An Actress's Thoughts

Change is coming

Change is Coming!

Today’s text is about music, change, and the 5th anniversary of this blog. 

Several years ago I discovered the alternative rockband thenewno2 and immediately loved the music – and the name! (which has a different background from my associations, but never mind. It‘s a cool name). Behind thenewno2 are Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks, who also collaborated in other musical projects, among other things they composed the music for the series GOOD GIRLS REVOLT and fils like BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (director Richard LaGravenese) and LEARNING TO DRIVE (director Isabel Coixet).

In 2010, along with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur, Dhani Harrison foundet the Band A Fistful of Meri. And last October he published his first solo album: IN /// PARALLEL – a soloproject in its truest sense, he composed, mastered and produced all ten titles, some of them between 6 and 8 minutes long. He calls it grunge and bass, Rolling Stone describes it as psychedelic, and Harrison’s background as a film score composer can distinctly be felt (Dhani on IMDB).

You can like this music – I do! And the more differenciated reviews were entirely positive – but of course you can be annoyed instead and complain that it is not like you wanted it to be. This applies for a German radio journalist from Deutschlandfunk Kultur, whose name unfortunately I didn‘t catch, and who said something like: “Yes, the music is good, but something is missing, and that‘s the Beatles sound. Therefore I cannot give it a good rating“.

Dhani Harrison, born in 1978, is the son of Olivia Harrison, née Trinidad Arias, and George Harrison, a musician from Liverpool, who was a member of The Beatles for ten years, and after that had a 30-year solo career with a dozen LPs, among them the world‘s first triple album (ALL THINGS MUST PASS), he set up the first charity concert (Concert for Bangladesh, 1971) inspired by Ravi Shankar, he stepped in, when nobody trusted the new film project from Monty Python which had led to financing difficulties (THE LIFE OF BRIAN) and he had several number 1 hits.
The music Dhani Harrison – born 8 years after the Beatles broke up – grew up with was that of his father‘s solo career, and that of the many musicians who came to record their music in George Harrison‘s very own recording studio. Incidentially, Dhani – with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and phyiscs to his credit – was cloned, as he is only the son of the ex-beatle (“the same voice!“ “the same eyes!“ „the same looks!“ and “he also plays the guitar!“) – and seems to have inherited nothing relevant whatsoever from his mother.

Why am I telling all this? Because narrow-minded expectations and views, when loudly voiced, are always unpleasant and form a hinderance to development and new things. This goes for music as well as the film industry (and other areas of society as well of course): it‘s always done this way, let‘s play it safe, it‘s just that men are so much better at directing or with a camera, the audience simply likes nothing better than watching crime drama, women have to be young and beautiful, the tv ratings demonstrate what‘s good or doesn‘t work…
Speaking of television, ironically it is this television, namely the two major public broadcasting corporations ARD and ZDF, who were awarded the Honorary Inspiration Award by the board of the German acting union BFFS at last year’s DSP German Acting Awards.

With the „Honorary Inspiration Award“, the Federal Association for Acting BFFS annually recognizes a personality or institution, who through their achievements have enabled and promoted the art of acting in a special way. (German source)

The 2017 award did not honour promising attempts, it was not bestowed upon commissioning editors or individuals, it did not ackknowledge courageous tv formats, no, the public broadcasters were recognized in their entirety. How das that make actresses feel who don‘t get cast, because they don‘t fit into the programme? Writers, whose innovative stories are rejected or fundamentally changed? How do commissioning editors at ARD and ZDF feel, who fight for change and who manage to smuggle little gems into the programme? It doesn‘t matter, because the whole house is an inspiration. Or rather, both houses. And the speech of honour was given by Sigmar Gabriel, a politician from the SPD social democrats – three days before the last general election – surely because he can empathize so well with actresses and actors and knows what is inspirational for them.

So what is Positive?

Well, some things are. For one, they finally changed the name of the DSP, formally „the award with the awkward name“, something I had proposed for the very start, but sometimes it takes a while. By the way In 2016 the DSP Inspiration Award went to Isabel Coixet, who is a great director and very popular among acters and actresses who have worked with her (and would like to!).

