Women and minority episodic TV directors face a “significant hiring disadvantage” getting into the business because of their gender and race, according to a new five-year study by the Directors Guild of America. The report found that only 18% of all first-timers are female, and that only 13% are minorities.
“There’s a big opportunity here for those in charge of hiring to make a difference – but they’re not,” said DGA president Paris Barclay. “Without change at the entry level – where women and minority directors get their first directing assignment – it’ll be status quo from here to eternity. Every director needs a first shot to break into the business – and what this report reveals is that studios, networks and executive producers need to challenge their own hiring practices and offer talented women and minority directors the same opportunities they are giving white males.”
The study, covering the 2009-2014 TV seasons, found that employment opportunities for first-time women and minority episodic TV directors are even worse than for women and minorities in all of primetime network and cable television. A previous DGA report found that women got 14% of those primetime jobs during the 2013-2014 season, and that minorities got 19%. Female minorities only got 2% of the primetime jobs.
“The data makes it clear,” said DGA first vp Betty Thomas. “Even when hiring first-timers, the studios and executive producers are making choices that show they don’t actively support diversity hiring. First-time TV directors are new to the game and come from all areas of the industry including film school – so why is a woman or minority any less qualified than anybody else? It seems clearer than ever that we need to see different points of view. Most of the industry claims to want a more diversified directing workforce – here’s their chance. It could all start here.”
The latest report found that writers made up 28% of the first-time episodic director pool; actors made up 18%; assistant directors/unit production managers comprised 10%; cinematographers/camera operators were 8%; editors totaled 5%; other crew made up 5%; and non-writing producers were 1%. The remainder of the group was made up of people who had previously directed in other genres including independent film, new media, commercials, music videos, student films and documentaries.