There is some interesting news coming out of CAA’s Amplify invitation-only event today. The agency just unveiled plans to launch a searchable database of television writers of color to help in the hiring of diverse voices. They are calling it a “first-of-its-kind searchable database.” The new Amplify database is comprised of more than 800 writers that have at least one writing credit on a broadcast, cable, or streaming television project in the past five years, and — no, it’s not only CAA clients — it includes representation information wherever that writer is repped.
The launch was announced in Ojai this AM by Christy Haubegger, CAA’s Head of Multicultural Business Development. “We initially conceived the Amplify Database as a resource for our clients and buyers to help them make the most informed and inclusive decisions when addressing the needs of their shows,” said Haubegger. “With the marketplace appetite for diverse voices at an all-time-high, we saw the larger potential value in this resource and decided to maximize its impact by sharing it with the entertainment industry.”
The online database will be made available to networks, studios, showrunners, and other key industry decision-makers beginning today and can be accessed at www.amplifydatabase.com. There are no registration or other fees associated with the database. Registered users will be able to filter the database based on gender, ethnicity, and most recent or highest level writing position to generate a list specific to the user’s needs. Writers or their representatives can send updates, corrections, or deletion requests to Amplifydatabase@caa.com.
This comes after the agency last year — at its first Amplify conference — unveiled the CAA Motion Picture Cast Diversity Index. The primary goal of that was “to determine the correlative factors of diverse casting, diverse audiences, and box office success; and their broader implications on the business case for diversity in motion picture programming.” That index currently contains 603 films released theatrically from January 2014 through April 2018 and focuses on cast ethnicity for 5,953 actors/actresses. It’s updated/re-evaluated every quarter.
This Diversity Index revealed that opening-weekend audiences for seven out of the Top 10 grossing films in both 2016 and 2017 were more than 50% non-white and that a cast that is at least 30% non-white outperforms a release that is not. For films with a $100 million+ budget level, the worldwide box office with a more diverse cast was $591M, contrasted with the less-diverse cast films which averaged $478M.