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New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes 'The Wrong Kind of Women' Author Naomi McDougall Jones

March 30, 2020 On Tuesday, March 3, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure of hosting writer, actress, and producer, Naomi McDougall Jones, to discuss her latest book, The Wrong Kind of Women – Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the God of Hollywood. Liz Hinlein, Creative Director of Filmmaking & Cinematography at NYFA’s New York campus, moderated the event.

Naomi McDougall Jones is an award-winning actress, writer, producer, and women-in film activist. She wrote, produced, and starred in her indie feature film Imagine I’m Beautiful, as well as her second feature film Bite Me, which is available on Amazon and iTunes. Her book, The Wrong Kind of Women, was released in February and is inspired by her TED Talk, “What It’s Like to be a Woman in Hollywood.”

NYFA Creative Director Liz Hinelin (Left) and Naomi McDougall Jones (Right)

Jones’ book unveils what is behind the curtain of the devastating reality of the Hollywood system, built to keep out generations of women and other minorities from holding key roles in the film industry or having their voices heard. In a stark reality where “5% of top studio films are directed by women and less than 20% of leading characters in mainstream films are female.” In the book, Jones sheds light on the casual, commonplace sexism that fills the Hollywood circuit by sharing stories from on-the-record and anonymous individuals, including her own first-hand experience being put on the outside of the studio system. While introducing the book, Jones even recounted the time she made her first feature film and was told that she would need to have a male producer attached just so financiers would trust her with their money.

Following a live reading of an excerpt from Jones’ book, Hinlein opened up the Q&A by asking Jones, “What is the impact on the general audience, who is consuming content that is predominantly from the white male perspective?” Jones replied that is was important to understand that what we consume can impact our behavior, using examples of the Spielberg film Jaws spiking the fear of sharks among the general public, as well as The Hunger Games opening the door for more female archers to pursue the sport. “That is the power you hold in your hands, and wield it judiciously.”

Hinlein remarked how everyone is indoctrinated to want to be part of the typical Hollywood system and how there is a caste system or, rather, ”the inside” and “the outside.” Jones exclaimed that the most important piece of information that anyone will ever tell you about this business is that “all of Hollywood basically functions as a more demented version of the high school lunch table.” She went on to remark that this system results in a popularity contest that never ends-- with even the most well known and celebrated celebs petrified of being on the outside, “even the ones with Oscars,” she warns.

Naomi McDougal Jones explains the Hollywood system to NYFA students and guests

Jones ended the discussion with several reasons to be hopeful. While none of the principle publications in the industry have dedicated a single line to her book, it has been the subject of several important discussions and articles on several platforms from NPR to the BBC, the Washington Post and even Playboy Magazine. Jones noted that one of the largest corporations and producing entities in the world of television has made her book a required reading for their original content writers.

Jones encouraged students to learn from others but to always try your own way when it comes to producing your own film. “Nobody knows how to make money on movies anymore. The distribution companies don’t know, the sales companies don’t know, and you don’t know. So you’re as likely to figure out what works as they are. So share what you learn.” Hinlein then concluded the Q&A by thanking McDougall Jones for coming to speak and for providing her experience to NYFA students.

New York Film Academy would like to thank writer, actress, and producer, Naomi McDougall Jones for sharing her advice about navigating the film industry and her expertise with our students!

Jones’ book, “The Wrong Kind of Woman”

Her book is available for purchase online and can also be found at NYFA’s New York campus library.

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