We Asked Hollywood "What's Your Career Pledge?" — Here's How They Responded
Progress comes in many forms. Sometimes it is a film with a cast made up entirely of performers of color dominating the box office and becoming the top-earning domestic movie of the year. It may be the first Asian woman to earn a nomination in the Emmy's lead actress drama series category. Or maybe it is the $20 million raised in 60 days to help address undeniable systemic issues in the workplace, including sexual harassment and pay inequality. All of these moments happened in 2018, and it was incredible to watch all of them unfold.
With that said, we still have a ways to go.
Last year, Bustle pledged to #AcknowledgeHerMore. In our effort to shine a light on women who played key parts in creating TV and film that year, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, Bustle made a point to mention a woman who was a part of every project featured in the Entertainment section. This year, we're flipping the script from last year: From now until the end of the 2019 awards season, we're asking every woman and non-binary person we speak to within the entertainment industry (writers, directors, costume designers, actors, music coordinators, and more) to share with us the one pledge they've made to themselves in their career, and what they are doing to keep that progress going.
Over the course of January and February, we will be doing our part to push the conversation forward by asking some of the people behind our favorite entertainment moments for their pledge, starting with...
Amy Nauiokas, producer of Can You Ever Forgive Me?
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I, very early on, have made a pledge to hold close the values and the love of integrity that I grew up with and learned from my parents and my grandmother. And I will never budge when it comes to integrity, in any way, shape, or form."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I’m asking questions, whether it’s casting, or financing, or packaging, or even building the story from the scaffolding of the story, from the idea up. How are we reflecting the society that we live in? How are we hiring? How are we managing our diversity amongst our crew and our team?"
Karyn Kusama, director of Destroyer
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "The pledge that I’m still learning to keep is, I’m never going to walk away from conflict simply because it makes me uncomfortable. That I need to start walking into and engaging the thing that makes me most uncomfortable, and testing those waters a little bit more."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I just had an opportunity in front of me to hire highly qualified men or women, and I decided it would be interesting to just hire the qualified women. See what that’s like. Not as a political mandate, but just as something to try. ... To have so many women on set ... it just created a really nice environment. ... I think it’s so important that we keep an open dialogue about this stuff, because I have a lot to learn from other women, I have a lot to teach other women, but the same can be said of other men."
Betsy Beers, executive producer of Grey's Anatomy
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Take time to listen to other people, but take time to listen to yourself. They're both equally valuable."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "It's really, really important for us to continue to spread the word that there's all of these possible positions out there for women, that they either may not be aware of or they may think aren't open to them. We're here to say, 'Oh, yes they are.' Everything is open to them. Everything is open to you."
KiKi Layne, actor in If Beale Street Could Talk
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I guess to always do things that I love ... gotta hit me somewhere in my spirit."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I'm taking this time to get clear about — once my voice and my platform carries more weight — how am I going to use that influence. So, I'm paying attention to the people I'm meeting and working with and seeing what they're doing, because once I get to that level, I want to be impactful."
Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator and showrunner of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I’ve always said, 'You can’t be afraid to get fired,' because I think that’s where all bad writing comes from."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I’ve always hired women my entire career. So, to me, this is not something I just started with. I’ve always had to have as many women around as possible. It’s more of the same."
Natalie Portman, actor in Vox Lux
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Work on things that I felt were meaningful in a way that was worth the time that I was away from my family. … It’s so hard leaving, and I want anything that I do to be enriching and invigorating in a way that made me better when I went back."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I think continuing the conversation is most important, and to continue gathering. I think the force of women meeting and talking to each other and working together to achieve common goals is ... it starts with getting together, so that’s what we should continue to do."
Delia Ephron, screenwriter of You've Got Mail
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "First of all, all my stories have to [in] some way be personal. They have to come through my heart. I don’t look outside to decide what I want to write. 'Oh everyone’s writing about vampires, I’ll write about vampires.' By the time you’re done writing about vampires, no one’s interested in them, or more importantly, you didn’t really have a powerful feeling about vampires. Your work is your fingerprint, and that’s the way I think of it."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I think in the sense that I’ve always mentored anyone I possibly can."
