Nell Scovell is probably best known as Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In co-author. (She also created the 90s tv show Sabrina the Teenage Witch and was a writer for The Simpsons!) She published an op-ed in the New York Times today titled "How to Get More Women Into the Director's Chair." It's an interesting companion to the story I posted about last week.
I wholeheartedly agree with this observation:
"In television, most studio executives and showrunners claim they are looking for female directors, but I suspect it’s the same way that I sometimes look for the sunglasses on my head: They’re right there, but I can’t see them.
People insist it’s a pipeline problem when it’s really a broken doorbell problem. Competent and talented women are right there on the doorstep, hitting the buzzer, but no one is answering the door. Last year, even with constant calls for more gender diversity, 86 percent of the first-time TV directors were still white males."
And her approach to helping newcomers build directing credits:
"Studios should flip the shadow programs. From now on, let the newcomers do the directing and pay the old hands to shadow them. The green directors get to rack up real credits while the show has a safety net. Ding-dong. Doorbell's fixed."
Wouldn't it be cool if this idea were put into action? I hope some network takes this and runs with it. I don't know about you, but when there are women's names in the credits of television shows, I notice. It may not impact my viewing habits, but it affects how I feel about a show.