7 Takeaway Quotes from Jill Soloway's SXSW Keynote Speech


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"Why aren't there more women directors?"

It's certainly no secret that there's a major lack of women directors in Hollywood. Just recently, The Wrap pulled up a jarring statistic noting "of the 149 movies currently slated for a wide release from the six legacy studios over the next three years, only 12 have female directors. That means a whopping 92 percent of the major motion pictures due in theaters through the end of 2019 will be helmed by men."

At this year's SXSW Conference, the thoughtful, funny, and engaging Jill Soloway (creator of the critically acclaimed series "Transparent") expressed her perspective and insights on the topic, while offering vital filmmaking tools that go beyond the basics and the technical aspects. I recommend watching the whole thing, but here's a list of seven great quotes that I personally enjoyed from the hour-long presentation:

"Directing is about desire. There are no two words you say more as a director than I want… So if there's nothing more connected to directing than desire, what happens when we live in a culture where, for women, desire is shamed?"

"For anybody who feels that they have been 'other,' we're taking a step to subjectivity when we grab that camera. And sometimes just that movement from object to subject can be so impossible, and we don't even realize that. That's the psychological... the spiritual... that's underneath this political question of why aren't there more female directors."

"The camera can move on the beat change. The music can change on the beat change. The beat change happens for everyone in the room at the same time always, no matter what. A big part of our technique is naming and knowing the beat changes as a group." (On narrative beats)

"100% of what I'm doing as a director is attempting to just be in my body so I can connect to the feelings that the actors have."

"There's nothing worse for taking people out of their bodies than yelling the word ACTION."

"Another huge tool for me, a really inexpensive tool, something you can all bring to the set– and that is: a pad of paper and a pen. It's so simple, but it's actually the most important thing."

"In this world of fake everything–fake news, fake networking, fake tools–I just want to offer people this one real tool that, for me, feels like it's about the future because it's about the planet. It's about the solar system. It's about the shape of the sphere. And this sphere shape, this round shape, is everybody's, it's anybody's whether you’re male or female, whether you have a uterus or had a uterus. It's a feeling about gathering, a feeling about holding space for soul, which is holding space for art. And through that, I believe that we can all keep making things that are going to usher in whatever this next evolution of our world is."

Catch these inspiring and thought-provoking words from Jill in the recording of her panel below!: