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Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show

COW Library : NAB Show : Kylee Peña : Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
CreativeCOW presents Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show -- NAB Show Editorial


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(Or any trade show, for that matter.)

Trade shows in all industries are notorious for being a spectacle with every vendor competing with the other to be the loudest, shiniest and sexiest. I'm writing to you -- any of you involved in the design, staffing or operation of a booth at the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas -- to ask you to consider how your conduct can help make the exhibit hall a more inviting and inclusive experience for everyone.

Casual sexism is a huge problem in our industry. Trade shows are merely a symptom of a larger issue (and I invite you to a panel on gender equality on April 13th to learn more about how to begin to change these patterns at the source) but they're a highly visible symptom. Trade shows are maybe the most face to face interactions your company will have with customers and potential customers all year, and your booth and its workers are a symbol for your company.

We all know that sex sells. You didn't invent this concept, and at first glance it's hard to blame a company for using what is proven, especially in a city known for debauchery and sleaze. It's just a bit of fun, right? Except it isn't so much fun to feel like the only way I'm being represented in my industry at a trade show is for decoration. To clarify, I have no problem with so-called "booth babes" themselves. I have a problem with a company feeling that the best way to represent their products is with a bikini show. I urge you to think beyond easy, lowest-common-denominator kinds of marketing and strive for something better. Lots of vendors have figured out how to make their booths engaging without sacrificing inclusiveness.

When you're deciding who will staff your booth, I strongly urge you to place women and minorities in these positions too. The maleness and whiteness of NAB (and trade shows in general) is so common, it's almost its own joke. I've spoken to people about how they staff their booths, and they've told me they didn't think women would want to work in these positions because trade shows are so male-dominated and Vegas is so icky. This is generally an incorrect assumption. You should find women in your organization and ask or encourage them to represent your company at NAB. Just like the way you market your products stands as a symbol for your company, the diversity of your booth can represent what you want your company to be. By putting women and minorities in your booth -- on stage running demos, on the floor talking about products -- you send a strong message about equality to your customers, other companies, and NAB's attendees in general. When seeing women on the show floor is more common, casual sexism takes a hit.

And if you're working inside a booth at NAB this year, I urge you to work extra hard to put your internalized sexism aside. Since women are somewhat rare in the sea of guys (both on the show floor and in the industry), there is a tendency for booth workers to make assumptions when they interaction with a woman: that she's a journalist, an assistant, someone's significant other. There are plenty of journalists, assistants, and dragged-along-spouses of all genders on the show floor and it's great to have so many perspectives, but when your first assumption is that every woman inside your booth is anything BUT a working professional in some area of post production who is currently seeking to learn more about your products to potentially implement them within her organization, we have a problem.

Nearly every woman I've spoken to about attending NAB has experienced a booth worker -- a both worker of any gender-- making assumptions about them and treating them differently than if they were a man. Some have been malicious, and most have been oblivious internalized sexism taking over in that person's mind. So I urge you to try very hard to look at your interactions with people objectively. Is there a gender bias that is making your approach different? It should go without saying that jokes at the expense of a person's gender or appearance have no place in a booth or on a stage, but in a male-dominated Las Vegas environment, good judgement sometimes goes out the window.

Solving sexism at trade shows like NAB is not the solution to sexism in the industry, as I've documented before. But with the show coming up and on everyone's mind, it's worth this reminder: you're representing your company on an international stage. Do you want people leaving your booth feeling like they don't belong in this industry? Or do you want to lead by example by making gender parity a priority for your company?

Comments

Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Bob Cole
So what happened at the panel? Any new revelations?

btw, I notice that you used one of the "Rosie the Riveter" images to publicize this event. Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell's original "Rosie," has just died at age 92.

Rockwell apologized to Keefe for making her arms and body so muscular.

She got $10 for the session.
@Bob Cole
by Kylee Peña
Working on my NAB recaps right now, actually. Overall? An overwhelmingly positive response at the panel, and the rest of the week in Vegas. Men and women told us repeatedly that this discussion was necessary at this conference. Many men in particular said this made them think twice about the hiring process, and the presence of women on the show floor. Very successful.

Funny you mention Rosie the Riveter, I don't actually know who was using that for marketing! But still, I didn't know that.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
@Kylee Wall and @ Bob Cole
by Tim Wilson
Bob, to expand on Kylee's answer from my comfy chair nowhere near Vegas, the online response was phenomenal. There were bunches of tweets coming out of the session, as well as in the days following as people continued to talk about the issues. Check the hashtag #PostGenderGap, which drove something like 40 million impressions!

I assume Kylee will include more details in her full report, but it was gratifying for us at the COW to see that the session did exactly what we hoped. No finger-pointing, no villainizing. Instead, a constructive conversation about a number of complex issues. We were proud to have played our part, and I look forward to revving it back up once we can talk about some details.

Kylee, Rosie the Riveter was a World War II character, something like Uncle Sam for WWI. She was more of a PSA, if you will, emphasizing the patriotic duty of women to enter the workforce.

Between 1940 and 1944, the number went from 12 million to 20. Needless to say, many of those women left the workforce when the menfolk returned from war, but there was a tremendous amount of energy around all this that was revived in the 60s and 70s, as the boomer daughters of these women entered the workforce, carrying Rosie's banner for themselves.

The most famous of the Rosie posters was commissioned by Westinghouse in 1942, and painted by J. Howard Miller.




Rockwell's image for The Saturday Evening Post came the following year, a much different approach.



There were also bunches of photographs of women in factories who were all, no matter what their names, loosely known as Rosie the Riveter, whether or not they necessarily drove rivets. One of my favorites happens to be at Wikipedia, which has more information on the topic.



Lovely big of composition, too. Bringing her right hand closer to the camera makes it look huge. The light on her face lends a traditional feminine flair, verging on angelic, but her arm progressively growing darker on the way to that giant hand emphasizes a kind of power that's rare in any photos of anyone, man or woman. Truly dramatic stuff.

Anyway, likely more than you wanted to know, but Rosie was an important part of the history of women in American Labor whose image has been revived before. It's probably about time to do it again.

Surely one you enterprising artists can reinterpret her as Rosie the Editor!
Re: @Kylee Wall and @ Bob Cole
by Jim Wiseman
In my experience there is more ageism than sexism. There is always a 22 year old ready to take your job for little or no money. Welcome to the world of interns. Oh well, I was once one at PBS in Chicago. So it goes.

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.4, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Blackmagic Teranex, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Melissa Chiou
I've worked in TV for over 13 years. It's never for easy for women, especially if they're in a technical role. I once showed up on set and they thought I was the make-up artist. Roles are generally gender segregated, which is the same in post (women are support staff/ men are editors).

You can do your job perfectly and still get treated as less than. After a while, it's exhausting. Why work in an industry that doesn't want you there? It's a systemic problem that's top down (from white male execs) to below the line positions.

The message we always get is that women should be relegated to two roles - sex object or mother. Anything between and men's heads will explode with confusion.
+1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by R Neil Haugen
My entire purpose in posting these epistles has been to get at least someone to think in a bit more complex manner on this subject. I don't at ALL disagree that situations where women feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or merely a flunky in an all male group occur, as naturally, being human that will happen. Exactly as do males in the opposite situation. Because ... we're human, aren't we?

I've at times been in roles where I was working as the only male in a group of women. Both as the employer and as another person of the group. I could say exactly the same thing as the woman posting prior to this one, in a "male" way ... I was relegated to the role of fixing physical or computer issues, handling all the gear, lugging things, and otherwise being a simple flunky used just to make their lives easier. My brain was never "invited to the party" ... nor accepted.

The conversations they'd have rolled on with (to me) a constant stream of talking over each other ... never a pause or lull. And in that stream, there is no way that as a male (and one with aspergers/autism to boot) that I could jump back in or participate. Without pissing off the whole group, for being simply "rude" in cutting someone off. They cut each other off constantly but it didn't feel like that to them ... they were "adding" to each other. In a way I never could.

Even when, as the employer and running the management meeting, I'd started every single topic. In order to preserve harmony and have those amazing women do their best for my business, I had to simply be the agenda keeper. I could have no effective input other than how I phrased the way I started a topic.

If I even noted that it seemed I'm being treated in a sexist way ... and totally disregarded as a thinking entity ... well, that wouldn't go down well would it? No, not really.

As noted above, I'm also an asperger's person, though not (to most people) "displayed" as such. There are all those subtle things about movement at the corner of the eyes & mouth, the very slight changes in vocal "tension" while speaking, body language subtleties to a level that leaves most "body language" experts behind ... all those things that make a HUGE difference in how "normal" people react to one another, and how they "hear" what each other is saying.

