Jodie Foster is a Hollywood force to be reckoned with. I have been intrigued and impressed with her for years now—first as a child actress who developed into an Academy Award-winning adult actress, then as one of a few successful female film directors, and always as a person of integrity. In a recent LA Times article about Jodie Foster, she analyzed the death of female directors this way: “I don’t think it’s a plot and these guys sit around and say ‘let’s keep these women out.’ When a producer hires a director, you’re hiring away your control completely. When you give that amount of power up, you want them to look like you and talk like you and think like you, and it’s scary when they don’t. I’m gonna hand over millions to somebody I don’t know. I hope they look like me.” It caught my eye, because years ago I had analyzed the dearth of female composers the same way: “If you phoned up a company and asked for someone to come and repair your TV and a 12-year old showed up at your door, he could be a totally qualified boy electronics genius, but you would think, ‘Where’s the real repairman? You’re not what a repairman is supposed to look like.’“
I’m not what a film composer is supposed to look like.
So how do I, in a sea of male producers, directors, and other male composers—my competition—overcome this obstacle? I know some might suggest I go undercover like the Barbra Streisand film “Yentl” (girl Yeshiva student masquerades as a boy in order to study the Talmud), assume a male name as an alias, or give up my beauty rituals to look less attractive. Instead, it has been my experience to be the best that I could be—as a composer and a woman—and let the music speak for itself. I’m very curious as to how youngup-and-coming female film composers are dealing with this issue today. I would love to hear from any of you.