August 4, 2016 at 2:07PM

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What Filmmakers Can Do About the Diversity Problem in Hollywood

This podcast episode comes straight from the heart. Diversity in the film industry is a problem. The numbers do not lie.

The film business needs to have many points of views and not just a select few. The more points of views you have, the better the industry as a how will be.

Filmmakers can not use their gender or race as an excuse for "not making it". The diversity problem in Hollywood is SLOWLY getting better. Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, has become the first African-American Female director to helm a major studio film with a $100 million dollar budget.

I hope this episode inspires filmmakers to go out and make it happen...no matter what! Take a listen.

Keep hustlin' my friends!
https://www.indiefilmhustle.com/diversity-problem-in-hollywood/

21 Comments

The question is should they?

I rather have a filmmaker make a film he or she wants to make than someone who starts counting skin color, race, gender, sexual orientation etc and use "equality" as their sales pitch.

Whatever happened to intellectual freedom? Are we now going to judge writers, script writers, directors not for their artistic qualities but how "equal" they are?

August 4, 2016 at 3:36PM, Edited August 4, 3:38PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2630

Honestly, dude? None of these figures are relative to the portion of a given minority that PURSUES filmmaking. Yes, half the people on the planet are female, but are you really telling me half the directors on the planet are?

I have some friends who work in TV as showrunners and writers. They say it is approximately 1000 times harder to get hired on their staff as a straight, white male than any other demographic due to silly stipulations like these – even if you're the better writer.

This isn't something that needs external mediation. There's opportunity out there for whoever's hungry enough to get it. People need to just focus on doing good work – the landscape is already barren enough without stifling people's creative freedom to fit some quota.

August 6, 2016 at 6:22PM, Edited August 6, 6:23PM

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To me, this whole equality/ positive discrimination is a whole crock of sh.. Giving colored people credit for their skin color, not for their work. I don't get a prize for being white and straight, yet if I make a movie I should have a quota for having x amount of colored people and x amount of gay/non straight whatever you sjw's wanna call it.

If I need colored people for a movie, I will hire them. The day I get forced to hire them, I will move my business elsewhere. I make rap videos, and my clients are rarely white. If my clients don't want white/black/gay/indian/insert random skin color or sexual preference, it is their choice and I should respect it.

If a DP/Writer/Filmmaker etc has talent, and the right person for the job, he should be hired, no matter of his skin color or sexual preference. That's discrimination too.

August 7, 2016 at 8:41AM

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gandulf charpentier
director of pornography
734

I'm trying to understand the argument here. Are you saying that it is not possible to bring awareness to discrimination in the industry and also hustle like everyone else at the same time? I don't see those two things as mutually exclusive.

What I am gathering is your saying stop talking about race.

August 7, 2016 at 10:23AM, Edited August 7, 10:40AM

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Sound like folks here don't believe in systematic issues regarding race, gender, or age. It's easy to point the finger and blame someone based on their differences, but when bringing up issues on how we can improve equality in the industry, it's like "no, I have it way harder as a white male".... seriously? I think many times minority groups are judged passively and not given the same opportunity, so how can we see their if their talented, if they don't have the same opportunity? Ignoring that is just passive aggressive discrimination and adding to the cycle that persists in the industry. "When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression" Just my two cents

August 8, 2016 at 3:40PM

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No disrespect intended because this is a sensitive issue and to honestly discuss it, you can't walk on eggshells. Right?

I was thinking about this the other day, as I have been for the past six months or so. Look at a population density map for African Americans in 2010:

http://neumannfilms.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/981px-African_America...

Then look at a map of the Civil War and the states that fought for the South and then for the North:

http://neumannfilms.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/slaverycompromisemap.jpg

Nearly identical.

I have only been to the South a handful of times and I can tell you that, as an Oregonian...the racism was palpable. I went to a bar with my older sister and a couple of her friends were there, one of which had lived in the South her whole life...and she started dropping the N bomb like it was nothing. I was pretty shocked. Never experienced it before or after, even with the "hicks" I grew up with in Oregon. Cowboys in Oregon like to hunt and fish...but they have no reason to be racist. Their parents have nothing against people of color and so they don't.

