy tales and updating them to different eras (an idea that I had and haven’t really been able to get right is the fairy tale Bluebeard set during the Harlem Renaissance with Cyborg wives– a lot, but there’s something I really like about those combination of things that one day I want to get right).

I like fairy tales and myths and legends and, as much discussed on this blog, diversity in the media is hard to come by. So why not take those tales and adapt them to Harlem or make the main character black? I think that’s a great way to synthesize things that weren’t connected before and discover new stories (or at least a new lens through which to look at an old story–which is all any writer is trying to do).

Related:

http://www.fastcompany.com/1812064/jonah-leher-three-types-creativity-and-how-brainstorming-doesnt-work

Article Response Essay: In the White Room With Black Writers: Hollywood’s “Diversity Hires”

In the White Room With Black Writers: Hollywood’s “Diversity Hires”.

via IndiesUnchained via WGA

This article, by Beejoli Shah dishes out some of the real workings of what is basically Affirmative Action in the TV writer’s world. She discusses what it is to be a “Diversity Staff Writer” (DSW) on a show and the pluses and minuses that come with obtaining that title. It is a bit of a long read, but definitely worth it. [Below became a long read as well.] There are many great insights in this article, I’ve quoted blocks of text below and appended further thoughts on the issues raised.

Most every writing room has one—an entry level, non-white staff writer, explicitly hired due to their race. (If you’re really lucky, being gay or a woman might just suffice, in lieu of not being white.) […] Perversely, Hollywood’s genuine attempt to remedy the overwhelming whiteness of the industry has instead led to a place where networks pat themselves on the back for hiring a token writer by institutionalizing those sotto voce complaints.

This is going to be a major issue (again) as of this week, since the hiring of Sasheer Zamata to be the first Black Female cast member to be on Saturday Night Live since Maya Rudolph left 6 years ago. It’s great that they’ve hired her, but it was only done so after major backlash after the current season was newly staffed and it is very clear that she is the token; the diversity hire. They didn’t look at her in the pool of everyone who auditioned, they’re looking at her in a pool of other black, female comediennes (an issue which Beejoli discusses further down). They’ve seen her in a pool of people like her and seen her as the best, but she shouldn’t be boxed in to a subset. More on this later.

It will then tack on some extra cash earmarked solely for a diversity hire, so that the studio budget can instead go towards everything that’s “integral” for the show to function.[…] Showrunners don’t have to worry about wasting their studio budget on a token hire that may not be so great in the room, a young colored writer gets a shot at the dream, networks proudly get to proclaim their commitment to diversity, everyone wins!

She kind of make it sound like an internship. The intern is the bottom of the office food-chain (in this case, the intern thankfully gets paid, but the same amount of respect). The show doesn’t really have to put any mental effort into hiring this person (they should, obviously, if they want a person who will creatively contribute, but it can be anyone and they lose no money for the choice).

Beejoli goes on to tell us that not a single new show brought in this season (2013-14), was created by a person of color. And I’m not even sure how many veteran shows are; Beejoli mentions Shonda Rhimes (because how can you not), but the fact that no one can ever name anyone else? That’s a problem. Essentially, Shonda is the showrunner diversity hire. No one has to hire a show runner of color because we already have one on TV.

Fox can guarantee a person of color a job to return to in future seasons, but also cleverly hold a person down at the level of diverse staff writer, even though they may be far too qualified to remain there.

It also seems to me that this could prevent new DSWs from getting work on a show because a show already has one that will remain on staff for that second season, while being paid with the diversity money rather than the regular staff writer’s allocation?

Beejoli says that some shows try to circumvent the issue by allowing “diversities” in traditionally white, male writers that aren’t usually considered diverse. A man reached deep into his family tree to discover he was a part Mexican, while another writer was given the position due to his heart murmur. I have a rare extra superior vena cava in my heart, can that count in my diversity points (besides being a nerdy, black, female obviously)?

there was a known stigma in the TV writing world that diversity hires are never quite as good, so much as they are just there.