I cannot be part of that massive and oft controlling data stream of a "live" conversation. Think about this ... and remember, I was an
English Lit major: I've a huge vocabulary, and word-play is a joy. Yet in "live" conversations I miss subtleties that completely change the meaning of words & phrases, little cues to shift topic, and the times when someone says something that sounds supportive but is really communicating they wish to completely leave the topic.

To others ... I seem to "send" odd signals but they're in that "spectrum" of the vague subtleties and as my brain never had the capability of tracking those things and associating them with feelings, although my body does those things ... they are not connected with what I'm thinking or saying. Others "receive" things I'm not aware of nor intending to "send".

And so to some it seems that either I'm not caring of the interests of others, or that I'm lazy, or just plain arrogant ... something ... and well, none of us particularly enjoy being around such people do we?

And while most men are "normal" and do at least some level of responding to those subtleties, there are more women from my experience who are affected by the subliminals of live human interaction. I can get along somewhat better in a group of all men, less so in a mixed group, and poorly in a women's group.

So ... there are clear and recognized differences in generalized patterns of "typical" male and "typical" female preferred/comfortable communication & group participation. Most women do not feel comfortable in a nearly all or all male group, and it also works the other way around. Cultural differences in communication patterns & subliminals also factor in. My Tanzanian-born/raised friend is simply "outside" much of the interplay of simple personal chat here, as the backgroud or "subtext of the scene" is often not what he would see.

So again ... do most women feel excluded or separate ... not part of the group ... in an all-male or male dominated environment? Yes, naturally. So do men in the obverse situation.

Is it because men are misogynist or evil or Sexist and MUST be re-programmed? Except in a few notable case, no.

It's the way humans interact people! Is it possible to change this to make it better? OF COURSE!

Should we work at improving this? Always and forevermore.

But can we do this openly, honestly, and recognizing the actualities of normal human behavior?

And maybe along the way, learn also to accept those like myself? Or my daughter the Lutheran pastor and amazing theologian, and also Aspergers person. My 16-year-old son who's very bright, incredible sense of humor, hard-working and proactive on his responsibilities, getting his 3.9 in normal classrooms of physics, algebra, and all the rest without "accomodation" and without mom & dad having to ever think about his schoolwork .. and yet physically displays his autism through pacing and occasional mouth-noises that so many people find offensive.

There IS a problem ... except, it's not ONE problem but many. Just handling this like it's ALL the problem of one group ... MEN ... who have to learn to not be men to be "acceptable" isn't going to really solve anything.

What we'll accomplish in the single-problem/single-solution approach is exactly what the American school system is doing ... female grades & graduation rates for high school have gone up, as have the gross numbers & percentages of females in nearly all disciplines in college up through the master's level ... all good.

Male success in all those has been declining in both gross numbers and percentages.

I don't find that a good thing. It's a wondrous thing to have more females reaching for the best they can be ... and a terrible thing to have more men failing to reach for anything.

I want BOTH men & women reaching for everything they find it in themselves to go after. Apparently, I'm rather outside the mainstream in this, however.
@Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Joakim Ziegler
I wish I could attend the panel, but I'm not at NAB on Monday. Will there be a video of it or some sort of summary posted later on?

--
Joakim Ziegler - Postproduction Supervisor
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Joakim Ziegler
It's astonishing how many men are in here saying that this doesn't seem to be a problem to them, in the face of women telling them it's a problem.

You guys, why don't YOU be quiet for a bit, instead of telling women to be quiet?

--
Joakim Ziegler - Postproduction Supervisor
+2
@Joakim Ziegler
by Benjamin Reichman
Joakim nailed it.

I'd add that the very frustration and dismissiveness and frankly, anger, on display here is evidence that yes, we do have a problem.
+2
Re: @Joakim Ziegler
by Mike Parfit
As a person who had to ditch my entire childhood culture because it was too destructive to live with, and as one who has covered many different cultures as a journalist, I would have to say that this is fundamentally about culture -- about the tiny habits and easy connections that we hardly notice because we have grown into them. And defensiveness, to be fair, is usually less about attacking the other than it is about protecting the familiar. The familiar is precious.

I must say that in all these years of watching the ease with which people settle into their own cultures, without having one of my own into which to find comfort, I have come to both envy and dislike the phenomenon of culture itself. In the name of protecting culture we accommodate all kinds of outdated and destructive practices, among which the systematic and almost unconscious exclusion or demeaning of women in a professional arena is wrong but not unique.

Pushing cultures into new shapes seems required if we are to have the progress in human relations that is necessary for survival, both in any profession and as a species. That requires both courage and open-mindedness. I submit that while there is anger and defensiveness in this thread, those other qualities are present here as well. Sometimes in the same individual.

Best wishes to you, Kylee Wall, and to all the others who attend that panel.

Mike
+1
Re: @Joakim Ziegler
by R Neil Haugen
As someone who is also always on the outside, there's so much of Mike's comments that I so agree with. The ways humans interact is so complex and constantly changing ... and what is welcoming for someone is oft limiting to someone else. We never ... ever ... really see into someone else, and yet we constantly make judgements in ways from the nearly infinitesimal to the mega on those around us. How *we* think they're thinking, and how we think they're reacting to us.

Sometimes our perceptions of how others are reacting to us are correct, but most often our thoughts of how another brain is reacting to us are shall we say, somewhere in town (but maybe a few streets off) ... and sometimes in a not-to-parallel universe.

Compared, of course, to how that other person actually did see, feel, understand, and react to the same situation. And yet, how often do we make judgements of others based on how we perceived they reacted? We're wrong or at least largely mistaken most of the time!

So ... there are a lot of women who don't feel comfortable in many situations in this industry. That's a pretty obvious statement, and one that just needs to be accepted for the Truth it is.

There is also ... pretty much anytime you have different genders in attendance ... subtle to blatant sexism in attendance. Yep, that's true ... and humans being human, *generally* it goes both ways. And yes, it will have a deleterious affect on a minority or those 'not in Power' more than others.

For some of the guys who've denied there IS sexism going on is really silly. Of course there is! And yes, it should be dealt with.

That said, if one doesn't recognize the complex ways humans see their interactions, one will NEVER make much progress at incorporating a wider group of people into our industry.

Partly that's because of innate human comfort levels ... I've had numerous female friends, acquaintances, and employees, that simply were not and never would be comfortable in a room with mostly males ... under any circumstances. I've had other females of the above categories who were MORE comfortable in a room with mostly men than a room of all women.

Were the first-set women simply aware of the misogyny inherent in males, and the second-set women unaware or desiring to be subservient? No, I don't think so. My wife isn't uncomfortable working with a women's group ... but tends to find such groups prone to a higher level of (as she puts it) cattiness & group politics than she senses with groups of guys. In general, she has a slight preference to working with groups of guys. It's more comfortable for her.

Remember, she's a highly decorated stills portrait photographer, it's been her career for 30+ years, and she's been an active conference attendee and speaker. Owns & runs her own business. Heck of a lady.

I've got gay friends who very much prefer working with say a committee of mostly/all women to one of men. And some who cannot abide working with a committee of women. Clearly, a self-perceived comfort "thing".

My friends from Tanzania ... who have chosen to take that massive leap and immigrate to the United States. There aren't enough Tanzanians living in our area for them to really have a "community" ... so they find other Tanzanians up and down Oregon/Washington and routinely make the effort to visit. I've asked whether, if they were all still living in Tanzania, that other person would have naturally been of interest as a friend ... and the answer most often is a simple "No." So why do they once a month drive a hundred miles or more to visit? Because ... they are from Tanzania. They have experienced life there and have things to share about that and about moving to the US. Cultural comfort levels.

There's a female co-worker (clearly a very liberal/progressive person) in the government office he was working in here ... who saw my African friend as ... one of "those African males" (from Africa, not of race), misogynist to the core by culture, who MUST be distrusted and limited in any participation within the office.

This woman's actions are the definitive cases of both racism and sexism ... yet she is absolutely certain that SHE is the guardian of all that is good & proper, and my friend the racist/sexist. She is totally confident that she KNOWS what he is thinking ... when he's scowling in a meeting, it's obviously because he's affronted by Human Females taken seriously. Well, no ... it's because he's a worrier by nature, and scowls when talking "shop" no matter who's around. But she ... she "knows!" this man, though actually, all she knows is a lie and a slander. He moved here so his daughter could grow up here and have the life a woman can have in the US.

Yes, culture and background are huge in human experience. So is being locked outside of "normal" culture by possessing an autistic brain.

And as I ended my first post with, if you do not properly identify the rope as a rope ... if you think it's a snake, not a rope ... you are never going to identify what kind of snake it is, nor properly decide how to deal with it.

