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Disney Tries Something New With ‘Star Vs. The Forces of Evil’: A Woman Creator


It’s always amusing when people criticize Walt Disney for being sexist because of the way he ran his company over 70 years ago, while completely overlooking the contemporary Disney Company’s abysmal track record of promoting women into top creative positions. While Walt Disney’s behavior can at least be understood in the historical context of mid-twentieth century America, the company’s actions today are indefensible.

Take, for example, Disney Television Animation. Launched in 1984, the division has produced over 50 half-hour series in the past thirty years, and of those half-hour series, only one—let me repeat that, ONLY ONE— was created solely by a woman. And it has been 17 years since the premiere of that series—Sue Rose’s Pepper Ann.

Daron Nefcy.
Daron Nefcy.

Disney TV has finally deemed a second woman worthy of helming her own half-hour series. ‪Star Vs. The Forces of Evil,‬ created by Daron Nefcy, a 2009 CalArts grad, will debut on Disney Channel and Disney XD in 2015. Disney teased the show at the San Diego Comic-Con last month with this footage:

The scarcity of women show creators at Disney TV Animation isn’t a unique phenomenon within the Los Angeles TV animation boys’ club. Disney competitor Cartoon Network produced animated TV shows for twenty years before greenlighting a show created solely by a woman. That show, Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe, premiered only last November.

Perhaps someday the industry will address the lack of woman show creators in a meaningful manner, so we won’t have to treat news about such shows as major events. For now, the animation industry’s attitudes towards women—not to mention minorities—remain mired in outdated paradigms and the evolution happens at a glacial pace. Yes, ‪Star Vs. The Forces of Evil‬ is a sign of progress, but it’s also a reminder of how much further the major animation studios have to go until they begin to consistently judge creators on their creative potential and not their gender.

  • Righteous

    To be fair, Walt Disney fully intended to hire women animators shortly before WWII. The meeting discussing this was recorded by the studio stenographer – it’s a matter of record. When some of the (male, of course) animators objected to the plan, Walt had this to say: The girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for
    advancement as men, and I honestly believe that they may eventually
    contribute something to this business that men never would or could.

  • optimist

    It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of executives overseeing the “boys club” at Disney and the other TV animation studios with direct responsibility for greenlighting series have been women, yet, as you point out, the record is what it is. Worth pondering why that’s been the case.

    • Gwen Rae

      One factor may be that these women producers and executives also have bosses, and those bosses are overwhelmingly men.

    • Sarah

      Women can be just as sexist (against other women) in the workplace as men. I don’t understand it, but I’ve seen it.

      • Huh?

        And that is completely beside the point too, btw.

  • annsileas

    Not bad, I just wish it wasn’t the same old same old stereotype characters. Brown haired white boy/blond white girl. :/ Needs more adversity. I mean come on, it’s not that hard!

    • Taylor

      The boy “Marco Diaz” is Latino I think.

      • Fried

        Yeah, I was about to say, that boy is not white at all….

  • Ant G

    Is there anyway to find out the racial/gender based statistics on people who work in the Animation industry, and a similar statistic of those who pitch (good) shows? Because I can only go by what I have seen in person, and to me it seems the industry and those who I’ve seen pitch are majority white, the other group asian, and majority male, with just a few women. I think this is important to consider way before deciding if networks not greenlighting projects by minorities/women is based on discrimination rather than potential. If you have 10 red apples in a basket and 2 green ones; odds are you’ll more likely find a potential one out of the red ones.

    So the question isn’t how many showrunners are female compared to the number of males, but how many shows were pitched by females that fit what the networks were looking for compared to the number of female showrunners. And how many shows were pitched by males that the network were looking for compared to the number of male showrunners. And then we can compare the ratio between those two groups. Because odds could be that one out of a thousand women get their show compared to one out of ten thousand males, who knows.

    • AmidAmidi

      The amount of women who have pitched to Disney TV Animation is almost certainly greater than 2%. But let’s say it’s not. Let’s say 98% of the people pitching are men. That’s still not a good excuse to have such a lopsided imbalance in the company’s top creative ranks, especially when that imbalance doesn’t exist at the non-creator ranks.

      An exec who was blessed with foresight and vision would look at the situation and go, “Wait a second!—Almost 100% of our shows are created by men. But not 100% of the artists working in the studio are men. That’s not right! Maybe we should encourage and develop our artists, and ensure that the people with the best ideas in the studio have a fair shot of reaching the top.” That doesn’t happen in the animation industry because the majority of execs lack understanding of the creative underpinnings of the animation art form, and don’t have the knowledge to deviate from standard development and production models. If they can maintain the status quo, that’s good enough for them to maintain their paychecks.

      • Bob Harper

        I agree with you. Another oddity is when networks go through the cycles of wanting more girl oriented shows, then you’d think that they would reach out to female creators. Look what Lauren Faust was able to do with My Little Pony franchise.

