TV Cop Dramas – Actresses can do more than play victims
German television is known to be quite crime-oriented. More and more formats, series and individual films of this genre are being produced, and it‘s increasingly rare that they get by without staging brutal murders and corpses in close-ups. However, it is possible to tell a thrilling and entertaining crime drama in a different way, and this is why I want to give the example of a Swedish mini-series, as counterbalance to the films that begin with a brutal rape or the discovery of a young, pretty, abused, dead woman. Actresses can do more than play victims.
Two Female Criminals and Two Corpses Off-Screen
By coincidence – because the films and series on arte tv are unfortunately not advertised enough – I discovered JUST A BANKROBBERY / ENKELSTÖTEN shortly before its term in the media library expired. The 6-part Swedish series (44 min. each) by Felix Herngren is based on the novel ENKELSTÖTEN: PSYKOLOGISK THRILLER by Swedish author Tomas Arvidsson (*1941), which does not seem to have been published in German nor in English. I rang the Swedish embassy in Berlin and a friendly employee – whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch – told me that Engelstöten means ‘single thrust’. Arvidsson also wrote the crime novels DUBBELSTÖTEN and TRIPPELSTÖTEN (and others).Continue Reading →
Before the year 2019 ends, – but not yet the decade! – here is a short update on the ARD series TATORT (German top TV cop drama) and the female writers’ initiative Tatort: Drehbuch.
I already analysed TATORT several times under different aspects, such as the percentage of women in 6 departments and in the main cast, from 2011 onwards, and also looked at the situation in the different TATORT regions. For example:
The reason for this is not that I’m a TATORT fan or love crime fiction, and not even because it’s considered the most prestigious fictional TV production (with the highest wages on public TV?) – but one of the reasons is that the data output is so convenient which makes analysis easier. There are the TATORT subpages on ard.de, where all films (90 min individual episodes) of the last TATORT years are listed. That’s great, because if I wanted to analyze the ZDF TV movies of the week, for example, research the titles alone would take a lot of time as they are not systematically listed online. For the TATORTs they give the main cast as well as the film titles and usually three to four team positions: director, writer, DoP and composer. TATORT fans can also find photos and synopses and interviews and information from the shootings and the music titles used. Good service, thanks for that!
TATORTs 2019: The 6-Departments-Check
Today I’ll first present the 6-departments-check for the 37 TATORTs that were first broadcast in 2019, set in 20 different cities. The most frequent ones were Cologne and Vienna (three times each). The percentages of share of women and men are shown for the departments: Continue Reading →
Years ago I had worked on a documentary film, an exciting project that led to a special film, an (almost) very good one. Only almost, because of the sound! Unfortunately they did not record the sound separately in many scenes but used the camera sound. So the sound quality was quite bad, which was a strong reason why the film was rejected by several regional TV programmes. That, and the length of the film. 52 minutes, that didn’t fit on any airtime, but that’s a topic for another day.
The sound of a film production is made by a lot of people, not only the actresses and actors with their voices, words, sighs, laughter and their footsteps, and the musicians, but also the sounds, the atmosphere and more, and that brings us to the filmmakers in the sound department. There are various sound jobs in a sound department, and they are usually taken up by men.
Sound Mixers in Film and TV
The first diagram shows she share of women for the sound mixing position in German TV‘s top cop drama TATORT (crime scene), and for the Top 10 to Top 100 German films of the last eight years. The share of men amongst graduates from film school for this qualification is 89 %.
We see sound mixing women in every investigated film group. However, all values – for the TATORT, Top 10, 20, 50 and Top 100 German feature films – are below the 11% female graduates share. In some years there were no female sound mixers at all, for example in the TATORTs 2012 and 2018 and the Top 10 films 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. Is sound for women what costume design is for men? Are female sound mixers not trusted with the work, so that only their male colleagues are regularly engaged for productions?