That's kind of my point. Most of the nation doesn't have that history. Most of the country fought to abolish slavery. In the Pacific Northwest...racism does NOT exist. I'm sorry...it just doesn't.

Racism exists in the south. It makes sense...look at the maps again. We could get into "why haven't African Americans migrated away from the area that so clearly has an issue" but that's another discussion entirely.

Basically, my beef with racism and this whole fad of "making everything equal" is...both sides need to understand and be aware. African Americans need to know that...most of the country is very different than the Southern US (where most African Americans live). White people also need to be aware of the fact that racism is a much different issue down there than it is everywhere else.

In the PNW, the plight of African Americans and racism seems like a far off issue. Like hearing about stories of war in other countries. We have our own issues. Poverty, unemployment, and separation of class. These issues have nothing to do with race. Poor white people have no "white privilege" up here.

Privilege, outside of the southern US, is 100% based on class.

So, it's a complex issue but I can't help wondering how much of it is solved in looking at those two maps side by side. Obviously it's going to be heated down there. The Civil War has the 2nd most casualties of any war the US has fought in. People outside of the south have ancestors that fought in these wars. So the biases and discrimination passed down from generation to generation are going to produce VASTLY different cultures and outlooks. One of which (the one that most African Americans live in) still has hints of extreme racism. That isn't going away. That also doesn't mean that it's part of the system and that ALL white people are this way.

Assuming that is failing to look at the overall picture. Our history tells us a lot. It tells us the origins of racism in the south and also, fighting for equality in the North.

Just my five cents :)

August 8, 2016 at 5:00PM, Edited August 8, 5:04PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2534

K, thanks for that input. "Cancer doesn't exist in the northwest, cause I never experienced it"

August 8, 2016 at 6:15PM, Edited August 8, 6:19PM

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November 16, 2016 at 11:48AM, Edited November 16, 11:49AM

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matthew david wilder
Director/Cameraman/Editor/Colorist
154

Got it, your experience is truth, and the only racism that exist is the one you believe. That's "open minded". K bruh, You forgot to mention other races that face their own issues(Latinos, Asains, Midle Easterners, Native Americans, etc.) and I also talked about gender and age.

Here's some stats you will most likely ignore showing how "racism doesn't exist in the Pacific northwest: http://nationalreport.net/portland-oregon-deemed-racist-city-united-states/ Interesting enough, Portland and Seattle are primarily caucasian (also portland is one of the least diverse cities in United States https://www.qualityinfo.org/-/the-city-of-portland-is-the-least-diverse-...) and have pushed out minority groups due to gentrification. But "racism doesn't exist in the pacific northwest... it just doesn't". Where's your statistical proof racism doesn't exist? Is this backed up? Is lynching, different color fountains, southern accents, your definition of racism? Why is southern California predominantly latino, yet the highest paid and most powerful individuals tend to be caucasian. I'm sorry if you feel like you're a victim and life hasn't been fair to you, but denying statistically proven and researched evidence showing how systematic oppression effects minority groups because you had it rough, leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. In all honesty your beliefs won't negatively affect you (just don't say it in public, cause it can hurt your reputation. Unless you're in a trump rally, or maybe a frat.) , but I can guarantee you it will hurt other people's lives. This denying mentality is what keeps the cycle going. I would say a snarky "good luck", but I would rather you understand the flaws in some of the statements you say. Take care!!!!

August 9, 2016 at 1:26AM, Edited August 9, 1:27AM

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First things first.

Nope. No statistical research in the link you posted. I searched high and low. Nothing. Only opinion disguised as fact. I guess it's easy to confuse the two these days. Did you think I wouldn't take the time to read it? Not sure why else you would post that as "facts".

Second.

"Gentrification". Let's get something straight. Portland is hipster central. EVERYTHING has become gentrified to hipster culture. That article was one of the funniest things I have ever read. "A primarily black neighborhood has been pushed out by the construction of a Trader Joe". Um...why did the construction of a store force anyone out? Did they build the fucking store on top of their houses? No. I don't think so. Also, Trader Joe stores are on every block. Literally. This is TMZ worthy shit dude. Why are you posting that? Should I go round up some "stats" from some right wing white supremacist page? Because that's pretty much what you just did.