And it will limit your actions, your capabilities, and your choices.

Deal with sexism directly, as it IS one problem of this complex situation. One of the easier to deal with actually. But at the same time, please understand that MANY of the actual issues here have nothing to do with sexism.

I posit this not to diminish Kylee's essay, nor to belittle the wish & hope to get more women feeling comfortable and welcomed within this industry ... but to GET to the point where more women will feel welcome to participate.

The single-issue-is-ALL attitude is actually destructive to the goal. And it creates its own animosities, all in my view, needless ... and totally to be expected. And all those animosities do is prevent us from getting TO the goal of a better, more welcoming industry.
Re: Article: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Chris Jacek
I'd like to add an educator's perspective to this. I've taught video production at three different institutions of higher education, in three different regions of the country. In all cases, my students have been predominantly male, despite the fact that the overall student population has a higher percentage of females. Hopefully I am not inadvertently recruiting my students this way, but this was even true when I first arrived at these positions.

Perhaps the question should be: Why are more men attracted to the industry/discipline? I think a good argument could be made that it is because of the existing content in mass media. If the majority of content in movies/tv/multimedia is catering to a male audience, then it makes sense that more males are being inspired to learn the craft. If that's the case, even if a perfectly fair workplace were achieved, the problem could still easily exist based on content that is inherently sexist.

I wish I could make it to NAB this year. This sounds like a great panel to attend.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee
@Chris Jacek
by Jennifer Corvino
I'm also an instructor of video production and special effects in higher education and (during the summer) with High school students. I've noticed that the dominant gender for classes fluctuates from semester to semester. I've experience classes with significantly more women and others with more men.
I don't think the argument can be made that men are more attracted to the industry. My experiences in the classroom, seem to demonstrate there are no differences in who is interested or attracted to the craft. I'd like to poise a question: is the industry more welcoming to men? Sexism is very subtle, and not always easily recognized.
I agree with Kylee. How can we make this more inclusive for everyone? It would only benefit the industry.
Thank you for this article. I'm bringing my husband to NAB this year, I hope I'm not treated as his personal assistant.
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Benjamin Reichman
I think Kylee's making incredibly important points. I work in Boston in the world of PBS documentaries, which is pretty different from other parts of the industry, but let me tell you, even in our public television world, there's some stunning sexism. Both overt and insidious. If it's overt, it's easy to call out and recognize, but the subtler and more insidious forms are tricky to talk about and deal with. I won't go into details, but I really do think a cultural shift is needed, and I welcome this kind of conversation.
+1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Andrew Kimery
On a related note, Deadline is getting hammered for its article that both applauds diversification efforts while also warning against having too much diversity...

http://deadline.com/2015/03/tv-pilots-ethnic-casting-trend-backlash-1201386...
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by John Rofrano
Kylee,

This is an excellent article on a topic that is very hard to discuss in public and even more difficult to change the outcome of because of the "not me" reactions. At the core is a "fraternity" mentality that is hard to break. Changing the minds of the masses requires years of behavioral modification. That modification will only come with a persistent public campaign to change people's attitude as you are doing. It's like trying to get people to stop smoking. It wasn't really successful until it became socially unacceptable to smoke. That didn't happen overnight. We need to get to a point where sexism and "booth babes" are socially unacceptable just like smoking. It will take time.

The "not me" crowd must go further than just abstaining. (what is the saying? "for evil to success good men need only do nothing!") They must look on those who perpetrate the practice with distain. Men at NAB should ask those who run the booth what's the connection between the girl and their product? When you get some stupid answer (because there is no intelligent answer to that question) tell them you're confused by their message and walk away. We must let them know that using women as hood ornaments is socially unacceptable. Hiring women in proper business attire who are very knowledgable about their product is a much better approach.

The worse thing we can do is institute quotas like Affirmative Action. That only fights prejudice with more prejudice. At our annual corporate Human Resource meeting, when asked, "Who knows what Affirmative Action is?", I'm usually the guy that raises their hand and loudly proclaims, "Affirmative Actions is where minorities get to raise to their level of incompetence!" My point being that I've seen minorities with far less qualifications than myself get jobs that I should have gotten but my genes didn't allow the employer to check off some affirmative action box (because their is no box for "white male") so I wasn't even considered. I don't think you want that. I hope what you want is the right to compete fairly for the same jobs. Everyone who is qualified should have a right to compete and be considered. Employers should ensure that they are assembling a demographically disperse team of "equality" qualified candidates and not biasing their decisions by gender or ethnicity.

I wish I were going to NAB this year. I would definitely attend your panel discussion. Denying that sexism doesn't exist because you don't practice or see it at your place of work doesn't stop it from happening elsewhere. Likewise becoming a booth babe because you need the money doesn't further the cause for women either. If you feel you are being ignored (which was the other major point of your article) then perhaps you need to be obnoxious and embarrassing and demand attention. Sometimes you need to move the pendulum all the way to the other side before it will come to rest in the middle. Ask the person who is ignoring you if they thought you were an assistant? Make them answer for their assumptions. Put them on the spot, Make them uncomfortable, Watch them squirm. Let them know that you are the person who influences purchase decisions and you won't be recommending their product because of their sexists attitude. Unfortunately, you are not going to win this battle by being polite and quiet. Make some noise and let them know that you are a force to be reckoned with and you're not going away any time soon. Perhaps they will think twice next time before making the same assumption again.

At the risk of sounding trite: You Go Girl! ;-)

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com

+1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Andrew Kimery
[John Rofrano] "The worse thing we can do is institute quotas like Affirmative Action. That only fights prejudice with more prejudice. At our annual corporate Human Resource meeting, when asked, "Who knows what Affirmative Action is?", I'm usually the guy that raises their hand and loudly proclaims, "Affirmative Actions is where minorities get to raise to their level of incompetence!" My point being that I've seen minorities with far less qualifications than myself get jobs that I should have gotten but my genes didn't allow the employer to check off some affirmative action box (because their is no box for "white male") so I wasn't even considered.

Affirmative Action is an imperfect option, but, like you said, sometimes you need to move the pendulum all the way to the other side before it will come to rest in the middle.

Employers should ensure that they are assembling a demographically disperse team of "equality" qualified candidates and not biasing their decisions by gender or ethnicity."

Agreed, but there are some real world problems here. First, what do you do when the employer is sexist or racist and never hires someone that isn't a white male for any meaningful position?

Second, how do you combat overt (and latent) sexism and racism coupled with flawed reasoning such as, since there are so few women editors that must mean women aren't interested in (or are not very good at) editing? If the conventional wisdom is that woman aren't good enough to work in Field X then the average woman will not get the education and experience she needs to look as qualified as the average man.

It's like the old joke about getting into the union. You can't work union gigs unless you are in the union, but you can't get into the union unless you work union gigs.

Putting it mildly, it's a chicken/egg problem and unfortunately an external force (in this case the government) is needed to step in and break the cycle. Eventually we will hit a critical mass of women and minorities in these positions and things like AA won't be needed, but it's a long tail game.

+1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by R Neil Haugen
To me a large share of this discussion is simplistic. The reasoning of the piece leading off is that there is one essential reason why there are fewer females in the industry. I've noted in reading this thread that there simply aren't any other possibilities being discussed.

Understand, I'm someone who is on the Autism spectrum and would be normally classified as a "non-displaying Aspergers". In other words, you wouldn't notice my autism right off ... you'd just note that I don't react the way you expect me to react during a conversation, or that I somehow missed the point you were trying to make, leaving you quite puzzled. Or I might seem to be too narrowly focused at this point, and over here jump to comparisons you just can't see.

Being as my 32-yr-old daughter (a Lutheran pastor in North Dakota currently) and I don't "display" as much as my 16-year old h-s junior son, you *will* assign other things to my reactions and participation in any conversation. Either character flaws, a lack of interest in the thoughts/needs of others, a laziness of interest in paying attention, all sorts of things.

Which are entirely wrong. And which happen in the vast majority of conversations that I'm part of. So ... I've been studying "normal" and "autism spectrum" brains, communications, and difficulties. So, in that cartoon of "Equality vs Justice" ... well, you're leaving me out of it ... totally. So that cartoon doesn't really do that much for me.

In his book "Story", Robert McKee notes that dialog should NEVER be about the text "its' about", but a complex reaction to the subtext, which as everyone knows, is how real human conversations take place. Well ... us folks left out of things because of autism are all about the text of the conversation, we can't "see" the subtext. And because of that, I've been thought about anything you want to think of. Not that any of what people have thought about me actually applies, as I'm one of the most empathetic people those close to me say they've ever been around ... when we get down to brass tacks. But it's normally missed by even those same people in the midst of any particular conversation. That's how pervalent 'normal' use of subtext resides in 'normal' conversation.