Sources for these figures are the databases of Filmportal, Crew United, IMDB and production websites. Researching sound engineers is often the most time-consuming part of my 6-job checks. Side note: the short infos at the beginning of the Filmportal entries contains five team positions: director, screenplay, DoP, Editing and Music, in the Crew United database it is director, screenplay, production (and for cinema films distribution). Additional team positions (including sound mixers) are also listed. At IMDB, the short version only includes the director, writer and stars, while the other team positions, mostly very incomplete, follow as additional information. On the ARD TATORT website we find music, camera, script and direction. And on Wikipedia there is usually direction, script, production, music, camera and editing. I think that the sound department a vital part of a film prodcution, which is why I included the department in my proposal #2v6pN.
Six Sound Positions
The sound department consists of a number of work areas. For six of them, sound mixer, sound assistant, foley artist, recording mixer, sound editor, sound designer, Vincent Lutz provided me with the corresponding statistics from the Crew United database, which tends to give a very good cross-section of the professional activity. The job profiles of these and other film sound professions can be found on the website of the bvft Berufsvereinigung Filmton / Professional Association for Film Sound.
The share of women doesn‘t reach 13% in any of the six sound positions. This gender imbalance is much higher than for example in the camera department (2017: DoP 9.9 % women, first camera assistant 15.9 %, second camera assistant 31.4 %. Source: Crew United).
The low percentage of women isn‘t that understandable. In radio play productions and also in dubbing, I encountered women frequently at the recording desks. In the current digital age, there are a lot of female youtubers and podcasters who are familiar with the admittedly less demanding sound technology. Nevertheless, I don’t understand the fear of or the lack of interest in sound technology. When we were children we produced our own radio plays with two cassette recorders, one for the voices, one for the atmosphere, e.g. a forest or street noise. But that’s a story for another day.
And before I ponder about women with no affinity for sound technology for much longer, I‘ll put these questions to the film sound women.
Women in Sound Network
This February a small group of film sound women got together to form a network and set up a professional association. Why? This is what they write on their website Filmtonfrauen.de:
Filmtonfrauen e.V. aims to collectively promote the presence and achievements of women in the film industry. Currently, only 4% of film sound professionals are women – we want that to change! Our website pushes to highlight and challenge industry acceptance of stereotyped gender roles in film sound, and promotes role models for women seeking a career in film sound. We want to encourage young women to pursue careers in sound, and we campaign through positive dialogue and networking, to improving the career opportunities of women in film.
Our website profiles the diversity of Filmtonfrauen e.V. members and their work, and simplifies the process of finding the right sound woman for any given film project. We’re actively seeking to expand our network and invite all women and non-binary gender-identified working in the film industry to join us.
The Sound of Sound
At the moment there are about 20 sound women presented on the website, hopefully there will be more. I spoke briefly with two of them, film sound mixer Claudia Mattai del Moro (klangfarberei.com) and sound editor / sound designer Felicitas Heck (twoleftears.de):
SchspIN: How do people end up professionally in sound?
CLAUDIA: There are different ways of training. Either by studying at a film university that also offers film sound, by dual training as a media designer picture and sound or by taking the “old” path of an internship, sound assistant / boom operator. The studies and training offer a good foundation and theoretical training with practical elements and initial short film experience. The entire sound processing is taught and learnt. Depending on the training company or interest, you decide in which direction you want to go. Postproduction or original sound (set).
FELICITAS: there is no regular way to do it. Many come via the HFF Potsdam (film university), or have studied sound engineering at the UDK (University of Arts Berlin). But there are also people who specialize in the field of film sound after a sound engineering education. And many also have a musical career and somehow end up in film. My CV is stringent, but not necessarily representative.
SchspIN: Why are there so few women in film sound professions? Camerawomen are often mistakenly denied “the ability to carry the heavy equipment”, this would be even less the case with you.
