Dames Like Her & the men who believe in them.

You know, guys can be a real pain in the ass. Their misogyny can and has ruined many of our jobs and even our lives. Especially those of us who grew up in the 40's, 50's & 60's.

BUT, they can also be the one person who really believes in you. (Okay, the second person who really believes in you. My producer and good friend Carol Chambers Crumley was and always will be the first.)

Film producer, award-winning photographer and photo journalist Sam Shaw once left a message on my phone after finally reading a screenplay of mine that I had been hounding him about for months. I pressed the button on my answering machine and this is what I heard.

"Fran? Sam. You're a fucking genius."


The call came at a time when I was nearing 50 and had sunk $20,000 into making my first film (that could have been the down payment on my first house) and was unsure of whether I was crazy for even thinking I could call myself a filmmaker when I knew of only a handful of successful women directors.

It came as I was beginning to make the rounds of festivals with my first film, Sullivan's Last Call, and discovered that these trips to Sundance and Chicago and Los Angeles would basically be me and a hundred million 22 year old kids who were also making their first film. I felt like the den mother at a old boy scout convention.

It turned out to be a seven year full-tilt commitment to producing and directing my first feature film, Pardon My French, an unusual screenplay I had written about love, death and my salty mother that would garner kudos from major studios and the commitment of Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands but would, sadly, never find the funding it needed to get made.

But having the unwavering support of Sam Shaw, and another unrelentingly supportive gent, the fearless Boston College film professor and author, Ray Carney - having their belief in me and what I was trying to do with my filmmaking has become, all these years later, what I most cherish.

Now, my career may be very different from yours in content, but I ask you to look back into your history and a man who may have been your Sam. Or your Ray. It's easy for us to focus on the blowhards out there who tried their damndest to crush our spirit, but there are MANY men who wanted the best for us ... who were they for you?

Just CLICK comment below and tell us your story. Take as long as you want. Lord knows, we've got the time.