My current creative crush is Jill Soloway. Not only is she the woman behind queer crossover hit Transparent but she’s also a fantastic, funny, fiesty feminist writer and speaker. A lot of this love comes from reading her very important, very wonderful book Tiny Ladies In Shiny Pants, which I will write more about later.
To give you an abbreviated and intense dosage of her spirit, I highly suggest you read a speech she gave at the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women. It’s a middle finger acceptance speech to men in Hollywood and is the kind of thing that gives a creative hope. It gives you something to aspire to, which I love Soloway for: she’s a no-nonsense fighter.
A few of my favorite bits from the speech, with breaks on why I love this.
FUCK SOME SHIT UP. Surprise yourself, wake up your actors, get wild with your performances, try shit, put in that funky dialogue you’re embarrassed of, in fact, rub your fucked-up-ness all over your scripts, add some shame and embarrassment and glee, and then dare yourself to shoot it, SERIOUSLY, go big or go home—be a creature unlike any other.
I want to do this more. I get too self-conscious but, really, I gotta let that shit go and FUCK IT UP. Amen to this.
That white cis male gaze is like a lifeguard chair, it’s a watchtower —I’m way up here naming things. And they are NOT GIVING UP THOSE LOOKOUT SPOTS EASILY, in fact they won’t even cop to the fact that they have that privilege. Wait what? We’ve had the voice too long? We’re not doing it on purpose… So yeah, instead of waiting for these guys to change, instead STORM the gates, grab hands with each other, RUN like red rovers at the lifeguard chairs, snarl at the bases like wild starving beast dogs, boost each other up those watch towers and pull those motherfuckers down.
I don’t think I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from being a white cis male so I can say with equal intensity that I would like to storm these watchtowers. I’ll help build the new ones, too!
You can own the energy of the set by embodying the idea that everyone is safe, no one is going to get yelled at, that we’re lucky to be called upon to make art together. People on sets have gotten so used to operating under this fear, this TIME IS MONEY PEOPLE, this hyper-masculine worshiping and priveleging of equipment, cameras, cranes, numbers, schedules, money.
Thank you, Jill. Thank you!
You CAN cry at work, in fact, you must cry at work, in fact if you’re going to make a movie, do me a favor and think of it “as bring your tears to work day”, hell while you’re at it, “ hashtag #bringyourpussytoworkday”, every day. You’re gonna need it.
I’ve never cried at work but have almost cried, several times. I will absolutely bring my pussy to set, too.