By Alejandro Ambriz
Wonder Women In Entertainment was a panel on the experiences of female lawyers, executives and talent managers at The Los Angeles Comic Con on Oct. 12.
The panel brought a different perspective about women’s progression in the entertainment industry.
Moderator Katie Kusiciel was joined by Jenny Klein, writer and co-producer for Marvel’s “Jessica Jones,” Courtney McNulty, Counsel at Sony Entertainment Pictures, Natalie Viscuso, Executive Director of Television at Legendary Entertainment Courtney Worth and other female creative staff.
They shared their experiences on women helping women in the industry, using their platform for the better, being questioned about their knowledge because they’re women and other topics.
Kusiciel started by asking the panel if they had any experiences with being called a fake fan or had their knowledge questioned.
McNulty talked about her podcast ‘Nerd Out’ and how there’s always going to be comments doubting her knowledge about the things they discuss.
“You don’t have to defend your every move…it doesn’t affect you,” McNulty said.
Tiffany Smith, actress, host and web personality commented on how there is this mentality in geek culture that people are afraid to ask because they will be made fun of for not knowing something.
One of the first panels she did at Comic Con was a panel called I Don’t Know Sh!t About Comics, which invited people to come and ask questions about anything.
“I have people who would ask, ‘I don’t know what a graphic novel is’ or ‘What are weekly comics,’ and there’s people at conventions that would be like, ‘Oh I can’t believe you didn’t know’…When we, as geeks, nerds, whatever, should be the most welcoming,” Smith said.
“(There is a) lid for every pot…a niche for everything. Just look at Comic Con,” Courtney Worth, Media Haven, said.
McNulty recalled a positive experience in which she recently moved to LA and began working under an attorney.
“He was this really powerful male attorney who thought he was so cool because he knew everything,” McNulty said.
She said how he took her under his wing and had her go to all the meetings with him, as well as go over agreements and work on the same shows he did. “He was so supportive and so great that when I went on to my next job, I had a clue of what I was talking about.”
When Kusiciel asked if there was anything the panelists wished people knew about, the hundreds of rejections and few affirmations they got for roles or projects, Klein said the pace of television was impactful.
“By the time I got staffed, I had written seven pilots and half a dozen features…When you get that opportunity, suddenly you’re sprinting and working at a TV pace…no one want to teach how to walk. You should already know how to run,” Klein said.
Putting in the time to hone your craft and developing a small group of peers you respect and whose opinion you can really listen to are key factors for Klein.
“This way, you can be undeniable in terms of what you are presenting,” she said.
McNulty replied by saying that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. “When you work with women who don’t support other women, it’s crushing…all of us here are super supportive and have people that we mentor, and we need to see more of that.”
Klein agreed and said that the times have changed. “In a time where there was once few women in rooms, it is now more diverse…But when you’re in a room where most of the people are women, everyone just becomes people, or not just the minority.”
Smith recalled her audition for Meghan Markle in the new movie “Harry and Meghan: Making Royal” and how she asked for lunch with the actress who had played Meghan in the first movie.
“I reached out to a friend who knew the actress who played Meghan in the first one, and I was like, ‘do you think she’ll have lunch with me?,’” Smith said.
They became friends afterwards and text each other when they get roles or exciting news.
“It’s such a lovely awesome feeling being excited and champion a friend when they booked something…and when you have those harder times, you think ‘If it can happen to her it can also happen for me,’” Smith said.