Kathryn Graham: ‘You’re No Hemingway’

by Kathryn Graham

When I was a freshman at Marist College, I was deeply insecure about my writing.

I didn’t trust the people I knew who said I had talent. Of course they did, I thought, they loved me. They were hopelessly biased (hi mom!), and even if they wanted to be objective, they never could be.

I needed real answers. A psychic. A guru. I didn’t want to pour my time, my heart, my agony into something that was going to amount to nothing more than ‘personal growth’ (yuck, who needs that?)

So I looked for another, more impartial judge. I went to the Writing Lab.

The Writing Lab’s main purpose is to help students who have trouble writing papers or need an extra set of eyes on an assignment. It is not to be the arbiter of skill or to encourage young writers. But I didn’t know where else to turn.

The man on duty that day was a greying older gentleman. I don’t recall his name. I handed him some poems, short stories, some semi-fanfiction. At the time, I rarely wrote without being motivated by class assignments.

I’m sure that he was expecting to help people construct a simple paragraph that day, not to hold the dreams of a kid in his hands. This wasn’t something he was prepared to answer, and he was deeply uncomfortable. I pressed him anyway.

Did I have talent? Could I be a professional writer?

His verdict: “It’s no Hemingway.”

I admit what I gave him wasn’t the best writing in the universe. I was eighteen years old. I always had potential, but I needed a lot more work, more guidance, more learning. You know, education.

Still, he could have encouraged me to seek out someone who could help me improve. He could said ‘I see potential here’ even if he saw none. He could have at least commented on the fact that I could write in complete sentences.

Instead, he broke my heart.

I never should have asked him. It was stupid. I know that. It didn’t stop me from carrying that around like a ‘shard of glass’ that cuts me even now. That’s the problem with ‘knowing’ something in your mind. It doesn’t always communicate well to your heart.

Instead of giving me the validation that I craved, he inflicted on me the wound I’d asked for. I gave this random guy in the Marist College Writing Lab the edict of the gods, and he had found me lacking.

I’ve never read Hemingway. Or if I had, it hasn’t stuck with me. This certainly didn’t motivate me to start.

Fifteen years later, in an interesting twist, my dad setup a new writing laptop for me and named it “Hemingway”. I feel like there’s a message here, but I don’t know what it is.

I want to say something inspiring, like: I didn’t let him stop me! But, I kind of did. At the very least, I let him slow me down. This guy whose name I don’t even remember. This guy who didn’t deserve the power I gave him.

I’m not Hemingway. I don’t want to be. But I’m still here, still writing, still hurting, still starting and stopping, and going slower than I’d like. Still wondering if I’ll find an audience – a genuine human connection – and a career that I ‘wouldn’t trade for the world’.

In the end, I’m not that much different than that insecure kid now. I just have more help to push past it. I hope one day I forget all about it. Maybe it’ll never go away, and that’s all I can do. Take it and keep going, no matter how bad it feels.

For me, it at least reminds me to take extra care to be kind when someone presents me a piece of their soul. It’s the least I can do.

NOTE FROM LB: For the record, Kate, from my keyboard to your eyes: Hemingway sucks. Just another moderately talented show off who parlayed his ability to make his life sound like one God would’ve wanted to lead into a highly overrated literary career. If I told you, “You’re no Hemingway,” I’d mean it as a compliment.

ANOTHER NOTE FROM LB: So I think I will. Congratulations, Kate! You’re no Hemingway!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE

Kate G Sees ‘Runaways’

I was supposed to watch and review Extinct, but the pilot was so difficult to get through that I’m not inclined to watch a second episode, so… Runaways.

Runaways is about a group of teenagers who discover their parents are participating in a secret, possibly evil cult. As they work to uncover the truth, they each manifest special talents or abilities.

Spoilers below.

Really.

We mean it.

Well, okay, since you’re still here:

This show enjoys subverting your expectations. They’ll place a stereotypical character in front of you, then, somewhere down the line, you’ll realize that no one is who they seem. I appreciate this, applaud it even, but it takes a damn. long. time.

