Foner: And that feels to me like a big difference between what happens between men and what we do. I think we censor ourselves....
Gabriela Cowperthwaite: Men are also socialized to be more bold.
Cherien Dabis: So even if they don't know, they're willing to kind of take that risk, whereas women are socialized to sort of be the opposite. So we're gonna be less likely to take that. But the other thing I was gonna add was that, you know, I think that once we do make the decision to do that or once we do realize that we can achieve that, I think the next barrier is financing. Because I don't think that women are entrusted with the same kind of money and budgets that men are. That's where I feel like I've seen the most sort of um ...
Foner: Well, I've been a screenwriter. A fairly successful screenwriter with an Academy Award nomination, for years. And there are certain things no one will ask me to write.
Which is a slightly different question than what you're saying about money. Because they assume there's only one kind of movie you can make, or write? Is that what you're saying?
Foner: They're movies that are nurturing movies. They're not gonna ask me to make "Blade Runner." I can fight to make "Blade Runner." Because in order to write, all I need is a laptop. I can do it and give it to them. I can't do that with a movie. With a movie I have to have them first before I can do it.
Let me go back to this idea of financing. That men are gonna be more entrusted with just running the money. They're gonna hand over the money to men more easily than they're gonna hand it to women, which is a separate but related conversation to what we're talking about.
Cowperthwaite: I think that's true. But to kind of back up a little bit, but sort of stay even on that sort of producer subject, I did find—at least in documentary, which is the only thing I'm really very familiar with—that women are very easily relegated into a producer role. And I think it's because we are—as men are sort of encouraged to be bold—encouraged to be collaborators. And sort of make the deal. When the male director is sitting next to us with the dark glasses. And he gets to be that. Incredibly creative, very untouchable, and an artiste. And we're just—
Cowperthwaite: —spilling over ourselves to try to get the deal for him. You know? Try to make things work. And I think with directing, oftentimes it's not necessarily all that democratic. It's not all that collaborative. When you are trying to get a shot, you can't be pleasing everybody. You know? And it's very sort of odd 'cause I tend to be sort of collaborative and a bit of a pleaser. And when I'm directing, people just sort of call me Black Hat Gabriela. 'Cause suddenly they're like, "What happened to you?" Because I stop listening. I sort of have to. There's all these men telling me things, because they know I'm receptive as a person to things like that. Once I start directing, I sort of have to turn them off. And I feel strident. I feel rude. And I feel un-collaborative. And, you know, after the shoot I'm like, "Who was that?" You know? Like, "Am I really allowed to be that way? Is that okay? Am I a 'B'?" You know?
You raise a really interesting question, which is, do you have to become somebody you're not ordinarily to get the job? In other words, you have to take on behaviors, airs, characteristics, because just being who you are wouldn't be good enough. You think so, Hannah?
Fidell: I don't.
Fidell: I feel that, at least in my process, the way that I work is so collaborative. And I want people around to give me their input.
Foner: That's okay, as long as you have the final say.
Fidell: Oh, sure, of course.
Foner: And you can do that in independent film.
Naomi:You can't do that in Hollywood. There's always somebody who's gonna say no to you. And so if you really need something, you have to learn to do the dance the way they do it, which does require you to not be yourself. 'Cause they're not touchy-feely on the other side, at all. And that's a big difference between doing an indie film and doing a Hollywood film.