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  • Carrie Specht

NBC/AWD Announce Director’s ‘Craft Enrichment Seri


The new NBC/AWD Director’s ‘Craft Enrichment Series’ unites the companies’ mutual commitment to reaching gender parity in Television directing. In other words, it's another attempt at a gender balance in the creative realm.

Essentially, the Alliance of Women Directors (AWD) and NBC have joined forces to launch a set of master classes for emerging female episodic directors. The goal is to expose new talent to the necessary key skills in scripted directing with a spotlight on important on-set partnerships with show-runners, actors, writers and editors. Among the participants will be AWD members and finalists of NBC’s Female Forward, a network talent pipeline program for female directors. As part of the series, emerging directors will have the opportunity to engage, learn from working episodic directors within AWD’s membership.

The Alliance of Women Directors (AWD) was founded in 1997, as a collective of professional directors who have banded together to address film industry inequality and support one another’s career advancement. Their message that it is vital for stories to be told from all perspectives, is also intrinsic to their goal. The goal being that a true representation of stories being presented from a variety of perspectives must be told from those perspectives. AWD's main focus is on creating opportunities for women’s voices to be heard in the film industry. The organization fosters a community that advances the art, craft, and visibility of women directors in all genres and mediums. One of the main avenues of focus is on providing education and professional support for members in the form of hands-on craft enrichment and mentorship. Additionally, the AWD community is tireless in its advocacy efforts to increase opportunities for all.

According to Jennifer Warren, Chairperson and Founder of Alliance of Women Directors, the AWD's outspoken advocacy is not just due to the lack of representation of females in the work force, but rather a desire to address a more serious problem by which stories get told, and by whom. “The feeling of being invisible, of being alone in the world, is created by rarely seeing images that reflect you or your life. We want to change that but can’t do it alone."

Karen Horne, Senior Vice President, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television added, “We are proud to have an ally in the Alliance of Women Directors in our goal of reaching gender parity in the director’s chair. The more our industry promotes the need for more women in leadership positions, the faster we will reach gender parity in the entertainment industry. I’m also thrilled that our new partnership will give emerging directors including the talented directors in our programs more opportunities to learn from established directors. When successful women in their fields share their knowledge and experiences with those rising talent, we give the next generation the tools to succeed.”

The new NBC/AWD Director’s series will be under the umbrella of AWD’s existing premier “Craft Enrichment Series” that cultivates, educates, and supports the next generation of talented female television directors through master classes, hands-on workshops and panels with top industry professionals. The first master class in the series will be “The Director/Editor Relationship in Episodic Television” led by Phillip J. Bartell, the editor of “Dear White People” (with such an emphasis on women taking the helm it seems a little odd that the organizers didn't go out of their way to find a female editor to run this segment). Future master classes will prepare directors to secure shadowing opportunities, book episodes and optimize their skills and experience on-set.

The NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS) has been around since 2000, nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs. NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Female Forward, Emerging Director Program, StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians and the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL that celebrates diverse stories and the filmmakers who create them. For more information, visit NBCUniTIPS.com.

If you identify yourself as someone in need of the help described by these two organizations, then I urge you to apply. Get engaged, and do something for yourself and your future. Because, as we know all too well, those in power are more likely to notice you if you're already aligned with a powerful group. Get your foot in the door and let your talent do the rest! Here's to seeing your name on its own title card!

#AWD #NBC #WomenInFilm