The first thing ... I can assure you, NONE of you actually understand anyone nearly as much as you think you do. Period. Won't take the time for the details of how most humans learn to utilize visual & audio "cues" in faces & bodies in ways that go far beyond simplistic "body language" ideas. But "normals" rely on that to provide at LEAST 50% of the "content" of any interpersonal communication, some run closer to 80%.

It can completely turn around or negate the actual words being used. Yet as someone on that autism spectrum, I'm completely ... and permanently ... locked out of that "data stream".

But in studying how this works, with all the intensity and focus that we aut-folk can apply, I've learned that the way this is internalized is different both by culture & language, let alone regions of a country as big as the US ... and combined with the way typical male & female brains use language with all of this distorted by the rapidly changing language styles in our culture ... leads to far less interpersonal understanding than most people of any conversation actually "sense" occurred.

Now ... take that, and add in the native human predilection of being groupist ... throw out the "sexist" part of it, we're groupist in far more subtle yet powerful ways than that ... and you've got a built in problem in mixing genders & inter-personal styles than this discussion allows for.

Does anyone here realize that a lot of men aren't comfortable with a good share of the communications "preferences" that those of us in the imaging industry typical use? So "they" don't feel comfortable working with "us" ... is that then being mannist? And throw in someone from say Tanzania, highly educated and good in English ... but whose culture and use of face & audio in early childhood were radically different ... yea, it isn't necessarily "racist" the way so many people here perceive my friend differently, but because he doesn't "project & receive" the way they expect him to. I don't "get" all that stuff, I just hear his words ... and understand him far better than many here. Especially, I'd note, the females here. And this man left his home country to give his wife & daughter a better life than in their homeland with the blatant sexism that applies there. He's not sexist at all, yet I know women who have clearly ASSUMED because they can't "read" him accurately, that he MUST be an African male sexist ... whatever.

Very sad to be around, they are WRONG. They slander him, and ... they will never understand because they "get" this man so strong through that subtext. It's wrong, but they cannot understand this.

In our "industry", is there some sexism, both over and covert, going on? Of course there is, we're humans ... IT WILL happen.

Is it the only or perhaps even the main "thing" in the lack of female pros in this industry?

I would argue that it's not a "majority" problem, in that sexism is responsible for less than 50% of the disparity in male/female numbers. And that there are other factors, not as easily quantifiable nor visible, that are perhaps nearly as much at fault.

Sexism is one thing that is perhaps easier to tackle ... but when you try to argue that sexism is THE answer, the only answer you look for or seek to 'fix', well ... it's like an old Vedanta proverb:

If you mistake a rope for a snake, you will never be able to determine the type of snake it is.

Neil
@Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Michael Locke
Wow Kylee, obviously a nerve is struck. As another of the overpopulated white males in our industry, I feel it some. But for me the, key word is "Professional". As a "new" Entertainment Industry professional, I swear: it's getting better.
I come from a Bicycle Industry professional view of 20+ years, and it's much the same. At Interbike, certain companies are notorious for their showgirl booths, and I never give them any credit. I need problems solved. Your curvaceous distraction makes me doubt you have the product I need. But I am not the norm.
You see, I'm also (yikes!) a trained actor. Scary to admit on this forum, but many more of us are coming. And guess what: content is king to us, just like you. I never feel any difference in the value of a professional, from make-up, to lead, to editor: everyone matters.
There's a big shake-up now in many ways, with the "lowered bar" of production. Again, professionalism will win out (except for the current wage losses). The editor of our little indie feature was Tiffany Kristie Cruz (not an actor), and she found gold in my footage. My work will always look better because of her: as it should be. And her cuts teach me how to shoot better, lifetime.
I am lastly, one of five producers (with one female) in our LLC, all from the same acting school. We all never had to consider this in our personal work: you trust your partner (love scene, violence,etc.) or you don't do it. "Casually sexist" cannot survive onstage/set, not at the highest levels.
So, why are you at NAB? To mac on babes and schwag, or solve problems/network/promote your business? With less attention, the babe-as-magnet-action might lesson, and companies might have to have "the goods" instead of "cheesecake". How professional do YOU want to be?
@Michael Locke
by Kylee Peña
Actually, it's not getting better at all. And it's a problem that people think it is. From the San Diego State University study I've cited many times:

In 2014, women comprised 17% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 (domestic) grossing films. This is the same percentage of women working in these roles in 1998.


But post is getting better maybe?

Women comprised 18% of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2014. This represents an increase of 1 percentage point from 2013 but a decline of 2 percentage points from 1998.


(http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/research.html)

Maybe you say "well, that's Hollywood." Yeah, that's the only place we can easily find data because nobody has prioritized digging in further. But Hollywood is way more representative than most people would like to admit. And representation matters to the next generation.

It would be great if professionalism could win, but when I say "casual sexism", I don't mean Don Draper. I mean you and me and the small ways our upbringing and the world shape our instincts. For example, look at this study. It's one of MANY like it. Do you think the majority of these people think of themselves as unprofessional, or sexist (or racist, which was included in this study)? No way. And yet...

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/22/305814367/evidence-of-racial-gender-biases-fo...

There's a gender bias. Everyone has it. I'm trying to help people recognize it.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
+1
@Kylee Wall
by Michael Locke
Oh right: the big time. I can't help with the brass ring jobs, I just live by example. The greatest value of old Hollywood: top-grossing.
And no, "That's everywhere." is what I would say. Sexism is rampant in the majority of industries today, especially those where money is paramount: human value has already lost. What I hope is you can believe beyond statistics and "research" (other peoples original numbers: not yours). Most of us are not in positions to change the measurable status quo, but for so many I know in the indie world: we're too poor to care if you're male/female. And some will rise, from a digital/online/ DIY world who won't carry on such baggage. I wouldn't. I agree there's a gender bias, but everyone? And once we recognize it, can we change? Why do I feel this is more than just about NAB? Peace, out...
-1
@Michael Locke
by Kylee Peña
You may not be in a position to change the measurable status quo alone right now, but by recognizing your sexism, changing the way you behave, and setting that example for others around you, you are contributing to measurable change.

Yes, this is obviously about far more than just NAB. I stated in the article a couple of times. The trade show atmosphere is a symptom of a much larger issue. I address that (and how personal adjustments contribute erasing gender bias) in my first article:

https://library.creativecow.net/wall_kylee/PostProduction-sexism-in-the-wor...

I'll also note that women don't have it much better in the indie world, so obviously this bias does extend into that area of filmmaking, poor or not.

Women comprised 26% of individuals working in key behind-the-scenes roles on feature-length films screening at high-profile film festivals in the United States in 2013-14.


blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
+1
Re: @Michael Locke
by Scott Witthaus
[Kylee Wall] "But Hollywood is way more representative than most people would like to admit"

Just a question: how is this quantified?

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter
@Scott Witthau
by Kylee Peña
A lot of people call Hollywood out of touch or irrelevant, especially because of all the resources available for funding, distributing and viewing independent films now. But how many people do you know that ever see any films made outside the Hollywood studio system? Or aren't one of the top grossing films of the year?

That's what I meant by that. Representation in media matters, and Hollywood is a high profile case of low representation for women.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
Re: @Scott Witthau
by Scott Witthaus
[Kylee Wall] "Representation in media matters, and Hollywood is a high profile case of low representation for women."

I certainly understand and applaud your efforts. My feeling, however, is that it is difficult to look at Hollywood (which is seen by many as a definitive outlier) and then generalize that niche community across the visual storytelling landscape.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter
Re:Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Wilson
[Scott Witthaus] "My feeling, however, is that it is difficult to look at Hollywood (which is seen by many as a definitive outlier) and then generalize that niche community across the visual storytelling landscape."

Yes, agreed, but I don't think that's what she's doing.

Certainly some of the earliest efforts to track these numbers were a matter of going to IMDb and just counting credits. There's a lot to be revealed about "Hollywood" from this -- for example, only FOUR movies with women protagonists have been named Best Picture; the number of ANY women characters in their 30s and 40s dropped from 30% to 17% since 2002; and the number of Hollywood women film editors has been plummeting since peaking at 30% in the 70s -- but you're quite right. Nothing about "Hollywood" is enough of a picture, on either side of the camera.

Where the picture starts to emerge in particularly grim fashion is when, now, research is being done across the country, on production of every scale. This study chooses 23 festivals in locations as diverse and non-Hollywood as St. Louis, Nashville, Cleveland, Austin, Chicago, Rhode Island, Atlanta, Long Island, and many others. It specifically focuses on indie films at those festivals.

