Russell Williams: Behind The Camera

Two-time Academy Award-winning sound mixer and recordist Russell Williams recently visited Furman University to talk with students here about how exactly the Academy Awards, filmmaking, and studio decisions work, thus giving the students a look behind the scenes at what happens behind the camera.

Behind The Academy

Students got a look at how exactly someone gets into the Academy. This has been quite the controversial topic in the past few years thanks to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign started by April Reign. When nominees were announced in 2015, no non-caucasian actors or actresses were nominated in any major categories. How did it end up that way? To understand how so few people are nominated, you have to first understand how few people do the nominating.

Behind the Nominations

Williams explained to Furman students that there are two ways for someone to get into the Academy. The first is that you can win an Academy Award. Simple enough, right? The second way is that two members of the Academy can nominate someone within their field of work for membership to the Academy. After the initial nomination, the panel meets and interviews multiple people, deciding by a unanimous vote who will be let into the Academy and who won’t. These are the people that choose who gets the coveted Oscars.

Behind the Studio Walls

So how do the studios keep producing movies that will garner the awards? The studios use the so-called “Summer Tent-Pole” movies like the superhero movies we’ve all gotten so used to seeing to earn money at the box office. The profits from those movies are then used to fund the movies that are meant to win the awards, which are known as Oscar bait.

Luckily, this year, the Academy seems to have gotten the message and has nominated more non-caucasian actors and actresses for awards. That’s not all though, as more minorities are being recognized for their contributions behind the scenes as well. If you want to check out this year’s ballot, you can see it here.

Thank you, Russell Williams, for coming to Furman and sharing your experiences with us as well as opening our eyes to how everything really works so we will be more informed on Sunday, February 26th, when the Oscars air on ABC.


Women Wear Sports

For quite a while, one of the main business strategies for marketing to women was “Shrink It and Pink It,” and sports gear and fanwear were no exceptions.

Shrink It and Pink It

I have always been frustrated when my brother wants a football jersey, and I want the same player’s jersey, yet his¬†options come in team colors and my only options are pink and usually include rhinestones. Just because I’m a female doesn’t mean I don’t want to support the team in their colors. As it turns out, this happens with a lot of women. The marketing view has long been to “you women,” with advertisers not realizing we would rather buy from “us women.” As more women begin to sit in on these marketing meetings, the men are starting to hear that pink isn’t every female’s favorite color, especially when she’s trying to cheer on her team, something that the Huffington Post was happy to see a closing of as well.

Not Just Gear

Although I wish the gender stereotyping were limited to just the clothing or even left in the past, this definitely isn’t the case. In 2015, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers launched a section of their website especially for their female fans. This new section of the website included style tips for gameday and how to incorporate the team’s colors into their wardrobe, recipes for Pinterest-worthy tailgates and tips on how to share their game-day favorites on Pinterest. Thankfully, women saw this website as the lame attempt that it was and the Buccaneers took the website down shortly thereafter.

 The Rest of Us

As for the rest of us, we’re stuck with finding jerseys that fit us like we’re guys or t-shirts that don’t come in team colors.

Left: Not just football, soccer also has pink jerseys Center: Females are often left with large, ill-fitting fanwear Right: Girls are taught from a young age that pink is for them

Left: Not just football, soccer also has pink jerseys
Center: Females are often left with large, ill-fitting fanwear
Right: Girls are taught from a young age that pink is for them

Women Watch Sports

Sure, this may come as a surprise to some advertisers and companies, but there are actually women out there in the world who enjoy watching sports. Some advertisers seem to think that women only like walking in slow motion through a tailgate while eating a burger and wearing a bikini. Once they get too old for bikinis, women move into the kitchen to make food while the men watch the game.


In a recent Gallup poll, people were asked if they would generally describe themselves as sports fans. While 66 percent of men surveyed replied that they are fans, 51 percent of women gave the same answer. When it comes to professional football, though, 45 percent of the National Football League’s fans are women.

Advertising Amnesia

Despite all of this evidence, companies still seem to forget these women when making commercials about game-day products. There are plenty of commercials about women hanging out in the kitchen refilling bags of chips. So many, in fact, that “Saturday Night Live” did an entire skit about it. Ads around sports frequently objectify women, despite the fact that women do make up a good amount of their viewership. Here are just a few examples of the objectification of women in ads that air in and around the sports world.

Thank You

There are those companies that do care that women are looked at as the weaker sex. Like Always who has the #LikeaGirl campaign. Seeing those other ads on television impacts the self-esteem of girls. Support those companies who advertise positively towards women. Support women.