Paris Barclay and Ava Duvernay are two people that I admire a great deal. Emmy Winner, Barclay’s credit list is long while Duvernay is emerging as one of the brightest African-American female directors in the business today. Lee Daniels will join the TV ranks with his new series, Empire. Then, there is Salim Akil, Debbie Allen, Kim Fields And then there’s….?
Minorities and women are underrepresented in the directing ranks in television. Sure, there are diversity programs at most of the big studios and networks, but according to this report from Cynopsis it doesn’t seem to be working too well.
According to Cynopsis, “Eighty-one percent of all primetime episodes in the 2013-2014 network television season and the 2013 cable season were directed by Caucasians, and 14 percent by women, according to a new survey conducted by the Directors Guild of America. White males directed 69 percent of the 3500 episodes counted, minority males accounted for 17 percent, white women directed 12 percent and minority females oversaw a meager 2 percent. “It can be shockingly difficult to convince the people who control hiring to make even small improvements to their hiring practices,” said DGA president Paris Barclay. “It’s time for the people who make the hiring decisions…to stop making excuses.”
Not sure how to fix it. Most of the diretors I know are minorities and women, but they’re obviously not getting the work. Clearly, one way to fix the problem is to have more female and minority show runners like Mara Brock Akil and Shonda Rhimes who hire black directors. But, becoming a show runner/creator is an even higher mountain to climb than directing.
There seems to be a wave of newbies popping up (yours truly hopefully included) that may change the current lopsided statistics. But, audiences have to also demand diversity behind the camera just as they (sometimes) do in front of it.