Also, rents skyrocketed and forced people out of their neighborhoods. Yeah, only that neighborhood, right? All other white areas are paying the same rent as always? Right? Portland is expensive as shit. No one is safe from high rent and Trader Joes.

Hilarity. You don't have enough first hand experience to have a real discussion about this so you copy/paste typical jargon and link me to sites that are so obviously blinded by racism/hate that it's comical.

August 9, 2016 at 11:50AM, Edited August 9, 11:53AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2534

*Given surveys and stats showing how people are oppressed, watches tv and sees Trump's racist beliefs and antics won him the primaries on a national level.... excuses it and says that's not racism.... most likely believes in reverse racism and the idea of "I don't see color".... Is triggered every time someone or article talks about systematic oppression and white privilege*

Glad you think you know my race and my life experiences. Also glad that you as white straight american male is talking on behalf of other minority groups. (which you should stop) But good for you little man, keep living in your little world. Cheers. ;)

August 9, 2016 at 1:56PM, Edited August 9, 2:05PM

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(re reads all comments in thread)

I must have missed the "surveys and stats" that you mentioned. I do apologize.

All I saw was an article that appeared to be pulled from the bowels of TMZ.com about how a new Trader Joes forced Black people out of a neighborhood because it brought in a lot of hipsters. That can't be it.

Also, I'm not white. I am orange-ish.

My ancestors were Italian and Irish immigrants. Thanks for pigeon holing my rich family heritage (great grandma murdered by Nazis, ancestors that were broke and starved to death as Irish immigrants) into "white guy". No seriously. You're right. You're 100% right. My skin color is "white". I AM voting for Trump, how on Earth did you guess that? You should be a professional guesser. You're so talented. I don't know your race or life experiences but you sure know the shit out of mine. That whole first paragraph shows how much you know. Amazing.

If you can't admit that Alabama and Oregon would differ in the amount of perceived racism...then you are truly blind to reality, my friend. THAT was my original point, you failed to engage in it and just detoured the conversation like a useless troll. Classic behavior of the closed minded.

Ciao.

August 9, 2016 at 3:03PM, Edited August 9, 3:35PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2534

K

August 9, 2016 at 3:51PM

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Brilliant.

August 9, 2016 at 4:39PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2534

Luke if you want facts and stats read American Apartheid and The New Jim Crow, they will explain everything to you and I think your smart enough that it will change your perspective.

August 9, 2016 at 8:37PM

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Will definitely look into them. Good reads I assume?

BTW, my problems are soley with the racism campaign of 2016 and how the media portrays it. None of it based on fact. All on opinion (which is almost never unbiased). If we want equality and to have rational discussions BOTH sides deserve a voice and to share their perspectives on the matter. Most of the time the overarching narrative is "if you don't comply, and are white...STFU".

That's wrong and counterintuitive to finding common ground.

August 9, 2016 at 9:11PM, Edited August 9, 9:15PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2534

In theory it is very simple: nothing but skills and talent should matter.

However, for most people of this planet it is very hard to see the whole of humanity as one big family: culture, nurture, religion and fear are often (unconscious) filters that divide people in 'us & them'. The first step is being honest to yourself and take a look in the mirror to try to see what 'mental mechanisms' are in your mind that divide humanity.
Spouse, family, friends, business/school relations are 'circles of division' that are based on people you know vs people you don't know. It is not hard to be honest about that.
It are the mental reflexes that divide the people you don't know that are hard to look at.

August 9, 2016 at 10:18AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8830

Once the diversity problem in the NFL and NBA or elementary education is taken care, we can look at the problem plaguing Hollywood or tech=)

Skills and talent over over race/gender...thank you very much. No one cares what you look like if you're awesome at what you do, in creative fields at least. Try looking at Nepotism if you want to tackle real problem in hollywood.

August 10, 2016 at 9:22AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
774

People crying about race and gender equality in this day and age will be crying that life is hard on losers in the future. This issue was dead a long time ago. Elizabeth Holmes was able to turn her dreams into a ponzi scheme just like the men doing it. Equality is everywhere.