The first book of Mavel’s Runways comic (actually a thick hardback book) finished up everything that’s still going on in the show – and we’re seven episodes in. Apparently, I have no patience whatsoever. For perspective: I have put down many shows I ended up loving later on. The only reason I picked them up again was at the urging of my friends. I’m your worst nightmare as a viewer. I’m that person who’s done with you within ten minutes.

Anyway, if you’ve never read the comics: know that everything is being done purposefully.

If you were a fan of the comics, then there’s a lot to love, as it it’s a fairly faithful adaptation that explores everything and everyone in more depth.

This is a show whose cast is quite diverse (as the source material dictates), and on that note, the casting is spot on. Between the acting and the writing, the actors embody teenagers perfectly. I am less interested in their parents, who they go into in more depth than in the comics, but they are starting to grow on me. Plus, one of them is James Marsters from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I didn’t even recognize him until I saw his name in the credits.

I appreciate that we are encouraged to misjudge people, and the slow burn is probably actually a good thing, despite my impatience.

The one character that gets on my nerves is Gert. Firstly, she’s not overweight in the show when she clearly was in the comics. Yes, yes, I know, what’s the big deal, but if you’re going to be authentic with the rest of your cast, why not with Gert too? The actress does a great job with the character, but it’s a risky choice to have such a thin actress playing her. Mainly because it reinforces ‘this person is overweight’ when she’s really not.

But the reason that Gert truly annoys the hell out of me is that she’s too realistic. She’s a ‘social justice warrior’ in the worst sense of the phrase, brandishing her knowledge base as a weapon in inappropriate situations. Using her education to soothe her insecurities. Lashing out at others who don’t fundamentally disagree with her.

Gert starts a group to ‘take down the patriarchy’, then spends her time tearing into her ‘friend’ Karolina’s ‘perfect pretty blonde’ persona because of her jealousy. Gert knows what feminists look like, and they look like her, dammit. Gert uses important social justice issues as a shield for her own feelings, and in doing so, cheapens the causes she claims to care about. God, I hate it. I know too many people who have done this.

But, I do trust this show. So there should be a point where she gets called out on this behavior. If you watch the show, and that happens, imagine me cheering. Hopefully, after that, Gert will turn into a character I can actually like (because I did in the comics).

Do I recommend Runaways? I do, actually. I think there’s a lot of potential here. The main characters are very much teenagers, so you’ll either have to like or appreciate that to like this show, but, all in all, I think it’s worth continuing.

Side note: Runaways also goes to show that the teacher who reviewed my script (not LB) was wrong when he said: “Audiences will accept witches or aliens, but not both.” Nope. Wrong. Bite me, teach.

NOTE FROM LB: Damn right that wasn’t me spouting traditionally spurious TV-exec-thought. You heard Kate, whoever you are. Start, um, biting!


Kate G AKA Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE

The Best and Worst Writing Career Advice I Ever Got

by Kathryn Graham

The best and worst advice I ever got was that if I wrote an amazing script, the world would sit up and take notice. All I have to do is perfect my craft et voila! Success! My genius script will get me in the door based on the quality of the writing alone.

It’s the best advice because it focused my attention where it needed to be: on my work.

It’s the worst advice because it’s not true.

It’s dangerous to believe that ‘if you build it, they will come’. It’s dangerous to believe that if your script is ‘undeniably good’ that you’ll be rewarded (and by the way, someone will deny it’s worth anything). Because inevitably, then, when you have not won thousands in script writing contest swag, have not landed an agent, and are not enjoying a rocket ship ride to fame and fortune, you begin to think that your work is not worthwhile.

This. Is. Not. True.

The value of your work does not change depending on whether or not other people appreciate it.

Do you love Game of Thrones? Most people I know do. I don’t. I haven’t been able to get into it. Does this mean that 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, or 90% of my friggin’ facebook feed, or shelves of Emmys are right? No. Does it mean I’m right because I’m not a ‘sheeple’ and I ‘know what good art is’?

Yes. Wait, I mean, no.

Others like it, and I don’t. That’s it.

Let’s try another one. Twilight. I never read it. If you’re rolling your eyes and groaning right now, I’m going to bet you didn’t either. You just know it’s fashionable to hate it. But it had a huge audience. You know what it is, don’t you? Does that mean it’s more valuable or viable or even ‘well-written’ story than a self-published book laboring in obscurity?