I can't begin to imagine how many movies we're talking about. One of the festivals is in my town, Palm Springs, CA: 192 films from 65 countries. So, with 23 festivals, some of them bigger than Palm Springs, we're probably talking something like 2000-3000 films, of every size, from every corner of the world, entirely indie, and most of them VERY indie.

As you'd expect, the numbers are a hair better than mainstream -- but not as much as you might. Counting EVERYONE -- writers, producers, directors, etc. -- the number of women involved in these films is 24%. For documentaries, as you'd expect, a little higher than narrative, at 28%. Not parity, but in the scheme of things, not bad.

However, talking about post, specifically editors, the number drops to 20% -- which is DOWN from 23% just 5 years ago.

Since the topic at hand is the gender gap in POST, once you're looking at literally of thousands of indie pictures, you've got MORE than a meaningful sample. It's obviously vastly more projects being counted than Hollywood projects -- which is only right. There are vastly more indie projects.

Look, this industry isn't the worst. Not by a long shot. Women make up 35% of business owners, but are receiving about 2% of available venture capital funds. Better to be a woman in tv or filmmaking, for sure.

But a number that is DECLINING on its way to landing at 20% last year, not exactly an encouraging story.

Again acknowledging that there are other things to do than make movies -- corporate, worship, web video, spots, agency work, freelance, etc etc -- but Scott, you've been to festivals. Few of the filmmakers of ANY gender are doing this full time. They ARE working in corporate, agencies, freelance, etc.

My past jobs have taken me to many hundreds of facilities and offices in the past 15 years. You've surely been in dozens, if not more. Honestly, how far off does 20% sound to you? It doesn't sound far off to me at all.

My guess is that if either of us found an office or facility with 30% women, it'd LOOK like 50%, because it's so much more than 20%. :-)

I don't think that any of this should be taken as an indictment of any particular males. Except of course for the ones who are being overtly discriminatory. They exist. You know they do. In general, I wouldn't expect them in the COW, though. Certainly not you, who is as generous-hearted and professional a soul as we've ever had in the COW.

Kylee and the research she cites are simply reporting numbers, not making judgments about any individuals reading the numbers. Anyone reading the numbers is probably one of the white hats, almost by definition.

We wrestle with the same thing here at the COW, btw. If roughly 50% of students in college media programs are women, if 20% of working editors are women, where the hell are they in the COW? I'd say the number of women across the COW is better than 10% once you count a lot of the graphics apps -- but do you sense that women editors make up more than a couple of percent in our editing forums? I strongly doubt it.

Yet, we're a woman-founded business, and have made equal gender opportunity our ONLY vaguely political issue since 2011 -- and we don't actually consider this a political issue; for us, it's strictly business -- yet we've barely begun to crack this nut.

I do sense that the number of women in the COW is going up fast, as we continue to carve out a harassment-free zone here that you can easily contrast with many other forums -- but we'd love to get as high as even 20%. Can you honestly imagine that happening? Probably not. But WHY not? We're still noodling on this.

Nobody here is to blame. Nobody is single-handedly capable of fixing it. But if smart people of good conscience like the ones who frequent Creative COW aren't talking about it, and kicking around some possibilities for a brighter future, it ain't gonna happen. And that we ARE responsible for.
+2
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Bob Zelin
ooh - this thread is becoming messy - sometimes you see a single response, other times you see the entire thread. I don't know where I will wind up.

I am an amateur musician - a "wanna be" musician.
I just saw this video from "sexist" Kid Rock -






and his incredible BLACK WOMAN drummer -

http://www.drummagazine.com/features/post/stephanie-eulinberg-rockin-kid-ro...

I wonder how many "white boys" say "gee, how come I didn't get that opportunity". I know why - because she is GREAT, and the other white boys who auditioned SUCK.

And if you are a woman Quantel Pablo artist that is GREAT, you will get hired. It's not my problem if girls in high school are not taught in our society that they should STUDY technical subjects, and they have every opportunity to succeed just like men. How prejudice do you think Walter Biscardi is towards giving women opportunity? He did so long before you were there.
And you do know that Walter's wife is a senior audio mixer at Turner, right ? For YEARS ! How come no one was prejudice towards her ?

Sorry for being so angry (because I'm not - just trying to make a point).

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
-1
re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Wilson
[Bob Zelin]: Sorry for being so angry (because I'm not - just trying to make a point)

Which you made last week, when you said:

[Bob Zelin]: I am really getting sick of "sexist" comments about our industry

We welcome disagreements on every topic, including this one. However, after you've said your piece about preferring people not talk about this, we request moving aside to allow space for the people who would prefer to talk about it.

We certainly leave plenty of space for you or anyone else who'd rather not. Pick another of the literally 8000 articles in our library to comment on, or over 250 forums where there are topics whose discussion isn't offensive to you.

At a certain point, it's like a user of Product X going to a tutorial for Product Y, and making comments about what a bad idea Product X is. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's a violation of Creative COW's basic standards of conduct. It's also just rude, as is using factual errors to scold authors for arguments you inaccurately characterize.

Now that I think about it, listening to someone with a different experience than yours, and using that new insight to simply not be rude would solve nearly every problem Kylee addresses in her article.

Not that all people describing their own experiences and observations are equally reliable. Of course not.

Reliable sources are people whose professional credentials are well established, who are known to be clear thinkers, whose statements of fact have been widely examined and upheld, whose advice has been proven trustworthy on many topics over the years, and whose opinions are respected at the highest levels of the industry by people who are publicly lending their own resources and reputations in support -- THAT's a reliable source of information.

In other words, someone like Kylee.

Her insights on this topic are being publicly supported by companies, organizations, and individuals of solid standing across the industry.

It may be too much to ask that your respect for these people on nearly every other topic open the possibility that their observations have something worthwhile to offer you on this topic as well.

It is definitely not too much to ask that if a conversation bothers you, please don't participate in it once you've stated your objection. I say this no differently than I would for anyone else who jumps on a thread anywhere else in the COW primarily to say what a bad idea the thread is.

Again as noted below, I invite direct contact on this or any other topic.

With continued best wishes for your every success,

Tim Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW

tim at creative cow dot net
+2
Re: re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Herb Sevush
Tim and Kylee -

I would just like to point out the obvious - that in this whole long thread there has not been one women poster to make a reply. A thread about women's issues being held by men - plus the original Op. Make of that what you will.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf
+1
Re: re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Wilson
[Herb Sevush] "I would just like to point out the obvious - that in this whole long thread there has not been one women poster to make a reply."

Believe me, we've noticed.

This article struck me as the most benign set of suggestions conceivable.

  • No need for women in bikinis at a trade show for media professionals.
  • Don't ignore or condescend to the women attendees who visit your booth.
  • Demo artists shouldn't make sexually harassing comments to women in the audience from the stage during demos.


Aside from the fact that each of these was specifically documented, is anybody REALLY saying that they're POSITIVE that these things have NEVER happened at NAB? That's ridiculous.

The main point of the article is that if men would think for two seconds about ANY of these issues, the issues would go away forever. Why does anyone have a problem with that? I have no idea.

Here's the thing I'm pretty sure of: not one man on this thread has been a woman at NAB. If any man here HAS been a woman at NAB, I apologize for the generalization. Regardless, for the rest of the men, it definitely applies.

So when a woman says, "This is my experience at NAB," and a man says, "No it's not," especially in the face of actual documentation, he literally doesn't know what he's talking about. So why be so adamant?

When a man says, "Yeah, but I don't think this is worth talking about," he's also supporting the woman speaker's point of view.

Woman: "Men don't take me seriously when I talk about my experience."
Man: "YOU'RE WRONG."

It certainly underscores the notion that there may in fact be some hostility toward the idea of being men being considerate toward women. There's definitely some hostility toward reading articles on the subject, responding to the specific things in it, and NOT responding to things that are NOT in it.

In the meantime, I have a non-gender-specific suggestion for when you're standing in line to get into NAB. If the person behind you says, "Excuse me, you're standing on my foot," consider just saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't know that" and move off the person's foot, rather than saying "NO I'M NOT" -- when you really are.

Basic politeness. That's all we're talking about.

Thanks for your observation, though, Herb. It really can't be stated often enough.
+2
@Herb Sevush
by Jennifer Corvino
Hi Herb,
Check out my Reply further up the thread.
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Ty Vann
[Bob Zelin] "It's not my problem if girls in high school are not taught in our society that they should STUDY technical subjects, and they have every opportunity to succeed just like men."

