How Is This Possible? It Just Is.
I got to do something really cool last week. I produced a 2 hour long live online web show. We had six bands, live and semi-live. A host and two guests who co-hosted.
I’ve worked at 5 VMAs in various positions (talent escort, running like a crazy person for performance approvals, red carpet interviews, once shadowing the show’s main talent exec) and 5 mtvU Woodie awards (again talent escort, identifying red carpet bands for the press, random running around, oh and I developed the concept for that whole show) so I’m not unfamiliar with the large scale live production with semi-live elements, but I’ve certainly never produced one entirely on my own. Making a rundown was more of a trip than I can tell you and it was pretty fun when the whole thing got thrown out the window and I started making it up as we went along.
But here’s what struck me the second I put my comms on: I had only met most of the crew that day and was having a hard time telling their voices apart. Because they were all men. No one had a problem recognizing my voice. I was the only woman on the headset. After the fact I realized all the bands on the show were all-male also. One of our guest hosts, who showed up unexpectedly and jumped right to work in front of the camera, was a woman. The demo for this show was by and large young females.
The production crew being all male is largely unremarkable, to be honest. You’ll get a female producer or director now and then, but by and large the crews most places I’ve worked have been all male. Except when I was in college and worked as a live camera operator for our local NBC affiliate on the local news. Of the 3 cameras, 2 were manned by women. Our director was often a woman, who let me also learn the chyron equipment. It is certainly avoidable if you put enough effort into it but that was the only experience I have had where production was even near to equal, when it came to gender. And it was in the summer of 1999.
At any rate, after last week’s event I got to talking with one of the guys on the production and we developed a show idea we want to pitch to VH1. Maybe I’ll insist they hire an all-female camera crew for that.