FELICITAS: There are so few women, because sound engineering is one of the STEM disciplines and many are afraid of technology, mathematics, physics. Or it‘s bcause there is simply less confidence in women, it starts with them getting lower marks in school than boys for the same performance, etcetera. And of course there are no female role models.
SchspIN: In analogue times, women always sat on the tape in the recording studios of broadcasters. Was sound on film sets always a male domain or has it changed due to digitalisation, for example like with film editors?
FELICITAS: Yes, there used to be a lot more women in the field of sound technology as well, especially in post-production. And here, too, the socialisation and schooling of women* and girls* plays a major role.
SchspIN: Does it make a difference whether a sound team on the set consists only of men or whether there are also women?
CLAUDIA: I’m told that as an actor or actress it makes a difference whether a woman or a man puts on the lapel microphone. We want to attach the clip-on microphones “invisibly” and therefore have to get very close to the performers. That calls for respect, sensitivity and a sense of proportion. Men can do that too. Personally, I usually work with a male assistant, so the actors have a choice and can decide for themselves whether they prefer to be “wired” by a woman or a man.
SchspIN: It says on your website: “We want to encourage young women to take up sound professions”. Where is the greatest demand at the moment, whether for women or men?
CLAUDIA: Currently there is a great need for sound assistants / boom operators. There is far too little young talent in this area.
SchspIN: There are many Youtube women who produce their own videos and audios. Perhaps this shows that the technical threshold is no longer so high. What could attract girls and women to film sound professions and what are the most important required qualities?
CLAUDIA: The film sound professions are more creative than their reputation. Technical knowledge and skills are a means to an end. Just like, for example, graphics software for graphic designers. In my opinion, the most important characteristics are: Curiosity, pleasure in sounds, tenacity and perseverance. Regulated working hours are probably the exception, interesting people, funny, exhausting, exciting, boring, extraordinary situations, moments and encounters the rule.
FELICITAS: The qualities required for film sound professions result from a combination of technical know-how and creativity combined with empathy. Only if the mood and atmosphere are positive, whether on a set or in the studio, and the performers feel comfortable, do I get good sound recordings.
SchspIN: And why did you become a film sound woman?
CLAUDIA: I’ve always been interested in sound and technology. But I only figured out in my mid-thirties how to make it my profession. I found a concert sound engineer in Switzerland who took me with him and trained me. After three years on tour with him I wanted to work in a studio. That’s how I came to Hamburg. There I set animated films to music and then trained as a media designer for picture and sound at Studio Hamburg. I‘ve always loved new challenges.
FELICITAS: I came to sound through music. I played the piano for a long time and after my training in sound engineering, I ended up in a film sound postproduction company by chance. A few years later I completed a Sound-Studies-Master at the UdK. Using my well-trained ear in a creative way to make films emotionally experienceable and to create new sounds is a challenging and beautiful task with every film.
SchspIN: What has been the response among colleagues and generally in the industry to the “women in sound” project so far?
FELICITAS: I‘ve received very positive feedback from many of them. But I also often hear that women* are afraid of being placed in the “feminist corner” when they are visible on our website. They are afraid of getting fewer jobs. I find that very problematic. Actually, it should be the other way around, right? Those who don’t clearly commit themselves to feminism shouldn’t get any more jobs and certainly shouldn’t be in decision-maker positions.
SchspIN: Thank you! And all the best for your network.
In den letzten Wochen haben manche hierzulande oder in der Onlinewelt das Brexit-Spektakel in London mit einer Fernsehserie verglichen, die schon seit mehreren Staffeln das Publikum in Atem hält. Es wurden Plottwists bewertet und über neue Figuren und Handlungsstränge spekuliert. Das ist nicht die einzige Parallele zum BFFS, der umso mehr unterhält, je weniger man fürchten muss von den Auswirkungen der tatsächlichen oder fehlenden Verbandspolitik betroffen zu sein.
