‘Reckless’ A Show Conceived, Written, Directed By & Starring Women!

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Believe it yo! The gender disparity in Hollywood is glaringly obvious. Film and TV is largely “boys club” as Jane Campion famously declared at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and the statistics and figures don’t lie.

Industry powerhouses like award-winners Shonda Rhimes and Kathryn Bigelow are most definitely flipping the script and allowing women and female minorities a front row seat in film and TV. But why do some networks still consider a female-led drama an anomaly? It’s like a box they have to tick, rather than taking gender out of the question choosing instead to greenlight great TV shows.

CBS’ new drama ‘Reckless’ will hopefully signal a change in trend, because it certainly IS an anomaly in an array of male-dominated productions.

It is a litigious comedy-drama set in the South, starring Anna Wood and Cam Gigandet who are opposing lawyers. There is a lot of sex in the show and part of the story line centers on Anna’s character discovering a shocking sex scandal. While the show subject matter may not be favorable to some who think women need to be portrayed in stronger roles without utilizing sexuality, that’s not what makes this show great. And it’s not what we are here to discuss.

The Wrap interviewed Kim Moses, who one of the executive producers on the show. There’s your first female name. This show features women not only in lead roles on screen, but in key positions behind the scenes too, which rarely happens.

Here’s some cool info Kim gave when asked who are the women involved on the show.

“Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) directed the pilot, Dana Stevens (“Safe Haven”) is the creator of the show. Lilly Kilvert, an Oscar-nominated production designer, did the production design. The casting director, costume designer, hair and makeup artists, extras casting director, the line producer for pilot and series – in every department there was a huge amount of women, very unusual for Hollywood.”

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The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman added that Helen Britten was the set decorator; casting by Susan Edelman; Costume design by Susanna Puisto; Makeup by Gigi Collins.

So why is this significant enough to be talking about?

“The reason it’s so important is that women are the loyal viewers of drama television, and they are the most aggressive on social media about entertainment content. Put that together with content created by women, to watch with men, that’s a very potent combination. And there are not enough of those kinds of shows,” said Kim.

Here’s the sad thing, she isn’t the first person to point out that women are not a minority or niche audience, and they hold incredible viewing power in the entertainment industry. What will it take for networks to recognize that a female-centric show both in front and behind the scenes can actually appeal to men also?

The huge success of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ is a clear testament that it is not just a women’s show by any means. It is just a great show. Period. If ‘Reckless’ shows the same success, it will be another piece of TV property showing there is no blatant reason to shut the doors in women’s faces in the industry.

Kim Moses goes on to say how vital is was that she used her position of power to hire more women and beat the odds. But don’t confuse that with favoritism, as she made a conscious decision to hire the best people for the job, not just fill a quota.

“We went for the best person for the job, and the best person for this show were these women. We never set out to work with all women, we wanted the best people. But they turned out to be women.”

“I never dreamed it would be such a vital tool for me, for learning how important women are becoming in the economy and as entrepreneurs, creating bridges between different kinds of industries. Taking all of that, using it to guide me in the entertainment industry where so much chaos, to create a rail to drive down, has been tremendously valuable.”

If only more than just Kim Moses and the ‘Reckless’ women would see the value in hiring more women.

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After Women and Hollywood released an infographic stating between 2009-2013 the Big 6 major motion picture studios in Hollywood (Sony, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros and Universal) collectively had only 4.7 of their films directed by women. That is not sad, that is pathetic, embarrassing and abysmal to say the least!

It pissed off a lot of people, especially women in the film and TV industry. A group of women including Miriam Bale, Mynette Louie and Oscar-nominated director Lexi Alexander created a hashtag called #hirethesewomen which went viral. Lexi Alexander wrote up a list of female directors who are more than capable of being hired as a director and people quickly started re-tweeting it.

The list wasn’t extensive nor was it exhaustive, proving there are so many female directors who don’t even get a look in at studios and networks. Lexi spoke about the hashtag being more than just that. She said while crowd-funding, Indies, alternative distribution is a great way for women to find another way into the boys club, that shouldn’t be the case.

“If women choose guerilla style filmmaking or new media productions etc., all power to them. But if they’re there because “Big Hollywood” won’t let them in, then we’re moving further and further away from equality.”

“What do we say to a twelve-year-old girl who watches Star Trek for the first time and says: “I want to make movies like that”.  Do we say: ‘Yeah, try to reduce your vision to something that’s crowd fundable, you’re a girl after all’?

Just after the hashtag sparked an important conversation online and in the media, Fox announced a new initiative for women which will hopefully work toward industry equality behind the scenes.

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Variety reported that the Fox Global Directors Initiative “will help add a female perspective and diverse voices across film, broadcast, cable and digital programming.”

In a statement, Joe Earley, Fox Broadcasting Co. chief operating officer acknowledged they need to represent a vast array of voices and stories to truly connect with a wider audience. Duh!

Women comprised 6% of all directors working on the top 250 films of 2013, a decrease of 3 percentage points from 2012, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. The picture is slightly brighter on television, cable and Netflix, where women comprise 23 percent of creators, the center reports.

The initiative is spearheaded by Fox’s Nicole Bernard, VP of Fox Audience Strategy, a unit that spans the studio’s film and TV divisions. Fox will recruit 20 participants to join a five week directors lab. At the end of the lab, five finalists will be selected to receive additional instruction lasting roughly 10 months, culminating in production support and funding for a Fox-branded short.

“The cross-divisional enthusiasm to launch this initiative speak to our commitment to drive industry change and we hope that stellar creative arts organizations across the globe will be equally excited to join us,” Bernard said. Apparently 21st Century Fox also has a similar initiative in place for writers.

News like this is positive and definitely signals the industry is slowly changing. We hope there will be a day when women in film and TV don’t need special initiatives or programs just to get in the door, and that their talent, hard-work and commitment will suffice.

The more representations we have like ‘Reckless’ or ‘Scandal’ or ‘Girls’ the better chance women have of knowing they belong in this industry.

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