BREAKING THE BOUNDARIES
FOR WOMEN & GIRLS
How is the entertainment creative community creating content to tell compelling stories by leveraging new and emerging media avenues? Consumers are using new technologies and platforms to find unique and rich content. According to the Institute’s research, when there is the presence of a female writer, there is a 10% increase in on-screen roles. The panelists will present examples of how they are creating strong female characters and great storytelling through video across multiple digital platforms in addition to or instead of traditional TV and film media.
Strategic Storytelling Raises Bar For Women
Hosted by YouTube Space, there could not have been a better place to hold the most recent Geena Davis Institute Salon addressing “Storytelling: Breaking the Boundaries for Women & Girls.” Dynamic panelists representing a variety of new and emerging media avenues discussed how the new technologies are affording them the ability to develop and showcase quality storylines that highlight, feature, and promote women both on and behind the screen. Ms. Davis opened the event with an important reminder that we still have much work to do to reach parity between men and women both on and off screen. With women represented only 17% of the time across the spectrum of the entertainment industry, there is a dire need for improvement! Although generally speaking cultural shifts can take time, the casting and hiring of women in all capacities of the entertainment industry is something that can have an immediate impact and can be done literally overnight.
Dyllan McGee, Moderator
Dyllan McGee is the Founder and Executive Producer of MAKERS. She is also an Emmy-award winning Executive Producer at Kunhardt McGee Productions overseeing all documentary and web programming. Her films include: Emmy award-nominated documentary, Gloria: In Her Own Words(HBO), Peabody Award-winning, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (PBS); Emmy Award-winning, Teddy: In His Own Words (HBO); Faces of American with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (PBS); This Emotional Life (PBS); African American Lives (PBS); Oprah’s Roots (PBS); and Emmy-nominated, In Memoriam; 9/11/01 (HBO). Dyllan served as the Director of Content and Operations for the International Freedom Center at Ground Zero in New York, a cultural institution that was proposed as part of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Dyllan serves on the board of the Gordon Parks Foundation and lives in Katonah, NY with her husband and two sons.
Prior to his role at WIGS, Jake Avnet was an early adopter in the digital content space, producing viral web content, music videos and web series for companies such as Warner Brothers, FOX and the Sundance Film Festival. He has been on the forefront of migrating major writers, directors and actors from traditional media into the online space.
Avnet has also produced television pilots for TNT, Warner Horizon Television, FOX and 20th Century Fox Television.
He was recently named one of Hollywood’s New Leaders by Variety.
Brian Dameris is currently Chief of Staff to Todd Wagner and Director of Business Development for Chideo, the first interactive charity broadcast network. Previously, Brian has been at Broadcast.com where he spearheaded the company’s Initial Public Offering, resulting in a record-setting opening at the time on Wall Street. He later joined the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks as Director of Basketball Operations. Brian started the team’s statistical analysis efforts, bringing the “Moneyball” style of leadership to the NBA as the league’s first team to adopt this approach.
Brian also kept pursuing personal passions during his career as he was instrumental in the founding of two non-profits. He spearheaded the efforts to open the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Charter School’s Dallas location. KIPP is an inner-city college-preparatory program currently serving 350 youth. He also co-founded the Miracle League of DFW, building a baseball field and starting a league specifically for mentally and physically-challenged youth. He also works two weeks each summer with kids afflicted with Williams Syndrome and is producing a documentary on those youth. Brian also moonlights as a stand-up comedian.
Funny or Die
Originally from San Antonio, TX and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Betsy Koch began her career in the entertainment industry at the Endeavor agency where she worked in both the motion picture literary and talent departments. She transitioned into development and production working for writer/director Peter Berg at Film 44, and then helped develop a full feature/TV slate as Robert Rodriguez’s creative executive at Troublemaker Studios in Austin, TX. Betsy is currently an Executive Producer at Funny or Die. She’s been nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the acclaimed web series “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis and has won two Webby Awards for “Drunk History Christmas” with Ryan Gosling and “The Wire: The Musical” with the cast of “The Wire.”
Betsy currently heads up the Funny or Die Comedy Specials business and served as executive producer for Sarah Silverman’s HBO special ‘We Are Miracles’ and Jerrod Carmichael’s upcoming HBO special directed by Spike Lee.
Brin is a scripted producer at AwesomenessTV, a multi-platform media company serving the global teen audience. While at AwesomenessTV has produced several projects including AwesomenessTV on Nickelodeon, Side Effects, andthe Terry the Tomboy Movie. Prior to AwesomenessTV, Brin was a feature film executive at Ashton Kutcher’s company, Katalyst Films. Originally from the Washington DC area, Brin earned her degree in Theater at the University of Virginia.
Funny or Die
Eliza Skinner is originally from Richmond, VA and started her performing career as an unnamed child revolutionary in a local production of Evita. She is now a stand-up comedian and has appeared on The Pete Holmes Show, @Midnight, Chelsea Lately, Upload with Shaquille O’Neal, MTV, Showtime, AMC and the BBC. Eliza has performed in festivals all over the world including RiotLA, SXSW, Bridgetown, the NY Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe, and she was just selected to be a “New Face Of Comedy” for the 2014 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival.
Last fall, Eliza was a writer and on-air correspondent for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (produced by Chris Rock). Currently, she is a staff writer for Funny Or Die, where she has created many viral hits – just last week the President tweeted about her “Mary Poppins Quits” sketch after it got a million hits in one day. Oh, and RuPaul once called her “She-larious!”