  • James VanDam

    Super Excited for Star Vs. The forces of Evil. But Ya it is a bummer that there is a very inequal gap between shows created by men vs women. But Ya with shows like Star VS and Steven Universe there is a silver lining.

    PS. I loved Pepper Ann as a kid and would love to see it again on netflix or something (Not sure if it still holds up today or if it is good because of nostalgia goggles.)

  • CTM

    Cool, now let’s see if they ever let people besides Cal Arts grads make shows!

    • AgustinGates

      John R. Dilworth (Courage the Cowardly Dog), Maxwell Atoms (The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), and Noah Z. Jones (Fish Hooks) did not graduate from Cal Arts. Cal Arts might be one of the best institutions but there are also other talented people elsewhere.

      • Fried

        He wasn’t being literal.

      • Joseph William Allen

        Not to mention Matt Groening (The Simpsons) and Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold).

      • James VanDam

        That actually makes me fell really good hearing this. It almost seems like Cal arts produces a sort of Illumiaty of animators that people from “Lesser” Schools can not hope to compete with. Though I’d sell my left leg to go there for a couple of years though.

    • love your comment!


  • AmidAmidi

    I would hate to think shows are going to start being greenlit based on the creator’s gender.

    You missed the point. What you don’t want to see happening is exactly what’s happening today. Almost 100% of Disney TV Animation’s shows (98% if you want to be exact) are created by men. If you bothered to read what I wrote, you’d see that I suggested studios need to “begin to consistently judge creators on their creative potential and not their gender.”

    • Karl Hungus

      Yes, but raising the issue as “The animation industry’s attitude towards women” suggests that there is an overwhelming bias across “the industry”. There isn’t. Everywhere I have worked in two decades in animation I have seen women contribute equally, seen women promoted, and seen women in senior positions. We’re a pretty fair lot us animation artists. Don’t sully the industry as a whole because two networks have a long and storied history of screwing up.
      And the commenter below has a very good point – there is a lot of conjecture in play here. No one knows how many women have pitched shows to these networks! With such a small numbers represented, its not unlikely that these networks only got 5 or 10 pitches from female creators in a year. What if none of them were good enough?
      Thats entirely conceivable.

      • Caitlin Cadieux

        I’m confused why you make a point about certain genders not being drawn to certain jobs, and then follow it up by asserting that there are plenty of women in animation, contributing equally and in senior positions. I agree that quality above all things should be the deciding factor in what gets made, but I would consider how helpful these observations actually are, considering you agree with the basic premise that one sole female creator in 20 years is problematic… It’s very easy to ignore problems when they aren’t your problems.

  • DangerMaus

    Did you ever think that it might be the disparity in the number of women working in animation compared to number of men and not gender discrimination that ends up in such lopsided numbers? Animation is still heavily male dominated. If there are 10 men working in the field for every woman then I would say it is mathematics that dictates why there are more males ending up getting their own shows than females.

    I’m not sure what the male to female ratio is in the animation industry, so I’m just going to pick a ratio for argument’s sake. I’d say that there would be a pretty strong case for gender discrimination if the field consisted of, say, 40% women and 60% men but 90% of the shows continued to be created and run by men.

    I’m curious. Does anyone know what the ratio of women animators to male animators is in the industry? Also, what is the percentage of males that manage to get an idea for a show through the approval process? I imagine that it is pretty low in relation to number of guys working in the industry overall. I would think that a smaller pool of female talent would result in even worse approval numbers.

    Frankly, I think there is more gender discrimination when a female does get to helm a show and then has a board full of old white guys telling her that she needs to make her film conform to their approved formula for creating a supposed surefire animated hit.

    • Alyx Jolivet

      The problem is ‘WHY is animation so male dominated?’

      Its because from a very early age, girls wanted to become animators are met with incredible resistance. That needs to be addressed culturally and socially.

      So before we start talking about gender differences, we need to work on a system of equal opportunity.

  • JAK

    You’re supposed to encourage the first step, not dismiss it with “only one?” By celebrating the fact that things are changing, you encourage studios to follow and give female creators more confidence to take a chance.

  • Klaptrap

    The animation looks good and I hope the best for her, although unfortunately it looks like it will have some aspects I don’t really like from modern animation: neon colors, unicorn and rainbow jokes (not anymore, please!) and characters who look to be on drugs.

    Also, in my opinion, modern nonsense in cartoons seems to me to be less creative and more childish than the older Looney Tunes for some reason.

    • Ryoku240

      The styles very “in” with modern cartoons too.

    • Ravlic

      That’s because the old nonsense made sense. Oh sure, you can’t really take a hole and move it like it’s a sticker, but that little gag is actually reminding us how easy to fool our eyes are.
      Today’s “nonsense” is just a bunch of non-sequiturs and things that are supposed to have some innate funnyness ingrained in them (unicorns, pants, bananas etc.) so their mere presence is supposed to make you laugh.