That's a head scratcher of a statement. It's a very personal statement, when clearly most individual intent does not perpetuate the issue. Second, it's contradictory. If girls are not taught technical subjects in high school like men are (clear definition of sexism right there), how do they have every opportunity to succeed?
+1
@Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Cris Daniels
While I appreciate the thought that having this discussion may be helpful, I don't think you make a powerful argument by so arrogantly trashing all the "white maleness" of the world, at the same time demanding these evil white males take action. The open letter makes broad and sweeping assumptions about how selfish and rotten all white men act, and furthermore, that they simply seem too stupid to know it.

One might argue that perhaps more scientific psychological studies are in order. Your assertions that "white men" in the industry are seemingly a hybrid of Archie Bunker and Larry Flint, are shall I say, minimally flawed at best.

The broadcast industry has huge problems right now, nobody is safe from the chopping block, no matter their level of expertise. There is very little room for hiring people that aren't experienced, ready to go, and provide immediate value to the company. In that sense I still believe that most companies are hiring the best candidate they can find, regardless of gender or ethnicity. They can't afford to do otherwise.

As far as I am concerned, you are judged by your work ethic, performance, and professionalism. I simply don't care if your a minority or a woman (I married one as evidence ), it just doesn't matter or factor into my loyalty to you as a co-worker, as a friend, or if I ask you a question in trade show in Las Vegas.

So I hope your panel proves interesting, maybe it does "raise some awareness". I just think it may get more traction if it didn't ascribe such a nefarious motive to all "white men". Most of us aren't bad guys looking to hold people down.
-1
@Cris Daniel
by Kylee Peña
Would you mind citing specifically where I make broad assumptions about how selfish, rotten and stupid men are? Also where I assert that men are a hybrid of Archie Bunker and Larry Flint? Or ascribe nefarious motives to all white men?

Because my point is (and has been since my first article on the subject) that a vast majority of our industry is not outwardly sexist. Most people are not actively rotten toward women. The problem is casual, internalized sexism. I address this in much more detail in the article I linked.

I am not the first person to comment on the whiteness and maleness of the entertainment or tech industries, of which post is a blend. Do you really believe that the reason there's a tiny fraction of women in the field is because men are more qualified? Do you believe that among the 50-50 blend of men and women in educational programs, women are graduating with skills that don't compare directly with men? I don't, because research has shown otherwise.

And there have been many "more scientific psychological studies" on this subject. I've linked a number of them, and a few minutes on Google would lead you to more.

This response -- that not all men are like this -- is one that women get often when they bring up the idea of sexism in an industry. I'm going to copy and paste a section from my first article where I address this, as to not repeat myself again:

There's been a lot of conversation about the phrase "not all men" this year, even spinning off a #yesallwomen hashtag this summer to show solidarity in these kinds of systemic sexist situations. Because when bad, violent things happen to women, the response (from men AND women) is often "not all men." Not all men do this. Not even most men do this. What these people mean to say: I don't do this. I'm a good person.

Whenever I write an article (or have a conversation or a Twitter chat) about women in post production, a significant chunk of the response is this:

"My mentor was a woman."

"I work with a female editor."

"Thelma Shoonmaker is arguably the most well known editor."

"I've known a number of female editors over the years, and they've all been the best cutters I've worked with."

"Women were the original film editors."

That's really great. I'm glad to hear it. But here's the deal: these are defensive statements. They all start with an implied "but."

"But my mentor was a woman."

"But I work with a female editor."

"But Thelma Shoonmaker is arguably the most well known editor."

"But I've known a number of female editors over the years, and they've all been the best cutters I've worked with."

"But women were the original film editors."

These statements shift the narrative to one's self. You have this woman telling you that she's distressed that the number of female editors in Hollywood hit its high point in the 1970s. She wants to start a conversation about how to make editing and other tech fields accessible to women. Your response is "I've worked with lots of female editors over the years," as if to separate yourself from the sexists out there that aren't hiring girls.

This is the same thing as saying "not all men." The response it's supposed to elicit from me: no, of course not. You've worked with women. You've hired girls. You're a good guy or lady. In a conversation about systemic sexism and hostile work environments, we're suddenly patting you on the back for being a decent human being. It's great that you aren't like that, and women recognize that yes, "not all men" are like that. But that doesn't change the fact that ALL women are deeply affected by sexism, whether they acknowledge it or not.


blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
+5
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Wilson
[Aindreas Gallagher] "if I were say a woman, or a black woman, as opposed to the non-descript short white male I am, as a thought experiment, I do occasionally wonder how things would work out, and whether I'd be typing this sentence, given the near total dearth of either."

Empathy! Quite a concept.

If you haven't been invisible in a booth, or been disrepected as an appendage or an amateur with barely a glance, then you don't KNOW what it's like to be invisible in a booth or dismissed with the barest glance.

All opinions are worth expressing, and here at the COW we invite vigorous debate. But when someone shares their EXPERIENCE, it seems rude at best to reject it out of hand when you don't in fact have that EXPERIENCE at all.

To put it another way, if a meaningful part of community of women within this industry whose work and professional reputation are impeccable consistently reports, "I am not taken as seriously as my male colleagues and my observations are rejected out of hand," a bunch of angry comments about an article you haven't read, linked documentation that you haven't looked at, and reactions to points that were never stated at all -- well, that's just confirmation that the women who report this are in fact exactly correct.

None of which is stated as judgement on YOU. If you're not part of the problem, then relax. It would be great if you were part of the solution, but frankly, just not being part of the problem is awesome.

Kylee's article says specifically that sexism is virtually never intentional, which by definition means that virtually nobody is the enemy. It's just a starting place for a broader discussion about what words like "community" and "level playing field" actually mean in practice.

We're especially sensitive to this at Creative COW, a company founded by a woman, Kathlyn Lindeboom, who experienced this again and again. I stood next to her and witnessed it myself on many occasions over the years. Despite having experience in this industry since some of these men were in elementary school, she was absolutely not treated as a professional. She was frequently ignored altogether. I saw it.

It happened to the president of the business I worked for in my days as a production professional, an experienced pro as tech savvy and business savvy as anyone here, consistently ignored, and when not ignored, condescended to. This experience is not shared by all women, no, but when women do express it, I can absolutely say that I have witnessed it, and not just with the two women I worked for.

Creative COW has certainly been no less protective of men. This includes male newbies who are harassed for their lack of experience, men with Arabic names, Jewish men, and men who disagree with other men -- even disagreeable men.

We are even adamant that everyone has the right to be an a-hole within limits, everybody has the right to a bad day, or a regrettable exchange. The ultimate goal is, over time, to be increasing opportunity for everyone, and providing everyone new ways to grow.

It is unfortunate and incontrovertible that there are fewer women working in key roles in virtually every role in production and post than before the turn of the century. Not that this is necessarily anyone's plan, but there has been every evidence that, for whatever reason, when actually counted one employee at a time, it is simply true. Please follow the links in the article for exhaustively, carefully, objectively, dispassionately documented evidence of same.

Look, we don't expect everyone to inform themselves before expressing their opinions. That would be unAmerican. LOL And kidding aside, we're all about debate here.

We also highly, highly encourage people to NOT care if that's their position. If it's not something you think is important, we agree with you. To you, it's not important. Carry on as a COW member in good standing, with our sincere thanks for making our existence possible.

But if someone went to an article about using Davinci Resolve with Avid Media Composer to say, "You should really be using FCPX and Motion," or "Using Premiere with After Effects is much better," we'd say, if you don't use Resolve and Media Composer, why are you commenting at all?

Taking the energy to express just how much you DON'T care to talk about this, or berating an author for tangential or entirely non-existent points in an article barely read if at all, can start to border on trolling.

Thankfully, this has largely not been the case on this thread. I'm simply making the point that, when actually read, the two articles and one podcast we have posted on this issue out of the 8000 articles in our library (no kidding), in the four years since we first brought it up, entirely meet our standards for professional, well-researched, well-documented writing. There's nothing that could induce us to post them otherwise.

We will continue to be diligent to protect the space for everyone here, regardless of gender, religion, feelings about FCPX, or any arena of conflict.

We will also continue to search our own souls. Among the people who have actually counted the actual numbers, nobody disputes that roughly 20% of editors are women -- yet women are almost entirely absent from our forums, even if more present here than in others. As a woman-founded business, the minuscule presence of women among us could not possibly be further from our intent. And yet there it is. We are not exempt from thinking about this. Nobody is exempt....

...if you care at all. If you don't care, don't.

And if you don't, there's room here for you too, and we will diligently protect it. We ask only that you equally diligently keep unobstructed room for the people who do.

Again, I note that most people are, but I apologize for not stepping in sooner when I see breaches of common etiquette, which is really all I'm talking about here. I also apologize for the resultant length of this, which starts to border on its own kind of discourtesy.


