We need more diversity on-screen. What can you do? Here's an easy suggestion.
Spend five minutes looking at the five smallest roles in your current or next projects, and ask yourself if there is any room for diversity. Could the bellhop be Native American? Could the course instructor have a disability?
Think of what population segment is missing, and bring them to the project at this most basic level. By giving more diverse actors these small roles, you are creating a more realistic background world for the narrative, developing the actors’ resumes, opening their union opportunities, and building the talent pool for the industry’s future.
It’s a very small step, a very small ask, but a necessary move for a more representative Hollywood. Read the occupation-specific asks below, and pledge your participation.
For the five smallest characters, intentionally write more inclusive breakdowns. (E.g., explicitly seek an Asian actor when race is irrelevant to the story.)
Change the description of the characters to explicitly call for diversity, so that casting can take that direction. (E.g., specify a character is in a wheelchair where the disability is unconnected to the narrative.)
Have a conversation with casting about the five smallest roles, requesting breakdowns include explicit asks for PWD and non-white actors. (E.g., “don’t just open the roles up to non-white, explicitly ask for Latina.”)
TAKE THE PLEDGE
Complete the pledge form at top right of this page. When you pledge to participate, your information will be kept private. We will reach out infrequently to check-in.
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Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Amy Granados, a doctoral candidate at USC Annenberg, for taking the time to discuss her research in this area. For more about that research, you may contact her at amygranados11 [at] gmail [dot] com.