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Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein is launching a weekly podcast centered around interviews with women creatives and will no longer be publishing original stories on the Women and Hollywood blog she founded more than 15 years ago.
The 30-minute podcast will be called In Her Voice, building on Silverstein’s book of the same name about female directors, and will be available everywhere people get their podcasts.
The title of the podcast, Silverstein tells The Hollywood Reporter, also reflects her feeling that the podcast is not about her but about highlighting women in the industry.
“This is about women creatives in the industry, making sure people know their contributions and letting the world know we need to keep going,” Silverstein says. “We can’t take our foot off the pedal because we don’t want to backtrack.”
The main part of the podcast will “be a conversation with one or multiple women creatives,” perhaps with roundtables tied to festivals or during awards season, Silverstein says, but she’ll also do a 10-minute news update and preview upcoming content that she’s looking forward to.
Though the Women and Hollywood blog will no longer publish original content, the site will remain live as a resource for those seeking information about women in the industry, and the Women and Hollywood newsletter will continue.
With this transition, Silverstein notes that managing editor Laura Berger will be leaving, while Girls Club community manager Sophie Willard, who does the weekly newsletter, will be continuing on.
Silverstein tells THR that her shift from daily blog updates to a podcast was due to her appreciation of the format, recognition that she feels like she’s particularly good at interviewing women creatives and an understanding that “blogging is kind of on its way out.”
“As a podcast addict, I feel like that’s a medium where a lot of people spend more and more time, and I feel like that’s really conducive to me personally because I’ve always loved doing interviews with people,” she says. “And when I started doing this work, I spent a lot of time talking to women filmmakers and as the work grew, I had less and less opportunities to do that. And then when I’m at the Athena Film Festival and able to talk to people, I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, I really like doing this.’ So it makes sense as a transition to move into podcasting because we can still get all of the information out to people, talk to the creatives and make sure we can continue to amplify their voices.”
Silverstein also says she feels as though the “conversation” around women in the entertainment industry “has changed.”
“I’m honored to have been a part of helping to change that conversation,” she says. “But it’s also time for other people to take it to another level.”
She adds, “I felt like I didn’t need to do the same kind of rabble-rousing that I had to do at the beginning because everybody knows that there’s an issue, and when I first started no one was paying attention to it. I didn’t understand it, nobody did. We never really thought about the fact that women didn’t direct big-budget movies. … And then once we started noticing things, social media was happening, and we were all talking to each other, and it became a bigger deal. Now it’s so embedded in the culture that when you don’t have women or people of color, it’s noticed. You can’t just skate by anymore.”
Silverstein is also launching the Creative Doula Program, advocating for female-focused projects written by women or non-binary writers, in an effort to be part of the change she wants to see.
“The Creative Doula Program is my idea about how I can help filmmakers take their scripts to another level,” she says. “So it’s about trying to take things into more advanced development, finding producers to partner with these projects, doing budgets. … How do we get people in the industry to know about these?”
Though the podcast will be separate from Silverstein’s work as Athena artistic director, she notes that her “creative development work” with the female leadership-focused film festival inspired this shift.
“I’ve spent 15 years talking about the problem and now I have an opportunity to be a part of the solution and I wanted to take advantage of that,” Silverstein says.
Check out the art for the In Her Voice podcast below.
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