Giant Leap Accelerator is doing its part to fight the good fight to bolster diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. The company launched a film and television development program today that will focus on discovering new Asian/Pacific American (APA) stories.
Here’s how it will work: the accelerator will pair writers with industry mentors in packaging marketable projects into production as a means to introduce more Asian American representation to a consumer audience. Giant Leap Accelerator’s curriculum marks the industry’s first paid writing program for new, non-guild APA screenwriters. As an added bonus there is no charge to apply.
The program’s inaugural class will accept seven new APA writers to be assigned to screenwriters or showrunners as industry mentors to help with writing workshops. Over the course of the three-month accelerator program, writers will have support and resources to package their projects, including presentation decks and sizzle reels, before the culmination of a pitch day to studio, streamer and network executives, independent producers and investors.
That said, the Giant Leap Accelerator is changing the game when it comes to programs of its kind. The vertically integrated pipeline from development to production is the next-generation model in content creation for Asian American writers.
“Less than 2% of writers in the guild are Asian/Pacific American. That’s abysmal and causing a writing talent bottleneck that’s suppressed APA representation both in front of and behind the camera,” said DJ Jiang, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Giant Leap Accelerator. “We’re taking a page right out of Silicon Valley’s playbook and creating a hands-on support structure and network to discover great ideas from the best creative minds. This accelerator gives voice to fierce Asian American stories no longer needing to mute themselves to mainstream audiences.”
Actor and producer Brian Yang is also a company co-founder with an advisory board that includes Munika Lay, VP of Film at Miramax; and Sonny Vu, formerly President and CTO at Fossil Group.
“The talent has to be there, but so does opportunity. It’s not ‘representation’ if the characters are kept to only the pages and never make it onto a screen for the audience to see,” added Yang. “We hope that this opportunity for rising APA writers to hone their work and pitch it in front of industry evaluators will not only help create a reliable pipeline of quality projects that will be given legitimate consideration, but add more creators into an ecosystem that’s already notoriously challenging to gain a foothold in.”
The accelerator program launches with pitch day participants from a variety of entertainment industry companies including 3AD, 20K, A-Major Media, Freeform, Hulu, MGM, NBCUniversal, Perfect Storm Entertainment, Red Hour Films, Macro, Miramax and Verve. Apply to the Giant Leap Accelerator here.