Alex Borstein, actor in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I only want to take work that either the quality is excellent, or it’s something that I've never done before that seems like it will be really exciting to try. Maybe if something's not like the most compelling, incredible character in the world, but oh my God, I would get to go to Africa and be in the jungle and learn how to, you know, [do] something that would be pleasing to me and crack open my experiences. That's my pledge ... I will never take anything out of fear again."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I try to make choices on projects that are made by brilliant women, directed by them, edited by them, music is chosen by them, costumes are designed by them, [and where I'm] surrounded by other talented women. If I'm ever at a point in my career where I have any power, which I don't know that that will ever happen, [but] if I'm ever making choices about hiring those positions, I would certainly do my best to see the diversity on the set that you're more comfortable with."
Felicity Jones, actor in On the Basis of Sex
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I think there's a pledge that in whatever capacity when I'm presenting women on screen that I present the full human being, all the different sides of someone, the flaws as well as the triumphs. And that's how I always go into everything, no matter what the situation, I have to honor the truth of the character."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Making and talking about films like On the Basis of Sex. The fight continues."
Shay Mitchell, actor in YOU, Pretty Little Liars, and The Possession of Hannah Grace
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "To play strong female roles ... I think it's important for young girls, and just women in general to see, we don't need saving. We go through a lot, and we can handle it."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "...Truly everything that I attach my name to it, and the different projects work on, are only because I'm extremely passionate about them. I love what I do because of that."
Meher Tatna, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I guess being Indian my upbringing always sort of made me not be particularly assertive or to stand up for myself. And that is something I've tried all my life to overcome, not always successfully, but it is something I try to remind myself of. That I am worth standing up for and that my voice means something."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Solidarity. Supporting one another, standing up for one another. It's always helpful if someone supports your position and tells you that you are worthy and you are right and that they will help, so I try to."
Karen Gillan, actor/writer/director in The Party's Just Beginning
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I think one that I made was that I would never take an acting role purely for money. And I think that’s a good one to stick to, because I think it could probably get quite tempting at times. But you have to hold your nerve and you have to tell people how you want to be considered as an actor. You need to position yourself where you want to be, rather than allowing other people to completely steer that or just taking what you’re given. I think you have an element of control in there. And I certainly don’t want to be driven by financial rewards.
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I feel that becoming a female filmmaker is a step in the right direction, because I think action is just the most important thing here. Words are important, but action speaks volumes. And so if we want equality, let’s take steps to do that, and it’s going to be difficult, and there’s going to be setbacks and obstacles in the way. But I think, I’m hoping that if other young girls who might consider directing see me in that role, and then decide to move into it themselves, then I think that’s a great contribution to the movement."
Sarah Paulson, actor in Glass, American Horror Story, and Ocean's 8
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I think the only promise I make to myself is to be as open as possible to all possibilities, and the minute I start making pledges or saying, 'I never will,' I’m kind of leading with the negative instead of with the positive, and then making an adjustment accordingly. I think my pledge to myself is to not make a pledge."
Marin Hinkle, actor in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I used to say, if there was one part of [a script] where you would say to yourself, ‘God, I’m so lucky that I get the chance to speak these words,’ then that felt like it was enough to pursue that piece of work. It doesn’t have to be that the whole story makes sense or that I think the writing is so exceptional, but if there’s some portion that does something to me and makes me percolate with excitement, then that’s something I want to work on."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I’ve been really focused on making sure I can be as much of a mentor as possible. I’m matched usually to women, so what I’ve loved most is my time with younger women and talking about thing that were challenges thus far in my career and mistakes maybe I’ve made that I would love to do over, and giving advice on how to deal with issues in terms of the #MeToo movement or just in terms of getting an agent or balancing a career and family."
Sandy Powell, Oscar-nominated costume designer of Mary Poppins Returns and The Favourite
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "That I will stop doing this job the moment I'm bored of it... If you're bored or your not enjoying it, you can't produce good work."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I actually do look out for men to work in my department because I think it should be an equal balance. So, having said that, in other departments, which haven't been in the past traditionally female, those should absolutely be having a positive move toward having more women in departments they're not traditionally in. I don't think the film industry should be all female in the same way I don't think it should be all men. I think it should be an even balance."