More than that, is your opinion so important that you can dictate what is and isn’t an important work?  You get the idea.

Applying this to your own work will prevent you from taking rejection as an indictment of your work or worse: of you as a person.

The truth is there are probably a lot of reasons why someone else’s work was chosen for a contest or a fellowship or to get produced and yours wasn’t. Maybe you do have some growing to do. Maybe not. There are too many factors that go into choosing these things.

For Hollywood in particular, your writing is secondary to who you know (more on that at another time).

Let’s say, though, in the fantasy we all want to live in, that you enter a script-writing contest that’s completely blind. That no one’s looking for a ‘basically established’ writer. No one’s counting how many times you’ve entered. No one’s got a connection to a person who’s judging.

It is still literally impossible for Hollywood to be a meritocracy because art, by its nature, is subjective.

I entered a contest recently and someone gave me feedback that sounded like they were making checkmarks on a “Save the Cat” worksheet. I’m not going to place in that contest (whether I agree or not) but they revealed something important: their criteria.

Now I know that what they’re looking for boils down to: “Well, there’s no cat in this script, so… Good start. Needs a cat, though. kthx!”

Does having a cat in my script make it exponentially better? Eh. Only I – and people whose opinions I respect – can decide that.

The kicker? People are more comfortable with what they know ‘works’. What’s ‘must have!’ in scripts today won’t be a few years from now. So not only can their criteria be arbitrary, they can also change over time.

Then suddenly your story that’s about space-traveling dogs is the next best thing — even without a single cat!

But when it comes to this contest, I either bite my tongue and put a damn cat in the script or I throw the cat through the ceiling and take my brilliance elsewhere.

Because not hitting the mark for a contest or a producer or an agent does not mean you don’t have the chops. Conversely, it’s not always true that if you made it in, you’re better than people who haven’t.

Remember that all of the major publishing houses passed on Harry Potter. Some are probably kicking themselves while others are shrugging and saying: It wasn’t the right fit for us. Harry Potter hasn’t changed. Only the response has.


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE

Netflix Canceled Sense8, So I Tried to Watch It

by Kathryn Graham

As you may have heard, Netflix is cancelling Sense8. Netflix bid them a fond farewell and sent a show with lots of LGBT and people of color packing right at the start of Pride Month.

Hey, Netflix: I know you probably didn’t do that on purpose, but not great timing guys. Just saying.

Sense8 is one of those shows I had meant to get around to eventually. Once I heard it was cancelled, I went full bore into the first season… and only got through the sixth episode.

Now, having seen the show, I can’t say I’m surprised about the cancellation. Here’s the thing with Sense8 at the onset: it’s Heroes but without deep or endearing characters. You know there’s more going on here. You know that the main characters are connected, you’re just not sure how exactly. But it suffers from Heroes’ incredibly slow pacing, and I think that’s ultimately what kills it.

The first six episodes are basically backstory on all of the characters, but the backstories don’t have much to them. An Indian woman is getting married to a guy everyone thinks she loves, but she doesn’t love him. A Korean woman is smarter and better than her brother, but since she is a girl, he gets to take over the company. A transwoman has an unaccepting family, but a great girlfriend. In Heroes, we got to at least watch Claire jump off buildings and run through fire. We saw Hiro time-travel. In Sense8, we see wedding preparation.

Structurally, it’s a lot more like a six hour movie than a television show. Stories progress, but since there are eight of them, plot points that should have taken less than half an episode to get to take literally five episodes to occur.

That’s the other thing about Sense8. It has a lot of different characters, and they are a diverse bunch from all over the world, but the lack of depth destroys my caring about any of them. I also don’t know why they’re connected (which is fine), but when they do cross each others’ paths, it doesn’t seem purposeful. That said…

I think that if I could hang on longer, I might be treated to a show that I really enjoy. That’s what happened with Heroes, and that is a possibility here with Sense8. On the other hand, this is entertainment, and slogging through hours to get to the good stuff is a lot to ask. (Especially with no guarantee there is good stuff coming.)

I know a lot of people are upset that a show that represents LGBT folk and people of color is getting cancelled. I get that. But I don’t wish Sense8 would continue, I wish we didn’t have to put so much weight on every show that throws us a bone.