  • Ryoku240

    “a 2009 CalArts grad”

    Welp theres your answer, being a dame might make the execs concerned, but a nice slip of paper from Calarts can ease their stress, cause when you come from Calarts they know exactly what your outputs going to be like.

    These are the same studios where simply not drawing a seatbelt for a driving scene will have them cringe in terror.

    • DangerMaus

      I think that is one of the things I like about Japanese anime. The Japanese seem to give their kids more credit for intelligence and ability to tell fantasy from reality than the North American “nanny’ state does.

      I mean, I grew watching uncut “Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes” as a kid and I don’t remember once ever having the urge to hold a stick of dynamite, jump off a cliff or club someone on the head from watching a violent cartoon.

      So CalArts has a rep for producing PC-ready artists?

      • Ravlic

        No, CalArts has a rep for producing Adventure Time/Regular show knockoffs so every new show can have a character made of two geometric shapes with noodle arms and ping-pong eyes that’s easy to animate.

        You think Japanese anime doesn’t humiliate its audience? Give me a break. Anime is just as PC as its American counterpart, but people who aren’t familiar with it think it’s sooo edgy and innovative because it can show blood and tits. Innards get censored though, now even boobs get censored. Still doesn’t prevent them from oversaturating the market with harem and shounen stuff.

        • DangerMaus

          I never made any claim that Anime might not insult the intelligence of its audience at times. There isn’t a medium in existence that doesn’t do that at some point in time. However, I disagree that anime is as PC as western animation.

          I’ve watched enough if it to gauge that there is a higher tolerance for depiction of violence and its consequences, as well as innuendo in Japanese kids TV animation than in western kids TV animation. For example, look at what happened to the “One Beer” episode of “Tiny Toon Adventures”. I doubt that would have even raised an eyebrow in Japan.

          I have yet to see a western animated kids show that is as existentialist and thoroughly downbeat as “Chirin’s Bell” was. Frankly, no western animation film company would ever make a film aimed at children like San Rio did with that one and there wasn’t an ounce of blood or a tit shown anywhere in it.

          Even when I saw Horus: Prince of The Sun as a kid, I could immediately tell the difference in story-telling technique from Western animation. It was darker and the subject of death was treated head-on. I saw the film once in the early 70s and I still remember the scene where the main protagonist’s father dies and the kid uses their shack as a funeral pyre. There wasn’t anything in western animation like that at the time. At least, not in any animation that I would have been able to watch at that age.

          Then there is Gundam 0080: War in The Pocket. A film that is part of a “toyetic” franchise that managed to show the psychologically damaging effect of war on it’s child protagonist. I haven’t seen any western animated TV action show that has done that.

          So it isn’t just about being “edgy” or “innovative” by showing blood or some tits. Their stuff (at least the old stuff) broached subjects and material in their “kids” anime that I still haven’t seen much of in western “kids” animation.

          Regarding too much harem and shounen; that is a function of the market place. Males are still the majority of the anime market over here, so it stands to reason that they are going to bring over stuff that appeals to guys. I doubt that Shoujo material is going to sell at the same rate over here as the stuff you mentioned.

          • Ravlic

            When I said “harem” I wasn’t only referring to the male-centered harems. Recently sponsors and executives realized that female-centered harems also make tons of money, so horny female populace can also contribute to the shallowness and oversexualization of anime today. And just look at this anime season: out of 30-something titles literally only 1 shows any promise.

          • DangerMaus

            Out of curiosity which show do you figure is the only promising one out of 30? I thought Mushishi: the next chapter wasn’t too bad. Another one I looked at that seems atypical for Japanese anime is “World Fool News”. The humour in that kind of sails over me a bit, but I think it is at least a bit unusual for its art design and the fact that it is about adults at a TV broadcasting station, rather than the typical teen orientated stuff.

            Also, would you have a link to a decent resource for those titles? I find ANN a pain in the ass to see a complete list of new shows for this season.

          • Ravlic

            This is a great place, it shows titles by the season

            Zankyou no terror, at least it tries to have a serious plot but it still has bishounen archetypes and the annoying useless girl.

          • DangerMaus

            Don’t know if you will see this, but I just wanted to thank you for the link. Unfortunately, the one you mentioned doesn’t seem to be on Crunchyroll, which is what I have been using.

          • yoosergio

            I’ve always wondered why people think an anime has to have a serious plot to be good. Western cartoons usually don’t have any plot whatsoever. Why do they get a free pass?
            Also, Terror is in no way the only anime with a serious plot this season. What even constitutes a “serious plot”?

        • Nick Motrich

          The censoring of TV anime has less to do with any kind of deference to decency than it does incentivizing blu-ray and DVD purchases for those who want to see the unedited content. There are still networks and timeslots willing to show most, if not all, the uncensored content found in most modern anime without concern.

  • lefty

    it’s funny when you consider most of the “suits” at disney tv animation are female. so much sexism going on.