Leslye Headland, creator of Russian Doll
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "To use my position of where I am in the industry to support and magnify the voices of female writers of color. Obviously, being a female writer in Hollywood, most of the time you’re kind of told by others, 'You can’t do that,' you’re kind of censored before you have an idea and can go all the way out, it’s like, 'No no no, people aren’t interested in that,' or 'No no no, we already have a show like that,' and my experience with female writers of color is that it's still much more work than it is for white women, so it feels important to me that now that I am moving from this pavement pounding writer/director into a creator/executive producer/producer person that I start finding women that need that support and representation in a way that, to be quite honest, I didn’t have."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I really enjoy what I do for a living, but [Hollywood] is run on fear, and I think that one of the biggest fears is that there isn’t enough to go around ... and that’s just not true, there’s plenty to go around, and I think that both women and men, all writers, if you’re up there, you should send the elevator back down, and I fully intend on doing that."
Hannah Beachler, Oscar-nominated production designer of Black Panther
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Always be honest, say the truth even when people don’t want to hear it, say the truth. It’s not easy [laughs] but that is a pledge."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Starting at the beginning with scholarships for film students in my hometown. I started a $20,000 scholarship in my hometown at my alma mater, growing that over time to bring in guests and equipment for them ... Giving my time to Play Build, which is second graders who start [learning] about how cities work and how city grids are ... talking to them and looking at their work. Hanging out with kids and going and speaking with them about careers in film — fifth graders and sixth graders — telling them that there’s not just acting and directing, that there’s all these different crafts that take skill and that take passion and creativity and that if there’s something that they like to do they can always do it in the film industry as a career..."
Sera Gamble, co-creator of YOU
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "An issue arose and somebody called my agent, and said ‘Why is she being difficult?’ and my agent relayed this to me, and I said, ‘Well, I’m being difficult because it’s an important issue.” He said to me, ‘I don’t know that you’re actually being difficult, but I do know that I represent a lot of female show writers, and I know that every one of them is called one of two words, and those words are difficult, and crazy.’ So in that moment I accepted that, I believed him, and I decided that I would embrace that, and that I would never ever be afraid of those words … I promised myself to always do the job to the best of my ability, and if that made other people a little bit uncomfortable, great."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I am always very specific now, when there is an opportunity to hire women, at any level, from [production assistants] all the way up to producing director. Anywhere along the line, I always want to sit down with people of more than one gender. I always want to sit down with diverse candidates. It’s not OK anymore for there ever to be a job opening anywhere in television where we don’t make sure we are doing our due diligence, that we make sure that we’re not looking out at a sea of cis-gendered, straight, white men. And so to do my part I always sit down, and everyone I work with now, and everyone I’ve work for as well, we know this is our job and responsibility when hiring."
Zoë Kravitz, actor in Big Little Lies
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I'm always looking for something that will push the envelope in some way in terms of making myself uncomfortable or a little bit scared or making other people uncomfortable or a little bit scared. Asking certain questions. You never want to get too comfortable when it comes to making art. I mean sometimes it's OK to just make something light and fun, but in general, the idea as an artist is to stimulate people's minds and ask certain questions and inspire people. So I just never want to get too lazy in terms of choosing things that are easy, or things that we've seen before. We need to keep pushing forward."
Catherine Hardwicke, director of Miss Bala, Twilight, and more
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "You can’t please every single person. You have to be sure that it just feels really strong and really good and honest to yourself and then hopefully other people will feel that too."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Constantly, I'm like, ‘How can we spread, inspire, from what I’ve learned, and the opportunities that I’ve had? How can I help give other opportunities back?’ We did a big thing for Latinx at the Academy a few weeks ago. One thing that was super cool is this girl, young woman, 21 years old, from a small village in Peru, she came up to me and said that she opened up the Twilight director’s notebook, she saw that little book that I made and she saw a picture and she saw, ‘Wait a minute, the director’s a woman. That means women can direct movies.’ And she’s in this little town and she says, ‘I’m going to become a film director.’ Cut to nine years later, she made a short film that got in the Academy."