BFFS: Fact and Fiction
Hat der BFFS das Zeug zu einer Fernsehserie? Oder zu einer Reihe von 60- oder 90-Minütern? Davon handelt der heutige Text, der in einzelne Episoden unterteilt ist, Zeitsprünge und Rückblenden inklusive. Unvollständig. Ein erster Entwurf.
BFFS – DIE SERIE handelt von Macht und Manipulation, und ist in der Glamourwelt des Films und ihren Schattenseiten angesiedelt – aber nicht nur da.
Also ein ähnliches Thema wie zum Beispiel DER DENVER-CLAN (Ölbranche. USA, 9 Staffeln mit insg. 218 45-min. Folgen, 1981-89) und BAD BANKS (Finanzwelt. D / LUX, bislang 1 Staffel mit 6 ca. 50-min. Folgen, 2018).
Ich werde am Rande auch einen kurzen Blick auf das Potenzial von BFFS – DIE SERIE als Comedyformat werfen, wo es sich anbietet.
Dass die Hauptfiguren / die autokratischen Vorstandsmänner eher unsympathisch rüber kommen muss nicht unbedingt schaden und ist auch kein Seriennovum. Gehen wir zurück zum erwähnten DENVER-CLAN. Dort steht der alte, megareiche Partriarch Blake Carrington im Zentrum, ein skrupelloser Businessmann mit aggressiven Zügen und Kontrollzwang. Er lässt seine junge zweite Frau Krystle (die ehemalige Sekretärin) überwachen, stellt sie regelmäßig auf die Probe, macht Psychospielchen mit ihr, vergewaltigt sie als sie einmal keinen Sex mit ihm will. Den Lover seiner Tochter Fallon lässt er zusammenschlagen, den Exlover seines schwulen Sohns Steven tötet er fahrlässig und gegen den Sohn, der zwischenzeitlich ein Kind gezeugt hatte (das waren die 80er, da schwankte der Schwule im Film zwischen schwul und hetero hin und her) strebte er einen Sorgerechtsstreit um seinen Enkel an. Beruflich trat er aggressiv auf, lehnte Kooperationen mit anderen ab und war eigentlich darauf aus, alle Gegner platt zu machen oder aufzukaufen. Seine zweite Frau liebte ihn natürlich trotzdem, fast die ganze Zeit. Mehr erinnere ich gerade nicht, wir hatten vor ein paar Monaten mal die ersten beiden Staffeln gebingt.
Aber wie gesagt, das waren die 1980er. Ein reiner Männerhauptcast (BFFS-Vorstandsmänner) mit Frauen als Staffage (Vorstandsfrauen) passt dramaturgisch eigentlich schlecht in die Kreativbranche des 21. Jahrhunderts. Und in einer Branche, in der Teamarbeit fundamental ist – wir reden hier ja nicht von der Ölindustrie – einen Alleingang nach dem anderen zu betreiben und die gewöhnlichen Mitglieder vorrangig als Masse, Beitragszahlende sowie als fleißige Helfer*innen zu sehen…. Hm. Selbst in einer Serie wie BAD BANKS waren zwar alle irgendwie unsympathisch, aber niemand so einseitig. Auch den Hauptanwalt der Serie – den Justiziar des Vorstands – würde man heute eigentlich mit einer Frau besetzen, das ist gut, endlich einmal eine böse Frauenfigur. Aber neben den alten weißen Männern einen weiteren alten weißen Mann, der knallhart agiert und gleichzeitig gewissermaßen vom System profitiert (div. Geschäftsführungs- und andere Posten, eine ausgelastete Kanzlei und eine gut finanzierte Bürogemeinschaft), das ist alles zu glatt.
