2020 set the stage for a catalyzing year of positive change, equity, and authenticity. The Jackson Wild community continues propelling the industry forward to be better and to do more through the 2021 Action Coalition working groups. The Action Coalition working groups met multiple times leading up to the 2021 Summit, culminating in a live presentation of their results and proposed and suggested actions for the industry.
Building Bridges: Commissioning and Mentorship
With Support from PBS & Smithsonian Channel
The building Bridges group first began to evolve from the 2020 DEI Action Coalition in response to the lack of diversity in the Natural History industry, particularly at the mid to upper levels. Meaningful mentorship at every level of ones career was a topic that continually came up in each conversation. The AC also discussed challenges for talent and projects in the commissioning process. They felt it is not currently transparent enough and that the current commissioning process was specifically aimed towards westerners which created additional challenges to those from other cultures. Challenges associated with language was also discussed and determined that “English first” speakers tend to have more success in the current commissioning model. The group also recognized the need for production companies to act as the middle link by training and hiring individuals from historically excluded groups. There is a great need for the channels and broadcasters to prioritize working with those production companies and to not be afraid to say “no” to those collaborators who are not making these same strides. The channels and broadcasters also need to be willing to take risks of hiring on new talent and new projects and actually start building that cost into their budgets. Continued conversations are currently focusing on LatinX and the LGBTQ+ communities and will continue to expand to focus on other historically excluded groups.
Key Points and Moving Forward:
- Diversity at every level within the industry is essential in creating new and authentic stories
- Production companies and broadcasters must take risks in hiring new talent - lower risk areas are the "tv side" and short form content
- Meaningful mentorship is a multifaceted series of potential relations: Sponsors (your behind the scenes advocates), Coaches (helping you build skills), Connectors (working on your legacy) and requires a long term commitment to someone's success
- Jackson Wild will continue to engage the Multicultural Alliance Organizations and expand existing fellows programs
- Jackson Wild is revamping its mentorship program in 2022 to include a deeper experience for mid-level career professionals
- Small group conversations are currently ongoing specifically in regards to the LGBTQIA+ and LatinX representation within the industry. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join these convos!
LAUNCHED! The Wildstar Academy - congratulations to the amazing team behind it!
Be sure to check out National Geographic's Content Inclusion Standards. This is a great model for other production companies, large and small!
Connecting the Dots: Gear Access & Broadcasting
With Support from RED Digital Cinema & Gates Underwater Products
Connecting the Dots first started out with a focus on gear accessibility across the globe. As contributors from different locations experience and backgrounds joined virtual discussions, the focus quickly evolved into something much more complex. While access to gear is an undeniable challenge that filmmakers face globally, the AC brought light to another important piece to the inaccessibility puzzle. There is currently a lack of broadcasting spaces on local channels for natural history content, despite a demonstrated appetite. Furthermore, there is little support for locally created content to fill the few existing spots there are, and even less support to actually pay for that content. This demonstrates that the issue is much further up the chain than first assumed and the buy in from global broadcasters is imperative.
Key Points and Moving Forward
- Access to high quality filmmaking equipment is a barrier of advancement for filmmakers across the globe
- In addition to accessing equipment, there is a lack of funded broadcast spots for local natural history content, despite a demonstrated appetite
- Conversations will continue to escalate as we draw in more broadcasters, channels, and streaming platforms to tackle this issue together
- We are on target to launch multiple pilot gear hubs, in various countries with limited gear by the end of 2021! Stay tuned for specifics and the application!
- Be sure to join The Jackson Wild Collective if you have not yet! In order to have access the Gear Hubs, you must be a registered Collective member!
CONFIRMED! Gear Hub's first official piece of equipment - a Gates Pro Action housing
"Education, mentorship, and opportunity. Basic ingredients to the success of fresh, upcoming generations, especially in Natural History. And Gates helps, donating professional underwater camera housing equipment for RED Digital Cinema cameras. Gear which will be made available to a wide variety of young shooters – a ‘leg up’ to aspiring, eager and passionate underwater filmmakers, to whom future ocean protection resides."
Gates Underwater Products, Inc