I was just coming in here because I was curious about the LGBT and racial mix up of the staff ... but that was just on a superficial level (my interest).
If you're wondering WHY creative companies should actively look to employ more female writers (etc), then I urge you to read a passage in Dan Harmon's recent episode-by-episode breakdown of Community on The Onion's AV Club website:
Put basically, there is a whole lot of thinking that you're missing if you don't have a diverse creative team (in general). This isn't to say that all men think alike, or that all male readers are your only concern, chief concern or whatever. It is just to say that if you are concerned with being the absolute best that you can be creatively, you have to create from every angle, in the best possible way.AVC: You’ve employed a lot of female writers, in both seasons. That’s not true of a lot of other TV comedies. Was that a conscious decision?
DH: It was conscious on the part of [former NBC programming head] Angela Bromstad, before she left NBC. Angela said, “Get more women on your staff. Make it half women.” I remember going, “Are you fucking kidding me?” to myself. “Okay, I got a sitcom, and this is as far as you go,” because I’ve just been told that half of my staff needs to be a quota hire. From the mouths of bureaucrats come the seeds of great things. I dug extra hard. You find somebody like Hilary Winston. You find people later like [Emily] Cutler and [Karey] Dornetto.
They’re harder to find. It’s definitely not because women ain’t funny, because I’m finding the opposite. It’s because there’s fewer of them. The statistical probability of picking up a shitty script, it’s compounded for women. There’s the same percentage of genius happening in both genders, but there’s less women writing scripts and out there looking for the job. So you dig a little extra-hard, and you end up with a staff that took a few extra meetings and a few extra shitty scripts to read. Now you have a staff that is just as good as the staff you would have had, but happens to be half women. And it seems like the greatest thing in the world, because the world is half women. And the male writers across the board, from top to bottom, in their most private moments drinking with me, when they’re fully licensed to be as misogynist, reactive, old-boy-network as they want, all they can say is, “This turned out to be a great thing.”
The energy is different. It doesn’t keep anybody polite. We’re not doffing our caps or standing up when they enter the room. They do more dick jokes than anybody, because they’ve had to survive, they have to prove, coming in the door, that they’re not dainty. That’s not fair, but women writers, they acquire the muscle of going blue fast because they have to counter the stigma. I don’t have enough control groups to compare it to, but there’s just something nice about feeling like your writers’ room represents your ensemble a little more accurately, represents the way the world turns.
Race is another thing entirely. It would be fantastic to have 18 percent black writers on your TV staff and stuff. But the fact is, black women have ovaries and white women have ovaries; black men have testicles and white men have testicles, so actually, race is far more an artificial construct than gender. There’s a literal, actual difference between men and women, and it’s in their blood, and it’s in their brains, and it’s in their fingertips, and it’s in our conversations. I think women are different, and I think having them in the room is crucial to a family comedy, ensemble comedy, television comedy, where half the eyeballs on your show are women. As it turns out, I think Megan’s the only female writer who’s staying this year, so now, even though Bromstad’s gone, now I’m carrying this legacy, going, “Eh, guys, we really need a half-female writing staff.” I would teach it. I think we have to stop thinking of it as a quota thing and think of it as a common-sense thing
It would be hard to deny that Gail is not one of (if not the) best female writers in the industry.
(although I would say that Immonen could take her in a write off)
footnote: Community is a an incredibly intelligently written (from a comedy point of view) comedy show, and worth anyone's time.
They are not beyond a fart joke, either.
Last edited by Mad_Man_Moon; 06-12-2011 at 06:23 PM. Reason: removed winking smiley, as I'm sure that there are idiots who will take it out of context
What a great testimony posted above. Thank you for that. It makes my point. My argument for a diversity in comics isn't based on morality or guilt...it's just good business.
If you want to sell comics to more people, and not just sell more comics to the same shrinking audience, then you've got to diversify your staff. The business is too insular. No one is questioning the orthodoxies that prevent the millions of people who are enjoying comic book characters in other mediums from actually picking up a comic book. There are plenty of talented people who may or may not be working in comics, but certainly could at least work at the level of product currently being produced, if not better.
Edit: I'm for bringing as many different, talented voices into the process as possible. But Harmon's argument seems to be opposed to yours, yet you're co-opting it, which is quizzical. I really like to see diversity for its own sake and for it possibly lending to the chances of getting something fresh and different that we might not have otherwise gotten. Not seeing where it makes a quantifiable difference that statistics bear out.
Last edited by khuxford; 06-12-2011 at 07:27 PM.
Now, I don't know why Harmon is so adamant about how gender differences are real, but ethnic differences are irrelevant, but especially if you're talking about writers, then that person's life experiences are going to inform how the view things, and that will come out in their writing. And, in that case, the color of someone's skin can often make a huge difference in how they approach a certain topic, and I think that more viewpoints can be beneficial.
Those differences are small enough that easier to make up for via research and the talent to apply it. The lack of those differences generally don't lead to the loss of an audience, because there are bigger similarities to speak to. The presence of those differences don't always result in a noticeable difference on the business side, either. Harmon's argument, again, is actually counter to Hudlin's, not supportive of it, so it seems odd that he'd hold it up as proof.