The Amazon Studios Inclusion Policy has specific above- and below-the-line goals as well as objectives for vendors hired for production. Here, we outline the goals for each of these groups as well as a strategy for fulfilling the Amazon Studios Inclusion Policy.
Much of this work may be part of the development executive(s) purview early on in cultivating scripts for film and storylines in series, and we will address some strategies that development execs can use.
The targets for above-the-line hiring, based on talent availability data, are as follows:
- For film: 30% women/non-binary people and 30% people from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups across directors, writers, and producers.
- For episodic series: 30% women/non-binary people and 30% people from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to be credited across directors, writers, producers, and creators for a season of content. These goals apply to the writers’ room and non-writing producing staff.
These goals are designed to ensure that leadership across the life cycle of the story is balanced and representative of the world we live in. For each open position, first determine the criteria that candidates should meet. Focus on the skill set the candidate possesses in order to excel in the job rather than specific people to fill your list. This is a considerable shift from how things are typically done in Hollywood. For instance, a director may get attached to a film or pilot when they have 1) buzz or heat, 2) expertise within a particular genre, 3) visual effects experience, 4) a sense of humor for a comedic story, 5) previously implemented a large budget story, 6) completed a studio or network project, and/or 7) worked with a notable or demanding actor. While these experiences may be important, they don’t reveal the skills or qualities needed to complete the work on time and within budget. Further, historic inequities fuel most of these characteristics. Start focusing on the transferable skills needed to do the job, not the names that can fill the position.
As you begin to work with your Line Producer and other critical team members to staff your below-the-line positions, a reminder about the Policy stipulations:
- For open positions, we aim to staff department heads and seconds in the following areas to meet overall DEI aspirational goals of (30/30/20/20) (white men, white women/non-binary, underrepresented men, underrepresented women/non-binary):
- Production, Accounting, Assistant Directors, Art, Camera, Casting, Construction, Costumes, Craft Service, Grip, Lighting, Locations, Makeup, Hair, Medic, Post, Property, Script, Sound, and Transportation (see table below for the full list of reported positions).
Across all departments, work to ensure that trainees from underrepresented communities are included in staffing.
- If any of these aspirational goals are not met, the external partner may be asked to submit a description of the steps that were taken to achieve these goals, including the use of any outside consultant or vendor approved by Amazon Studios.
When hiring below-the-line talent, you are likely to face two challenges as you aim to meet the goals of this Policy: 1) Many production teams tend to work as a group, moving as a single unit from project to project, and may resist being disbanded. And 2) scouting new talent in unfamiliar production locations.