DSP 2016: BRS and Isabel Coixet. ©: BFFS/Foto:Schroewig

Unfortunately, when Isabel Coixet received the award, again a highly prominent personality was chosen for the award speech, Dieter Kosslick, and he spoke of himself at least as much as he did about her. I remember asking myself, why in all those years he has been the director of the Berlinale Berlin International Film Festival, he never took English classes to work on his lexis, grammar and pronounciation. But maybe there just never was time. Or there were no English language teachers in Berlin. But that is a topic for another day.
I didn‘t go to the awards last year, but in the years before I noticed that most awards in the DSP categories were presented by celebrities and given to celebrities. The lesser known actors and especially actresses were the friendly helpers of the night, taking the guests coats, leading them to their seats, checking the invitations. But it does not always have to stay that way, at the gala of Awards from acters for acters (to use the gender-neutral term).

It’s not like it used to be

It does not have to stay the way it was or is. Things will change. The German television programme will change. The rule of the tv ratings will be over at some point, and then some intelligent people will make sure, that the quality and the value of a tv broadcast is not determined by the number of people who watched it. And the number of followers on instagram won‘t determine which acter is being cast for a role. One day, more women will be enabled to make films. Great films. One day, the BFFS will be turned into a democratic organization. One day the male domination within the film industry will complete its final round.
Change is coming.
And no one can stop it, certainly not those who proclaim the day before yesterday to bei the future. At the same time, change needs support. Heforshe, metoo, timesup, Era5050, Pro Quote – the sign of the times are there. Change is coming.
And I am happy to help bring this change about, with SchspIN and NEROPA.

t’s not like it used to be
It’s not like it used to be
It’s not like it used to be
It’s not like it used to be
(Dhani Harrison: All About Waiting)

SchspIN turned Five!

Five years ago today, on Jan 16, 2013, I published my first blog post (And Action!) and on Jan 20, 2016 I first introduced the concept of NEROPA (A Casting Tool Called NEROPA). Two Anniversaries. On January 20, 2016, at the panel discussion “Who plays the part in German television?“, organized by Women in Film and Television Germany at the Grüne Salon in Berlin (audio), I spoke about my analyses for the first time in public. And a public discussion about role gender imbalance, casting PRAXIS, stereotypes and structures began, in the course of which we find NEROPA, the study on Audiovisual Diversity by the University of Rostock, and some exciting developments we are about to witness.

Another anniversary will be installed the day after tomorrow, because then Equity UK are running a symposium on NEROPA at the BFI, where I will present my method in greater detail (#equityneropa).

But first things first, let‘s celebrate 5 years of SchspIN – with a bit of music from Dhani Harrison of course.
I‘d like to say thank you to all my readers over the past years, to all who gave me positive or critical feedback, who helped me gather infomation and data, who shared my articles in their blogs or other platforms. And I also want to say thank you for the many congratulations I have received, some in private, some in public.
Here‘s to the next 5 years of SchspIN!

Greetings and Messages

“FILMLÖWIN / FILM LIONESS would like to warmly congratulate SchspIN on the occasion of her fifth birthday and say thank you from the bottom of her heart for the industrious, well researched and informative roars! Keep it up – here‘s to our continuous good collaboration!“
Film Lioness – the feminist film magazine

Dear Belinde, Brigitte Macron (in this case the one from the show “Kroymann“) wants to congratulate you on the 5th birthday of your blog and the 2nd of the intelligent and appropiately combative casting tool NEROPA! And she hopes for more ideas like it, nicely radical and at the same time practical. Bon anniversaire! Gros bisoux!
As representative: Maren (Brigitte had to go to a hyaluron treatment)
Maren Kroymann: website and comedy show (with Brigitte Macron)

Dear Belinde Ruth, congratulations! We only met not so long ago at the #EPD17 (equal pay day), but I don‘t want to miss the „SchspIN – actress‘s thoughts“ and your engagement for NEROPA. NEROPA – a casting tool for more role diversity, for more equality, diversity and less “culture of legs astride“. You, along with your blog, have been an insider tip for a long time. I hope this will change. Congratulations on that, looking forward to the next exciting and ENLIGHTENING blog posts.
With best wishes, Yvonne de Andrés.
Yvonne interviewing Belinde for Aviva-Berlin Magazine

Dhani Harrison – All about Waiting (Video)

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