FROM THE TRENCHES: Illegal, Immoral or Just Plain Stupid?


Knowing we could be eliminated from the running for a job we want, should we answer interview questions that are irrelevant or even illegal? Continue reading



Boxed In: Employment of Behind-the-Scenes and On-Screen Women in 2012-13 Prime-time Television 

by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D.

Reprinted from Women In Film Copyright © 2013– All rights reserved.

For the last 16 years, this study has tracked women’s behind-the-scenes employment on prime-time television programs airing on the broadcast networks. Every few years, the study has also monitored the on-screen representation of female characters. This year the sample has been expanded to include original programming on basic cable channels (A&E, AMC, FX, History, TNT, USA), pay cable channels (HBO, Showtime), and Netflix programs.

The findings of the study are divided into two major sections. The first section reports the behind-the-scenes and on-screen findings for the broadcast networks, offering historical comparisons from 2012-13 with figures dating from 1997-98. The second section reports the behind-the-scenes and on-screen findings for the total sample of programs airing on the broadcast networks, cable, and Netflix.

The study examined one randomly selected episode of every series. Random selection is a frequently used and widely accepted method of sampling programs from the universe of television programming.

Findings for Broadcast Networks 

•During 2012-13, women continued their slow but incremental growth in key behind-the-scenes roles. Women comprised 28% of all individuals working as creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography. This represents an increase of two percentage points from 2011-2012 and an increase of 7 percentage points since 1997-98  This is a recent historical high.

Overall, women fared best as producers (38%), followed by writers (34%), executive producers (27%), creators (24%), editors (16%), directors (12%),

and directors of photography (3%) (see Figure 2).

Women comprised 24% of creators. This represents a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2011-12 but an increase of 6 percentage points from 1997-98.

Women accounted for 27% of executive producers. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from  2011-12 and an increase of 8 percentage points since 1997-98.

Women comprised 38% of producers. This is even with women’s representation as producers in 2011-12, and represents an increase of 9 percentage points since 1997-98.

Women accounted for 34% of writers. This represents an increase of 4 percentage points from 2011-12 and an increase of 14 percentage points since 1997-98.

Women comprised 12% of directors. This represents an increase of 1 percentage point from 2011-12, and 4 percentage points since 1997-98.

Women accounted for 16% of editors. This represents an increase of 3 percentage points from 2011-12, and an increase of 1 percentage point since 1997-98.

Women comprised 3% of directors of photography. This represents a decrease of 1 percentage point from 2011-12 and an increase of 3 percentage points since 1997-98. Boxed In • 2012-13 3

•43% of all speaking characters and 43% of major characters were female in 2012-13. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from 2010-11, and is even with the historical high set in 2007-08 (see Figure 3).

•Programs airing on the CW featured the highest percentage of female characters (51%), followed by Fox and ABC (44%), NBC (41%), and CBS (39%). The CW was the only network featuring female characters in accurate numerical proportion to their representation in the U.S. population.

•Reality programs were more likely to feature female characters than programs in other genres. Females comprised 48% of characters on reality programs, 43% of characters on situation comedies, and 40% of characters on dramas.

•Female characters tended to be younger than their male counterparts. 30% of female characters but only 19% of male characters were in their 20s. 22% of male characters but only 14% of female characters were in their 40s.

•78% of female characters were white, 12% were African-American, 5% were Latina, 3% were Asian, and 2% were of some other race or ethnicity.

•Viewers were less likely to know the occupational status of female characters than male characters. 37% of female characters but only 30% of male characters had an unknown occupational status.

•Viewers were more likely to know the marital status of female characters than male characters. 47% of male characters but only 38% of female characters had an unknown marital status.

•When programs had no women writers, females accounted for 40% of all characters. When programs had at least one woman writer, females comprised 43% of all characters.

•When programs had no women creators, females accounted for 41% of all characters. When programs had at least one woman creator, females comprised 47% of all characters. Boxed In • 2012-13 4

Findings for Broadcast Networks, Cable & Neflix Programs 

•Women comprised 26% of individuals in key behind-the-scenes roles on programs airing on the broadcast networks and cable channels, and available through Netflix in 2012-2013.

•Women fared best as producers (38%), followed by writers (30%), executive producers (24%), creators (23%), editors (16%), directors (11%), and directors of photography (2%) (see Figure 4).

•Female accounted for 42% of all speaking characters and 41% of major characters.

•Female characters were most likely to appear on reality programs. Females comprised 44% of all characters on reality programs, 42% on situation comedies, and 40% on dramas.

•79% of female characters were white, 12% were African American, 5% were Latina, 2% were Asian, and 2% were of some other race or ethnicity.

•The majority of female characters (62%) were in their 20s and 30s. The majority of male characters (58%) were in their 30s and 40s. The percentage of female characters dropped precipitously from their 30s to their 40s. 34% of female characters were in their 30s but only 16% of female characters were in their 40s.

•Male characters were much more likely than female characters to be seen at work. Of those characters seen at work, 39% were female and 61% were male.

•Male characters were much more likely than female characters to be seen working. Of those characters actually seen engaging in work, 37% were female and 63% were male.


Report compiled by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA (619) 594-6301

A Life Beyond The Busy Trap


Anxiety: We worry. A gallery of contributors count the ways.

Exactly my sentiments. EMP


If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”

It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs  who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s  make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.

Brecht Vandenbroucke

Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.

