Last weekend Paris Barclay was elected President of the Directors Guild of America. As he should be. He is a quality director who has won Emmys, and has been producer/director of numerous shows, including Sons of Anarchy and In Treatment. He’s served the DGA in many capacities before this. The man is qualified beyond reproach. And yet the news release specified that he was the first African-American DGA President. Lawrence O’Donnell even did a piece on MSNBC about it. How about that? A black DGA President.
What does his race have to do with it? A director’s qualifications include storytelling ability, creative eye, interpersonal skills, and leadership. Race has nothing to do with it. And neither does gender.
I would like to be known as a good director. Not a woman director. We directors of the feminine persuasion are lumped together, as when a producer says, “We need to get a woman director in here so the DGA doesn’t come after us.” And yet, I’m as different from the next woman director as Paris is from the next black director. We are individuals with individual skills and abilities.
I am so happy for Paris. But don’t lump him in with some neophyte just because their skin is the same color. I’m grateful that I am a working director, but don’t lump me in with the next director with boobs. Quality comes from the mind, the one that envisions the visual story and tells it beautifully through collaboration with writers, producers, cast and crew. Quality has nothing to do with the outside of us – Paris and me and all the other “minority” directors – quality comes from the inside. Appreciate Paris’ mind, not his skin.