This is my fear for Sasheer (I’ll probably post on this more later), but it’s also a problem in other Affirmative Action environments, like schools, etc. There is a lot of fear when being a black student at an expensive, possibly Ivy-league (/quality) school, that the other kids will look down on you because they see you as less intelligent. You got into the school because you are [black, Indian, Asian, etc], not because you “belong” there. And sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed in those environments, you have no one to talk to about it, because then it seems like you really don’t belong there (when in fact everyone feels the same way).

But in practice, the diversity hires are traditionally seen as slightly lower than plain old staff writers. The showrunner had to really want the staff writer there to be willing to part with $70,000 that could be spent on production or a different writer, whereas the diversity staff writer was a free gift from the network.

Like I said, kind of like an intern.

“Do you want to be writing partners? This white male writer not in a partnership thing isn’t working out.” “Listen, you’re both good writers, but he needs you more than you need him. He’s never read you before—he just wants an easier shot of getting staffed, because you’re diverse.”

I feel like this has come up in my life or the lives of my Friends of Color. Where someone attaches on to you because, “you’re black, they’ll let you in because they have to.” I don’t have a specific example, but it’s always strange to think of times when you have more possibility of doing something because you’re a person of color, since usually it’s (/you fear) the opposite. OR, as the article sort of talks around, people look down on you because you got in because you were diverse, but once you’re in, it’s a whole ‘nother set of issues.

“You know, you’re just like that girl from The Office. You could be the next Mindy Kaling!”

Whenever I mention my love of TV and desire to write for it, everyone says, “You could be the next Shonda Rhimes!” Which is cool, I admire Shonda for all that she’s done, but why can’t I be the next… Joss Whedon (another show runner I admire—Agents of SHIELD notwithstanding…) or Aaron Sorkin (without the drug problem).  When it comes from other black people, I think it’s really just them wanting my name to be with hers (or something along those lines, my thought on this isn’t fully formed), but the fact that it comes from everyone who you mention it to… A friend of mine is a black actress who is producing a web series, so everyone says, “You could be the next Issa Rae!” As Beejoli mentions, it’s stuffing us in a “racial box.” She quotes Mindy Kaling herself, who said: “I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there. Why would I want to self-categorize myself into a smaller group than I’m able to compete in?”

 I was also starting to think of myself as only a diversity writer. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve called my agents to tell them that I heard there’s a diversity position open on a show.

This has been so relevant to my thought processes. When thinking about writing (because I need to sit down and actually do more of it…), I’ve gone from saying, “I should write for [insert show with predominantly white cast/writers]” to “I should watch more black produced shows so I can write specs for those.” And while this is certainly something I should do, because part of my desire to write is to create more content for black people to watch on television, I shouldn’t have to feel like I could only write for the next The Cosby Show or Fresh Prince. And it’s poisonous to think you should only write for diverse groups and then “move up” to, say, network television.

It’s poisonous to think that you should be the “diversity hire” and then “move up” to regular staff writer. It’s putting diverse writers and diverse television shows on a lower rung than the “rest” of television. “Shows with PoC are lesser than network shows without.” Back when UPN and the WB existed, they were looked down upon compared to the other networks, and part of that had to do with their commitment to airing shows with black casts (I say partly because even now the CW is “lesser” than the big 4 even though the CW has long abandoned the WBs diverse offerings). We must get out of this thinking. It’s one thing for the white dominated studios and networks to see the diversity hire as being of less worth, it’s another for it to spread to our own ways of thinking. Then we’ll never rise above the way the system works now. But as Beejoli says, the higher ups aren’t making the change just yet (outside of severe pressure from audiences *coughSNLcough*), so how can things really change?

I think Beejoli’s article is one way. It’s better to go in understanding how things may work, so that if given the opportunity, you can change it. People can band together to make things run differently. The “diversity hires” need to stick together and help everyone realize that there’s more to a person of color joining your writing staff than filling your token quota.

Related links: More Than A Diversity Hire: WGAW’S Female Asian Comedy Writer’s Panel Notes

Article Response: Paul Dini on Cartoon Network’s Programming Decisions and Why Boy Viewers Are Valued Over Girls – IGN

Click the link above and check out the article and transcript. I skimmed a lot of this, but basically a show got cancelled because more girls watched it than boys and the network didn’t want to adjust. Which is ridiculous. 