August 11, 2016 at 6:49PM

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Jake
144

Open letter to Alex F.

I've listened to almost all of your podcasts, but this particular diversity podcast upset me and showed me the kind of privilege that exists in TV/Film and how you are unaware of your own privilege. I'm surprised that only a few people share my view point based off of the comment section here on NFS.

The over all tone of this podcast is condescending and rude. To tell people to stop "bitching" and work hard(er) to achieve success in the TV/Film world completely misses the point and absolutely stresses why anyone who is not a white male would want to make others aware of the perceived inequality in TV/Film today. Btw, I know you are not technically a white male, but you could definitely pass for one if need be and that makes all the difference with this topic.

To use two successful filmmakers (Spike Lee and Tyler Perry) as tokens that anyone can be successful is an oversimplification of the problems at hand. I have been on set several time where women cried because the the men on set treated them like they were less than. These women all complained about the same type of attitude from men and I have to be 100% honest here. These women were right. These males on set (usually directors) often had an extreme chip on their shoulders and they treated the women, not as equals, but like they were doing them a favor by having them play with the boys. So Alex, If these women never voiced their opinions, perhaps it would be an even more male dominated platform.

Alex Ferrari, you are way off with this one. It pains me to see someone I listen to regularly spout such ridiculous blind privilege. I'm not sure why you'd have so many graphs on your site that show the percentages of minorities and women in TV/Film (showing inequality?) and on your podcasts just sum it with "stop bitching". What was the point of that?

I tend to look at inequality more on the basis of poverty and a lacking of education than someone just not making it just because they didn't work hard enough. Sadly in this country race, poverty and lack of education usually go hand in hand. Alex my dear, it's just not that simple. Tyler Perry and Spike Lee likely had a strong foundation that taught them to value education and also taught them the virtue(s) of working hard to rise up in America. People of color (esp Blacks and Latinos) who are in poverty and have never had these virtues introduced to them can not just be written off as "don't complain, just work harder." If you think I'm not making sense or I'm being too sensitive (which is the common rebuttal these days) then please go to South Africa where the issues are mirrored and multiplied. It's the same thing. It's the exact same fucking thing. People are only politically equal, but when it comes to education, virtues and monetary equality, it's not the same playing field and if you're in their shoes it fucking sucks. There are very large gaps that were intentionally placed there stemming hundreds of years back that shouldn't be ignored or shrugged off today. Alex, from what I gather you've had an olive oil business, a comic book business and you've been in film for over 20 years. Sounds to me like you've had a wonderful up bring or maybe you're just a hard worker. Someone instilled the ideas of working hard to get what you want and more importantly someone instilled the virtue of not giving up that you talk about in your podcasts. When anyone who is not a white male complains about how their environment doesn't give them a fair playing card, even though it annoys you to hear so much of the "bitching," it behooves you to have a bit of compassion. Try to understand that many of these people are calling it as they see it and for most of them, the issues they "bitch" about give them a very unequal playing field and have existed long before they were born.

I hope this hits home with you, Alex. Just because you haven't experienced this type of inequality, doesn't mean it's not a real problem for many people. The solution doesn't just consist of giving a few token examples and suggest they work harder. I think acknowledging certain inequality issues and providing solutions or perhaps directly helping the people who "bitch" would be more constructive.

I'll continue to listen to your podcasts and spread the word. Thank you for all the work you do.

August 17, 2016 at 7:42PM

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But...he's kinda right. Hollywood is an exclusive club and if you think skin color is a surefire ticket, you truly are clueless. I'm "white" (Italian...whatever) and I have never received a token white invitation? I'm realistic...it's either because I'm not very good or I haven't made the right connections. Hollywood is all about connections and it makes sense. People hire friends and family or people they know. Hollywood is run by...mostly Jewish people and those are usually the "white people" that get the work. So if you want to get realistic about it...It's not about skin color, it's about nationality and maybe even religion. If you want to break in, convert to Judaism and start attending a celeb synagogue.

Otherwise, yes, work harder. White skin doesn't guarantee you a ticket.

August 27, 2016 at 11:52AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2534

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