Diversity has been a hot button issue in Hollywood for many years. While progress is slowly being made, we’ve seen this important issue come to a head several times over the last few years with controversies such as #OscarsSoWhite, among other prominent protests.
Everybody desires to see themselves represented on television and in movies, in front of and behind the camera. Proper representation accurately reflects the world in which we live while giving a stage and creative outlet to new and exciting voices of talented artists who should be recognized and given equal opportunity.
For the last decade or more, there have been diversity programs put in place at many studios, networks, guilds and organizations to combat this diversity concern. One such program is the annual CBS Diversity Showcase, which spotlights a new crop of diverse actors and helps give them a way of breaking through to what has been perceived as a closed Hollywood system. The CBS Diversity Showcase also incorporates a talented group of writers in this industry “boot camp,” a rigorous process from audition to stage, over the course of several months.
Through my former job as a producer at Breakdown Services, I had the pleasure to be a fly on the wall and document this incredible process for the Virtual Channel Network (VCN) for the last five years. Over that period, I’ve seen many of the actors who participated in showcase have career and life changing outcomes. Actors who landed series regular and film roles include: Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters reboot movie); Nico Santos (Superstore); Haneefah Wood (Grease Live on Fox, Zoe Ever After); Jeremy D. Howard, Lyric Lewis and Michelle Ortiz (MADtv reboot series), to name only a few.
If you are an actor of a diverse background and have Hollywood aspirations, you should seriously consider auditioning for the CBS Diversity Showcase to potentially jump start your career to the next level.
For an exclusive look inside the process, here are a short and long version of the documentary I produced for this year’s 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase.
Long-version Documentary (Running Time – 1:02:33)
Short-version Documentary (Running Time – 32:34)