Below are some quotes that jumped out at me:

and that the executives don’t value female viewers, because they don’t buy as many of the same toys that are aimed at boys connected to these series.[…]

DINI: “They’re all for boys ‘we do not want the girls’, I mean, I’ve heard executives say this, you know, not [where I am] but at other places, saying like, ‘We do not want girls watching this show.”

SMITH: “WHY? That’s 51% of the population.”

DINI: “They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show—”

[…]

Like, just because you can’t figure out your job, don’t kill chances of, like, something that’s gonna reach an audi—that’s just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same f***ers who go, like, ‘Oh, girls don’t read comics, girls aren’t into comics.’ It’s all self-fulfilling prophecies. 

The part about it being a self-fulling prophecy is SO true! If you have girls watching the show, then those girls WILL want to buy toys. There are grown women who buy “boy” toys based on comics. If you don’t give girls a narrative they are invested in, then no, they won’t by the toys. But if they are, then they will! It is so frustrating that they say they wont when they won’t give it a chance. If this is based on past marketing strategies (from what, the 1950s?) then clearly they need to update their marketing team on modern-day girls and modern-day adult women who also may watch and buy the show and the toys discussed here.

[same goes for PoCs. If you think a young black kid (girl, even) wouldn’t buy your toys, so you don’t give them a character to relate to or you cancel the shows they ARE watching, then no, they won’t buy your toys. fulfilling prophecy.]

via Paul Dini on Cartoon Network’s Programming Decisions and Why Boy Viewers Are Valued Over Girls – IGN.

Article Response: Whitewashed TV isn’t just racist. It’s boring! – Salon.com

In James Cameron’s “Avatar,” a white man once again plays savior, this time to a planet of tall blue aliens unambiguously suggestive of Native Americans. What if they’d cast Michelle Rodriguez, who plays a stereotypical no-nonsense doomed Latina side character, in the lead role instead of Sam Worthington? The context of an interesting movie about race is already in place. Without a single word changed in the script, “Avatar” would have taken on layers of new meaning, opened conversations that mainstream, white cinema has not even approached. […] Instead, though, we’re left with a cliché: the same old really nice white dude, filling a void in himself by appropriating and then saving another culture. What we could’ve had was something new: a story of intersectionality and solidarity across interplanetary colonialism.

via Whitewashed TV isn’t just racist. It’s boring! – Salon.com.

YES THIS ALL OF THIS!

There is constant complaining about the same old stories being told, especially in Hollywood. A very, very simple solution to spice those same old stories up, is to cast PoCs as the main characters. Then it becomes something new that we haven’t seen before.

The article speaks heavily of Sleepy Hollow; if Abbie had been a white guy, it would have been sooo boring–kind of how Almost Human felt to me. Karl Urban being the primary lead was boring. What if they’d switched the roles and Michael Ealy was the human, Urban the robot? Then it might have been a different story. I haven’t seen past episode 3, so I don’t know if Michael Ealy’s character has to deal with race at all in the futuristic world of the show, but it would have been prudent to introduce it in the first three episodes, since him being cast as a black man is a big deal in the real world. But since it wasn’t really mentioned at all, I think I got bored (for forgot to set my DVR to record all…) and wasn’t interested in coming back. I don’t need race to be a discussion, but it shouldn’t be glossed over. (this isn’t even what I started to talk about after I mentioned Sleepy Hollow above…)

It is so simple to change the dynamics of the same old stories we’ve heard before by changing the racial and sometimes gender identities of the characters. I don’t watch Elementary, but it took guts to cast an Asian woman as Watson, and look how that turned out for them. The show is great. They knew they couldn’t follow in the wake of Sherlock, so they changed the story in a very simple way to make it more interesting to people who have seen Sherlock and the RDJ Sherlock Holmes movies and might be bored with the same old “two white guys solve crimes” story.

Brief Response to: What every TV show can learn from Sleepy Hollow – The Week

What every TV show can learn from Sleepy Hollow – The Week.

Thank you Laura (the author of this article) for pointing out all the reasons why I love Sleepy Hollow and for not ignoring all the things all those other articles have been ignoring about the show. It’s diversity in race AND in female characters are both the biggest reasons why it’s doing so well, it’s social media and the storyline are important, but if the leads were both white men, it wouldn’t be doing as well as it is.

