Women and Minorities in the Production Industry – An Excerpt from the SHOOT Magazine Series

Equality and Diversity

The topic of inclusion and diversity is a huge concern in any field as every group should be properly represented. In the video production and advertising field, diversity of women and minorities may even hold more weight because video and commercials are the representation of the world to audiences. Whose point of view is heard? Who is seen? Who is included? These are all essential questions when creating any visual piece that will be seen locally or globally. This series delves deep into ethnic minorities who have established themselves in different sectors of the film and production industry.

The SHOOT magazine staff chose to cover this topic extensively and headed directly to those in charge of production and advertising. There were a varying of opinions and personal experiences unique to each creative leader but with similar points: 1. The industry is slowly but surely becoming more inclusive, 2. There is room for improvement for the shortage or lack certain inclusions, 3. Real change will only come from industry heads working together and providing opportunities to the next generation.

Erika Salter, founder of SEG, is included in the second edition of the series, sharing her personal observations and journey in the field. Read below for her personal experiences captured in the November 16, 2012 edition of SHOOT:

Erika A. Salter, president/executive producer, Salter Entertainment Group LLC

Primary Business: A multimedia production company specializing in corporate communications, com- mercials, and online video (based in New York City and Atlanta).

1. I am proud to see the gap in ethnic minorities in advertising and entertainment production closing tremendously. Industry executives such as Sheldon Levy, Beny Ashburn, Reginald Christian, Caroline Onikute, and Xiu Liang have opened doors for women and minorities in this business. It’s wonderful to see how the industry is growing and embracing diversity both behind and in front of the camera. I think those of us who are in the business have to continue to offer opportunities to all ethnic and gender groups to truly see the diversity of our world in our work.

2. Organizations such as AdColor, AWNY, NYWIFT, NAMIC, and SHOOT Magazine do a great job of encouraging diversity in the field and creating programs that showcase work from diverse professionals. It’s important for production folks who are just starting out to align themselves with organizations that are doing more to foster diversity in the field.

3. Yes. We all do. If there’s a disparity among us, it’s our responsibility to reach back and close the gap. Someone did it for me and I make it my business to do it for the next person. Pay it forward.

4. The advantage is shown in the work. Inclusion creates an environment where diverse points of view are expressed from the boardroom to the cutting room. A diverse perspective reflects the complex beauty of our world.

5. The biggest challenge I faced as a young producer growing in the industry was a lack of personal references and connections in the industry. When I first started out, I didn’t know anyone and I had to work hard to build a name for myself. Relationships are essential in business.

6. My biggest challenge would be the same. Relationships are very important when you are first starting out. Everyone is looking for their “big break” and sometimes all it takes is for a person to notice your work and hire you. It would be a bit easier if I were just starting out considering all the advances in technology and social media. It’s a lot easier now to gain access to and get info about influential people/companies in the industry.

Please read full article with insight from over 25 film industry decision makers here: http://www.shootonline.com/go/news-view.rs-web3-3574166-1353000258-2.Minorities-In-Production–Reflections–Observations–Survey-Responses–Part-2.html

What is your perspective on diverse inclusion on primetime TV? Do you think there is a shortage or disadvantage for women or minorities in the film production industry? Leave a comment. We would love to hear your feedback.


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