Editorial Spotlight: Dana Belcastro
By: Guest Contributor, Dana Belcastro
What does it mean to me to be a woman working in entertainment?
Because we’ve been experiencing some difficulties in the last few years, a lot of us have joined hands to support each other. I have a “brain trust” of about 135 female physical production execs who I can lean on and that’s an extremely valuable asset. We also work together to create opportunities for other women in leadership positions. This community was created by the issues we all face and it’s something that’s completely unique and something I feel fortunate to have. As women in the industry, we’re realizing that we can work together and I think that’s changing the face of how we all do business.
How does having women behind the lens and making stories change Hollywood, or change the culture?
When I was growing up, the only roles for women were either the girlfriend or the wife, and more often than not, they were killed or kidnapped in order to give the male protagonist something to do for an hour and a half. There’s still a plethora of those stories, but now with more women directing and producing, we’re seeing stories from a female perspective, which is certainly a relief for me, but I think will be so important to young women and girls coming up who will be able to see themselves as worthy of having a story and a point of view.
How has the experience of a being a woman in Hollywood changed since I got my start?
When I began, which was in the mid-80’s, I never felt that being a woman was an issue in any way. I felt completely supported by the men I worked with, who encouraged me to move forward in my career. I was often the only woman in the room, and generally the youngest (not anymore!) but I always felt quite comfortable. Sometime around 2008, I felt the ground shift a bit. With the economic crash, there was less work and it seemed that for the first time I was being seen as a female production person, rather than just a production person, which was a really big surprise and was difficult to combat. I experienced being shouted down, ignored and over-talked (and I’m no shrinking violet), and at my level of experience, that was something of a surprise. I never really did figure out how to deal with it very well, but now, in my role as an executive, I’m acutely aware of the lack of opportunity for women and people of color, and I try very hard every day to correct that imbalance. We’re seeing a little bit of a shift in the right direction now, but there’s still a long way to go.