In Hollywood — It’s Business as Usual.

Los Angeles — City of Angels

In the United States of America, we have our first black woman Vice Presidential candidate, but in Hollywood, it’s still business as usual.

In 2018, Frances McDermott left with her Oscar and two words: Inclusion Rider. She then explained how inclusion riders worked — that stars could ask for or demand that 50% of cast and crew be women — in her interview after the Oscars. Unfortunately, Frances was wrong, Women working in film is still “trending” and not a fact two years later. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8jIbJe4J-s

Here we are in August 2020 and today the Women In Film released a you tube video showing how Hollywood has not changed — for every 10 male directors there are 1.2 female directors and only .08 black female directors, for every 7 script writers only 1 is a woman, and men are twice as likely to be hired after a recession than a women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRm_6-jZtMY&feature=youtu.be

The “Inclusion Rider” concept was originally suggested by Stacey Smith in a 2014 Hollywood Reporter article, and it is a great start, but with all due respect, I ask that you also consider including one additional word — Guilds.

Yes — producers should and must consider hiring women, but isn’t it about time the Hollywood Entertainment Guilds, The Directors Guild, Screen Actors — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writer’s Guild of America find their Super Powers and fight for women — who make up a small fraction of those working in Hollywood?

Why didn’t all three Hollywood Guilds — DGA, SAG/AFTRA and WGA, stand up and demand inclusion riders for all productions in the past round of negotiations?

In the recent round of negotiations for the Guild Collective Bargaining Agreements, the Guilds failed to insure that Hollywood hire more women. Some may say — this is not possible to do. The truth is — it is possible. Currently, the Guilds require Security Agreements to insure payment of residuals prior to the commencement of production. They could also require Inclusion Riders if they had leadership in the Guild with the desire to demands this. Indeed, SAG/AFTRA already contains an example of a rider in it’s collective bargaining agreement — specifically paragraph 43 of the Agreement with Producer’s requires a “The Nudity Rider” when any nudity or sex acts are required of a performer in the role they are playing.

Because the Unions did not do anything to change the rules, the burden of making change will rest on the squarely on the shoulder’s of A list talent.

Yes — A list talent should demand an inclusion rider, but let’s face reality. In this day and age, even A listers can and will be replaced by an up and coming person who is hungry to work and will not make any demands. There are many instances where producers have put A list talent on “ice” when they ask for more or stood up to producers. Why were the Guild’s born in the first place? Because the real power is in a Union.

Don’t understand the power of a Union or solidarity? The next time you are in Starbucks, take a wooden coffee stirrer and try to break it. (It’s pretty easy to do). Now grab a hand full of those pieces of wood and try to break it. I bet you can’t — or at least it is very difficult to break.

The next round of negotiations won’t come for years, so what can be done in the meantime?

Members of the Guild also have a major role to play in turning around Hollywood. They have the power to elect Guild President’s and Board members (who will hire Executive Directors) who can insist that the Inclusion Rider be included in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. They can VOTE for candidates who, like Francis McDermott will demand inclusion riders. Those elected to the Guild Boards can also hire a women Executive Director. (To date, no major Hollywood Union has ever had a women Executive Director. The DGA had one women president, SAG/AFTRA had 4 women Presidents including President Gabrielle Carteris, and WGA had one female President.)

The power is in the vote and hands of the Guild members who can decide who will represent them and whether an inclusion rider will be on the table in the next round of negotiations.

It looks like it is still “business as usual” in Hollywood and that the #metoo momentum was not a force in the contract negotiations for 2020. For now — sadly, it appears that women in Hollywood will continue to “trend” and not be a reality at least for the near future.

Will votes matter? We will find out soon.

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Pamela Conley Ulich

Girl from Kansas living the California dream. Believes we can make the world better when we search for truth and bring love every day. PamelaConleyUlich.com