Female directors who have worked on TV shows like “American Horror Story” and “Scandal” say quotas are necessary to obtain more gender and racial diversity in Hollywood.
“I never want to be hired because I’m a woman director, but maybe at this moment there needs to be quotas,” said Maggie Kiley, speaking at a Television Critics Association (TCA) round table Wednesday with female directors organized by the FX network.
“If that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes,” added Rachel Goldberg, one of seven directors on the panel.
The University of California at Los Angeles’s most recent annual report on diversity in the industry found that while racial minorities make up 40 percent of the US population, they are only 10 percent of Hollywood producers.
As for women, which make up half of the population, the same figure applies — 10 percent.
“We need you to have already done one, we can’t be your first,” is one of the excuses often heard from the television studios, panelists said.
Women are also asked to do more work getting a chance to direct, while some of their male counterparts only had to shoot a short film.
“We’re not green, we’ve been directing for a very long time. We just needed someone to give us the opportunity,” said Goldberg.
She paid tribute to FX series producer Ryan Murphy: “He gave me an episode of ‘American Horror Story,’ he changed my life.”
Murphy and FX last year launched the project “Half Initiative” with the goal of hiring at least half of minority and female filmmakers.
Since then the number of female directors has increased from 12 percent in 2015 to 51 percent last year within the network.
Steph Green, who has shot episodes of the series “Scandal” — about a female-led crisis management firm — and “Luke Cage,” about a black superhero, said she is regularly asked if she can film action sequences.
“Yes, I can do action, yes I’ve worked with blood or I have had stunts,” interjected Kiley.
Often when she is on location Kiley said she is mistaken for a makeup artist, and people prefer to speak alone with her male assistant.
“Quotas are necessary so women can get that first job, and also to change the culture,” so that people get used to seeing women directors, said panelist Meera Menon, who just finished shooting an episode of “Snowfall,” a TV mini-series about the crack epidemic in Los Angeles.