When Women Call
A Discussion With Linda Seger
(and review of her latest book of the same name)
Written by Rita Cook
When Women Call The Shots is the latest book written
by script consultant Linda Seger. Seger, who has written several
other popular books, Making a Good Script Great and Creating
Unforgettable Characters saw the potential
to make something change in the industry and decided this book was
one of the tools that could do it. I ask her what made her stray
away from writing the same genre of book that she had in the past
and she told me, "Because this book has the potential to push
things further in a positive way." Seger became interested
in the women's movement in 1975, When Women Call The Shots
seems to be a culmination of all that she has learned, combined
with her belief that the books' subject matter is an area that needs
to be dealt with and hasn't been dealt with yet.
Circling the globe to interview women for When Women Call The
Shots, Seger spoke with women from the Middle East, The Phillipines,
China, Europe and Mexico. She found that women everywhere seem
to have the same problems to deal with, only on different levels
since the cultures are different. "The women in Australia,
New Zealand and Canada seem to be doing the best for women,"
she told me. Questioning this, Seger pointed out that in Australia
the women's movement and the film industry blossomed at the same
time. With women in the position to call the shots they took full
advantage of it and rose to the occasion, giving themselves a
name and a powerful profession. When Women Call The Shots
is 75 percent focused on Hollywood and 25% focused on the rest
of the world. The book is divided into six sections discussing
the history of women in film, how women influence the business,
what women can bring to the storytelling process, how they create
characters, sex, love and romance and finally, a social and global
Seger pointed out how women do make a difference in filmmaking
by citing Jane Campion, who wrote, produced and directed The
Piano. This movie could not have (and probably would not have)
been done by a man. Campion brought a sort of errotisism to it
that only a woman could bring, remember the scene about the hole
in the stocking?
Women have been in the industry for many years, virtually dominating
it in the 1920s and then moving behind the scenes in the 1930s
and 40s to develop female characters in movies written by men.
Presently the tide does seem to be shifting though, as it is
noted that 80% of the new businesses in Los Angeles alone, are
women owned. Seger says "The way women do business is different
than men.... Corporations didn't want us, and women didn't want
And with the onset of more women in the industry, certain situations
will arise which will be handled in a way that will set the tone
for years to come. For instance, women in the industry who are
also mothers. Daycares are becoming more common at studios and
children being brought to sets is becoming the norm. Another positive
boost in relation to womens' involvement is that men are becoming
more aware. "Men's consciousness is being raised," Seger
says, "Men are becoming sensitive to their own children."
Women have been sensitive to this all along, since they didn't
have any other alternative.
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