According to the creators, though, they had a wide and heterogeneous audience, and the exact reason why they were cancelled still remains a mystery. If you’re a fan I invite you to go sign the petition to bring it back. Then tell me why you love the show. I may even go back and watch more if you do.

 

Edit: Looks like Netflix isn’t having any of the petition stuff. Sorry Sense8 fans.


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE

Wonder Woman: A Hero Beyond The Screen

LB’S NOTE: Yes, it’s true that Monday is usually my poetry day. However, all kinds of things, including a mysterious visitor from my past, omens of good fortune and fair trade, and an overcrowded schedule mean that the next epic from yours truly can’t be here today but absolutely will be online June 19th, in honor of Father’s Day.

As we used to say on Hawaii Five-0 (the real one)“Be there!”

Meanwhile, Kate Graham graces us with her insight once again:


by Kathryn Graham

We write about TV here at TVWriter, but for this past weekend, all of the attention has been on the silver screen. There’s one reason for that.

Wonder Woman.

Since this is the kind of film I’ve waited my whole life for, I am going to write about it, TV emphasis be damned. I cannot be confined!

My review of Wonder Woman is:

I need to watch it again.

I went into it expecting to be absolutely blown away, and truth be told, I wasn’t. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the spectacle all of the hype had me believing it was.

That’s exactly why I need to see it again. I need to be able to take it for what it is – a beautiful, powerful superhero movie with a sprinkling of deeper meaning and a lot of women kicking ass.

Because that part, oh that part was glorious.

See, I don’t like superhero movies in general. The main reason is I know that I’m going to see something that’s meant for men, which apparently means three things: women are scarce, women are love interests, women wear skin tight clothing.

I hear a lot about how important it is that little girls can look up to Wonder Woman. No doubt. But I’d posit to say: adult women need her just as much if not more. I need her more.

Wonder Woman wants women to feel the same thrill and excitement that every man has felt his entire life when he watched Spiderman, Superman, or Batman take the bad guys down. It isn’t that we can’t identify with Superman, of course not, but you tell me it doesn’t say something when only one gender is kicking the hell out of evil and the other is the ‘love interest’.

You tell me how it feels when your main purpose is to be hot. When no matter how badass you are, you always need someone to save you.

Not so with Wonder Woman.

Women were in tears while watching her fight because this was a realization of a long-awaited dream.

The importance of this film stretches far beyond a simple superhero movie, not just for the audience, but for the industry.

Wonder Woman and Patty Jenkins are superheroes for all women in the film industry. Hollywood is so sexist, they don’t even bother to hide it. Anything a woman touches is judged ten times harsher because she is somehow representative of her entire gender. Every failure is a setback for half of the damn population instead of a shitty movie.

One bad superhero movie and suddenly no one wants to see female superheroes. One bad female directed movie, and well, we know women couldn’t direct, didn’t we boys?

Wonder Woman saved us.

It never should have come to this. If we lived in an equitable and free meritocracy, we would have thousands of movies directed, written, starred in, crewed, and more by women. All of them judged by how stupid the plot was, how great the acting, the big booms and zooms, and not by the gender of the person who worked on it.

We don’t live in that world. Even with Wonder Woman, the number of women working in film is abysmal, and I’m skeptical about just how much better it will get now. But this movie has given us a ray of hope.

Sure, I would have loved to have seen a bulkier woman play Wonder Woman, but Gal Gadot did a great job. Yes, I would have loved for there to be more women in the movie later on, but I understand why they weren’t. Yes, I want to see Wonder Woman have a female love interest someday, and yes, I’ll be happy to write that script for you, thank you for asking!

Anyway…

This movie was a small step forward that feels like a giant leap.

Wonder Woman may not be the hero we deserve (do we deserve better or worse? you decide), but she is a hero we can believe in. Thank you, everyone who worked on this movie. Truly. I’m off go to see it in IMAX.


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and our very own wonder woman although she probably doesn’t believe that. Learn more about Kate HERE

TV’s Haught Lesbian Cop Girlfriends

Maggie & Nicole!

 by Kathryn Graham

—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT–

Supergirl is back, and with it Alex Danvers and her hot cop girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer. Last week’s episode featured Maggie a lot more prominently than before: and it is one of the best of the series so far.

