Research Update: LA

In August and September of 2018, I’m making the pilgrimage to Los Angeles to complete the data collection for my PhD research on women writers for SVoD original scripted series. These small updates will tell you about my progress.

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The Getty Center, Los Angeles

It’s Day 3 in Los Angeles, and I can see why people fall in love with this place. Apart from the outstanding weather, fantastic food and gorgeous scenery, everyone is so friendly. Not a single neighbour at our Air BnB has failed to smile and say hello, and everyone we pass in the street has a smile for us. It’s so refreshing. Yesterday we went to the Getty Center and I can honestly say that, although the exhibits themselves were wonderful, the sheer beauty in the design of the center itself was the most breathtaking thing I’ve seen in a while. And what a view! Driving on the right hand side of the road has been interesting, too – but I think I’m getting into the swing of it.

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This is the face of someone enjoying the most spectacular LA view.

Research-wise, I’ve got a couple of interviews with really special writers lined up and I can’t wait to meet them in person after exchanging emails (one of them for over 2 years!). I’m still working on cracking the code of contact; Twitter has been great for me, and I’m messaging on Instagram, but, to be fair, these are very busy people, and probably have overflowing inboxes.gettyimage2

 

I’m so thankful for the kind writers who have donated their time already to my research. I feel passionately about the work I’m doing (well, one would hope so, I suppose) and I want to do everything in my power to make it inclusive and representative of the diversity that is a) present already but b) not present enough in this industry. My work is about women writers, but that means all types of women. It means women of colour, it means trans women, and it means women from different backgrounds.

 

I have three weeks to make this time in LA count, and I’m crossing all my fingers that it will be as fruitful as I’ve hoped.

 

If you’re reading this and you think you can help make some connections for me, please do direct your friends, colleagues, connections and family to this link.

 

Off to enjoy some writing in the sunshine!

 

K.

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Action Heroes: Screenwriter Edition

83006-marvels-agent-carter-marvels-agent-carterAction is one of those genres that has a bit of everything; fast-paced drama, weapons, sometimes explosions, and usually a nice, dark urban setting. What a winner! It’s also traditionally seen to be a bit of a man’s world. There is a kind of assumption that goes about that men write action or thriller shows and women write rom-coms (not everyone thinks that, this is just coffee table talk). So I wanted to have a look at the top performing TV action series of the moment and see just how many were written by women.

A couple of small disclaimers before we get into the numbers:

  1. This is an exercise only, and was taken from IMDB (aka The Bible)
  2. I’ve taken into account for this exercise only the number of writers listed, and not how many episodes each writer was credited with (I’ll get into that another day!)
  3. This information is based on the top 10 performing action series as listed on IMDB, and I won’t pass judgement on the shows because, well, I’ve spent the last month’s allocated Netflix time catching up with Pretty Little Liars so I haven’t seen half of these.

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And now, let’s get into it.

The Top Ten as Listed:

No. Title Year Total Writers Total Female Writers % Female writers
1 Legends of Tomorrow 2016 9 2 22.22
2 Shadowhunters 2016 8 4 50.00
3 Arrow 2012 31 12 38.71
4 The Flash 2014 31 10 32.26
5 Jessica Jones 2015 11 4 36.36
6 Agent Carter 2015 14 5 35.71
7 Colony 2016 6 1 16.67
8 Daredevil 2015 10 1 10.00
9 Vikings 2013 1 0 0.00
10 Supergirl 2015 14 5 35.71

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So, let’s rearrange those in order of action series with the highest percentage of female writers…

No. Title Year Total Writers Total Female Writers % Female writers
2 Shadowhunters 2016 8 4 50.00
3 Arrow 2012 31 12 38.71
5 Jessica Jones 2015 11 4 36.36
10 Supergirl 2015 14 5 35.71
6 Agent Carter 2015 14 5 35.71
4 The Flash 2014 31 10 32.26
1 Legends of Tomorrow 2016 9 2 22.22
7 Colony 2016 6 1 16.67
8 Daredevil 2015 10 1 10.00
9 Vikings 2013 1 0 0.00

 

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Melissa Rosenberg

Now, it’s worth noting that Jessica Jones actually has a female creator, Melissa Rosenberg, who is also (fun fact), ranked #24 on the highest-grossing screenwriters list (according to www.boxofficemojo.com). She’s grossed an epic USD $1.452B over her career (largely due to her screenplays for the Twilight series). At #24, she is the third woman on the list, coming in behind Philippa Boyens (#7) and Fran Walsh (#9), both up there for box office slam dunks with the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series.

So here’s a shoutout to all the women listed as writers on the top 10 action series according to IMDB (alphabetically, no favourites here):

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Y. Shireen Razack (from themortalinstitute.com)

Ali Adler (Supergirl)
Lindsey Allen (Arrow, Agent Carter)
Dana Baratta (Jessica Jones)
Rebecca Bellotto (Arrow)
Andi Bushell (Agent Carter)
Tara Butters (Agent Carter)
Lauren Certo (The Flash)
Yahlin Chang (Supergirl)
Lana Cho (Arrow)
Sue Chung (Agent Carter)
Cassandra Clare (wrote the novel for Shadowhunters and is listed as a writer on all episodes)
Marjorie David (Shadowhunter)
Michele Fazekas (Agent Carter)
Anna Fishko (Colony)
Ruth Fletcher (Daredevil)

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Lana Cho (from Twitter)

Liz Friedman (Jessica Jones)
Grainne Godfree (Arrow, The Flash)
Holly Harold (Arrow)
Sarah Nicole Jones (Legends of Tomorrow)
Moira Kirland (Arrow)
Wendy Mericle (Arrow)
Anna Musky-Goldwyn (Supergirl)
Cortney Norris (Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash)
Hollie Overton (Shadowhunters)
Caitlin Parrish (Supergirl)
Y. Shireen Razack (Shadowhunters)
Jenna Reback (Jessica Jones)
Brooke Roberts (The Flash)
Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones – Creator)
Alison Schapker (The Flash)
Beth Schwartz (Arrow)
Keto Shimizu (Arrow, The Flash)
Rachel Shukert (Supergirl)
Gabrielle G. Stanton (Arrow, The Flash)

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Ali Adler (photo by Graeme Mitchel for Forbes)

Sarah Tarkoff (Arrow)
Lilah Vandenburgh (The Flash)
Katherine Walczak (The Flash)
Kai Wu (The Flash)

It’s great to see a few names popping up across different series. See? Women can and do specialise in writing action/superhero/fast-cars-big-guns television.

 

That’s all for now.

I’d love to hear about which television series featuring great female leads are your favourites for another post – comment below!