Video: Inspiration from the women of Hollywood

Video: “Makers: Women in Hollywood”

I’m a fan of documentaries, and I’ve watched a whole bunch of them on PBS. I’m the guy who plowed through 14 hours of “The Roosevelts” from Ken Burns in a week.

I think you should check out one of PBS’ series, “Makers: Women Who Make America.” The one that caught my eye was “Women in Hollywood,” a look at the bumpy rise (in progress) of female actors, directors and producers.

The interviews and historical segments reveal so many voices without direct access for decades to two of our most influential media channels: movies and television. I learned about how Sherry Lansing rose to head Paramount, how Shonda Rhimes fought to get “Grey’s Anatomy” (currently in its 11th season) on the air, how Lena Dunham took groundbreaking stories a step further.

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”
and “How to Get Away With Murder”

One of the most interesting messages comes in the last third of this hourlong documentary. As many women continue to face barriers to power positions in the entertainment industry, they’ve branched out to find new and different ways to tell their stories.

Even successes such as Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar wins for “The Hurt Locker” and the enormous box office revenue for “Bridesmaids” haven’t necessarily led to more opportunities. But as the interviewees make clear, storytelling methods have multiplied with technology and funding options.

Watch “Makers” and you can’t help but be inspired to find better ways to tell stories. It takes determination and creativity, but the rewards can be fame, fortune and forging a connection with audiences.

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham, creator and star of “Girls”

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About Wade Kwon

Wade Kwon is conference director for Y'all Connect. See his full bio.

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