As always, I heartily encourage you to contact me directly with any concerns on this topic, or any other: tim at creativecow.net Heck, write me for any reason at all. We speak too rarely, and I am grateful for every one of you, even when we disagree.



Best and most sincere wishes for your continued success,

Tim Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW
+1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Aindreas Gallagher
for my own bit the author is, from a third party saying it, just sound and straightforward - writing clearly and well - what she's describing is ragingly obvious too.

a room filled only with men jostling under the realisation it's only men is a mortal lock stupider room. every time. fine if its rugby, less so if its politics or media?

people here who say - but I'm fine, some of the best people I know are women! I even married one! - you'd feel are missing the point. Letting a systemic situation arise where its only largely a white man of a certain demographic set is effectively a stupid move. its a monoculture and those things are risky for all involved.

also rooms filled only with self similar men in semi-social competitive scenarios are incredibly irritating for everyone involved. hands up who doesn't agree with that. It's a semi-tedious vibe. media production currently needs more female professional involvement like it needs plasma. there are other smarter millenial demographics rising into the same pool. ending up like grey inward turning male sub-copy editors is not the optimal outcome for production and post.

my first job was in an Irish broadcaster TG4 - the board is still male heavy, but bar that it's close to fifty fifty. - its well healthy as a dynamic. And it's not like there's weighting required - women are smarter than us on virtually all metrics coming through third level for a few decades now. so there's that.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics
+3
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Nathan Adam
While I always enjoy reading your posts Tim, I'm taking the time out of my usual lurking to thank you for this one.

I was admittedly one who didn't care about this issue, and agreed more with Bob prior to your post... specifically because I have neither seen, nor experienced it...and in fact have only had the opposite experience with many colleagues and students who are talented and/or accomplished females.

That said, as you noted, just because my little corner of the universe seems to represent an opposing experience to Kylees expressed viewpoint, it does not in any way diminish the results of her and others actual research.

I always enjoy being forced to reevaluate my own viewpoints by good research, and my thanks to you for providing the venue for it.
Re: Article: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Ty Vann
Wow. Seriously? I'm surprised that some men in this industry, of all industries, would deny that the glass ceiling or sexism exist. Simply because you are not aware of it, don't experience it, or can't relate to it does not mean it does not exist. It's not personal, people. It's systemic.
+5
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Ward
Well said Kylee. Wish I could attend the session.

Thanks,

Tim
Father of three amazing women
+2
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Joseph Owens
Where to begin... (seriously)?

I did sign up to attend the panel. I think it will be interesting and hopefully enlightening as to the state of affairs. Mostly I work alone now, so the office politics that go on around the workstations, even when I am somewhere else as a hired gun, sometimes escapes me. One office is almost entirely dominated by one of the genders, but guess which is doing the "techie" work and which is doing the intellectual property development? Which picture do you have in your mind's eye? Or -- is it a well-evolved team that plays to its strengths regardless of what they look like?

But as far as making conventions in general more pleasant and inviting, there was an insight offered a couple of years ago, working on a booth presentation (MOS with subtitles!) that simkply cutting down the noise in the room is a BIG issue. My wife won't even come to Vegas because of it... not so much the convention floor, but the overwhelming pink racket that you have to cut your way through in every other venue in the city.

There is a car alarm going off outside my window as I type this. Every 2 minutes.

So there's that. Then there's age-ism. Hey, Bob? Not just suit-ism... or hair-ism...

See you all there.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.
@Joseph Owen
by Kylee Peña
I look forward to seeing you there, Joseph! Please try to say hello afterward.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Nate Cooper
Good post Kylee - I'll try to make it to the panel on Monday.

Nate Cooper
ProMAX Systems
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Bob Zelin
ok - I read the entire article now. Every word and every image that Kylee posted. I still don't agree with the article. Maybe because I look at myself. No one hands me my opportunities. No one said (certainly at the beginning) - "hey Bob, you are a white guy, come on over and we will train you, and give you lots of opportunities". When I go into a "broadcast booth" (Sony, etc.) and there are LOTS of "suits" from the networks there - guess what - I get ignored, and I have trouble getting someone to pay attention to me (you know what I look like, and it's not what some would call "professional") - so to compensate, I am rude, and I interrupt, and I get my questions answered.

Want to become a Quantel Pablo editor, and make tons of money in LA ? LEARN QUANTEL PABLO - contact Quantel, go take a course, get an entry level position at a facility that owns one (like Lightiron), and I bet in less than 5 years, you are doing exactly this, while all the other "young white boys" can't get an opportunity, because they are too lazy and too stupid to put the effort out to learn Quantel Pablo (or any other product that you can think of). Lightiron became who they are, not because of Michael Cioni's good looks, but because he took a chance and became an authority on RED Workflow and Quantel Pablo - while I am sure that the LA crowd who "was in the know" was laughing, saying that this RED stuff would never replace film. Who is laughing now ?
You make your own opportunities - you go out there and you get them - no matter who dies along the way, no matter who you have to be rude to. No one hands anything to anyone, just because they are a white male. I have been in our industry since 1977, and I have NEVER ONCE heard in any private conversation "are you kidding - she's a girl - we would NEVER hire her" - I have NEVER EVER heard a statement like this from anyone in authority at any facility or company.

As for the "booth babes" - Las Vegas is filled with world class strip joints. Any guy who needs to go to a technical trade show to look at a girl in a bikini (when they can see a lot more in a readily available strip joint in vegas) is just a loser. I have no idea of what these companies are thinking about, and exactly who they are appealing to.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
+2
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Craig Shields
You probably thought MLK was one of those "black infamous ministers" too right?

Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Aindreas Gallagher
granted bob, but insofar as any other shoe might drop, if I were say a woman, or a black woman, as opposed to the non-descript short white male I am, as a thought experiment, I do occasionally wonder how things would work out, and whether I'd be typing this sentence, given the near total dearth of either.

It's hard not to notice how much pasty skinned male white of us there is all along towards the horizon?

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics
@Bob Zelin
by Lance Bachelder
Thanks for being a sane voice of reason Bob. I've been going to NAB for over 15 years and been a booth demo artist for AJA for about 10 of those and will be again next week. I really think the original "letter" is total crap from a confessed NAB newbie. Become a veteran, gather some real facts before you spout off about sexism at NAB - it isn't a car show or CES for that matter, it's a hundred thousand plus very knowledgeable men and women from all over the world who spend a lot of money to come learn, network and maybe have some Vegas fun. As far as I've seen I can only think of one or two booths that have actual bikinied "booth babes" - Atomos, a much loved company being one of them who could definitely dial it down - it's embarrassing.

You're asking for companies to hire more women and minorities to help in their booths - they already do! Oh but they can't be attractive, that's sexist. AJA hires women every year to help in the booth, very attractive, knowledgeable and diverse and dressed conservatively. Is that bad? Should they be frumpy size 16's? Would that be okay? Less sexist?

I think your letter would be more effective if you actually had facts instead or heresy and targeted the tiny percentage of booths that may still be pushing products via scantily clad workers, some being men by the way and definitely not all white.

Just bad timing in my opinion. If this letter had come out AFTER NAB citing all the obvious problems, if any, that would be great. Instead your yelling fire in a movie theater where there is none.

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
-2
Re: @Bob Zelin
by Scott Witthaus
[Lance Bachelder] "Thanks for being a sane voice of reason Bob."

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter
@Lance Bachelder
by Jennifer Corvino
Lance,
This sentence is sexist:

". Is that bad? Should they be frumpy size 16's? Would that be okay? Less sexist?"

Would you ever call a heavy set man frumpy? Would you even bring up his weight? I don't think so.
+2
Re: @Lance Bachelder
by TImothy Auld
I'm behind in my reading so I don't really know if anyone has responded to this yet, but yes just the phrase "frumpy size sixteen's" is clearly sexist. But I don't think the NAB show is a huge target in this regard. I've been going to the show for 25 odd years and in the last ten I don't think I have seen - in any booth - anyone who qualified as a "booth babe." Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places.

Tim
+1
@Jennifer Corvino
by Joakim Ziegler
That's hitting the nail on the head.

--
Joakim Ziegler - Postproduction Supervisor
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Kylee Peña
Looking forward to seeing you there!

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Noah Kadner
Couldn't agree more- the booth babes are a major turn off at NAB. Would much rather talk to someone who knows the product and is able to discuss it- no matter what they look like. When I see a booth clearly staffed with stock eye candy I see a company that has completely misunderstood why we as tech folks go to shows like NAB.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training
+3
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Bob Zelin
Hi Noah -
I did not read Kylee's post, but I am really getting sick of "sexist" comments about our industry, because it doesn't apply.
I remember that Haivision and Ultimatte have "booth babes". Well, guess what - the Creative Cow audience does not visit Haivision and Ultimatte.