Ruth E. Carter, costume designer of Black Panther
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I made a pledge to be authentic and in that authenticity, I feel like I have a responsibility to it when I’m doing a film about someone’s life or an actual occurrence I feel that I have made a pledge to get it right. I owe it to the people who came before me, who have paved the way for me to have this position in life..."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "... I will continue to evaluate my role as a costume designer that makes selections and evaluates a story based on what people look like and what they’re wearing. And try to be a support, and continue to be a support, to the actresses who want to have a voice about how their body is perceived, how their body is presented. I think that’s my role..."
Brenda Chapman, director of Brave and more
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "One pledge I made to myself...was to work on films that I believed in and not just do it for the money. I have to have a passion for the project I’m working on and if I can’t find it then I don’t do it... "
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I do try to mentor people ... I try to do speaking at schools and universities and conventions and that kind of thing and give keynotes to inspire in that kind of way. But also I turn down projects that have male protagonists only, I try to only look at projects that have some female protagonist and you know also look at making secondary characters female as well."
Nadia Stacey, hair and makeup designer of The Favourite
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I’ve always made the choice that I could do anything. It doesn’t matter. I could work on any genre of film, I could work with any director. I just tried to go for it wherever possible ... The one thing I’m really trying to do going forward is I really want to change the perception of hair and makeup in the industry in the sense of, I do think sometimes it’s a bit of a overlooked category ... So I guess to be more vocal about our department."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I’ve tried my whole career to whenever I see something that other women do in my industry, to be really supportive and vocal about it and to contact them and tell them how amazing I thought it was. Because I know when I watch things how hard someone must have worked on it."
Lena Waithe, writer/executive producer of Boomerang
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Honestly, I want to keep making dope sh*t. That really is my mantra and that can mean many things. I want to keep telling stories that are honest and true. I want to give people a punch in the gut but also a hug after it happens, you know? I want it to be surprising and shocking and true and real and alive, that’s what I want to do. I want to help people tell their story. I want to make sure I’m telling my own story in a very honest and true way. And I want to inspire people, too. "
Jade Pettyjohn, actor in Destroyer
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I pledged that I would work with more women, and support more women in projects that I think are really interesting ... I think that it's a really beautiful thing, and I think that it's an exciting time [in film for women]."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Social media is a really beautiful tool, and I think awareness is so important, and continuing to educate myself on it, and to make sure that I'm looking at the proper sources, and making sure that I know what's happening and staying in the loop, and then spreading that awareness through social media..."
Lake Bell, actor/writer/co-creator of Bless This Mess
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I've always pledged to myself to create content and to put forth stories that generally make people feel good. That evoke a kind spirit. That are, in general, from a positive space because I do think that in a world that is so complicated and often frustrating and sometimes scary, I think to create content that is kind or sweet is almost more provocative."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I'm an active board member of Women in Film and I feel strongly that our work — which we have been doing for many, many, many years — every day, we are chipping away at gender parity in a multitude of ways. I feel very proud to be a part of that organization because it is working systemically from the inside out."
Jenny Slate, actor/producer in The Sunlit Night
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I’m not going to give even one moment of consideration towards the idea that I should dress myself or behave in a way that soothes a misogynist gaze, and that I’ll fight against it and that I will continually call my own attention to it and my community’s attention to the misogynist tropes and agendas that are just grandfathered into the way we behave right now, no pun intended."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I’m making sure that when I create projects that I am hiring women and non-binary people and I just started to film a comedy special and it’s directed by a woman and produced by two women and the DP and the camera department are women. Everyone was in one way or another, not a dude. And it’s a tough conversation because I don’t want to live in a world where I don’t interact or work with men, but I also don’t want to live in a world that is directly or unconsciously misogynist or a replica of like ancient patriarchy."