    • Ummm

      If you don’t think women can exhibit sexism to other women you are living in a black and white world.
      A woman producer is just as likely to look at the person pitching in front of them and unconsciously think, does this look like a director? If the historical look of a director is a funny white man than the woman will be told the project is not for the producer.

      • ravlic

        This. Women make up half of the population and they are certainly not immune to sexism. If only the men were like that, I doubt sexism would live this long.

  • MaskedManAICN

    To propose a gross generalization, as artists we call create shows ‘we would want to see’. And the executives in charge don’t believe shows that women animators would like to see would sell enough toys.

    As Paul Dini said on Kevin Smith’s podcast, they don’t want shows with a ‘strong female perspective’ (most likely shows created by women) because girls don’t buy as many toys as boys do- or that least that’s what they believe.

    So nothing will really change, until this thinking changes. I’d hazard a guess that the same is true for ‘minority’ animators- executives probably think their pitches are only for minority audiences and hence won’t sell enough toys.

    Either way, good luck Daron!

    • BG

      I always wonder how much money they make off of toys. If they’re spending between 350-500k per episode…. so maybe 7 million on a season- how much profit can they make off of some toys? is it really enough to cover production costs? I wonder because I see this “don’t sell enough toys” argument a lot.

  • Except that Mercury Filmworks use Toon Boom Harmony to create Wander Over Yonder (when they asked Craig McCracken how is Wander Over Yonder is produced:

  • Alyx Jolivet

    Gary, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    I wanted to first animate when I was in Highschool. So I took a special college course where I could do just that. I was the only woman in class. The teacher gave no shits about me and never bothered to teach me a damn thing, unlike my male peers who received ample attention. I lost interest in Animation and dropped out of the class.

    Thank god I decided to dive right back in eight years later, when I came face to face with many women professionals who were taken seriously and were often star players in their fields. Didn’t go to art college. Had to learn myself. But I did it.

    Sexism is still entrenched in the system. It took me a year to finally get into the industry. When I finally did, I was pushed into a CLean Up position and rising fast. One of my male supervisors refused to promote me to Animator because, and I quote, I was moving too fast. This sort of logic would NEVER reach for a male candidate. EVER.

    So I immediately left and found a lucrative animation position as an AMAZING animator who doesn’t just move fast, but moves fantastically. This however was not the guarantee that other female coworkers have. I just happened to get very, very, very lucky that I had an alternative plan should sexism smack me in the face like it did.

    It takes a lot longer than fifty years after the civil rights to break down crappy structures that have existed since the dawn of agriculture.

    My point is, I am in a good place now. I am the animator I always wanted to be as a little girl, though I had to struggle against real barriers that exist. Sometimes I look back at the blood on the tracks and think ‘How many other women would be here if they didn’t have to go through the hurtles I did? If the hurtles didn’t keep them down? And how far would I be in my career if that sexist animation teacher took me seriously ten years ago?’

    Food for thought.

  • DangerMaus

    The title “Star Vs The Forces of Evil” itself invites comparisons to Scott Pilgrim. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the title of the show.

    Not that I expect it to have any relation to that show or comic series.

  • Steven Bowser

    How many women attempt to reach that position? What if there is even a lack of women (and then women who want high positions like this) in general that makes it far less likely to see them in high positions? I think if there were an abundance of women who all wanted high positions then more of them would get in. But I’m guessing men outnumber women in the animation industry in general.

    • Ana

      Men outnumber women as animators, not in the industry in general.

  • lola

    On the flip side, are studios starting to green light shows created by women because they’re good or because they’re just CREATED BY WOMEN and want the positive publicity?

    • Kris

      Yeah, I mean come on, TWO SHOWS in fifty years? That is WAY too many shows made by women to be a coincidence. Throw in Steven Universe and you have a whopping THREE shows made solely by women. It’s obvious they are only being greenlit because of their creators’ GENDER. To prevent ANY MORE DISCRIMINATION I think networks should only greenlight shows created by genderless beings.

      • Ana

        It should be noted in passing that gender neutral people exist though.

  • Tired of Hearing This

    While it’s understandable that there would be less shows green lit by women, since there are more men, there have only been TWO solely created by a woman. That isn’t balanced. Plus, the idea that ‘there aren’t many women in this industry’ isn’t actually even true any more. More and more female animators are joining the animation industry. It’s about time a few of them got shows green lit. So take your casual sexism somewhere else, bruh.

    • Karl Hungus

      I’ve been working in animation for 20 years and I was simply relating the realities of who is working in the field. Okay? The more telling question is: Would you be just as angry at me if I was a woman stating the same fact?
      Probably not.

      • Caitlin Cadieux

        Don’t assume that your anecdotal evidence is fact, nor that women who agree with you would somehow be seen as ‘right’ (they aren’t right, and wouldn’t be). I come from a design background, typically seen as a male-dominated industry, and my class was majority female. Source your claims.

