Producer's Guild of America's “Power to Shake It Up” Panel Talked Inclusion and Women in Production

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Women, it's time to unapologetically advance yourselves in the production world.

On Oct 28th, the Producer Guild of America held their Produced by New York conference, which included a 75 minute panel discussion about women’s progress in production and inclusion. This panel included Jessica Chastain and her production partner Kelly Carmichael, Sarah Jessica Parker and her partner in production Alison Benson, and PGA president Lori McCreary. Stacy L. Smith, director and founder of the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg, was the moderator of the panel.

The event steered away from the current news of sexual misconduct with the Weinstein Company and other recent allegations unearthing in Hollywood. However, their discussion showed there is plenty that needs to be addressed.

Sarah Jessica Parker talked about inclusion decisions being influenced positively by budget flexibility, as indie filmmakers and online series have the capability of going further to give filmmaking opportunities to women.

Benson and Parker started production company Pretty Matches in 2009, and they rooted for well-rounded female characters and inclusion in production since their beginning. They spoke about the change from overly stereotypical scripts they would still receive then, compared to the progress in what they are seeing now.

McCreary spoke about her work on TV show, Madame Secretary, for which inclusion plays a high importance, particularly when it comes to directors. The fourth season of the show saw inclusive directors, half of them women, making up 73% of the total directors.

An interesting statistic that came up from Smith was that only 4% of TV and movie characters are divorced women, which is quite unrepresentative of the world we actually live in.

Panelists also noted the gravity of making their own lists of writers, directors, actors, etc., instead of depending on agencies, who often do not provide inclusive lists of people to hire.

Overall, the event called for women to unapologetically advance themselves in the production world and take pride and greater confidence in their work.

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