Sexual Harassment in the Film Industry

“In removing Weinstein from its ranks, the academy said in a statement, ‘We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society. The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.'” (The Los Angeles Times).

The above statement comes from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in response to the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Harvey Weinstein, who is alleged to have used his considerable power as a producer and director in Hollywood to abuse women.

I’m satisfied that Weinstein is getting his well-deserved public humiliation and censure. However, I hope that no one witnessing his demise is under the delusion that the problem of sexual harassment and abuse of women in the workplace is over. It is especially insidious in glittering, glamorous industries like the film industry, which entices beautiful and talented young women to enter its ranks.

Because dreams of acting fame and fortune are so alluring, it can be tempting for women to override their natural self-protective instincts and cater to powerful men who claim to hold the ticket to their dream lifestyle. For women who do not have strong, solid values and support systems. as well as healthy doses of self-esteem, inner strength, and skepticism, this abuse can be especially long-lasting and traumatic.

If I had a daughter, especially one who wanted into the film industry, I wouldn’t discourage her dreams. But I would insist that she believe in her own competence. While it can be important not to burn bridges, it’s also important to know that no one person holds the key to your success – other than yourself. It’s important to know yourself well, to know what your strengths are, and to believe in what you have to offer.  Then one is less inclined to fall for false promises – and more inclined to call bullshit when appropriate.

Some of the women who experienced Weinstein’s predation vowed never to work with him, and didn’t. But there is no blame for the women who were abused. There is only a warning for other women in the industry to know that there are men like this out there. You must come armed with confidence, support, and options if you want to survive. It is important for women to have each other’s backs. Predators can smell weakness and isolation a mile away.

This is why speaking up is so important. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s scary. No, it doesn’t always lead to justice. But it does put the predators on notice that they will be exposed if they insist on abusing their power.

Stay strong out there, ladies, regardless of what field you’re in.

Peace and love,

Raven

 

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Resistance – The Monster Under the Bed

Halloween – my favorite holiday – is coming! Monsters and scary stuff are on my mind. But beyond the make-believe goblins and ghouls, there are real monsters out there. They will steal everything and leave you by the side of the road if you don’t fight them. Resistance is one of these monsters.

Resistance is something that often comes up when talking about writer’s block, but it applies to every aspect of life. Resistance, as I’m using it, is above and beyond the casual use of this word. We normally think of resistance like “sales resistance,” which is good – not giving in to every salesperson who wants to empty your wallet. But the Resistance that seems to crapify people’s lives is that which stands like a bodyguard in front of every great thing you want to do in your life.

Resistance convinces you that meditation is silly or beneath you, even when your life is clearly chaotic and out of control. Resistance stops you from apologizing or being kind to your loved one, even when you want a great relationship. Resistance keeps you from writing or painting or starting a business, even when that’s your heart’s desire. Resistance convinces you to sit on the couch and eat fast food, even though you know your blood pressure is high and your gut is large. Resistance will always keep you running in place, mediocre, and repeating self-destructive habits.

The way out is simple but difficult. You create a set of values for yourself (writing them down is helpful). Then, you behave according to those values – NO MATTER WHAT. Every day, you work towards the things that matter to you, a little bit at a time. In the heat of the moment, when excuse after excuse is marching through your mind like a line of ants, that’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where you will need a strategy to avoid falling back into the same old traps of laziness, apathy, or self-destruction.

To cure writing Resistance, for example, I set up smartphone alarms for myself. Other activities are now long-standing habits, after a period of time spent forcing myself to do them. Meditation and exercise, for example, are two self-care items I can’t live without. They put me in the right frame of mind to live with thoughtfulness and integrity, even when it’s difficult. Because meditation has allowed me to know myself intimately, I’ve created a strong set of core values. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened eventually. I do what I think is right, even when I don’t feel like it, even when I have every reason not to. It never feels good – at first. But, at the end of the day, I can live with myself – and THAT is the foundation of true self-esteem.

Everyone is different, so you may have to play around and figure out how to overcome your own Resistance. The important thing to remember is that Resistance IS a real thing and it will destroy your life if you let it.

 

Peace and love,

Raven

Scriptwriter’s Network – An Awesome Professional Organization for Writers

http://scriptwritersnetwork.com/member-spotlight/

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I was happy to be written up in Scriptwriter’s Network member spotlight section. Scriptwriter’s Network is an awesome professional club for aspiring screen and television writers. Three Saturdays out of the month, successful film and television writers are invited to speak to us, offering writing tips and advice for navigating the industry. The first Friday of the month is the monthly networking event. I have not yet attended a networking event, but I’ve heard good things.

As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, association is so important. For whatever we want to do in life, it matters who we associate with. Successful people will inspire us to work harder. Less motivated people will sap us of our ambition and drive. I’ve heard it said that our success reflects the success levels of the 5 people we spend the most time with. If that’s true, then make sure these people reflect where you want to go and how you want to be.

Have a beautiful weekend,

Raven