NYWIFT Blog

Member Focus: Melissa Silverstein

image

As the saying goes: if you want success, see a need and fill it. That’s what NYWIFT member Melissa Silverstein has done with her popular blog Women and Hollywood.

It was 2007 and not many people were writing about women who work in the male-dominated film industry. To fill that void, Silverstein launched a blog, a new format to her, and one that took a while for people to notice. “I felt like I was talking to myself half the time,” says Silverstein.

Fast-forward a few short years and today, Women and Hollywood attracts close to 10,000 readers each week.

Silverstein says the blog is the greatest job she has ever had. “I love it. I can put my ideas out there and people respond immediately. I’m glad to be part of something as it’s happening, as people are talking about these issues.”

Despite her efforts, Silverstein says not much has changed in Hollywood. “There have been incrementally small shifts for women behind the scenes,” she says, but points out that there hasn’t been a visible increase in women-directed films. That number is almost the same as in 1998.

In front of the camera, women haven’t faired much better. “Women are still a small minority on screen,” she adds.

Silverstein sees the Women and Hollywood format as part of a broader discussion about the difficulties women face in general. “I describe it as pushing a pebble up a hill against a boulder coming down—push, push, go around, go underneath, do everything you can.”

Her blog has become a treasure trove of information about women’s issues, and led her to write a well-received new book, In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing. Silverstein is already working on volume two — single-handedly making a dent in a subject dominated by books on male directors.

And that’s not all Silverstein is currently up to. She also co-created the Athena Film Festival with Kathryn Kolbert, director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. Just completing its third year, the festival celebrates women and leadership in the film industry, whether in front of or behind the camera. Four thousand people attended the February 2013 festival, up from 3,300 in 2012. Silverstein calls it a great opportunity to stimulate conversation about women’s leadership in society.

That’s also a role she sees for New York Women in Film & Television. “It’s a body, it has members, it can take positions,” she says. “Women in Hollywood are basically a constituency without representation. Someone has to step up and lead.” Many NWIFT members join the organization to take an active role in advocacy for women in the film and television industry.

Silverstein points out that the issue is not just one for women in the industry. “I think about the kids watching TV shows; I think about my nieces and nephews. I want them to have great role models for their future; I want people to think female-centric works are just as worthy as men’s.” — MIMI SPILLANE, NYWIFT member (@mimispillane)

NYWIFT Blog readers can take advantage of an exclusive discount offer to download the ebook of Melissa Silverstein’s In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing by using code IHV-DISC at checkout.

PUBLISHED BY

nywift

nywift New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media.

View all posts by nywift

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

*

Related Posts

What’s in Your Toolkit: Anne del Castillo

As the Commissioner of the NYC Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo has a very full and challenging job, juggling a lot of balls, especially now during COVID-19. A native New Yorker, del Castillo has more than 25 years of experience in film and TV production, public media, and arts and nonprofit administration. She discusses what's in her toolkit, and how she has led MOME "from cheerleader to crisis manager" during the the pandemic.

READ MORE

NYWIFT Women’s History Month Spotlight: Janine McGoldrick

Janine McGoldrick is a veteran entertainment executive who has created and implemented strategic distribution and communications campaigns for television and film, including for the 2017 Academy Award-winner "The Salesman." She discusses her work on that campaign, her initial transition from politics to entertainment, and making her first documentary, about an invisible disease that confounds doctors.

READ MORE

NYWIFT Women’s History Month Spotlight: Tammy Reese

Tammy Reese is a multimedia content creator who loves everything theatre, entertainment, media, and film. She is an award-winning actress, writer, and journalist, and the Founder & Lead Publicist of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media. She discusses her inspirations, balancing work and family, her favorite interviews and more.

READ MORE

NYWIFT Women’s History Month Spotlight: Kelsey Marsh

NYWIFT Member Kelsey Marsh is a Line Producer at NowThis currently overseeing their Earth and Impact partnerships. She has six years experience in managing inspiring, entertaining, and educational productions for broadcast and digital platforms. Kelsey shares how her experience in the Peace Corps led her to a career combining media and service, her Women's History Month inspirations, and more.

READ MORE
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
css.php