So if you’re someone who likes to keep up to date with the goings on of the cyber world or someone who peruses the Kickstarter website looking for philanthropic or entrepreneurial enterprises to support, you probably would have stumbled onto Zack Danger Brown’s potato salad campaign. Yes, a man summoned the cyberverse to help him fund and create a potato salad and the internet replied with a whopping $55,492. That’s right, Brown started his Kickstarter campaign with a $10 target and for whatever reason people around the world pledged a total of $55,492!!!!! For a potato salad!!!! So why am I writing about this? I’m writing about this because crowdfunding is an awesome and amazing thing. If Zack Brown appealed to fellow potato lovers around the world and struck enough of a chord with them (or amused them enough) for them to put their money in their pockets then good on him. This is the power of ‘crowdfunding’, this is the power of the people.
Crowdfunding is a great thing because it gives ordinary people like me a chance to try and turn an idea into something tangible and possibly successful. Crowdfunding is the internet’s version of The Dragon’s Den but instead of getting a few minutes to pitch your idea to 5 British millionaires for the entertainment of a television watching audience you get to create a page about your idea/venture/joke and pitch it to the world. Again why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because recently I discovered that a colleague of mine (Zoe) has started her own crowdfunding campaign and she and her creative partner (Bronte) are hoping to raise $9000 to fund a short film they’ve written called Shan and Kate, about two teenage friends navigating the 90’s.
Why am I telling you about this? Well because Zoe and Bronte are two cool chicks and their idea sounds fun and their campaign video totally got me interested because it reminded me of all the cool things that I grew up with/to in the 90’s. If you were a child of the 90’s watch this video and I defy you not to rue the passing of the good old days!
Really, why am I telling you this? Ok, let’s be serious for a minute. I love movies, in fact I wanted to make movies, I’ve even got a degree which says I can make movies (no joke I do) and I work in a field that is all about movies so this is a subject close to my heart. However as a woman who had early aspirations to direct films, I was often frustrated with the way that women were represented on film. Moreover I was further annoyed when I came to really understand how under represented women are when it comes to making film. Sidenote: There have been 86 Academy Award ceremonies now and through all that, guess how many women have won the Academy Award for Directing? One! One out of 86….yup! Kathryn Bigelow was the first and only woman to get this accolade when she won the 2010 directorial Oscar for her work on The Hurt Locker. That in itself perfectly highlights the massive gender imbalance in the film making business. In fact a report published by the University of Southern California Annenberg, looking into the representation of women both in front of and behind the camera, on the 600 hundred top grossing films of 2007 to 2013 revealed that in 2013 “the number of female directors and writers is at a six-year low”.
Now I believe that women can make good movies, we can make interesting studies into pop culture (just look at Sofia Coppola’s body of work), we can create feel good commercially successful films (look at Nora Ephron), we can even launch big blockbuster franchises as Catherine Hardwicke did with Twilight and we can write and produce kick-ass female characters for TV also, as two of my idols Tina Fey and Lena Dunham have done. So why then is there such a disparity when it comes to gender representation in the film industry. I won’t even try to posit reasons for this now but from someone who once wanted to make films it would have been encouraging to see smart, talented, creative women kicking goals at the top of the game. So in summary, why am I telling you all this? I’m not telling you this because I don’t like male directors or film makers. I’m not telling you this because I don’t like potato salad (in fact at one stage my husband and I had contemplated throwing a potato party, in honour of the spud – true story). I’m telling you this because one of the reason’s I enjoy writing for Dancing In My Heels is because I love working with a team of intelligent, creative women and I love seeing awesome women kick goals in their profession, nay in life so when I see smart intelligent women reaching for awesomeness I want the world to know about it. So if the world can raise $55,492 so that some dude can make his lunch then maybe the world can help two women get on a path towards creating more of a gender balance in the film industry….and maybe win another directing Oscar for the fairer sex.
If you would like to support the Shan and Kate project you can make a donation here.