Some points from the article that I loved:

First and foremost, the series boasts one of the most diverse casts anywhere on television. Two of its four series regulars are African-American (Nichole Beharie and Orlando Jones), while all three of its most frequently recurring characters — played by John Cho, Lyndie Greenwood, and Nicholas Gonzalez — are people of color.

Even Grey’s Anatomy, probably the other highly diverse show on television (I can’t even think of others besides the one I will point out next), doesn’t have the percentages of PoCs/whites as this show does. PoC’s have the higher percentage on this show, Grey’s (this is definitely not an official count, just a gut opinion) probably runs 50/50? I think the other show that can boast great diversity on Sleepy Hollow’s level is Brooklyn 99, which has 2 white guys and 1 white woman in it’s main cast of 7; the rest are PoCs.

The same study observed that shows with the highest percentage of racial diversity in their casts also performed better in the ratings than shows with less inclusive casts. As the study’s author, Darnell Hunt, pointed out: “It’s clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences.”

Why does no one in Hollywood want to admit this is a true thing or do anything about it? Hopefully networks will follow FOX’s example (something I am loathe to normally say– I don’t agree with some of their other storytelling traditions)

It’s as if women can maintain relationships without being defined by who they’re dating — a novel concept!

Love this line. While most of the conversations between these women actually do revolve around Ichabod (which is of course going to be the case–not a fault but a necessity), it would totally pass the Bechdel test (if perhaps, the Headless Horseman were a woman). Their conversations aren’t necessarily about their relationships with the men, but about how to save them (or destroy them).

Jones has embraced fan fiction, fan art, gifs, and the art of “shipping” — for bothSleepy Hollow and similarly fan-friendly shows like Supernatural — endearing himself to the show’s growing audience and helping to bring fan activities that were once considered niche or somehow shameful into the mainstream, reducing the stigma that’s still generally attached to demonstrating your appreciation for a piece of pop culture.

I’ve definitely appreciated OJs commitment to the fandom. I’ve been a part of various fandoms in my life, but always in secret (well–some parts in secret. I am an obvious nerd about a lot of things, but I have read fanfiction, for example, but don’t really talk about it because of what the author says: the stigma of fan activities. I definitely downplay some of my fan ways, which may lead people who know me to go “it could get worse?!” ;-)). So, while I haven’t delved that deeply into the Sleepy Hollow fandom, I appreciate that others are allowed to voice their opinions, share their work, and interact with the stars of the show, because pop culture and fandom make people feel less alone in the world. It really brings people together, so it’s nice that the sources of these feelings encourage it.

This article has some other gems, including:

Despite it being their number one new show, the network wisely decided that a less-is-more approach was more prudent, commissioning a second season without insisting on a back-nine episode order — a risk that might have led to a reduction in quality as the writers attempted to stretch a 13-episode story into 22 installments. Far too many network series wear out fans with too many meandering episodes, but Fox has ensured that Sleepy Hollow will leave viewers wanting more instead of overstaying its welcome.

I agree with this sentiment, it is better to let them control 13 episodes of story than to force them to then expand it into 22, which definitely messes many shows up; many writer’s rooms aren’t adept at handling that transition. This will be better for Sleepy Hollow and the fans in the long-run.

I am glad there is finally an article that speaks of all the points that make Sleepy Hollow the show to watch this season.

Brief Response: ‘Frozen’ Rearview: Why Disney’s Marketing Campaign Doesn’t Do the Movie Justice | Variety

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this a movie that quietly declares, in scene after scene, that a powerful woman is not someone to be loathed, feared or hidden from view. Would it have killed Disney to make sure the marketing proved worthy of the message?

via ‘Frozen’ Rearview: Why Disney’s Marketing Campaign Doesn’t Do the Movie Justice | Variety.

I saw Frozen yesterday, but I hadn’t paid too much attention to the marketing of it. But we’ve seen this before: a gender neutral title, the wacki-centric ads, etc, all to “get boys to also want to see the film” which is kind of ridiculous because I don’t think they do the same for “boy targeted” films. (Or do they? I suppose the romantic storylines in superhero movies are often so girls will go see them. Or the token girl character is a thing. ) But I just thought the author ended on this excellent point: maybe marketers should actually watch the movies they’re promoting and match marketing the message.

