Women, Minorities Locked Out of First-Time TV Directing Gigs, DGA Says

Only 18 percent of new directors are female, while 14 percent are minorities

Last Updated: September 10, 2015 @ 12:43 PM

Women and minority TV directors are disadvantaged at the entry level, a new Directors Guild of America (DGA) study released Thursday has found.

Conducted over six years, the study shows that of 611 first time TV directors hired, only 110 (18 percent) were female, while 83 (14 percent) were minorities.

However, the study also found that both female and minority directors were more likely to continue directing TV than their white, male counterparts. 51 percent of women and 42 percent of minorities studied continued directing after their first job, compared to 33 percent of men and 36 percent of Caucasians.

“You can’t increase diversity in the long term without focusing on entry into the business,” DGA president Paris Barclay said. “We challenge the networks, studios and executive producers who make all the hiring decisions in episodic television to set diversity hiring goals.”

“It shouldn’t be that hard, because we’ve found that when women and minorities do actually get their first breaks, they’re even more likely to continue on in television directing than the rest of the pool,” Barclay continued.

The study also found that of those first time hires, only 27 percent had prior directing experiences in other mediums. The rest were comprised mostly of writers, producers, and actors.

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“As it stands now, nearly half of the new hires are writer/producers or actors,” Barclay said. “It may sound revolutionary, but those with the power to hire may want to consider bringing in more directors — people who are committed to directing as a career – instead of approaching the assignment as a perk.”