There have been six female writers for Doctor Who in 50 years. Six. And that’s only if you count two people who may not have actually written much or any of the script.
I’ve never really thought about it before. At least, not until I glanced over the list of writers for Series 8. I was pleased to see some of the usual suspects. These are some great writers. Writers that I love. And all of them men.
Of course, the best writer should get the job. But then that would suggest that time and time again, women haven’t been up to the task. I refuse to believe that, so what is really happening here?
The truth is – I don’t know. What I do know is that networking and referrals is the way this industry works. So as a screenwriting student who is constantly thinking about how to break into the industry, it is a little daunting to see that my favourite show does not appear to employ female writers.
I’m sure this issue extends well beyond Doctor Who. I’m reluctant to look into this further though. Breaking into this industry is hard enough without having such a powerful shadow as ‘statistics’ hanging over me. Belief in failure can only have one outcome.
No, I’m just more determined. And on that note – back to writing my feature film!
I used to be really open to all kinds of theories. Even when things sounded far-fetched I still perched on the fence, not willing to rule out any possibility. At some point though, I allowed myself to really notice what my instincts were telling me. And far more often than not they were saying, “Nooooope!”
People can and do have their own beliefs. That’s perfectly fine in many circumstances but make no mistake. These are beliefs. Far too often I see arguments formulated upon false premises. Whether it is the anti-vaxxer movement, climate change deniers, alien conspiracy theories or Facebook hoaxes, all to often the arguments for their validity are based on an incorrect proposition. Take the anti-vaxxers for example. Many of their arguments are based on the idea that vaccines cause more diseases than they prevent. That simply isn’t true and the result is that we are now seeing the return of preventable diseases. Another example can clearly be seen in the quote and screenshot from the Ancient Aliens series that I have posted below.
Generally I don’t care if people’s beliefs are harmless. What does get me angry is the spread of any misinformation that causes far-reaching adverse effects such as climate change denial or incorrect claims about vaccination. I’m also not partial to being treated as though I’m naive or ignorant simply because I don’t believe there is any merit to your particular ideology. But I’m not going to bother arguing the point with any individual if I can avoid it – because people will almost always remain unmoved in the face of evidence when it challenges their belief system. Religion is proof enough of that.
Of the five graded assessments that I turned in for my uni course, I have received four “High Distinctions”. I am still waiting to find out how I did on my “Assess TV” presentation. The suspense is killing me.
I can’t help but be intrigued by my attitude towards my grades. I’ve never been a high-achiever – in high school or at the two inappropriate university courses I started and never finished. For that matter, I’ve never been able to stick with anything for long. I guess it just shows that I’m never going to do well at anything when my heart isn’t in it. It is therefore a pleasant surprise to be getting good grades. Leaves me with a warm and fuzzy feeling
Yesterday I participated in a brilliant workshop about alchemy facilitated by Ravyn Stanfield. Without going into a whole lot of detail, this at its most basic level was about learning some tools to help map change within our lives. Most interesting for me was discovering how I actively sabotage my own desires. Now I’m not going to pretend that I have a clear view of what I ultimately want to do with my life. I suspect that there are many threads in that particular tapestry. What I have learned however, is that I have an amazing ability to get in my own way.
Many of you will resonate with this, I’m sure. Like me, many of you will be well acquainted with that little voice in your head that tells you all the reasons why you can’t do something. For me it’s, “That idea isn’t good enough”, “You can’t write until you’ve had a shower/checked Facebook/done more research…” and most recently, “You can’t become a screen writer if you don’t even know what a Producer does.”
However I’m feeling much more open and positive about working with my inner-Saboteur since yesterday’s workshop. Among other things, I realised that it is okay to be a beginner. It is okay to be uncertain or to not always finish a project. Learning to be okay with that is going to be extremely difficult for me. But what I also have to remember is to not let those doubts and insecurities get in the way of my writing. It stifles my creativity.
So as a first step – as one way for me to get out of my own way and take a risk, I’ve enrolled myself in a one-day ‘Introduction to Television’ seminar.
And I’m thoroughly excited about it too! In some ways it might be a small step, but in others it is huge. You see, I’m sometimes afraid to start new things because I can never be sure whether it is right for me. This is made so much worse when there is a financial hurdle. Or if a course is run full time or during work hours. Some of these things simply make it impossible for me. So investing a lot of time and money in something that I can’t be sure I’ll stick with feels frightening and irresponsible. And the difficult part is distinguishing between the legitimate concerns I should have about that, and my inner-Saboteur who just leaps at the chance to stop me in my tracks.
For now I’m feeling good. It is a simple seminar that will give me the overview of the television industry that I so desperately need to understand before making any other decisions. And I’ll just keep my eye on that ten-week ‘Writing Sci-Fi for TV & Film’ course…