Ten Years of Women & Hollywood
Melissa and I kicked off our chat by talking about an item that I had seen shared by Women and Hollywood on Facebook and Twitter that Paul Feig Teaming Up With Hollywood Leaders In New Initiative to Address Gender Inequality in Film.
I know what you’re thinking. This podcast’s focus is TV. But people, in the area of representation, film’s power runs block for TV – particularly the work that is going on in the trenches to hire more women at every level – that spills into all areas of entertainment and media. So I may see a news release reported from one source, but I know to head to WomenandHollywood.com, where Melissa’s voice, will provide a richer context. News that a group of Hollywood stars and players, in mid career with plenty of resources and influence represents a milestone in a much longer process.
Part newspaper publisher, part radio station owner, Melissa Silverstein utilizes a series of tools and platforms to focus on the topics of employment, advancement, success and innovation of women involved in the entertainment industry.
Did I limit the hats Silverstein wears to publisher and radio station owner? I should have included evangelist and educator. In the decade that Women and Hollywood has been curating and aggregating news and data, Silverstein has developed – literally – a worldwide network of women and men who are experiencing the same challenges – developing their country’s film and television industry that is inclusive and reflective of women in that society. So yeah, let’s add diplomat to that list of hats.
In the course of our conversation we covered A LOT: the state of women in the industry, the decade’s worth of growth and focus that Silverstein has personally put into Women and Hollywood and also, the decisions she’s made to manage it. In an industry that spends money on glitz and advertising, she’s more of the “back of the house” mindset – believing that consistent delivery as a respected source of news and analysis will make the difference.
To be able to explain the changing nature of the entertainment industry and whether representation of American society’s true diversity is making any progress… Silverstein delivers passion, statistics and theory in every sentence. Or to use another word that applies to so many women in the public eye and entertainment field, she’s persisted.
No question one of the best parts about conducting interviews with the women in and of television is learning more about their backgrounds, about their interest okay - - outright love for TV growing up. Whether conducted by phone or in person, each woman to a fault picks up energy, talks with a smile on her face and reveals her passion for the stories and role models from her earlier days. Silverstein is no exception. And went on to tell me her top 3 favorite TV shows of all time.
Persistence. Trial and error. A lot of shoe leather, willingness to explore the capacity of new platforms for communication and above all a passion for the advancement and appropriate representation of women in entertainment - - world wide.
Here’s how we wrapped up our chat, at a bar in Brooklyn on a Friday afternoon – Melissa remembering and giving credit to so many who have helped her and the cause in these 10 years and more…
Melissa Silverstein and Women and Hollywood are by no means the only ones preaching the gospel of representation, celebrating the wins and lamenting the lemons. But, if you like to back a work-horse who speaks, writes and tweets, few can match the credentials and passion of Melissa Silverstein.
And when I describe this podcast as one that celebrates the women in and of TV, she’s one of those powerful women behind the scenes. Congratulations Ms. Silverstein on your 10th Anniversary! All of us are proud of you – in awe of all you’ve accomplished.
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I’m your host of Advanced TV Herstory – Cynthia Bemis Abrams