Tina Brown, co-director of United Skates
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Always be passionate about the thing I'm working on. Because I think when I'm passionate about something I give 150 percent. And anything that I've done, it's become my life. So I just know that whatever the project is or whatever the job I'm doing, I have to be passionate about it. Which means sometimes changing careers a few times."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Being myself [laughs]. That is a big one. You know, we joke around, we riff, we have fun, and I think there's a lot of pressure on women to fit a certain mold if they want to be successful, and they can't just be themselves. We have owned that. We have owned that from the beginning ... I think a lot of pressure's put on women who have to be successful and tough and a certain personality, and we just ... It doesn't matter who you are, how you are, what personality you have, you can be successful just being yourself."
Dyana Winkler, co-director of United Skates
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Finding my inner self-confidence. Because even though I know that I can do things, I think that if I haven't done them before or done them as perfectly as I like them to be, I very easily step aside to let someone else do it. I think that's a very feminine way to function in this world, and I see so many of my male colleagues just say they can do something and then figure it out later."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "As non-African American filmmakers making [United Skates], we did the best that we could do be allies for a community. I'm a gay woman, and I need my straight allies to fight for me and my rights. And I think as women we need men to step up and say, 'There's no women in this room right now, there's something wrong with that. There's no women on our roster this year directing, there's something wrong with that.' And to speak up for us, because sometimes we can't do it on our own, we need to have allies."
Courtney Kemp, creator of Power
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems, and I don't lie. That’s helpful, you lie, to yourself, to others, you don’t have to clean up as much."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "For me it is about hiring people. Not only a person of color, a woman, or an LGBTQ person. But it also might be a straight white guy who is willing to share and teach other people his skills. It’s important to get information from all different kinds of people. Not every man is a bad person — it’s hard, but it is about getting to know people as individuals, which I think is the thing we’ve been fighting for all along. As a black person, I do root for everybody who’s black. And as a woman, I root for other women. It is so key for us to stand up for ourselves and the people that we represent, and at the same time to encourage open minds and open discussions among diverse groups. If we segregate ourselves, we actually will not learn from each other."
Shiri Appleby, actor in Unreal and Roswell, director of Roswell, New Mexico
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Not having any preconceived notions. And to just always be working. I just want to make more stuff. I just want to be making things all the time."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "The shows I’ve been doing have all been younger actors, in their twenties, and to be able to direct them and give them that nugget of a thing to help push them forward, whether it’s a thing about lighting or the camera or have them face a certain way, I feel like I'm pushing it forward and that feels really rewarding."
Adele Lim, co-screenwriter of Crazy Rich Asians
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "The pledge I made, not too long ago — and I could only make it because I was in a sure enough place to do it — which is to not put up with abusive behavior and write in an unsafe environment. And that happens more often than people think. I know, it’s a new movement now, but it still happens. And, I think the other thing, and that’s been a pledge I’ve had for a while, which is to write from a place of joy."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I’m part of a bunch of different groups, specifically of female writers who are very supportive of each other, and I want us to find that sorority of people who can lean on each other for support... For a very long time there weren’t enough of us to form that cohesive, supporting group — from content creators to talent — and we can make that happen now, from throwing lunches to getting together… We want what Judd Apatow has. We want to be able to work with people we love, and amazing, talented people we love, and put out things that make us happy and make the world happy."
Bruna Papandrea, producer for Big Little Lies, Wild, Gone Girl, and more
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "My personal pledge, because I grew up with very little, is to try and help women from low socioeconomic circumstances and socioeconomic diversity access different businesses. That's something that I'm really working toward becoming a big part of our pledge in our business. We're in the process of setting up a foundation to do that. The thing that I most would be proud of at the end of my life is to have made a difference in access to women who wouldn't have potentially had it otherwise."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Our whole entire company is built around gender equality and this is not just about women — it's about people of color, it's about people of different orientation. I want to continue to focus on those things too. It's not the singular thing. I think that obviously, the gender imbalance is still so big, I mean if you look at the figures, it's still incredibly alarming the lack of females behind the camera. One of the things I'm keen to do is to get women and people of color behind the camera in any way."
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus, costume designer of A Simple Favor
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I have two pledges. One is to be able to express myself fully, and to be heard by the people who are my clients ... And the other pledge that I’ve learned over time is that I should really stick with my first instinct, because I always come back to it."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I try to always take an interview, always try to explain what the job of a costume designer is, because I think it’s tremendously interesting to know what goes into this."
