Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Bechdel test - do I pass?

John August has been reminding everybody, who doesn't already know, about the Bechdel test which assesses the presence of women in movies. The questions are simple:
  1. Are there two or more female characters with names?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. If they talk to each other, do they talk about something other than a man?
This is relevant to me because I've just completed the page one rewrite of Winter and popped it over to the Director who is quite enthusiastic - which is nice.

So, does Winter pass (even though it's only about 30 mins long)?

Yes, two female characters with names (40% of the named characters but one of them is the protagonist) . They do talk, albeit briefly, and it's not about men.

Quick run through of other stuff I've written: Monsters passes (TV); Air passes TV); Unit X passes (TV) ; Babel passes (film); Une Nuit a Paris passes? (I think) (film); Tec passes definitely (TV); Running fails (film). So, not too bad.

And Running wouldn't be too hard to fix - several characters could easily be female.

Which leads to the question: why are they male in the first place, if it doesn't matter? Essentially because I was just following stereotypes. If I can manage two females in Unit X which is World War II US Army (okay, one's a doctor and one's a nurse); I'm sure I can manage more women in Running (in fact just thinking about it introduces some interesting possible dynamics).

How do your scripts stand up to the test?

What's on the turntable? "Soultrane" by John Coltrane. Nice.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

Lets see now:

The SF feature I'm currently writing passes in spades. Lots of the characters are female including the antagonist.

The fantasy feature I'll be tackling after that passes. Female protagonist.

My TV script fails - but it's set in a mining colony, ... however, the only other character I could obviously change to female, doesn't talk to the main female... I'll have to think on that one.

My Horror fails, but only because the women in it don't talk to each other; although my lame excuse is that they were occupied with other activities at the time, like: organizing the men in their lives, dying, or living to fight another day. Female protagonist.

And the ancient, Batman's Grave (that I wrote before I knew any better) fails. Although again, one of the key main characters was female - and not in a girly way.

Now you might say, "But you're a woman. Of course you're going to write about women!" And you'd be wrong. Back when I started writing I fell into the male dominated stories trap, influenced by the majority of the books I grew up reading.
I have countless rough ideas/plots in the piles of paper in my house which are all about men. Narry a woman in sight. *rolls eyes* Gonna have to fix the lot before I write them.