Shonda Rhimes and Netflix Introduce Initiatives to Help Underrepresented Talent in Entertainment


The creator of classic television dramas Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy is doing her part to diversify creative personnel in the film and television industry.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shonda Rhimes, whose huge deal with Netflix features a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access last summer, will get to make those initiatives happen. Her company Shondaland and Netflix are introducing The Producers Inclusion Initiative and The Ladder,  paid programs to exclusively find below-the-line talent.

“At our core, Shondaland is a company dedicated to championing opportunities for underrepresented communities both on and off the screen. We have made incredible strides with ensuring women are represented in our productions and I’m excited to expand our efforts and see real results with all marginalized groups,” said Sara Fischer, Shondaland’s head of production, in a written statement. “Our partnership with Netflix has allowed us to create these two new incredible programs that have already led to palpable changes in our industry. I am extremely proud to be a part of history as we look forward to greater representation on set.”

Both initiatives are backed in part by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity. The fund, set up in 2021, was created to ensure more behind-the-camera possibilities for underrepresented communities across the film and TV industries.

The Producers Inclusion Initiative is a nine-week virtual program to train independent producers, unit production managers, supervisors and first assistant directors from underrepresented communities. There will be monthly stipends for participants and graduates will connect with people at Netflix, Shondaland and elsewhere about potential opportunities or other career developments.

The Ladder has been set up to provide prospects for people from marginalized groups who are trying to obtain the kind of on-set experience and training that can be vital to success in the film and TV business.

This initiative is slated to start in the U.K. with Shondaland’s current productions. The paid trainees will receive on-the-job training with roles in production, locations, costume, and more on Shondaland shows. . Graduates will be eligible for job consideration on Shondaland and other Netflix productions.

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