Jill Soloway on Lack of Female Directors

Other | Monday 13th March 2017 | Idrees

Jill Soloway, creator of TV series Transparent, used the conference and festival South by South West as a forum to address her views.

Soloway used her time as the opening film keynote speaker at SXSW to ask the question of why there isn’t more women directors.

“My entire career could be simply talking to documentary directors asking me why there aren’t more women directors,” Soloway mentioned, before joking that, most of the time, it’s male directors who ask her the question.

She then mentioned the lack of gender diversity in current day directors, to a list of structural problems, which include the patriarchy, men, white men and white supremacy. She also mentioned that becoming a director has made her “become less of a woman.”

"My hair and my suit are the markers where you can tell I'm a little bit more masc-presenting, dare I say," she added. "I'm still a woman of course but five years ago I wasn't a director, I wasn't queer and I probably would have identified as a fem person. After my parent came out as trans, I began to question my own gender inheritance and I had a fantastic idea for a TV show and I got very successful very quickly." 

Soloway did share one tip which would resonate with anyone who struggles with self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

“A lot of my realizations as a director came from just going, "Okay, I have everything I need. I have to just be here, I have to be able to tell my instincts from my impulses or my instincts from my anxieties,’” she told the audience. One tool that helped her with that was simply taking notes and, separately, “trying to be in my body."

Although, Soloway did admit that sometimes the self-assuredness of certain male candidates can supersede the best of intentions. “Sometimes I just want to give them this job because they’re communicating to me that they’ve got this,” she told the audience.

She also added the importance of mentorship, which is one facet of her production company, Topple. “It’s not just about finding the person, it’s about protecting the person all the way through.”

Soloway’s latest project, I Love Dick, premieres May 12th on Amazon.