By Lucy van Smit
A stellar panel on how to navigate against a prevailing culture. Great advice for any writer, regardless of gender. Upbeat. Insightful. Witty. Brilliantly moderated by Sarah Williams, with award-winning screenwriter/playwright Lucinda Coxon, (The Danish Boy/The Crimson Petal and The White) actor Anna Chancellor (Four weddings & A Funeral/Spooks/The Hour) and award–winning filmmaker/writer/director Martha Fiennes (Onegin/Chromophobia).
The greater the participation of women, the more thought provoking, the less violent and fear inducing is the resultant cinematic product.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES films made by women?
More observational. Nuanced. Verbal wit. Lyrical filmmaking. Emotional intimacy gets critical acclaim, but less bucks. Whereas slapstick, violence, travels internationally.
KEY SOLUTION to Avoid Objectifying Women on screen
More senior women in the room making creative decisions. SPEAK UP when Execs want to make one more ‘nasty crime drama’ about ‘victimised prostitutes.’ FIGHT to support your fellow female creatives. Getting your film made jumps to 1-2 chance if your director is female. Mentor each other. Be passionate. Resilient. Intentional.
1) Can You Pass the Bechdel Test?
Do you have at least two women in a scene? (2) Talking to each other? (3) Not about men!
2) Are you writing Bloke Movies in Drag?
Don’t just SWOP a female character for a male one. Lucinda Coxon includes Bridesmaids/Ghostbusters/ Ocean’s 8
3) CUT YOUR DIALOGUE
Non-verbal screenwriting is MORE POWERFUL when characters don’t have the words for what they are experiencing against the prevailing culture.
4) DON’T BORE your actors
Anna Chancellor rarely, if ever, comes across a part that has the depth and excitement of her own life. Characters by Novelists are so much richer than any parts she read as an actress!
5) PROTECT your vision, by stealth
Fight to the last minute; wear them down. Execs run out of time/money to change /reshoot/rescript/ it, according to Lucinda Coxon.
Lucy van Smit is a former North American TV producer and award-wining author of The Hurting. Pitched as a Nordic noir Wuthering Heights; Nell is a British, motherless, teenager who must choose between a boy raised by wolves, or to save the baby they stole, and abandoned on his Norwegian Wolf Mountain. But is any boy worth her soul?