Gut, man könnte in den Vorstand einen Guten als Sympathieträger und einen Nerd als Comic Relief einbauen, Hahnenkämpfe erfinden, Mobbing, gar einen Aufstand der Vorstandsfrauen (häufig überlieferter Satz: „da muss ich die Männer fragen“), Schicksalsschläge und Affairen, – da könnte noch einiges die Monotonie aufbrechen. Oder es wird eine Comedy, da bleiben Figuren ja auch meistens ein bisschen stereotyp und entwickeln sich nicht weiter. Aber selbst da wären vermutlich „die da oben“ die Bösen, und die Sympathie läge bei den Kleinen. Wobei die ,Bösen‘ durch Humor punkten könnten. Aber das kommt in der Realität bislang nicht vor. Continue Reading →
TATORTs and their Locations, 2011 to the Summer of 2019
In my analysis with 15 illustrations today, I take a look at the 22 new TATORTs in the first half of 2019, especially at the distribution of women and men in the six departments directing, screenplay, photography, sound, editing and music. Additionally I will look at the first mentioned roles in the scripts and the main casts, which are the roles listed on the ARD TATORTE pages, on average 12 roles per film.
Secondly I added the 2019 values to those of the TATORTs 2011 to 2018, again with regard to the six team divisions, and confront it with my suggestion 2 of 6 (#2v6pN).
Finally, the third part deals with the TATORT locations and copper teams. I checked the gender shares for the six departments there. Are there differences between the cities? Yes, there are. In some cities there has never been a script that was only written by female authors. Actually, 15 out of 28 cities haven’t had them. That’s not good. There was no female director in 9 of the 28 TATORT cities during the investigated years. More on this below.
The source for my investigations is broadcaster ARD’s TATORT subpage with all the cases and first TV dates, main casts and some information about the crew. The rest I researched mainly on Filmportal and Crew United. For the age analyses of the actors I used the databases Filmportal, Filmmakers, Crew United / Schauspielervideos as well as actors’ and agency websites.
What happened so far in 2019 up to the Summer Break?
Behind the Camera
Usually there are 35 to 36 new TATORTs every year. There is a break in the summer, I investigated the 22 TATORTs up to that point.
Good news is that the proportion of female directors for the 22 TATORTEN is 22.7 %, which is a new high since the start of my evaluations in 2011. Of course, it is still a long way from there to the share of female graduates in directing at film schools – because that is 44 % – but at least it is coming close to the 25.3 % share of female directors in the Crew United database, and it meets the 20 % target that the production company Degeto has set. But here, as already described in Crimes from a Male Perspective, the simultaneous disadvantage of a single-focus target becomes clear: the tunnel view on the directors ignores the other departments. Only one female DoP was responsible for a 2019 TATORT (Jutta Pohlmann at the Lucerne-Swiss Tatort AUSGEZÄHLT / Counted Out). Female sound mixers? Just like in the previous year, there have been none so far. A Frankfurt TATORT had a femalecomposer: Iva Zabkar (DAS MONSTER VON KASSEL / The Monster from Cassel). 12.1 % of the TATORT scripts were written by female authors (summer 2018: 7.1 %), however none independently but in three teams with male authors. No TATORT was written only by a woman or a women’s team. As usual, the stories are told primarily from a male perspective. Once again, the editors are predominately female (22.7 % male editors).Continue Reading →
Gender and Inclusion Policies in British Television
Momentarily we hear quite a lot of bad news from the United Kingdom (UK), which actually should have been called UQ United Queendom ever since 1952. The Brexit, the proposed No-Deal Brexit, the new Prime MinisterAlexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who was only elected by members of the Conservative Party, the lack of discussion about returning stolen art and cultural assets to their countries of origin (think of the British Museum), an astonishing waste policy (do they really not have a refundable bottles system?) and so on and so forth. But that’s not what today’s text is about; on the contrary, I want to write about something quite positive, where the UK/UQ is more advanced in comparison to other countries, e.g. to Germany: initiatives and programmes for gender equality and inclusion in the television industry, especially behind the camera.
I met both Ratcliffe and Rawcliffe – the names probably are coincidental – through Anjani Patel, Head of Diversity at Pact (Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television). Anjani & Pact organize Inclusive Casting Workshops for independent producers. In these workshops NEROPA is also discussed, and I may get the chance to present it there myself in the near future.
