Jane Espenson and Eli Gonda Talk Diversity at Fan Voice

Television writers and producers Jane Espenson and Eli Gonda sat down and talked about their jobs with Fan Voice at GeekGirlCon. Espenson’s long-running success has given her a platform to support fan fiction and diversity. As discussed in a recent post at FANgirl, diversity has come back to a central focus, not just in Star Wars fandom, but across genre storytelling. In that post I noted that the mentality is different in television than publication. Espenson’s and Gonda’s words highlight exactly how:

As much as they love their jobs and industry, both creators feel improvements could be made.

“There should be more women writers,” Espenson said without hesitation. “There should be more diverse writing staffs and more diverse casts. I think we are not getting that done.”

Gonda agreed by saying, “I think diversity’s a huge issue, and not just for the sake of diversity. There are just stories that aren’t being told, and they should be. We need diversity in story, and I think a lot of that does come from diversity in writing — women, minorities — like a lot. And even just diversity in personality.”

Espenson said, “When people hire people, I think they’re thinking too much about, ‘Well, I’m comfortable around people who are like me’ and not enough about ‘What are the stories that aren’t being told?’”

Espenson’s final point ties right into concerns about stale storytelling. The easiest way to fix that problem is to find fresh voices and combine them with experienced storytellers to create new and different tales. It’s really a win-win, as Espenson’s work on Once Upon a Time has proven.

Just a reminder: My book Wynde is out now and here are all the things you can do to support it.

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Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.