Gender Influence on the Making of Movies: A Directorial and Production Perspective The direction and production of a movie is a purely personal endeavor; a person making a movie will use his own interpretation of a script or screen play and make a movie the way he see things. The producer will pick a script that he sees as being good, attempt to procure a budget that will allow him to express his view, pick a director that can successfully translate that view to film, and finally pick a cast he believes can bring that view to life believably. The director of a movie assists in the choosing of a cast, maps out the shooting schedule, decides the importance of each scene, and guides the cast to produce the desired effect on film. These are the most basic steps in the creation of a movie; but where the big difference occurs is how men and women go about executing these steps. The first and possibly the biggest difference is the method of selection of a project to produce. Men have a tendency to go with projects that they believe will produce the largest monetary return and the most fame, while women choose projects that express ideas in which they believe and wish to promote.
According to "Statistics of the Best and Worst 100 Movies of 2001," men were executive producers or producers on 85% of the top 100 grossing movies of 2001, leaving the remaining 15% to women. On the flip side men produced 92% of the worst 100 movies in 2001, while women produced 52% of the movies that fell in between. Men primarily want to make money and be famous and will take huge risks to do so; it is a succeed or fail mentality. Women primarily wish to communicate an idea they believe in to an audience and produce a good movie.
Male producers of movies pick directors and actors who are already famous for the type of project being made or relative unknowns who show an aptitude for the genre. This process often creates a large amount of tension on the set because of the egos of already famous director and actors, each believing that they know best how to do the project. Female producers choose directors and actors who agree with their views and expectations of the script and project, often resulting in a smoother production. Tom Hanks once said in an interview in 'People Magazine', "I would rather work on a movie being produced by an able woman than on almost any movie produced by any man, including, possibly, myself." He was referring to the low levels of tension on the set of Nora Ephron's "Sleepless in Seattle" compared to other projects he had starred in and produced. This follows Deborah Tannen's "Different Words, Different Worlds" theory that men need to feel in control of a situation while women want to communicate and maintain peace. Female directors are often more concerned with conveying the emotions in the script and the pacing of the storyline, while male directors are more concerned with the action and the overall look of the high points.
Thus women directors are more likely to hire an actor who can express the necessary emotions. Men directing movies are more likely to pick actors who fit a certain mold, whether they can act or not. The individual importance of a scene also varies greatly between male and female directors, and are more interested in close-ups, room settings and conveying the emotion of the entire project. Men are more interested in the action and the seamless ness of individual shots. Female directors generally devote more time and energy to the development of characters and plot lines, women are more likely to work on character driven story lines, such as romantic comedies and romantic dramas, according to Movie Statistics 2001. Male directors will spend more time and energy setting up action shots, and are more likely to work on action driven storylines such as action features and science fiction movies that have numerous special effects.
Male directors use a more direct approach to handling actors, they simply tell the actor what they want and expect their orders to be obeyed. This approach works well with newer actors and actors without ego problems, but when egos come to head, someone walks away with a bruised one. Female directors are willing to listen to input from the actors, they do not always follow these suggestions, but at least the actor feels like an important part of the team. While all of the above statements are not true in every instance, they seem to prove themselves more accurate than not.
It does not prove who is the better director or producer, and is not intended to. It is only a comparison of the different directing and producing techniques between genders. So don't base the next movie you see on whether it is produced by a man or woman, choose what you want to watch and enjoy. Works cited Tannen, Deborah. "Different Words, Different Worlds." One Hundred Great Essays. Ed.
Robert Di Yanni. New York: Longman, 2002. 678-693 Moorehead, James. "Tom Hanks, What Your Opinion?" People Magazine "Statistics of the Best and Worst Movies of 2001." web > Lauren, Martha M.
Ph. D. "The Celluloid Ceiling Study: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women in the Top 250 Films of 2001." School of Communications, San Diego State University, San Diego CA 92182.