Gender as Represented in Spec Script Deals: 1991–2017
Updated to include last year’s numbers. Bottom line: Little change.
I have tracked spec script deals pretty much since I broke into the business in 1987. Indeed I started recording details of actual deals as far back as 1991. My rationale: Staying on top of what studios and production companies are acquiring is a great way for a writer to keep their finger on the pulse of Hollywood’s development universe.
Every year since I began the blog in 2008, I have gone through each of that year’s deals and provided analysis of what, who, when, how, and why to give GITS readers insight into the spec script market. One set of numbers I track: Deals by gender. Here is an infographic with 2017 data included:
There is a slight uptick in the percentage of female writers involved in spec script deals from 2014–2017: 15% as compared to 13% in previous years. Obviously the number is significantly low, but perhaps 15% represents a new baseline. Still the relative consistency of these numbers suggests a systemic and ongoing issue.
These low numbers are one reason why I promote inclusivity on the blog:
- In my Saturday Hot Links posts, I aggregate articles from each week which speak to gender inequity in the business.
- On a recurring basis, I encourage writers to gender-bend stories to feature females in lead roles.
- I have interviewed Darnell Hunt, Director of Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, lead author of annual Hollywood Diversity Report.
- I am making a conscious effort to do a 50–50 gender split of interviews with writers.
These along with other initiatives like the annual analysis of spec script deals by gender are small things, but that’s the point: Each of us needs to do whatever we can to counteract unconscious and conscious gender bias.
Hopefully with the success of such movies as Wonder Woman, Hidden Figures, Girls Trip, and other projects featuring female leads, there will be more interest in stories penned by women writers. Indeed, as I noted in my analysis of the 2017 annual Black List, there has been an upward trendline of scripts featuring female protagonists is four years running. Same goes with scripts written at least in part by writers identifying as women.
Who knows. Maybe next year, I’ll be posting an infographic featuring a higher percentage of spec script deals written by people who identify as female.
Here are links to all my blogs posts analyzing spec script deals back to 2008.
2008 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2009 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2010 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2011 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2012 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2013 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2014 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2015 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2016 Spec Script Deals Analysis
2017 Spec Script Deals Analysis
Here are all the spec script deals I could confirm between 1991 and 2017:
As always, if anyone has information related to a spec script deal I have missed, please contact me.
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