        • Karl Hungus

          Well there is loads of anecdotal evidence being thrown around in here. Its a discussion after all.
          Funny how you didn’t direct this sentiment at the post above wherein a female poster relates that “most women in the industry aren’t INTERESTED in children” (caps are hers not mine)
          I’m going to assume, again, that you are signaling me out for criticism because I’m a man – and not an animation veteran. As a veteran of the field, let me impart some advice to you: get that chip off of your shoulder. it will hold you back in this field and we want more women advancing. :)

          • Caitlin Cadieux

            So did you read those stats or not?

      • Caitlin Cadieux

        For my part (film school statistics included, not being animation-specific, serve effectively in this case, it being also a ‘why don’t women do it if they want to do it so much!’ field):

        “CalArts gender ratio —

        52.5% Female

        47.5% Male”

        (Ringling) “Computer Animation majors take core courses in such topics as drawing and design. The graduate employment is outstanding with Pixar, Disney, Blizzard Entertainment, Dreamworks and Hallmark actively recruiting. Tuition and fees was $32,290 in 2011. The gender ratio last year was 41.5 percent male students and 58.5 percent female students.” (2012)

        “SCAD gender ratio —

        36% Male

        64% Female

        Top three majors — Illustration, Animation/FX, Graphic Design (32%).” Fashion design majors account for 7%, so no hope pinning it on that.—are_b_639786.html

        “I’m happy to say that SCA has a 50/50 ratio of women to men for our fall admissions. Despite the disappointing numbers in the Lauzen study, progress has been made, and is continuing to be made. Each year, SCA trains more and more women who will join those already entrenched in the industry, and work to tell stories that resonate with audiences everywhere. Just as importantly, we will be training them to be fluent in a new language: that of visual storytelling, which complements and informs traditional literacies, and promises to become more and more integrated into practically every profession, as each industry realizes the growing potential for using these techniques.”

        “My theory is that since all anybody has seen, when they are growing up, is this big imbalance – that the movies that they’ve watched are about, let’s say, 5 to 1, as far as female presence is concerned – that’s what starts to look normal. And let’s think about – in different segments of society, 17 percent of cardiac surgeons are women; 17 percent of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?”

        “We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”

        Where are you getting your data from? Can you explain the reason so many women are willing to complete four years or more of art school, usually under exorbitant tuition costs, to an unchanging male-skewed gender split in the industry itself? I would imagine it is not, in fact, genetics kicking in and leading women away from the field.

  • Sant

    I read “Star Wars, The Forces Of Evil” and thought “Well, that’s a different style completely with all them unicorns and high schools”

    Silly moi

    Anyway, good for her, I was a huge fan of Pepper Ann :)

  • So, you think that women just quit their industries after they have children? That’s wrong… Maybe some take a few years off but it doesn’t mean they’re done. Sometimes fathers stay home with the kids and often kids go to daycare. I’m working as an animator right now and I’m pregnant. I’m currently the sole provider to my family and I intend to return to work after maternity leave. I would say that it would sure be nice if workplaces and governments were more supportive of families. You say the “minority” of women need to have more positions of power? So let’s try hiring some more of them.

    • Alyx Jolivet

      Is that comment for me? Because that’s not what I said. I agree with everyone you are saying.

  • Grow a set? Of what? You’re saying you need BALLS to “take a stand”? *snort* Enlighten us with your prowess.

    • Ravlic

      He could’ve meant a set of ovaries.

      • personwithovaries

        You sir or madam have just won the internet today

    • Le Batteur

      Women have balls- they’re just located on their chest and I’m pretty sure they’re bigger than any man’s.

  • Karl Hungus

    There is a vast differen e between the genders. Raise a family and you will have that fact demonstratdd to you in profound terms. Like every single animal on the planet, the genders of a species have different inclinations, different behaviors, different physiology. Its right there in most off Charles Darwin’s texts. Separate butequal is a term that carries negative connotation, but in reference to the genders it is accurate.

    • Caitlin Cadieux

      Can you think of any differentiating factors between the entire race of humanity and the rest of life on this planet?

      That aside, you just dropped ‘separate but equal’ in terms of gender and are posting under the handle ‘Karl Hungus’, so that clarifies a lot about what you’re about.

    • Alyx Jolivet

      Oh come on. Before we start talking about Gender Differences, maybe we should have an equal playing field economically and socially and THEN we can have that conversation.

      These barriers exist, and I know they are real because I’ve experienced them. Not because I wanted babies. Not because I want to be pregnant. Not for any reason except I was born with a Vagina instead of a penis.

      And with your logic in mind, where do you put transexuals or trans-identified in your gender labels? A man who was once a woman? Or a woman who was once a man? Or a man who identifies more as a woman than as a man but prefers to keep his junk? You are excluded a lot of outliers in your point, man.

