Lifetime Network kicked off Sunday’s TCA presentation with an announcement from Rob Sharenow, president of programming at A+E Network, saying they have 78% female directors. The industry is averaging 17%.
The network introduced a panel featuring female actors-directors including Kim Raver, Alyssa Milano, Monika Mitchell, Erika Christensen, Janice Cooke, Ginnifer Goodwin, Angela Fairley, Rhonda Baraka, Tiffany Hines, and Claire Scanlon, who discussed the importance of reaching a minimum 50/50 gender equity by 2020.
By working towards equality in Hollywood, the question as to whether male characters will suffer got a chuckle from the panel.
“I think female directors take that into consideration more than maybe a male director would,” Milano, who stars in Jane Green’s Tempting Fate, said. “I know that Kim was very adamant about making sure that all the characters were equally as developed.
The female directors I’ve worked with in the past has given people their equal opportunities. There’s a lot of years there where men have to catch up with us, which I don’t think is horrible.”
Even with the growth in women directors in the industry, there’s still a lack of females DPs that needs to be addressed in both film and television.
“It’s like what people used to say about women directors, that there just aren’t any DPs but there are tons,” Mitchell, director of Jane Green’s To Have and To Hold, said. “You just have to look for them and hire them.”
Christensen, who stars in To Have And To Hold, was surprised in learning that she naturally felt more comfortable around females on set. The panel agreed with those sentiments across the board.
“I can’t believe it’s taken me until probably yesterday that I think I am more willing to be vulnerable with a woman, which is extremely valuable for the art form,” she explained. “You wouldn’t have to mention any of your particular female problems but you know that they get it. That’s a factor in things, that there’s just understanding. And you can certainly have that with any human being but it’s a specificity that does help.”