How LA’s New Roybal Magnet School Seeks to Ramp Up Diversity in Below-the-Line Hollywood Jobs

Ignoring the call for diverse workers behind the camera is ”just no longer acceptable,“ says Hollywood trade union official Mike Miller

Mike Miller, international vice president of the entertainment trade union IATSE and director of the union’s Motion Picture and Television department, is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. He admits that it’s unusual for him to speak to the Hollywood trade press — about anything. But Miller is happy to step out of his comfort zone to talk about IATSE’s role in the Roybal School of Film and Television Production, which launched in August with 150 students a secondary school campus in downtown Los Angeles

The magnet program — a partnership between Hollywood stars like George Clooney and Mindy Kaling as well as top media companies and the Los Angeles Unified School District — is hardly like a scene from “Fame,” where talented high schoolers dance, sing and act their way into the entertainment industry. Instead, the program has a more practical goal: to prepare secondary school students from underserved communities to take on the more plentiful — and often lucrative — union jobs as camera operators, makeup artists, set decorators and other below-the-line workers.

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Diane Haithman

Diane Haithman

Senior Entertainment Business Reporter • • @dhaithman