The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Not long ago I  Skyped with a friend who was driven out of the city by high rent and now has an artist’s residency in a small town in the south of France. She described herself as happy and relaxed for the first time in years. She still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain. She says it feels like college — she has a big circle of friends who all go out to the cafe together every night. She has a boyfriend again. (She once ruefully summarized dating in New York: “Everyone’s too busy and everyone thinks they can do better.”) What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this, any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam or stadium trampling or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school — it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’être was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day. And if you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American Wing at the Met or ogle girls in Central Park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long, I will say, what time?

But just in the last few months, I’ve insidiously started, because of professional obligations, to become busy. For the first time I was able to tell people, with a straight face, that I was “too busy” to do this or that thing they wanted me to do. I could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon. Except that I hate actually being busy. Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve. It got more and more intolerable until finally I fled town to the Undisclosed Location from which I’m writing this.

Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. There is no TV. To check e-mail I have to drive to the library. I go a week at a time without seeing anyone I know. I’ve remembered about buttercups, stink bugs and the stars. I read. And I’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months. It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.

More From Anxiety

Read previous contributions to this series.

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. My old colleague Ted Rall recently wrote a column proposing that we divorce income from work and give each citizen a guaranteed paycheck, which sounds like the kind of lunatic notion that’ll be considered a basic human right in about a century, like abolition, universal suffrage and eight-hour workdays. The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.

Perhaps the world would soon slide to ruin if everyone behaved as I do. But I would suggest that an ideal human life lies somewhere between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world’s endless frenetic hustle. My role is just to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play. My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.

(Anxiety welcomes submissions at

Author photo

Tim Kreider is the author of “We Learn Nothing,” a collection of essays and cartoons. His cartoon, “The Pain — When Will It End?” has been collected in three books by Fantagraphics.

7 Top Online Marketing Trends for 2011 [Data Included]


RePosted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 By Heidi Cohen | January 10, 2011 | 23 comments sponsored by: Adobe Shovel and Twitter in hand during the post-Christmas Snowpocalypse, Newark Mayor Cory Booker showed that 2011 will be about being connected, showing … Continue reading

Aging In Adland

January 30th Advertising Age posted an article about ageism. Too late for the gray-hairs. I seem to recall everyone over 50 (maybe it was 40, but it seemed like 50 when I was 20) was fired for making too much money. Now it’s too much or not enough of something else.

I learned that lesson the hard way. Here’s my response posted to Ad Age just now:

Aging in Adland:

I worked in advertising at the big creative agencies on both coasts for more than 18 years. When I hit 40 and was living in L.A. at the time, an well known ad agency owner looked up from his desk and said “I wouldn’t hire you ever no how no way”. When I asked why he said, “I can get someone half your age to work twice as hard for half the money”. Now that was a slap in the head with a two by four, no doubt, not to mention illegal but he was only saying what they all thought and didn’t want to say. It took a recruiter to sit me down and explain ageism to me.

Ironically, it was only then that I realized the only way to keep working was to keep reinventing myself in the digital world. I got a lowly job in a think tank in the Venice CA tech hub. Once there felt about code the way once felt about film. I was a sponge for technology and because there was nothing but new ground to cover, pulled out the stops, learned and accomplished things I would have been prohibited from doing in the Agency world.

While I love my colleagues and value experience in the advertising world, digital technology was the trip I seized and am still on. I am an award winning blogger, a sponge for all things digital and a well respected electronic commerce marketing specialist. TOTALLY SELF-TAUGHT.
In this new industry there are no holds barred as long as you are willing to stick your neck out and hit the trail.

Elaine Palmer
Owner Maven Media New York
Blogging @ ExecutiveWomen2.0

FROM THE TRENCHES: Haggling For Dollars. What Would A Man Do?

I recently had a free lance writing gig and was hired by someone I already knew. Our relationship has always been strictly professional and yet, this is someone I’ve kept a friendly rapport with over some eight years. Though I wrote for his publications in the 1990’s, I never reported to him directly. So our friendship remained steady – albeit at a distance. He found himself pitching a huge piece of new business recently and asked me to work on it. I posed the usual questions about scope and time frame and of course salary.

When he asked what I would charge, I did some quick math and requested an hourly rate at my standard writing fee. When he replied that he didn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, I simply asked him to tell me what he did have. He quickly halved my number and I made the deal.

What actually transpired was I did twice the assessed work for half the fee. Very predictable as it’s never failed to go down like that in the past. The one difference was, this time I asked for the remainder of the fee I first named to be deferred to the award of the job – which is fairly likely. At that point, I was offered a job. A much better result than a one time fee. Or was it? A choice that was handed to me and, in some instances, I would not have necessarily accepted.

Why? The pros and cons of a future arrangement are: the job might not materialize, the job might materialize but not to my liking, I might be already be committed to another situation when and if the job does materialize. If I get the deferred fee: it’s cash in my hands, I feel satisfied that I was paid for the work performed and I get what I initially asked for. This proves to my possible future employer -should I work for him later on – that I drive a hard bargain and will likely do that in future negotiations with him and with his vendors.

Being tough-minded where money is concerned is a good thing to employers and especially employers who are men.

At the vanguard of emerging technology, Elaine Morris Palmer, has been a “free agent” of the new economy since the early 1990’s. Award-winning broadcast producer-cum-new-media industry-analyst, marketing strategist, journalist and communications specialist. Her digital media consultancy, Maven Media, is headquartered in New York City.