Force + Mass x Acceleration = Results. If you took Newton’s Second Law of Physics and applied it to the diversity issue in entertainment, our problems would be resolved.
We all recognize the diverse world that we live in and share. And now, more than ever, millions of people are rising up to have their voices heard, creating a force and an acceleration that is shifting the zeitgeist of diversity into a catalyst for change.
A lone voice is not as compelling as voices in harmony where the sound is richer, enhanced, more complex and more powerful. Similarly, audiences around the world long to see images that reflect their own gender identity, race, culture and distinctive voices. It is no longer simply a matter of creating a heterogeneous below-the-line team or hiring a consultant to help authenticate a culturally relevant story—these are temporary fixes that simply don’t create lasting, impactful results. Today’s real formula for success in diversity is to hire multifarious talent in above-the-line positions: writers, producers and directors of divergent backgrounds who are valuable assets and investments to any production, providing authentic and realistic portrayals of cultural perspectives that reflect the world we live in.
Now competing on a global scale, media and entertainment technology is advancing in various countries that aspire to have their own film industry, with indigenous language films and programs that are produced on a larger scale with wider audiences.
New Zealand, South Africa, India, Canada and China are just a few countries that have developed their own formulas to attract foreign producers, thus creating local employment, boosting their country’s economy and creating an inward investment that places their nation’s culture in the forefront. As American producers, we must do the same.
When filming in foreign locations, the demographics of the region should consist of local hires who can help overcome language barriers and navigate cultural nuances. While gender and ethnic diversity are universal themes, there are imperative regional differences based on ethnography, language, regional dialect, folklore, religion, sexual orientation etc. that are serious factors to consider when producing foreign or culturally relevant films and television. When we hire diverse talent it opens a portal to fresh and invigorating ideas that offer culturally rich perspectives and authentically vivid portrayals of characters not often seen or heard in mainstream media and entertainment.
It’s a great time to be a producer, especially one of color. The members of the Producers Guild of Diversity East represent over 50 countries with production experience in over 78 foreign territories and established relationships with local teams. The PGA Diversity Committee aligns itself with the most successful global producers in the world who position films and television to flourish in any market. Diversity in the industry is here to stay, and with the acceleration of our voices rising, we can’t help but create the change we want to see.