A reader follows up about yesterday’s post:

Just wondering if you meant “young women directors,” or “NEWCOMER women directors.” Because of course women have been so underrepresented, many of the new ones aren’t young in years anymore. And there’s nothing ageist in any of the other categories.

I meant young. I’m curious about the experience of women who make films in their late teens and early 20s. We hear a lot about the equivalent male directors, enough that the occasional distaff exception (e.g. Lena Dunham) is genuinely newsworthy.

But the point is well-taken: “young” is often used in Hollywood when “new,” “green” or “inexpensive” would be better choices.

This actually happened, I swear, at lunch in 2001:

FAMOUS PRODUCER

Let’s see, what else. Oh! We just got the rights to (interesting project).

ME

I saw that in the trades. Congrats.

FAMOUS PRODUCER

Studio’s really excited. They see it as a franchise. Starting to look for a writer.

ME

It’s a tough one. It’s out there. I think I’ve seen every episode.

FAMOUS PRODUCER

(realizing)

Oh, you’d be great. Obviously. But I think we’re going for a younger writer.

A beat.

ME (V.O.)

I’m thirty.

The producer meant “less expensive.” Mostly.

Since a screenwriter’s price tends to rise with his credits, and it takes years to build those credits, young writers tend to be cheaper. They’re paid less because they have less of a track record.

In a moment of unusual candor, the producer could have said, “We’re looking for an inexperienced writer — or better yet, a team — with maybe one produced credit who will work tirelessly and bend to the studio’s will, without complaint, all for right around scale.”

But she didn’t say that. She said, “young.”