Have you ever been disappointed with the way older people are represented on television or in the movies? David Gittins, Executive Director of Age Inclusion in Media (AIM) explains that when only younger writers are responsible for the script, ageist narratives prevail. That’s more or less what’s happened in Hollywood due to age bias against older writers. Age Inclusion in Media is a non-profit organization working to change the story.
“The entertainment industry can be so age-segregated,” David said. “Entry-level and gatekeepers are held by people in their 20s, whilst greenlighting decisions are held by people in their 60s and beyond. It’s as if certain levels in the business have age-appropriate requirements. If you haven’t reached some upper levels by a certain age, then it appears you get aged-out.”
The AIM team understands the need to evolve age-inclusion in media. Their programs bring together creatives of all ages. Through intergenerational sharing, writers from across the age-spectrum learn from each other.
“Initially, the older writers were wary of the younger ones, believing they were scheming to age them out,” David said. “The younger writers, meanwhile, were concerned older scribes were stopping them from breaking in. After getting to know each other and finding out about their career goals and struggles, the older writers came to me and said, ‘We didn’t realize it was so tough for them’ – which was exactly what the younger ones had said about their older colleagues.”
Change Requires Action
One of the best ways to eradicate age bias is through intergenerational communications. AIM seeks to empower creatives and help break down the damaging misconceptions that surround all ages.
Currently, AIM is running the Silver Bullet Screenplay Contest, aimed at promoting stories about older characters or created by older writers.
“We’re also launching a screenwriting mentorship initiative for people of all ages and experience. In this mentorship, individuals will learn from great writers who’ve helped create iconic movies and TV shows.”
“Our programs are open to all and we’re eager to help all creatives regardless of age or experience. We encourage anyone who has the artistic urge but has felt age has been a barrier to get in touch by visiting our website.”
Age Equity Alliance is committed to partnering with other organizations that share our vision. Age Inclusion in Media, like AEA, believes that exclusion based on age is not only wrong, it misrepresents and maligns the very fabric of society. We are pleased to support AIM’s message through shared resources.