Cultural Consultation: Storyline Partners
Storyline Partners are a diverse collection of organizations that collaborate with the entertainment industry to promote accurate, authentic, and equitable cultural narratives in television and film.
The below ReSource was developed and shared by Storyline Partners Program Director, Sanaz Alesafar.
Narratives shift culture. Through language and visual aesthetics and cues, we contextualize and navigate our world. Our 24/7 news cycle introduces many audiences to the first initial feed of narratives. Hollywood borrows the headlines and runs with them. However, our ability to understand fact from fiction, science, or cultural representations is skewed by the creative and media ecosystems. Hollywood’s artistic production has consequences. As the industry begins to contend with diversifying its talent pipelines, executive suites, etc., we at Storyline Partners believe in the necessity of bringing in cultural consultants throughout the entire creative ecosystem from development to distribution. Our role supports creators due to our ability to understand the cultural practices, worldviews, and policies that shape how individuals and communities are treated in order to avoid bias, misunderstandings, and harm. Our goal is narrative repair and to encourage more accurate and nuanced storytelling, which creates opportunities for more tune-in and critical acclaim for any project.
Cultural consultants do not impede on creative expression but instead, ensure imagination is not propagating systemic “isms”. We do not act as a “band-aid” but push to acknowledge that storytelling is the most direct way to elicit understanding, empathy, and a shift from the status quo.
The reality is that our role as cultural consultants is necessary until there is parity in gatekeeping and in our writer rooms’. Content creators and distributors will still require subject matter expertise as the composition of writers’ rooms and decision-makers evolve to reflect our society. For example, can a cis white gay writer properly represent the experiences of a Black trans woman or understand the Muslim LGBTQIA+ communities? Can all Latine writers properly represent the specific experiences of Black and brown Latines? Creating inclusive writers rooms is imperative. However, no person is a monolith for the various identity markers that make them whole.
We aim to safeguard the creators, writers, the business bottom line, and most importantly, the audience which learns its acceptable set of standards concerning language and behavior from the entertainment industry. Therefore, when you are on the fence about the theme, characters, and/or storyline, reach out to our collective of experts. Additionally, please compensate your consultants. As a result, you receive knowledge, guidance, experience, and proximity to people and communities that can make or break your art.
Storyline Partners Services Include:
- CONSULTATIONS & SCRIPT REVIEW
- STORYTELLING TRAININGS & WORKSHOPS
- ISSUE-AREA & COMMUNITY-SPECIFIC PRESENTATIONS
- CONNECT WITH MEMBERS OF IMPACTED COMMUNITY
More resources for Development
DEAR Hollywood: Advancing Latinx Representation
Developing Trans Inclusive Content