(And let’s not talk about how it’s all apparently “the princess and the frog’s” title’s fault that the movie didn’t do as well as expected. A lot of people who were excited for a movie with a black princess were upset that she wasn’t human for most of the film. That’s chalked up to writing. It’s sad because I’m nervous they won’t try again. That’s all a side matter though, don’t pick one element in a film that did less than expected and then change ALL FUTURE MARKETING FOR FUTURE FILMS.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Is The Audience Listening To Your Dialogue? | Write Your Screenplay

Not the dialogue itself, but the pressure that dialogue creates between two characters who can’t get what they need from each other.

This allows the audience to connect to the storyof the scene, and while we may lose some of the specific words within Sorkin’s complex verbal gymnastics, no one can escape the power of the scene, or the meaning that those words contain.

We learn that meaning not through the words themselves. But through thewaythose words are spoken, and the powerful needs that drive the characters to say them.

via THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Is The Audience Listening To Your Dialogue? | Write Your Screenplay.

Pretty quick article on screenwriting dialogue. Useful thoughts.

Quote/Link: Fox TV Says That Diversity Is Just Good Business Sense [Shadow and Act]

Of course it may seem like a no-brainer, but execs told those in attendance that their shows must reflect today’s current and increasingly multi-racial and multi-cultural world in order to attract those coveted younger viewers.

Of course the success that Fox has enjoyed with their runaway hit Sleepy Hollow, which has already been renewed for a second season, and other current shows, like Almost Human and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, are just some signs of the network’s commitment to its new programming strategy.

Fox TV Says That Diversity Is Just Good Business Sense [Shadow and Act]

At least FOX is getting with the program. I love BK99 and Sleepy Hollow (and a bunch of other people are watching and talking about it) and I am looking forward to watching Almost Human. When you have a diverse cast, you basically double your expected audience, because while I watch plenty of “mainstream” (read: majority white cast) TV shows (and enjoy them), I have more pre-interest in a show that has a diverse cast. I look forward to it more. If Michael Ealy wasn’t in Almost Human (if the character was a white person), I’d perhaps be interested because it’s JJ Abrams, but I would be less interested, less invested, and less likely to watch it. Other people feel the same way. The same goes for Sleepy Hollow. I didn’t know anything about it before it premiered. If I’d heard about it (merely the title), I didn’t really care. I checked it out because I learned there was a black female star. I probably wouldn’t have if Nichole Beharie (or any other black female) hadn’t been the star. Networks really need to pay attention, the success of Sleepy Hollow and Scandal is not isolated to social media, their premises, or even the good writing (because both shows are great, but they’re not perfect). Those things are a factor, but their diversity is what has helped them skyrocket to the hit shows that they are.

Watch: Ava DuVernay’s Filmmaker Keynote Address At 2013 Film Independent Forum | Shadow and Act

via Watch: Ava DuVernay’s Filmmaker Keynote Address At 2013 Film Independent Forum | Shadow and Act.

I haven’t seen any of Ava DuVernay’s work yet, but I loved this keynote address and think it’s useful for anyone who is a media creator/artist. (She’s also directing an upcoming episode of Scandal, episode 308, so I’ll get to see a bit of her style then.)

All of the things that we try to do while trying to move forward in the industry is time not working on your screenplay [insert what your art is & what you’re supposed to be doing to work on it]. All the time you’re focusing– trying to grab– ‘I need this, I need this, I don’t have this–‘, you’re being desperate, you’re not doing. All that stuff is not active, it’s not moving you forward. All of the so called ‘action’ is hinging on someone doing something for you. Does that make sense? […]

The only thing that moves you forward is your work. […]

If you channel your desperation towards things you have, it’s passion. If you channel it towards things you don’t have, it’s desperation. It’s stagnation. […]

My whole thing, what I want is to be making films as a senior citizen. When I look at senior citizens making films, they’re only white guys. There’s no black, female Woody Allen. Or Mike Nichols. Like Clint Eastwood? Just imagine a bad ass black woman, walking like Clint, ‘I don’t care! I’m gonna say whatever I wanna say!” You’re old as hell, you’ve made a gang of films, say what you wanna say! I wanna be her. Old and making films. American women making films, black women making films into old age, actively and consistently. I wanna be Werner Herzog, I have so many films, I don’t know their names. I wanna be that. […] I just want consistency and longevity.

