Ladies of ECG
According to the 2021 Celluloid Ceiling Report — a compilation of reports tracking the employment statistics of “above-the line” positions held by women in Hollywood — “women comprised 25% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films.” Here at ECG we are consistently pushing to shift that narrative, and currently almost half of our team are badass women who work in various behind-the-scenes roles of film production.
“I am very proud to work alongside so many talented, gifted women. I have learned, laughed, and cried with my fellow ECG ladies. I know they have my back, just as they know I have theirs. People always say there is a bond that develops between co-workers, but there’s something special about the bond between the women in film,” Kelsey Cherney, editor.
At ECG Productions, women account for almost 50% of our team. From writers, audio technicians, camera operators, colorists, editors, all the way to the art department; the ladies of our team run the gamut and get shit done!
“We all personally have high expectations for our work and together we’re able to create and build on what we learn each time. Having strong women around has pushed me to better myself not only professionally but personally as well. I’m more organized, more open to my own ideas and I trust myself,” SiSi Porch, Producer and Wardrobe.
Representation isn’t just a checked box (though that is how we have seen businesses using DEI over the years), representation is what happens when space is given for voices from all walks of life to be genuinely heard. As a script-to-screen production company, having a diverse representation of voices is paramount to the work that we do.
Emily, Director and Post Producer, shares in this sentiment that women are not only important in these spaces, but are forging the way in which we do work in this field. “More and more women are becoming technicians, directors, key-player producers and that is crafting a new gaze. We’re seeing superheroes through Rachel Morrison’s lens or beloved fantasy, horror, and lifestyle television being showrun by women. Different eyes bring different ideas and women have more of a platform than ever to express those ideas.”
Women In A “Man’s” World
Women having a platform in the film industry is the first step, after that’s sorted we need to focus on dismantling the patriarchal way in which we envision sets and film production. While women are now filling these roles, some people see it as the filling of a man’s role, rather than a woman establishing herself in a role where the door has otherwise been shut. As we settle into these spaces, we’re often met with unpleasant microaggression, and yet we persist.
Cassie Corlett, Executive Assistant and Assistant Audio Engineer recounted an incident that encapsulates the prevalence of this issue. “The main thing that stands out, when I mic people up, especially actors who have been mic’d up before, nearly half of them will say, ‘I’ve never been mic’d by a woman before!’ Which is kind of cool. And only once so far has it gotten a little uncomfortable. When I had to keep messing with a guy’s lav, he was like ‘oh, you’ve got to take me to dinner first.’ It made me consider female actors who have been mic’d up by primarily dudes in the past, I’m sure they have heard many similar jokes throughout the years.”
Growing as a woman in a male-dominated industry comes with various trials, but having the support of other women makes it all feel more possible.
“Most of the head positions are filled by white men, and in rare moments, I can feel less of an ear being lent my way, than to perhaps a louder man. In those moments, it is amazing for me to have such a huge group of powerful women to lean on and consult with. Our team has many levels of experience within it and all of us have given and received advice at one time or another about being in a more male-dominated industry,” Anneli Brown, Designer and Animator.
In these spaces, it is not only pertinent that we feel support from our fellow women, but also that we feel supported by the rest of our team that may not share in the struggle of being a woman in film.
“I’m well aware that I’m not only the only woman in our writer’s rooms, but I’m also the only person of color. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. However, I have genuinely appreciated that my voice is respected in that room, not only because I believe I have something to offer, but all the people around me also respect the perspective I offer and value how unique it is,” Jasmine Waters, Writer and Associate Producer.
Creating Space for Women in Film
As of 2021 the Celluloid Ceiling Report documented that, 94% of the top 250 films had no women cinematographers, 92% had no women composers, 82% had no women directors, 73% had no women editors, and 72% had no women writers. While the film industry has a long way to go when it comes to being equitable, this does not stop with our industry.
Senior Producer, Melissa St. Clair recounted, “When I started gaining professional experience, I was in the Music Marketing industry doing internships anywhere I could get in. I thought the music industry was for me, I poured myself into these internships just to be offered a job at a place where my boss did not cultivate a respectful workplace for women, being the only woman in that workplace it felt like I had no place or no real person to go to when things got a little weird.”
On the other hand, some of our kickass team of ladies had the opportunity to work in women-led companies that assisted them in breaking into the industry.
“The women-run talent agencies I’ve worked with have given me the opportunity to see firsthand how hard these women work for their clients and for Georgia as a whole. I am also forever thankful for the guidance they have given me as I continue in my journey in this industry. I have used the things they taught me to be intentionally diverse in casting selections in my role at ECG, which makes me an asset in my role, in my society, and in the growth of this company,” –Haley Kask, Associate Producer.
Of course, when working with so many abundantly talented women, in so many facets, it is easy to look up to each other.
“When I came here Emily was and still is a powerhouse. I always looked up to her because she is pretty much doing everything I wanted to do: camera, editing, and post management. I had a strong representation of what that would look like and she speaks her mind. It was nice to have that role model,” Haley Fusia, Director of Photography and Editor.
The Celluloid Ceiling Report delivers findings of the increase of women in this field, but those increases are minor. The increase of women in director, writer, and producer roles are only up 8-9% since 1998. As an ever-growing company, ECG makes a concerted effort to ensure that women are seen, heard, and valued. While we celebrate the unmatched ladies that make up a large portion of our company, we also look forward to a day when seeing (or not seeing, but knowing they made it possible) a woman on set isn’t a novel idea. The women of this company are not only talented, they are propelling us into the future!