  • AmidAmidi

    Now might be a good time for you to step away from website comment boards and expend more effort in learning.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Good! We need more women in the animation industry.

  • starss

    No it is not. ToonBoom isn’t affiliated with Adobe in anyway. ToonBoom is a wholly separate indie company all its own, and they manufacture and distribute their own series of software programs.

  • DanK7

    No. Mercury uses Toon Boom Harmony, which is a completely different software package from Flash. It shares some principles with flash (being vector based) But it is its own thing.

    • Josh Moore

      That makes sense. Thanks.

  • DangerMaus

    You derived all of that from a 43 second cam rip of the intro? You’re GOOD.

  • BurntToShreds

    Everyone covering any sort of news about TV, movies, etc. seems to have latched onto representation as if it’s some sort of holy crusade and frankly I’m getting sick of it. I would love to see more articles focusing on the actual content of the movie/TV show/whatever rather than making a big fuss about who made it and explaining how the big bad higher-ups are agents of oppression or something.

    I feel like an article that actually discusses the project that contains a simple paragraph about who the creator is and why it’s cool that their project is being made would be more constructive and, quite frankly, less preachy and obnoxious.

  • Ana

    It didn’t air yet.

  • Johnny

    Does it matter? Being good or bad doesn’t mean much when it comes to making something successful.

    • Mister Twister

      Good one.

  • Ana

    I guess that’s some progress, but honestly still too slow to deserve much praise, especially since disney isn’t doing much better in other areas, even as far as their theatrical animated films go, the first woman director directed a movie from last year.

    This is all just so slow, and it’s frustrating to think of all the talent under the radar.

  • Johnny

    Yeah but we don’t live in a fantasy land where gender and skin color doesn’t play a factor in the lives of women and minorities in this world.

  • optimist

    Couple of things:

    Like breeds like. The vast majority of show creators and runners in the last couple of decades have been guys. Also shows featuring male characters. Whether the executives greenighting the shows are male or female really makes zero difference: every executive whether they admit it or not wants something “like” something they already have. No one wants to take a wild risk, as Vanessa Coffey did with Ren & Stimpy. That was virtually an anomaly. It. Just. Doesn’t. Happen. Anymore.

    Thus we now get shows that look like other current shows, or an awful lot like shows that influenced these artists when they were in high school or Calarts. They look like them, and they sound like them, and that’s exactly what the executives in TV want to “take a chance” on for a first order of episodes.

    And yes, they DO expect these shows to appeal to boys over girls-that’s who they see as their audience. That’s the way it’s been since TV animation geared for “kids” began. That’s an absolute fact. I’ve had male and female executives say it to me multiple times” boys won’t watch girls but girls will watch boys”. Is it true? I don’t know. Hey, perhaps their research proves that it’s true. Okay. They’re NOT in the business of being truly daring and different, they’re in the business of having success financially, which in Hollywood means taking exactly zero chances.

    Not saying any of this is good, right, “fair” or anything else, but it’s the way it currently is.

    People do what has been done. Female executives are more comfortable with dealing with guys as show creators because that’s what they’ve seen and know and the guys have buddies who are more often other guys than other girls. It’s self-perpetuating.

    If I were a woman I’d probably want my cartoon rep to come from outside of the mainstream TV animation scene-like, say, Mimi Pond. Then it’d be much easier to break into selling a TV show, if that’s what I aspired to do.

    • DangerMaus

      MLP:FiM seemed to prove that boys will will watch a show aimed at girls as long as the characters are portrayed as being interested in doing things in their lives that don’t just revolve around tea parties, chasing boys as their primary interest and being obsessed with clothes and makeup.

      I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I’ve watched it myself: all four seasons of it. There are actually a couple of changes in the show that I have found annoying. OK, I guess I should officially turn in my man card now, but I’ve actually enjoyed watching the thing.

      • Fried

        MLP was complete luck and most of its popularity came out of 4chan being ironic than people legit giving a chance.

        Even now with a more genuine fanbase, people still overhype their love for the show to be part of the in-crowd.

        Pretending to love things unironically has replaced your usual Fonz image of cool.

        • DangerMaus

          Well, I guess i’ll have to concede a point to you there. I wasn’t really in on the phenomenon from the start. From what I have read on fansites, yes, it did start pretty well as a joke on 4chan and morphed into something else. So luck did play a huge part; however, I think luck plays a huge part in any show that becomes successful.

          Admittedly, in my own case, I only took a look at it out of curiosity when I kept reading about guys actually watching it. Considering what the earlier gens were like, I couldn’t quite fathom why it would gain a male following.

          I don’t quite get that last line though. You think every guy that says he loves the show is being a false fan and a pretender in order to be part of an in-crowd? I don’t know, The fans of the show generate a lot of on-line hate. I really don’t think they are a part of what would be called the “cool” crowd. It’s still pretty much of an odd ball niche if you ask me. Any guy that starts publicly calling himself a “Brony” still gets looked at as sort of a freak from both genders, except celebrities of course.