Angelique Clark, set designer for Broad City
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "One pledge I've made to myself is just to be me — to be Angelique Clark. That sounds so cheesy, but it's just to stay committed to the values that I uphold. I'm very interested in getting involved with boundary-pushing projects, so I've always stayed true to that. I’ve tried to."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I've tried to pick projects that I think represent more the realities of what's really happening and to be able to work on those so that they're on TV, basically ... I think that that's kind of my way of contributing, is just kind of working on particular projects that I really––that resonate with me as a woman and also a woman of color."
Ali Liebegott, writer on Girls Weekend and producer on Transparent
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "I always want to hold the door open for someone else. Because Jill Soloway brought me into this TV writing world, and I always want to be able to help someone who might not necessarily have that help from an outside source. I feel indebted to helping other people who are hardworking and talented who might not have the access..."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I personally have mentored at Women in Film, and I have a group of women that I’ve mentored for years as writers. It’s not enough to just be like, ‘Let’s hire women.’ People have to go out of their way to make sure that those women are prepared when they get somewhere to be able to do a good job and not be an excuse for someone else who doesn’t want to hire a woman, you know? And doing that is the heavy lifting. Women are doing that on their own."
Kyra Sedgwick, director on Girls Weekend, founder of Big Swing Productions
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "There’s so many things I want to do. I think definitely if you’re a woman in power and you’re not reaching down and pulling somebody else up, you’re really not doing your job ... And I really want to create a safe space in whatever my work space is, whether I’m an actor or a director or a producer, I want everyone to feel safe and appreciated."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "Everything [on the Big Swing slate] is pretty much women-centric. On [Girls Weekend], we had 90 percent women on the crew. So these are things that we’re doing without even thinking about them now, but they definitely are a mandate.
Stephanie Savage, co-creator of Runaways, Gossip Girl, and more
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "A pledge that I had made to myself is to always reach back and bring people with me. We had a great experience this year [on Runaways] — Episode 8 was written by one of our former assistants, Kendall Rogers, and directed by one of our former assistants, Anna Mastro."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? ""My pledge moving forward is to continue to reach out to communities and make sure that our writing community and our crew community to make sure that our behind the scene people are as diverse as the people in front of the camera as well."
Katie Silberman, writer of Set It Up and Isn't It Romantic
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "When I came out to Los Angeles, I made a pledge to myself that if I was ever working with a real asshole, I would leave no matter how prestigious the project was..."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I hope that I’m a part of telling stories that are moving that needle forward. I wrote and produced a movie called Booksmart with Olivia Wilde that’s coming out in May, and that was an extraordinary experience, not just because she’s so talented, but because she had a crew where she really didn’t just depend on resumes. If you’re waiting just for resumes you’re only going to hire people that have been hired before, and she really went out of her way to find the most interesting creative people and give them the opportunity to do something on a bigger scale than they had ever done before."
Alice Englert, actor in Them That Follow and Top of the Lake
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "Don’t try to win, you know? Don’t try to arrive. Just keep being weird. It doesn’t hurt, and it’s so beautiful. And don’t be scared, be interested. It’s one of those things that’s saved my life so far. You can go anywhere and you can do anything with that."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "There’s a lot of listening that I feel is important to do. I actually like boys and girls but I feel like I do seem like a straight gal. It’s definitely not felt that simple, growing up. I used to play a lot as boys when I was a kid and I wonder sometimes if that’s just because the boys got to do the better stuff and had the better stories. I want to listen, and I like the long game."
Jennifer Kent, director of The Nightingale and The Babadook
What is the one pledge you've made to yourself in your career? "To tell stories of the feminine. [The Nightingale] is a story of the feminine. It is a story of a woman, but also Aboriginal culture respects the feminine, it’s much more balanced..."
What are you doing to keep the progress in Hollywood going? "I hope that I’m telling stories that are not about comforting people’s current way of being, but that are perhaps challenging people’s perceptions of themselves, of others, for example, Aboriginal culture. People in my country make certain assumptions that I hope this film can confront and address..."
This list was updated throughout January and February's award season with pledges by the industry's leading forces behind TV and film.
Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.