I recently rewatched the entire first season of Wynonna Earp on Netflix, and I was struck by the similarities between Maggie and Wynonna Earp‘s lesbian officer: Nicole Haught.

So in honor of these two awesome ladies, I present the haught lesbian cop girlfriends of Supergirl and Wynonna Earp:

Maggie Sawyer
Supergirl
National City PD
Girlfriend of Alex Danvers
Couple Name: Sanvers

Nicole Haught
Wynonna Earp
Purgatory Sheriff’s Department
Girlfriend of Waverly Earp
Couple Name: Wayhaught

And their main character girlfriends:

Alex Danvers
DEO Extranormal Activities Agent (Gov. alien fighter)
Kara Danvers’ (Supergirl’s) Adoptive Older Sister

Waverly Earp
Black Badge Division (Gov. demon fighter)
Wynonna Earp’s Younger Sister

Maggie and Nicole have been important to the growth of their girlfriends (and in Maggie’s case: vice versa). They’ve both got hidden depths and a lot of potential.

They’re both aware of the government’s activities, but they maintain their positions in the police department. That’s cool. That’s fine. Who doesn’t love a hot cop?

But because they are competent police officers, I really want to see them join their girlfriends’ covert ops or at least accompany them on more of their missions.

The love interest thing: it’s great, and it’s important. I love the scenes they have, and these shows don’t have their heads up their asses. They know who they’re representing, and they know how important that is.

Still, most of the time these characters remain only tangentially related to the main story. Kara and Wynonna only care about them because they’re important to their sisters. Everyone else in the main group could kind of care less.

I mean, Wynonna was willing to let Nicole get killed until Waverly said that she loved her. That’s some shit right there.

I’m not looking for more makeout scenes (although I’m never opposed). I want them to have a more well-rounded presence. Most of all, I want them to be in scenes they should be in.

Because before now, we had situations like this:

Alex and Maggie uncover the location of a Luthor warehouse wherein lies the head of the evil organization Cadmus and Alex’s long-lost father Jeremiah. Maggie asks if she should go with Alex to infiltrate this presumably highly lethal box of villainy.

Maggie: Want me to go with you?
Alex: No. I gotta do it alone.
Maggie: No problem. I’ve got super important offscreen things to do.

A similar thing happens in the Wynonna Earp Season 1 finale. Nicole gets shot, but she’s saved by her bulletproof vest. She urges Waverly to go with Wynonna to track down her would-be killer, even though she could go with them.

Waverly: Why don’t you come with us?
Officer Haught: That’s it for me, Waverly. I’m done for. I think… I think the only thing that could save me is a kiss.
Waverly: You just said you were only bruised.
Officer Haught: Now I need two kisses.

Maybe they weren’t included because they’re so badass that if they had gone with their girlfriends to near certain doom, the villains would have just wilted before them.

More likely, the writers didn’t want to work with them, despite the fact they should have been there. If you were capable of helping, would you let the person you love more than anyone go face potential death without you?

That’s what I mean.

I’d be fairly shocked to see what I’m asking for come to fruition. These characters are thought of as love interests to main (but not the titular) characters and not as full cast members. But I’d love to be shocked. Please shock me.

I’d love to see Floriana Lima (Maggie) and Katherine Barrell’s (Nicole’s) names in the opening. That’d mean something. Just not the way Buffy: The Vampire Slayer did it. After urging from fans for years, they finally put Amber Benson (who played Tara MacClay – Willow’s lover) in the opening, only to kill her off that episode.

Tara never became important to anyone except Willow. I don’t want that for Maggie & Nicole.

Buuut… last week’s Supergirl had Maggie bringing her unique skill set to bear to save Alex and spending a lot of time bonding with Kara (even if most of that was spent arguing). This was one of my absolute favorite episodes of the entire series. It had all of the right ingredients: high stakes, ticking clock, strong relationships. Here’s hoping Maggie can continue to work with the main cast, even when Alex is back.

With Wynonna Earp, showrunner Emily Andras mentioned at ClexaCon that Officer Haught will have more of a role, and she’ll have more scenes with Wynonna. She’s hardly in the trailer, so I’m not exactly sold yet, but I’m cautiously optimistic for when the show returns June 9th.

