I was lucky enough to attend the Women in Entertainment Summit at the beautiful Skirball Cultural Center this October. After WIE co-founders Renee Rossi and Gretchen McCourt kicked off the event in style, the full-day schedule included conversational interviews with Patricia Heaton and Sarah Hyland, panels with creators and other influential women in the industry, and ample networking opportunities for event attendees.
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that we’re in the midst of a very important time for women culturally, and that the way women—and especially women of color—are marginalized in entertainment is at the crux of this moment. Because of this, events like this summit are incredibly important right now. There’s such an appetite to have discussions about how we can help each other to break into the industry, and so many of us are more motivated than ever to get our stories made. However, I often bemoan to friends that a lot of the events I go to where #womeninfilm are a primary subject can quickly turn into a frustrating experience where the disheartening statistics about working in this industry as a woman are repeated over and over, with no real sense of action attached to them. (I get it, believe me, the stats are frustrating!)
Thankfully, the WIE summit was focused on taking action!
What was really exciting about the event Women in Entertainment put together was that it was about women taking the reins, with practical advice for how to actually do it! The panels were also presented with the—accurate, I’m sure—presumption that that women in attendance were already capable content creators. This day was about how to work in the industry, what kind of content is rising to the top, and how we can all be more mindful of the type of work we create so that it is as inclusive as possible. With panels like “Authenticity in Storytelling,” “On and Off-Screen Inclusivity of People of All Abilities,” and “Conscious Cultural Accuracy and Representation,” WIE provided a wealth of important information to the up-and-coming writers and producers of Hollywood.
There was also a strong focus on the changing landscape of the industry. A conversation on cross-platform content and what the rise of the “social media star” means for content creation was a standout for me. There are so many ways to make and distribute art now, opening the field for newcomers to share their work in non-traditional formats that can reach huge audiences. It’s very exciting but also requires keeping on top of the latest technology and trends, so I’m always interested to hear from experts on this subject!
Women in Entertainment hosts awesome events throughout the year, and they’re absolutely worth putting on your list to check out. You can sign up for their newsletter to get info about upcoming summits & workshops here.