Anjani in turn was introduced to me by filmmaker Rebecca Brand, whom I mentioned for the first time here in the article Tis early practice…. . Or was it Jennifer Smith, Head of Diversity at the BFI British Film Institute, after the NEROPA Symposium in January 2017? Or both? Everyone seems to know each other, and I have been getting to know quite a few of them as well, some only digitally or via telephone so far. Thus the Westminster Insight Event was also a great opportunity to finally meet old acquaintances in real life on the by – like for example Leila Kurnaz and Natasha Connors from Ofcom. Whose colleague Vikki Cook, Director of Standards and Audience Protection at Ofcom, gave the keynote lecture that day.
There was a five day gap between the two dates, but I didn’t want to jet back and forth, so I stayed on until the ITV meeting and then went back via train, including the Eurostar, and yes, the connection Berlin-London by train is feasible without problems, it takes longer than the flight and is more expensive, but you have more space to work or sleep than in a plane, it is quieter and the view is more varied. Also the route leads through a number of German and Belgian cities, so you can also interrupt and visit people. Or drive through. 10 hours from city centre to city centre is doable, isn’t it?
Westminster Insight: Gender Equality in Television
Use by kind permission from Westminster Insight
The conference provided a condensed insight into the current state, data monitoring, initiatives and programmes, achievements, existing shortcomings, challenges and more. From the announcement:Continue Reading →
It has been three months today since I published my last blog text (“Why aren’t you working with Female scriptwriters?”) and since then several film and film political texts as well as statistical analyses are in the works, which I plan to publish soon, hopefully. In the meantime, here’s something quite different.
I’ll water a Tree Tonight
Everyone is talking about dry summers, about climate change, everyone is thinking about the environment – no, not everyone, of course. But many. Some? And many are wondering what to do, they commit to not taking domestic flights (even if they are cheaper than the train), have no car, do without plastic and disposable packaging as far as possible, always carry a shopping bag with them, buy only regional fruit and vegetables and so on. Now the question is whether this changes anything and whether it causes the environmental impact caused by big car- people or the ones taking 6 domestic flights every week or the permanent online shoppers, or whether it only calms one’s conscience, or whether it is simply a basic attitude, ultimately inconsistent, but a guideline for one’s own social or ecological aspirations. I don‘t really know. But I prefer doing something, however little it may be, to an “it doesn’t help anyway” attitude. But that is not really the topic today.
In warm summers street trees need 60 to 100 litres of water a week, depending on their age. Photo: SchspIN
And enjoy Urban Flower Beds
Actually I only want to talk briefly about trees and plant beds, and ackknowledge that city plants are a good thing. And that we can be responsibility for it. Trees, green spaces, flowers, they are good for the urban climate (photosynthesis!), and for the social climate as well. Sitting on a bench in a small park or next to a flower tub is nicer than sitting in a concrete desert. Most of the time anyway. And when I walk through Berlin or cycle or run (urban running!) I am always happy when I see beautiful beds in tree slices. How imaginative and elaborate! Sometimes like a small jungle, sometimes a colorful conglomeration, sometimes a sea of flowers, and sometimes it’s just grass under a tree, but even that’s nicer than dry grey earth with garbage and dog poo mosaics. In the Continue Reading →
Um die deutsche Version dieses Textes zu lesen ändere einfach die Spracheinstellungen der Seite (über die kleinen Fahnen rechts).
A week or two ago it was time to move my blog SchspIN – An Actress’s Thoughts. The old (still existing) address was schspin.wordpress.com, the new one is schspin.stieve.com, so it is now a subdomain of my stieve.com website (where you can also find NEROPA: neropa.stieve.com).
Why did I move? Well, I found it annoying that the free WordPress page displayed ads (for obvious reasons). And I found it a pity that I couldn’t make the blog bilingual, like for example the NEROPA page is. Just to mention two reasons.