Watch the whole thing, you may get a nugget of something.

 

I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories…

I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.

Why I Write – George Orwell 

I can definitely relate. I am and always have been a loner. I always went somewhere with a book and preferred to imagine things alone to being in the (to me) wild company of others. I did have an imaginary friend named Sharley Parkins who I would, apparently, blame whenever I got into trouble. She eventually went to jail, so yeah, she was a bit of a troublemaker. I need to work on her story, now that I think about it.

The rest of the article may prove interesting to some, but it goes into his thoughts on his political works, which is of no interest to me at the moment, but may prove interesting you.

I am still figuring out why I write and how I will pursue it.

Essence.com | Nicole Beharie on Her New Show, ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ Being Black on Primetime TV

EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Beharie on Her New Show, ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ Being Black on Primetime TV | Essence.com.

“ESSENCE: It’s so great to see a Black woman on prime time as the lead. Besides Kerry Washington, there’s you. Pressure?

NB: Yes, I think you just put the pressure on. [Laughs] My shoulders just fell. One thing I have considered is that the success of a show like Scandal and [Kerry’s] presence and Shonda Rhimes has opened up the minds of studios and executives. They know it’s possible. Even before that I liked Living Single. To me, all those shows were proof that of course it’s possible. Not only is it possible, but extremely entertaining and enriching.”

“I’m 5’1’’ and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would hire me to play the cop. There’s a certain demographic of girls who look the same in every action piece and I didn’t think that that was going to be me. I’ve always been a big sci-fi person. I love fantasy, so when the opportunity presented itself I wanted to take a shot at this. Getting to hold a gun and running away from witches and incantations…there’s so much more that you’re going to see in the season that just doesn’t really fit into what I keep seeing on Twitter or what I keep hearing some people saying like ‘Yes, you’re the Black person who doesn’t die.’ A lot of people were like, ‘You’re going to die soon right?’ and I’m like I don’t know you have to watch. I haven’t died. It’s kind of a joke in the community like we always die within 20 minutes.”

Nicole Beharie is my new favorite person. She like sci-fi/fantasy, is a black nerd girl it seems, and I love her voice. I’m so excited that there is another black female lead, and as she says, the success of this show and Scandal will show producers and networks that choosing a black lead works. People will watch it (Sleepy Hollow and Scandal are doing extraordinarily well). I can’t wait to see what this inspires next.

I, for one, am very happy that this is a sci-fi/fantasy show, a realm you don’t get to see many black people (or black females) act in (outside of an ethnic magical person or wacky disbelieving sidekick) so black girls like me can know that black people do like sci-fi, we do like fantasy, we do act in these things and it’s ok to write them and explore them.

This show is making me very happy.

Quote: SNEAK PEEK at Shonda Rhimes – Black Bloggers Connect™ Official Blog

MG Media: How much pride do you take in the fact that your casts are much more racially diverse than most other shows?

Shonda: I don’t take pride in it at all. I think it’s sad, and weird, and strange that it’s still a thing, nine years after we did “Grey’s,” that it’s still a thing. It’s creepy to me that it’s still an issue, that there aren’t enough people of color on television. Why is that still happening? It’s 2013. Somebody else needs to get their act together. And oh, by the way it works. Ratings-wise, it works. People like to see it. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that the world of TV should look like the world outside of TV.

via SNEAK PEEK at Shonda Rhimes – Black Bloggers Connect™ Official Blog.

No seriously. It’s 2013. Why is it a thing to have a racially diverse show and why is Shonda the only really doing it? Other shows that seem like they have diverse casts kind of still have the token minority who support the lead. They don’t really have leading qualities or episodes of their own. And Shonda is right, her shows are super hits for ABC, and yet no one else has thought that perhaps her casting has helped her get her shows where they are. It’s not everything, but it certainly helps widen your audience.