          Still, you probably are pretty well correct. I mean, look at LPS. That is another girl-orientated show, using pretty well the same cast, crew and musical composer, Daniel Ingram, and it certainly hasn’t attracted any large male following, even though it really isn’t that bad in its own right

  • Emily Brundige

    I am thankful that the men in my life can more-than-comprehend why it’s a problem that there aren’t more female show creators, and in general, more women represented in male-dominated industries. Anyone commenting here that women being underrepresented in such industries is a natural occurrence has surely a lot to learn!

    Congrats to Daron and the team.

  • djm

    With 60% of college graduates being women, it’ll happen sooner than people realize!

  • DangerMaus

    Do you think women would be any different if they were in the position to hire? They’d probably hire mostly their own gender too. Doesn’t make it right, but that’s the reality of it.

    The same goes for the complaints I’ve read that a person has to be a CalArts Alumni to stand a chance of getting in. I can relate to that in that one of my instructors, in a course I was taking, talked about how hard it was for technicians to get into the field if they weren’t alumni of the British Columbia Institute of Technology. It was an uphill fight to get hired as a non-BCIT grad if the guy in the position of hiring was a BCIT grad. They took care of their own.

    • Caitlin Cadieux

      Don’t posit something as reality without evidence to back it up.

  • megadrivesonic

    It’s nice to see another cartoon is being put on disney, however why does it matter that its created by a woman creator? Lets be honest here, does that honestly matter when it comes to making a good cartoon? It doesn’t matter the gender of people who make cartoons, all i care about is whether the cartoon is good or not so why is this such a big deal?

  • AmidAmidi
  • BlueBoomPony

    Would like to see Faust’s Galaxy Girls get a shot. You’d think after turning a second rate toy cartoon into a national (and profitable) phenomena, someone would let her do a pet project.

    • DangerMaus

      After having a kid, it’s possible that she may not want to engage in the grueling work schedule that would be required to helm another show. She sounded like she was getting burned out from the schedule she was working when she helmed MLP:FiM, while being pregnant at the same time. Frankly, it must have been murder.

  • nklepper

    Go Daron!!

  • BG

    But is the toy income covering production costs or is it just gravy on top? Every show I’ve worked on at CN, Disney and Nick usually didn’t have toy production until much later in the run, like 3rd season or so. I think Dini may have been talking specifically about Warner Bros. I guess maybe Hasbro is more about the toys too. I’m just wondering if spending millions on production costs really generates huge toy profits to recoup the initial outlay? My guess is that at Warner Bros, the toy profits are completely separate from the production, and how many departments are taking a share of those profits? I have never worked at Warner Bros. But I was genuinely wondering what kind of profit are made off the toys. Are the toys just a reminder for you to watch the shows or are the shows just long commercials for the toys?

    • MaskedManAICN

      I haven’t heard in a while, but it used to be nothing covered production cost, until a show hit syndication.

      On some level I think syndication must be dead- since networks only air their own product now and local channels don’t show cartoons anymore. Which I assume makes licensing all that more important. And I believe each network (CN, Nick, Disney, HUB) all own or part of every show- so they make money off all licensing deals (which is also why they want ownership).

      It’s crazy, can you imagine primetime tv being saddle with such rules?

  • Karl Hungus

    Its foolish to go to grad school for animation. If oyu want to enter the field ENTER THE FIELD! Please! We want women, why would you waste your time with grad school? Create content and force your way in.

  • Eliza

    It’s interesting how this article managed to marginalize the actual content or creativity of this show by reducing it to the spectacle that someone managed to hire a woman.. I’m not sure it’s helping.

    I thought the premise seemed interesting, would have loved a deeper blurb. Maybe more positive and diverse conversation around female created content would be a productive step?

    • Ana

      It’s unfair to expect any article to talk content right now, all they have is 43 seconds of footage.

  • Netko

    My animation class was actually 8 girls and 1 guy and I live in an ex-Yugoslavian country which is not exactly known for its gender equality. Just looking at some websites like Deviantart shows a huge number of fantastic female animators. In fact it seems that women tend to be drawn more to animation and stylized art for its expressiveness while guys tend to do concept art and more technical work. I’m not sure how anyone can think that most artists today are male and that this is reflected in the film industry, it’s moronic logic that only works if you pretend any artist is male if you don’t know their gender, which people just love doing.
    Unfortunately executives still think that targeting only half of the population is fair.

  • Ravlic

    “good enough”? Are you implying that animated shows are produced based on their quality? HAHAHA what a laugh!
    I guess you’ve never had the misfortune of seeing Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, Problem Solverz, Breadwinners or Uncle Grandpa and other similar abominations that apparently were “good enough” for some moron to greenlight.

