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#IAmAMogulBecauseIAmCommittedToHelpingOtherWomenAchieveInMyMedium,ByCourtneyKemp

Courtney Kemp
Courtney Kemp Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of Starz Series Power
over 3 years Story
#IAmAMogul Because I Am Committed To Helping Other Women Achieve In My Medium, By Courtney Kemp

At this point, it’s no longer news that television is a male-dominated field. When I have occasion to be in large groups of showrunners, I’m usually one of a handful of women and maybe a couple of people of color – unless it’s an event dedicated to one of those groups.

People are still surprised when they discover that my show, Power – full of sex, violence, and a high body count -- was created by and is run by a woman. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, Patricia Highsmith wrote the Ripley novels, and I write Power, with the help of my writers’ room -- which is about half female.

I get asked about creating “strong female characters,” which isn’t a specific goal on my part. Women are strong in real life – have you been through childbirth? I’m trying to reflect the real world on the small screen. My characters, male and female, are complex, unpredictable, and occasionally make huge mistakes. In other words, human.

When we give full humanity to fictional representations of women, it resonates with the women who watch, who see themselves. It resonates with men who watch, because they see the women they know. When we create these characters, it gives female actors an opportunity to play more than just the giggly girlfriend, the idealized sex object, the shrewish harpy wife. It gives other women the chance to soar.

When I first pitched Power, I went into the networks with quite a large group – my executive producers, my agent, the head of my studio at the time – and at some networks, once the executives were seated, I was still the only woman in the room. That’s not as rare as you might think – and it has to stop.

True gender equity is a long way off in the entertainment industry, but we can make it happen faster by investing in the people behind us on the ladder. I was mentored, so I mentor. I was encouraged, so I encourage. I was hired, and so I hire. I hire women to work for me in as many positions as I can – from assistants to 1st ADs on set to editors to high-level producers, and of course the women who write in my room. I don’t hire them because they’re women – I hire them because I want to benefit from their immense talent and grow a network of women who can call each other teacher, colleague, and friend.

I am passionate about the growth of women in our industry, and I am grateful to be in a position to spur some change. The question to ask is: “how can we be of service to each other?” If we ask ourselves that question as women, the opportunities around us will become clear. It doesn’t mean that we discriminate against men – it means we make sure that men and women are always represented at the table. It’s not enough that I’m in the room. You need to come too.


4 replies

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  • Be Supportive
    over 3 years ago

    Well said Courtney! Women are powerful and we do have to support each other. Your story and encouragement are inspiring.

    Well said Courtney! Women are powerful and we do have to support each other. Your story and encouragement are inspiring.

  • Be Supportive
    [deleted]
    over 3 years ago

    [deleted]

    [deleted]

  • Suzanne Taleccia
    over 3 years ago

    "Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, Patricia Highsmith wrote the Ripley novels, and I write Power" is the funniest thing I've read in a while. Bravo for this woman helping other women, but my is she full of herself!

    "Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, Patricia Highsmith wrote the Ripley novels, and I write Power" is the funniest thing I've read in a while. Bravo for this woman helping other women, but my is she full of herself!

  • MP
    MP
    over 3 years ago

    Hey Courtney! I *love* your show Power!!! The storylines you created are an accurate, yet highly dynamic portrayl of the many lifestyles New Yorkers lead. Your multi-cultural cast brings further truth to the show, and their interactions are spot on authentic. Please let me know what the process is to gain your mentorship, and/or any other avenues you know of to help aspiring female TV writers like me :-)

    Hey Courtney! I *love* your show Power!!! The storylines you created are an accurate, yet highly dynamic portrayl of the many lifestyles New Yorkers lead. Your multi-cultural cast brings further truth to the show, and their interactions are spot on authentic. Please let me know what the process is to gain your mentorship, and/or any other avenues you know of to help aspiring female TV writers like me :-)

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    over 3 years ago New York, NY, United States

    Thank you so much for supporting women in the entertainment industry. It's such a hard area and I have many friends within it; your work to bring gender equality in the field is incredibly important and I am so glad this powerful message will be seen by women worldwide to provide encouragement.

    Thank you so much for supporting women in the entertainment industry. It's such a hard area and I have many friends within it; your work to bring gender equality in the field is incredibly important and I am so glad this powerful message will be seen by women worldwide to provide encouragement.


Courtney Kemp
Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of Starz Series Power

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