“Imagine a world where no mirror ever shows you your own reflection…”

…You search in vain for a glimpse of your face, your eyes, your existence. Instead you are met again and again with blank glass that shows a world without you in it. There are images enough, of other people, of faces and voices and peoples unlike your own. But never of you, never of your face and what it reveals about your hopes and dreams and fears. It is as if you make no impact on the world and have no importance to it. And it leaves you feeling lost. Bewildered. Alone.

— Ambelin Kwaymullina on You are not alone: Why we need more Indigenous writers and characters in Australian YA (via wocinsolidarity) [But obviously resonates with all underrepresented communities]

On Pilot Season

From: Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

“The thing that still is really completely out of whack is pilot season. I mean having gone through that and having six weeks from a green light to shooting the pilot, competing with 100 other shows for talent, it’s crazy. It just seems completely out of date in the current ecosphere of television.”

I definitely agree. And I think there needs to be more audience participation in pilot season. I get that some shows are dropped because of budget or actor reasons. But then come up with a bunch for each network that were greenlit, then get some more audience feedback. Put them on Hulu or Netflix or your network site. Give us more choices and start the buzz for each show even earlier. That way you’ll know before 2 episodes in in September that the show isn’t sitting with mass audiences. AND (reading the next but in the interview) you could advertise during all those pilots and people would watch them, sometimes more than once, to decide which ones they liked. Obviously that’s optimistic but they won’t know until they experiment with the model.

On Rewatching and Live Tweeting

From: Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

“They all watch it more than once. They watch it, and they live-tweet, and then the fans will watch it again and be like: I noticed this other thing.”

Yes, this is definitely true. People will watch your show more than once if they really enjoy it and that’s always good. Some writers dumb down their stories for the audience but if you raise the LCD and put smart stuff in your shows (great lines, little moments between characters, background events and easter eggs) and people rewatch a show, they’ll pick up more, they’ll pay closer next time and they’ll watch more than once. They might even watch it again on television on Hulu, where you can get some ad money from it.

TV is like Jazz

From: Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

“A show is much more like jazz than it is a symphony. It’s call and response, responding to what’s happening in front of you.”

“You can have a plan, but you have to be open and flexible to making that plan better if an idea evolves, or if you find yourself with an opportunity that if you don’t seize, you’re going to regret it.”

On Planning Ahead

From: Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

“Q: But, as he says, the writers will often put characters in a jam with no idea of how to get out of it. How close to his reality is yours?”

I love how Carlton Cuse (Co-exec on Lost) didn’t weigh in [in this excerpt] on this question. Because EVERYONE knows that that was how Lost operated. A lot of times to disastrous, unsatisfying results.

“We’ll have things planned, it’s just inevitably those plans get yanked away.”

That’s true and something we as audience members must keep in mind. It’s also important when thinking of specs, because you can’t write a guest in to a script because the idea is to act like it’s gonna be produced and you don’t know whether that actor will be available.

Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

Link: Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

“The water cooler moment, what is that really? At its core, it’s people having a reason to have a conversation about a shared experience, but there’s a lot of ways to have a shared experience. That can be live-tweeting. That can be people that have binge-watched a season of something and told their friend, “You have to binge-watch it, so we can talk about it.” Then they have a conversation two weeks later that’s about an entire season. I just think the water cooler is expanding in concentric circles to allow for more experiences.”

Check out this NY Times article. I’ll be liveblogging/posting some quotes and my thoughts in the following posts.

You can do it. Will you? An open letter to all creatives.

“The world needs you, it needs me, to step up and give ourselves to it because somewhere there is someone who will be moved by what you’ve done enough to do it themselves. “

The Tiny Protagonist

inspiration1I struggle. Every creative person I have ever met struggles but that fact always escapes me when I am feeling particularly in touch with the idea that I haven’t amounted to enough, that I haven’t worked hard enough or smart enough or taken enough risks. I chose this life even when I failed to choose anything at all.

Failure isn’t the thing that scares me most. If you’ve ever played sports you know that losing is frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking, though you get over it, but the act of competing – putting it all out there, regardless of what side of victory you end up on, is where you find out who you really are. There is a price to pay for anything you really want. There is a price to pay to be who you want to be. The cost is different for everyone but you must pay it…

View original post 804 more words

Toni Morrison says:

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Toni Morrison

The quote I referenced a few posts ago in its proper context and properly cited.