Alex & Waverly!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about Kate HERE

More Aliens than Asians on Screen: White-Washing Ghost in the Shell

by Kathryn Graham

This month, Ghost in the Shell will be released with Scarlett Johansson, a white actress, cast as Japanese character: Major Motoko Kusanagi. This is a process known as ‘white-washing’: Hollywood’s long-standing racist practice of casting white actors as characters of color.

In the 1930’s, we had ‘yellowface’: ‘Predictably, Asian Americans actors would spend most of the war years cast as sinister Japanese, often in films now viewed with some embarrassment. There were still “good Asian” roles being written–but they were restricted to Caucasian actors while Asian Americans played the villains.’

In 2017, we have white-washing, which is not the same thing, but still casts white people in roles that should have been Asian roles. The result: there are almost no roles for Asians on screen even in stories where the characters in the source material were Asian.

Chloe Tze: The University of California School of Journalism put out this study. There was a report that said less than 4.5% of Asians were on screen in speaking roles over the span of six years. So we’re not represented. You’re more likely to see an alien on screen than an Asian female. (Queer Women of Color Panel @ ClexaCon 2017)

NPR: Hollywood Has a Major Diversity Problem Study Finds

Why? There’s a whole raft of reasons why, but here’s a small snapshot: Writers aren’t writing roles for people of Asian descent. In the rare cases when we are, they’re being given to Caucasians.

When asked about the controversy surrounding her casting, Scarlett Johansson told Marie Claire magazine:

“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”

But, much as I love ScarJo, she is playing a character of another race, which is a problem precisely because there is so little inclusion in Hollywood. Kusanagi is a distinctly Japanese name. This is a Japanese character.

She’s right that there is a dearth of films with female protagonists. The same NPR study above shows that only one third of female characters on screen have speaking roles (let alone leading roles). Combine that with the incredibly low instance of Asians in speaking roles, and despite her intentions and her personal desires, Johansson has usurped a role where an Asian woman should have been cast.

But this is more on the casting director than it is on the actress. So, what did Steven Paul, a producer on the film, have to say about this choice to white-wash the movie?

“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story,” Paul told BuzzFeed. “Ghost in the Shell was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanese; it was supposed to be an entire world. That’s why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it.”

Basically: this story isn’t focused on Japan exclusively, so therefore we cast a white woman as a clearly Japanese character.

Is anyone buying this?

This isn’t a new defense of a white-washed movie. M. Night Shyamalan said the same thing about his choice to white-wash the Asian cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

“Here’s the thing. The great thing about anime is that it’s ambiguous. The features of the characters are an intentional mix of all features. It’s intended to be ambiguous. That is completely its point. So when we watch Katara, my oldest daughter is literally a photo double of Katara in the cartoon. So that means that Katara is Indian, correct? No that’s just in our house. And her friends who watch it, they see themselves in it. And that’s what’s so beautiful about anime.” – M. Night Shyamalan

I mean, who could tell that Aang was a Tibetan monk, Katara and Sokka were Innuits, and Zuko was Japanese? Anyone with eyes. Anyone who watched the show. And also…

The creators of the original cartoon: Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino.

The thing is: Avatar was not an anime. It was an American cartoon in the vein of anime. Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino had a blueprint for how they created their characters – and that blueprint was distinctly based on Asian culture. It’s not like Shymalan had to guess. His excuses, like always when a movie is white-washed, don’t hold water.

Even though the creators of Ghost in the Shell back the decision to cast Scarlett Johansson, and even though I doubt these decisions were made on purpose to harm Asians, the impact stays the same: another clearly Japanese character will be played by a Caucasian actor. Regardless of intent, this film is now a part of the history of American white-washing.

It’s worth thinking about this both if you’re considering seeing this movie and when you sit down to write your own stories. What are you doing to combat this? Are you writing Asian or Asian American characters into your shows in an ethical way? Are you bolstering stories by Asian creators? Informing people about this issue? Sharing this and/or many other articles?

Update: For a spot of good news, Disney looks to be doing it right with their upcoming live action Mulan movie! All-Asian cast and a female director? I’m in.


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Writer. Learn more about Kate HERE