Early last year, Ryan Murphy launched his Half initiative, a foundation within his 20th Century Fox TV-based production company, aimed at creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Since then, Ryan Murphy Television’s director slate hired 60% women directors and 94% met the minority requirement, according to Murphy.
In collaboration with John Landgraf and FX Networks, the director slate increased from 12% female/diverse directors in 2015 to 51% in 2016 for the network as a whole. “I love looking around my company and empowering inclusion in all departments,” says Murphy. “I recently led a production meeting and was proud to see that more than half of the people sitting at the table were women and minorities. That’s the way it should be.” The initiative was discussed today during FX’s TCA presentation.
Half also launched a Directing Mentorship Program in which directors on Ryan Murphy Television productions mentor emerging directors, along with a stipend for their commitment. The Directing Mentorship Program had 29 participants in 2016 and has added 30 participants in 2017 providing more than $200,000 in financial aid, according to Murphy.
Now Half will launch Half Fest at the Skirball Cultural Center to “welcome people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society.” Half Fest’s goal is to showcase its participants in the Director Mentorship Program so that the industry can engage with diverse storytellers.
Half also has collaborated with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on creating an internship program to create creative pathways for under-represented youth in conjunction with the California Film Commission. Recently, Murphy has joined Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Advisory Board on the Entertainment Inclusion Fund.