Femme focus: Getting to 50%

Women in Film sets new TV and Media programs

Imagine spending a week shadowing Patricia Heaton on “The Middle,” Fran Drescher on “Happily Divorced” or executive producer Jill Leiderman on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Women in Film is focused on turning these dreams into a reality with its TV and Media programs, which range from blogging to mentoring, giving members the opportunity to gain invaluable on-the-job training.

It’s the shadowing program, about to enter its third year, that most excites WIF president Cathy Schulman, who remembers her days being mentored by producer Barbara Boyle.

“Female-to-female mentorship is a rare thing, particularly in Hollywood,” Schulman said. “The thing I’ve heard the most from young women is ‘Why can’t I find a woman to get me a phone call or make a hard day easier.’ We’re trying to provide that.”

WIF members must apply for a selection process into the shadowing program, which will allow them a weeklong shadow experience. According to Danica Krislovich, chair of the WIF Television & Media committee, the shadowing program has a number of success stories, such as the aspiring filmmaker who is now a producer on HGTV, and one member who is now a writer’s assistant on a TNT show.

Along with mentoring, and the ability to watch a television show developed from script to shooting, is the pitch development program, which gives members the chance to compete to present an idea for a reality skein to MTV Networks execs.

Just as it’s worked to branch out into television, WIF is also incorporating new media into its programs. The org has partnered with YouTube and InterTube Network to give members new platforms to promote their work.

With the numerous opportunities and platforms being offered through these programs, Krislovich hopes to see real change in the industry. WIF’s many outreach programs will get a big push at its pre-Emmy party tonight, held in conjunction with Variety at the Montage in BevHills.

“Since 1998 we’ve never had more than 18% of women collectively working as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers and editors. Until we’re at 50%, we can’t stop,” she says.

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