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Comic-Con Exploring Women in Hollywood: The Good, The Bad, and the Creative Future


Comic-Con is an event that has something for everyone. It has celebrity sightings for the fans, awesome cosplay for those creatively inclined, updates on your favourite shows, and underneath it all, a nebula of creative professionals who congregate at Comic-Con to discuss their latest projects, find business/creative partners, and maybe even meet someone who will change their life forever. I love Comic-Con for the panels. I love hearing from amazingly talented people who have made their dreams come true and through it all they’re really “just like us.” Every year there is a panel that stands out as my favorite and this year it was the “Women Rocking Hollywood” panel. This panel brought together some of the most powerful women in Hollywood to discuss their successes, failures, and everything in between. This incredible group of women included Deborah Snyder (Executive Producer at DC Comics), Victoria Alonso (Executive Producer at Marvel), Catherine Hardwicke (currently holds the box office record for the highest grossing opening by a female director with Twilight), Angela Robinson (current writer on How to Get Away with Murder, and has directed episodes of True Blood, The L Word, and Hung), and Kristen Schaffer (executive director of Women in Film: LA).

These women have their fair share of stories about sexism in Hollywood. Angela Robinson discussed how she would always try to lead the discussion in meetings so that she could talk intelligently before they could put her in a box. She explained that once she started talking “their assumptions and judgments would melt away and they would just start talking about the work.” Victoria Alonso shared a disturbing but hilarious story in which while she was recently mistaken for a secretary and told how to make a proper coffee by some high level executives. Instead of telling them where to shove it, she took the high road and made herself a coffee while strongly suggesting that they do the same. As she put it, “the high road makes for a better story every time.”

untitled2This story time did not emulate an air of contempt but rather focused on the positive and the shift that is slowly occurring. Deborah Snyder said that “currently you have to make a conscious effort to include women” and as a “producer you make choices [about diversity and inclusion]but you don’t have to be a producer to make change.” Victoria Alonso echoed this idea and spoke about her dream for the future: “I live for the day when every one of our stories can be directed by any one of us.”

The panel concluded with a discussion about what creative projects are in the pipeline for these women and I could not be more excited about what is to come. Catherine Hardwicke talked about her latest creative endeavour titled Together Now: a series of 7 short films directed by women and filmed all over the world which explore the common theme of womanhood and female empowerment. Angela Robinson discussed a television show she is writing and developing with Annapurna Pictures about the Golden Age of Hollywood and the intersecting lives of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. As a child I was raised on Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, and a heavy dose of Cary Grant so I was practically bouncing in my seat when I heard about this upcoming project. And of course we have Wonder Woman coming from Deborah Snyder at DC Comics which will be released June 2, 2017 and Suicide Squad from Victoria Alonso and Marvel which opened August 1, 2016.

Comic-Con is a place to observe and soak in the craziness, but it is also a place to dream and be inspired by like-minded creatives. I know that I am excited about the future of our industry and look forward to the opportunity to learn from these badass women at next year’s Comic-Con and dream of working with them in the future.


Deborah Lee Smith

About Deborah Lee Smith

Deborah Lee Smith is an actress and producer whose love of performing, storytelling, and new experiences has led to filming projects around the world. Originally from LA, she studied Theater and English Lit at UC Berkeley before moving to Australia to pursue her master’s degree in Film Production. She started acting in the Australian film industry before returning to LA and diving head first into acting and discovered a love of producing. Currently, she has two films in post-production that she has starred in, and has received several awards for her acting and producing work. Additionally, she has partnered with another incredible female producer to create Deep Sea Pictures, a full-service production company that has several projects in various stages of development. She believes in working hard, playing hard, exploring the world, and supporting others to tell stories that expand our understanding of the world and the people, places, and things that reside within it!