According to a UCLA study, only five Black directors worked on films that grossed in the top 100 in 2013, and none of them were women.
Even though the study is two years old, the numbers have held steady, despite the success of Ava DuVernay who has soared in recognition over the past year.
The irony is that David S. Goyer, a white director, writer and producer who has worked on the Blade trilogy, Man of Steel, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Da Vinci’s Demons wants more diversity in Hollywood. In fact, this week Goyer opens up in an interview with The Daily Beast about the lack of women and nonwhite people in the writer’s room and in the director’s chair.
“I was on the board of the Writer’s Guild and that was a big issue for us, sort of the chicken-and-the-egg thing: How do we add more diverse voices, especially when the audience is so diverse? On the last show I was on, Constantine, I was very happy that close to half of our writing staff was either female or not white. That was something that we tried really hard to do. But females and minorities, they’re not represented in terms of the aggregate pot of writers and directors. It’s not 50/50 in terms of females. It’s a real problem.”
Goyer makes a valid claim. Earlier this year, the Writers’ Guild of America reported that the staff employment for people of color actually decreased between the 2011–12 season and 2013–14 season. In that period, the employment numbers peaked at 15.6 percent and decreased to 13.7 percent. The number of executive producers of color also decreased in those seasons, from 7.8 percent to 5.5 percent.
Women don’t fair well at all. In 2014, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University reported that 85 percent of films had no female directors, 80 percent had no female writers, while 33 percent had no female producers, 78 percent had no female editors and 92 percent had no female cinematographers.
There is still a need for writing and directing talent programs that focus on creative diversity.
Unfortunately, the diversity issue in Hollywood reflects the validity of Viola Davis’ Emmy speech—there are talented people without opportunities to showcase it.