So here we are, Welcome Everybody!
The move isn’t quite finished yet, many boxes still have to be unpacked (meaning that I have to split up the texts and place them on two different – German and English – pages, I have to upload all images by hand (I could move all texts automatically), I have to give the gallery system so it works the same way as before – clicking through a group of images, and I also have to reformat all internal links on the English page by hand. At the same time I can take this opportunity to check all external links for up-to-dateness and make some linguistic corrections. This takes time. What unfortunately doesn’t work yet: a “Subscribe to Blog”-Plugin. But hopefully that will come soon.
The first texts (i.e. the most recent ones) have already formatted and checked to some extent, all others will follow sooner or later. By the way, all internal links in the not-yet-checked articles – i.e. links to another blog text within SchspIN – still lead to the old schspin-wordpress blog.
For the moment both blog sites will be available, containing roughly the same information. However all new investigations and texts will be published at the new address (this will also be announced on the ‘old’ blog). ..
For just over six years now I have been analysing and commenting on the film and television industry, and my primary concern has not been to describe the – bad – actual state, but to work for change. That’s why I make suggestions like #eyesopen, #2v6pN and of course NEROPA. And I provide basic data that others can use for their work. Speaking of which, a few weeks ago I was called by a female screenwriter who wanted to know how many TATORT scripts in 2018 had been written by women. I call that perfect timing, a few weeks before I had published my 6-divisions-check of the TATORTE 2011 to 2018 (Crimes from a Male Perspective). A slow increase in the number of women directors towards the targeted 20 % share of women is visible, but at the same time the proportion of female authors has been rapidly falling and even zero values were reached for camera and sound.
The TATORT is considered to be the highest paid 90-minute format, why should this source of income be withheld from women? Why does a broadcaster financed with public funds not act in accordance with the Basic Law and discriminate against people on the basis of their gender? And last but not least: what does it mean for the audience if the stories are (almost) only filmed and told by men? I wrote about this problem in connection with the series BABYLON BERLIN (Two German Series: BABYLON BERLIN and CLASH OF THE FUTURES), where producers and cameramen and above all three directors who also wrote the scripts were male – which had an unfavourable effect in terms of design and, of course, content. Yesterday I heard that the second season of BAD BANKS, unlike the first season, is not written by a head author (Oliver Kienle) and two staff authors (Jana Burbach and Jan Galli), but only by men. The season in which the young banker Jana Liekam (Paula Beer) and the older banker Christelle Leblanc (Désirée Nosbusch) will be in the centre. Doesn’t anyone notice this?
But back to the screenwriter‘s call.
Did you know that in German some people, when they talk of a baby or toddler, and when it is binary, they call it little man or little mouse. “Oh, the little man is so cute / shy!” and “Oh, the little mouse is so tired / awake!” Now I don’t want to talk about the possible attributed characteristics, but only about the terms. Little man respectively little mouse. Some mothers or fathers even talk about their little son and their male partner as “my two men“. However, I have never heard of “my two mice” for female partner and little daughter. (Neither “my two women“, although once someone said “my two girls“).
So, the male infant, the male toddler or child is a man, but only a small or little one. When the boy gets older, he is sometimes called a big boy or a junior. And later he becomes a real man. Basically, a penis seems to be enough to turn a child into a (little) man, like his father, but smaller.
The female baby, toddler or child is a small mouse, a little mouse or a just a mouse. What if she gets bigger? Will she be a big mouse, perhaps a jumping mouse or even a rat? When does she become a woman, like her mother? And is there also the intermediate stage “little woman”? I’ve never heard that said of girls. For a girl (in German „das Mädchen“ which is the grammatical neutrum!) the vagina is not enough to make her a (little) woman. Why? Does that sound weird, does it feel strange to speak of a newborn female human being as a (little) woman? Does that sound too sexual, like developed breasts, like sexual maturity? Or is “little woman” simply an outdated paraphrase for good, hard-working housewife?