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Hiring Directors

While recent research is beginning to show sustained growth in opportunities for women directors, women of color remain significantly underrepresented. In the 2022 ‘Inclusion in the Director’s Chair’ report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, it was indicated that fewer than 2 percent of all top-grossing directors were women of color in the last decade and a half.

Here, we explore recommendations for making your process of hiring directors more inclusive.

Director Mounia Akl on set looking at a monitor
"The one group that we don’t see any movement in with the legacy studios is women of color directing these large-scale movies … the streamers understand who their consumers are, they’re creating and distributing content for a very different world than the legacy studios are operating in. They either need to get on board — the world has changed — or their relevancy will continue to flail and diminish rapidly."
Dr. Stacy Smith
USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
Director Mounia Akl watching the monitor on set

To increase the numbers of women directors, and particularly women of color directors working on larger budget studio projects, we need to ensure that these candidates are making it onto lists for consideration for these roles.

These lists should include at least 50% women or gender diverse candidates, and at least 50% of candidates of all genders should be people of color. This is not simply about each individual list lining up with the general population, but of working proactively to address historical imbalances.

If lists are being put in front of you that don’t reflect these numbers, request new lists.

There are exceptional resources to source women of color talent, including the JTC List from Women of Color Unite. Request access at the link below.

The JTC List
It’s clear from the data that the perception of a woman director in Hollywood is a white woman, while underrepresented means an underrepresented man.
Dr. Stacy L. Smith
Founder, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

In the hiring process, ensure that decision-making executives meet not only with the “proven” candidates, but with all candidates on the list. There is a widespread pattern by which only junior project executives actually meet newcomers and thus newcomers never get face time with the executives who can actually hire them.

Because the criteria for hiring directors is vast, ensure “criteria-based hiring” by listing all necessary criteria on paper and evaluating candidates of all genders and backgrounds against the same criteria.



On the set of That Very Evening

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