Where are the "booth babes" at Adobe, Blackmagic, AJA, Matrox, Facilis, AVID, EditShare, Maxx Digital, Small Tree, Tiger Technoogy, Apace Systems, JMR, Archiware, Tolis Group, ProMax, Sans Digital, Cal Digit, NetApp, Accusys, CatDV, Axle Video, ATTO, AVID, Intel, Ultrium, StorageDNA, Studio Network Solutions, Facilis, etc.

You both sound like those black infamous ministers trying to stir up trouble. The companies that THIS GROUP OF FORUMS deals with does not have BOOTH BABES (no offense to the lovely attractive intelligent women that actually work for some of these companies), so please just be silent, and stop trying to cause trouble where there is none. I seem to recall that Kylee made a comment about the Indian food concession that was better than anything in her home town, and THEY had a girl wearing almost nothing being very flirtatious with everyone passing by (to get them to come in and try the food), so go complain to them - NOT to this forum (or group of forums). It seems like the stock music companies love to have "booth babes" - and I don't care about stock music - and neither does Creative Cow.

If you keep this up, I will wear my Speedo to NAB, and I will be asking for tips !

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
-2
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Kylee Peña
Hey Bob, sorry you feel that way. You really should come to my panel on gender inequality in post production on Monday, April 13th at 5PM in the North Hall. I think it would be very enlightening. In fact, I'll save you a seat in the front row. Adobe can get your first drink, as they're sponsoring the event and a cocktail reception.

You can wear your speedo if you like, we promise to have a safe and inclusive environment where all genders feel comfortable wearing what they want.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
+3
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Bret Williams
I hope you're working on getting more male producers into fortune 500 corporate video production. As an editor, I'm not sure if I'm even allowed to join the producer elite. Honestly day in and out for the last 20 years it's been female producers. I know Im not that good lookin....
@Bret William
by Kylee Peña
Like I've said in more than one article on this site, my aim is primarily to improve the number of women in highly technical/creative roles. Women have always faired a little better in producing roles – though not lots better, and absolutely not enough better to take swings at women being placed into those jobs over men. You can check my already cited links for data about that.

A great step toward helping me --and other women in your day to day -- with this gender equality goal would be to start listening more -- starting with reading my articles (and the cited research) so I don't have to repeat myself so often.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
+2
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Wilson
[Bob Zelin] "I did not read Kylee's post"

"...but I will still respond without knowing what I'm actually responding to."

Bob, if anybody said that about a storage issue, you would tear them apart. Practically every day, I see you tell people to stop talking and consult with experts. I see you AS a storage expert, because you take the time to study these things thoroughly before you speak.

Unlike this issue.


[Bob Zelin] " The companies that THIS GROUP OF FORUMS deals with does not have BOOTH BABES"

Yes, some of them do, and Kylee named a few of them by name, with pictures, in her first article on this topic.

And if you read her actual article this time, you'd know that that was the tiniest part of what she's talking about.

Leading companies, professional organizations and educational programs are not just getting in touch with Kylee and the COW behind the scenes to express their gratitude for her raising the issue last year. They're going public with it.

NAB is hosting a panel on the topic, rooted directly in Kylee's article. Adobe is sponsoring it. The Hollywood Post Alliance, American Cinema Editors (ACE), Post Production World, and yes, Creative COW are among the people who will be involved in one aspect of supporting the panel or another.

(As a reminder, equal opportunity for women in production and post has been the sole issue that Creative COW has been involved in over the years, starting with a COW grant to AFI's Directing Workshop for Women. I don't remember anyone else mentioning they have a problem with this.)

Again, I'm not saying you need to care about this. I am suggesting that you care less vigorously about how much you don't care.

You declaring that this is a non-issue doesn't make that the case, no matter how loudly you say it. I hope you'll consider letting it go, and let the people who see problems go about fixing them. We have a lot of great articles and forum topics on issues that you DO care about that could very much use your vigorous, informed energy.

Just a suggestion.

Yr pal,
Tim
+6
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Mitch Ives
[Tim Wilson] "Again, I'm not saying you need to care about this. I am suggesting that you care less vigorously about how much you don't care.

You declaring that this is a non-issue doesn't make that the case, no matter how loudly you say it. I hope you'll consider letting it go, and let the people who see problems go about fixing them. We have a lot of great articles and forum topics on issues that you DO care about that could very much use your vigorous, informed energy."


I have be honest with you Tim. I don't buy into the notion that this is a major problem in the industry. FWIW, I didn't respond that well to the article, and yes I read it. I'm not offended, just tired of being lectured to about all manner of things by well intentioned people.

I maintain your right to engage in this activity, as I would any other endeavor, but I also think you should allow others who don't choose to engage in it. With all the challenges in not only our industry, but the world in general, I don't have this high on my list...

My $0.02...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill
-1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Tim Wilson
You said

[Mitch Ives] " I also think you should allow others who don't choose to engage in it. "

AFTER I said


[Tim Wilson] "I'm not saying you need to care about this. "


Problem solved.
+3
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Mitch Ives
Tim, I continue to be amazed at your economy of words. I mean that sincerely... it's not a smart-assed comment.

I did fail to mention that I am totally for eliminating the booth babes. In fact, if they did, I probably wouldn't notice. I go there for serious business and I'm happy with my girlfriend. If NAB was in Toledo, that would be fine with me.

When I'm at NAB I seek out people who work for the company (for real) and I never assume that a female in the booth is anything other than a knowledgeable person. I honestly don't care whether it's a man or a woman, as long as they know the product. And if they are an outside production professional, working the booth, then I have additional questions. It's all good.

Perhaps bias against women is a problem in Hollywood, I wouldn't know... that isn't my market. In my market, we've had women in production for at least the last 20 years. I've worked with them... I've worked for them. Fortunately, in this market we judge people by their competence... and being a woman or a man, won't overcome inadequate skills.

What we do have in my market, and perhaps you want to address it in your seminar is the reverse problem... a preferential treatment that women (and minorities) are given in bidding corporate jobs and government business. Women aren't at a disadvantage, they have an unfair advantage. But of course this isn't sexy or trendy, so it won't get any traction. I've actually had someone at a state agency suggest that I should consider becoming a majority women-owned business in order to win more contracts. That's messed up!

Unless I go the Bruce Jenner route, there is no way to facilitate that. Fortunately, I like women too much, so I'm happy being a man...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill
-1
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Kylee Peña
Hi Mitch, you actually make a lot of arguments that I addressed in my first article Sexism in Post. If you haven't read that yet, you might find some of it interesting.

https://library.creativecow.net/wall_kylee/PostProduction-sexism-in-the-wor...

It's great you don't care for the booth babe atmosphere and you believe you don't treat women differently, and you've worked with women. Unfortunately, that doesn't negate the collective experiences of women in the industry.

Also, it's absolutely not accurate that women have an unfair advantage in the least because of programs that try to give them opportunities. These programs are necessary, but they aren't making enough of a difference to ever take opportunities away from you.

Here is one article about the disconnect with these programs. You can Google hundreds of others:

https://hbr.org/2010/09/why-men-still-get-more-promotions-than-women

If women had an unfair advantage, there would not be a huge disparity between the number of women in educational programs and the number of women actually working in the field. This is a disparity that extends beyond post and into other areas, like engineering.

And no, it's not because women willingly choose to leave.

http://genius.com/Joanna-barsh-unlocking-the-full-potential-of-women-in-the...

The factors that prevent women from having successful careers are rooted in casual, institutionalized sexism. This is sexism that everyone has inside them because of the world we live in and it's really hard to detect, but it informs your choices and actions whether you realize it or not. A great first step to unlearning your own sexism: start accepting that your life experience is a lot different than mine (as mine is different than yours), and the way I experience the world will always be different. My challenges will be different. Accept the experiences of women who are telling you this is a real problem with countless data and research associated with it, and ask how you can help them.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com
+2
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Bob Cole
[Bob Zelin] "I will wear my Speedo to NAB,"

Well, Bob, I wasn't PLANNING to go to NAB this year, but now...
Re: Open Letter to Companies Exhibiting at the NAB Show
by Richard Crowley
I don't care what gender people are or what they look like. I go to NAB to see the goods, and to talk to people who know about them. I don't have any more patience with male booth people who don't appear to know any more about the equipment/software/service/whatever than what I can read in the brochure or on the signage. Why do they even bother to pay to bring those people to NAB at all?

IMHO, Las Vegas is a sleazy place and I wouldn't even go there but for NAB. And I can't blame NAB for staying in LV because there isn't any other place big enough for the show. Oh well. It is what it is.
+1


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