Being a Female Filmmaker

Let me get this straight. Being a filmmaker is AWESOME! But being a female filmmaker, however, is a bit different. Here is why.


We have all heard this clever sentence before: "It doesn't matter if male or female, but who is the best for the job". You know what? It's BS. Next time you hear this line look at the person saying it - it's either an elderly man who still clings to traditional roles and uses this as an alibi for hiring the guy instead of the gal or an unexperienced young filmmaker who still believes in this ideal. In both cases, chances are low that you are treated fairly.


As a female filmmaker, it is harder to get heard or to pitch your idea and finally get the job. The reason for this is simple: men prefer to work with men. This is not something I just made up. Some men even admit it. Listen to interviews or discussions. Or look at who works with whom - which leads us right back to the clever sentence we started with. Another problem mainly female filmmakers have to deal with: somehow some people think they have to give you instructions because they supposedly know better, even though they actually have no idea at all. As if we are making films just for fun and it is not our job. That surprises me again and again. I would never dare to instruct someone in their own practice...


Be prepared that you are not taken seriously and being asked if they can talk to your producer, your male producer of course, as he knows and you don't. Be prepared for many stupid sayings for being a woman and not a man (I could write a whole book about stupid commentary...). Be prepard to be rejected many, many times.


But here comes your silver lining: these people really don't matter.

Don't waste your time dealing with the ones who obviously have not yet checked in to the 21st century and prefer egotripping. Look for the people who share the same passion as you. They know exactly how much hard work it is and what's at stake - not only professionally, but also personally. Making a film is something very personal, even if it's your job. Work with those who are aware of it. Look for the ones who know how valuable teamwork is. These people don't care if you are female or male. They are as interested in the creative process as you are. To be honest, it might take some time to find them, but once you do, sky's the limit.


You need a lot of patience and perserverance. That can sometimes be challenging. Especially when you really, really want to bring your vision to life. Even if you are not aware of it at the moment, you already have these qualities. Otherwise you would not have chosen this path. And don't start doubting yourself and your work because of the wait. Remind yourself that you have something to say. This is probably the reason you started in the first place. It is YOUR story. No one can tell it for you. No one can tell it any better than you.


Another benefit: the longer you are overlooked, the more time you have to keep getting better. That may sound strange, but basically it's very simple. Every experience you make, good and bad, even the ones you don't make, help you to improve your work and to grow as a person. You improve your skills. You work on your story on a daily basis. Even in sleep, your subconscious mind deals with it, without you realizing it. Ever dreamt about this particular scene of which you have no idea how to continue writing and one morning you wake up and sudddenly know how it goes on? Yep, that's what I mean.

So keep on working and do what you do best. It really is worth it and will eventually pay off.


Be brave. Tell your story. Be a Female Filmmaker - and be proud of it!