  • Ravlic

    90% of women who have children? You do realize that all those children also have fathers? Fathers who are never expected to sacrifice their work to take care of their offspring.
    The issue is simple: once careers stop being seen as trivial hobbies women have, then maybe women will stop being expected to kill their careers when they have children because a man’s work is so much more important, regardless of what it is.

  • BlueBoomPony

    I always thought it would be an interesting challenge. Someone shows up with next years toys and says to work them into the storyline. Rather than limiting it could be a fun puzzle, like how the show explained why Rainbow Dash has a pet turtle, but maybe that’s just me.

    • Faust seemed fine with making almost nothing but compromises, but that was before she suddenly announced her departure. The fact that Equestria Girls happened in her absence speaks volumes.

    • Ana

      Wow, this one show has majority women in one department, yep, everything’s equal guys, we can all go home.

  • :)
  • scrinkle

    I think there’s something to consider here;
    How many minorities were able to create a show for disney? I can only think of one; Bruce W. Smith. Why isn’t anyone talking about THIS? No latinos, no asians, no middle easterns. They get nothing.
    Sue Rose and Daron Nefcy are both women yes, but also white which is what the majority of these disney cartoon creators are comprised of. To me, people like Rebecca or Daron getting a show isn’t news to me. It’s just more white people getting what they want. And for people to treat this as a ccomplishment makes me sick.
    Unfairness? I would like to see a white woman explain to a black man about fairness.

  • Ummm

    They are all in their 20’s- and their apparent response to women in the industry is what’s your problem? That is funny. Everyone else on the other side of that rainbow wall is a male.

  • Alyx Jolivet

    The only way you give that person respect is by respecting their feelings in the career instead of directly assuming that Woman = Pregnancy = Child = Not interested in Career Anymore.

  • Ana

    You’re mistaking gender and sex. Gender is a matter of identification. I understand that may be considered irrelevant to the article, I just imagine it deserved to be mentioned, since “genderless beings” was written as some sort of ridiculous concept when it’s exactly what some people are.

  • Mr. E. Mann

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

  • BurntToShreds

    I agree, this is pretty sad.

  • When the tagline said “Disney Tries Something New”, I more expected it to be something like “makes a good cartoon withOUT giving it nonexistent promotion so it’s pre-destined to be unfairly cancelled”
    But the female creator decision is welcome too.

  • Shanae

    “It’s always amusing when people criticize Walt Disney for being sexist because of the way he ran his company over 70 years ago,”

    Sorry if this sounds rude, but It’s always amazing when people don’t go their research/leave out points when discussing Disney. Everyone’s always either a pixie duster or a hater when pointing out Disney’s “sexism.” Walt had a lot of respect for women and saw them as extremely important in animation (Mary Blair for example, hello???). Yes you’re right that any actual sexism “was part of the times”, but when you finish with “of the way he ran his company” you make it sound like he hated them and never gave them any important roles, which wasn’t true at all.

    • Funkybat

      A lot of people like to paint Walt and the Disney Studios with a broad brush, while they ignore the accounts of the actual people who worked there or had business dealing with the studio.

      Disney gets painted as either a tyrannical grump who had no artistic talent, hated Jewish people and women, devalued labor, and was more right-wing than Rush Limbaugh, or he was a creative genius who “succeeded even when he failed”, had vision beyond mere mortals, and knew how to cultivate brilliance and artistry while serving as a guiding light to these maestros in their shared goal of creating animated masterpieces.

      Reality is not black and white, and Walt and his studio were neither heavenly nor hellish. Individual experiences surely could tend toward one or the other, but the overall sum seems to be a net positive for the art of animation and the world. Walt was not a saint, and his studio was not perfect, but so much of the criticism leveled at him and the studio is laden with exaggeration and outright falsehoods. Walt knew how to tell a story and how to delegate. If he hadn’t, the drawing and the bookkeeping of the studio would have been worse, and the empire we know today would have never gotten off the ground. Walt made a lot of early mistakes, but he learned from them. He maintained that desire for learning and change throughout his life. That is one of the reasons Disney was such a success, the man in charge wasn’t perfect, but he sought perfection, within and without.

  • megadrivesonic

    As long as she doesn’t become the anita sarkesian of animation, We’ll be fine. The reason I think it shouldn’t be this big revelation is no one will treat as the norm if we keep treating it like this amazing thing every single time it happens, imagine if that was done Its like if the creator of breadwinners getting praised for getting his cartoon greenlit solely from his youtube short. While i think here cartoon is nice i think she should be judged by her creation rather then what gender she is.

  • sam mcclain

    I hope this does good. Disney needs more animated shows and not use their crappy sitcoms.

  • Alice8

    The show looks cool, will be watching.

  • The Patriarchy

    Way to ignore the show and talk about hypothetical politics. Daron had her cartoon made because it’s good. Other cartoons get turned down because they’re bad. There’s no cis-het conspiracy here. Unless you have reliable figures on the numbers of men and women pitching vs the numbers of commissions for each group you’re just projecting a load of presumption as though it were fact.