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As Summer 2021 approaches, LA Social Science will be highlighting some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

UCLA Summer Courses are open to BOTH UCLA Students and NON-UCLA Students. All Summer 2021 courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer and you do NOT have to be enrolled in an academic institution in order to participate in UCLA Summer Sessions. For more information, click HERE.

The UCLA Communication Department is offering “Inside Hollywood” (Comm 166) course with Professor Steven Peterson. The course will be offered during Summer Session A on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:45am to 12:50pm. Register HERE or enroll HERE today!

Inside Hollywood is for those interested in learning about or pursuing a career in the Entertainment Industry in Los Angeles. Through both practical and academic readings, lectures, as well as visiting guests, students will investigate the past, present, and future of screen entertainment and the social psychological foundations of successful storytelling. Weekly visiting lectures from industry professionals provide compelling insights and first hand advice about creativity, business, and the rapidly changing industry.

Assignments involve a short literature review exercise and the careful analysis of motivations behind production using specific film, TV, and streaming examples. For the final project, students assume the role of production executives for their own creative visions by leveraging their new understanding of the industry to develop marketable film, TV, and streaming ideas for today’s entertainment landscape, and pitch their ideas to the class.

Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos announced today that the Latino Film Institute (LFI) has named Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, director of research and civic engagement of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as the inaugural Latino Film Institute Scholar. The award comes with a $100,000 restrictive gift to be used over a two-year period for research designated by Dr. Ramón, including but not limited to, The Hollywood Diversity Report and a dedicated study on Latino representation in Hollywood and the Latino audience.

“It is a great honor for the Latino Film Institute to be able to provide our inaugural award to Dr. Ramón who has worked vigorously in raising awareness about the lack of diversity in Hollywood. It is of the utmost urgency that we, as a society, realize the importance of having diversity not only on our screens but also behind the camera. For the benefit of our future Latino generations, we must all do better at creating positive and accurate representation of Latinos in Hollywood, and it is by supporting the research and work done by Dr. Ramón that we can continue to make the necessary changes in our industry, culture and education to push and move forward to a better and more equitable future.”

“The Latino Film Institute does tremendous work in the community and in Hollywood to launch the careers of Latinx content creators and artists. So, I am honored to be the inaugural Latino Film Institute Scholar,” stated Dr. Ramón. “This generous award helps fund the research that UCLA Dean Darnell Hunt and I have been doing for several years on racial/ethnic and gender representation and their relationship to the bottom line in film and television. Most importantly, it will provide funding to conduct a study focused on Latinx representation and the Latinx audience informed by my expertise in Latinx and other race/ethnic and gender research. I look forward to continuing to advance the work that will uplift the Latinx community and to provide data that can be used by both content creators and Hollywood network and studio executives.”

The Latino Film Institute (LFI) is dedicated to showcasing, strengthening, and celebrating the richness of Latino lives by providing a pipeline, platform, and launching pad from our community into the entertainment industry. LFI’s three most prominent programs are the  LatinX in Animation (LXiA), the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) and the Youth Cinema Project (YCP). LXiA represents a diverse group within the Animation, VFX, and Gaming industries dedicated to uniting a talented pool of innovators with a heart to create exceptional stories across multiple platforms by organizing activities and events. LALIFF is a premier international event dedicated to showcasing the entirety of human experience from the Latino perspective, whether through film, television, digital, music, art, or any other vehicle, regardless of platform. As previously announced, LALIFF will host a virtual festival for the 2021 edition that will run from Wednesday, June 2 through Sunday, June 6.  This year’s program will be comprised of feature films, episodics, music, XR projects and short films, including those from LALIFF’s inaugural Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series. YCP introduces elementary, middle, and high school students to the art of filmmaking and bridges the achievement and opportunity gaps by creating lifelong learners and the entertainment industry’s multicultural future, implemented in public schools across California.

Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón is the Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Ramón is a social psychologist who has worked on social justice issues related to equity and access in higher education and the entertainment industry for over fifteen years. She is the co-principal investigator of the Hollywood Advancement Project and manages its graduate research team. She is the co-author (with Dr. Darnell Hunt) of the annual Hollywood Diversity Report series that the project produces. She is also the managing editor of LA Social Science, an e-forum that showcases the vibrant and cutting-edge knowledge generated within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

Photo credit: bannosuke/Shutterstock

September 18, 2019

Diversity initiatives have become their own cottage industry in the entertainment industry.  But how much do we really know about what has been working and why?  This report considers some of the more significant past and present diversity initiatives in the industry in order to zero in on the essential practices that seem to differentiate the successful programs from those which are less successful.  Toward this end, we interviewed nearly two dozen industry leaders for this report who currently work on the frontline of efforts to make Hollywood a more diverse and inclusive creative space.  Their insights give rise to a M.E.A.N.S. model of essential practices already employed in isolated pockets of Hollywood that can be transferred throughout the entire industry.

Five key strategies comprise the M.E.A.N.S. model:  MODERNIZE your worldview to reflect changing U.S. demographics; EXPAND the net in routine talent searches; AMPLIFY the voices of women, especially women of color, within organizations; NORMALIZE compensation practices to reduce barriers to entry for marginalized groups; and STRUCTURE incentives for decision makers to prioritize diversity and inclusion.  Action items associated with each essential practice are outlined in this report.

Despite audience yearnings for change, the history of diversity efforts in Hollywood suggests that the industry’s diversity problem will not simply correct itself.  The path forward must be paved with intentions — by industry decision makers who actively embrace the means necessary for achieving the end of a more inclusive creative space.

M.E.A.N.S. Essential Practices

  1. MODERNIZE your worldview to reflect changing U.S. demographics
  2. EXPAND the net in routine talent searches
  3. AMPLIFY the voices of women, especially women of color, within organizations
  4. NORMALIZE compensation practices to reduce barriers to entry for marginalized groups
  5. STRUCTURE incentives for decision makers to prioritize diversity and inclusion.

DOWNLOAD “By All M.E.A.N.S. Necessary: Essential Practices for Transforming Hollywood Diversity and Inclusion” HERE.

For any media inquiries, please contact Jessica Wolf at jwolf@stratcomm.ucla.edu

For donor/sponsor inquiries, please contact Peter Evans at pevans@support.ucla.edu

To download our annual Hollywood Diversity Report series, click HERE.

The Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 is the fifth in a series of annual reports that examines the relationship between diversity and the bottom line in the Hollywood entertainment industry. It considers the top 200 theatrical film releases in 2016 and 1,251 broadcast, cable and digital platform television shows from the 2015-16 season in order to document the degree to which women and people of color are present in front of and behind the camera. It discusses any patterns between these findings and box office receipts and audience ratings.

Consistent with the findings of earlier reports in this series, new evidence from 2015-16 suggests that America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content.

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment, while films with the most racially and ethnically homogenous casts were the poorest performers

  • Minorities accounted for the majority of ticket sales for five of the top 10 films in 2016 (ranked by global box office)

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority were released, on average, in the most international markets in 2016
  • Films with Black and Latino leads and majority-minority casts were released, on average, in the fewest international markets in 2016
  • Median 18-49 viewer ratings (as well as median household ratings among Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans) peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows featuring casts that were greater than 20 percent minority

  • For White households, ratings peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows with casts greater than 40 percent minority
  • Social media engagement during the 2015-16 season peaked for broadcast scripted shows with casts that reflected the diversity of America
  • Median Black household ratings peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were majority minority in 2015-16

  • For viewers 18-49, White, Latino, and Asian households, median ratings peaked in the cable scripted arena for shows with casts that were from 31 to 40 percent minority in 2015-16
  • Social media engagement peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were at least 31 percent minority in 2015-16
  • The majority of the top 10 broadcast scripted shows among viewers 18-49 and Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

  • The lion’s share of the top 10 cable scripted shows among Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households and viewers 18-49, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

Previous releases in the Hollywood Diversity Report series present evidence supporting the idea that diversity sells when it comes to industry-produced films and television shows. People of color constituted nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population in 2016, and their share is growing by nearly half a percent each year. Increasingly diverse audiences, the evidence shows, prefer film and television content populated with characters to whom they can relate and whose stories drive the narrative. Europe accounted for only about 7 percent of the world’s population[1] and 17 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)[2] in 2016, which underscores the reality that today’s (and tomorrow’s) global market looks much more like the diversity of America than the White audiences that traditionally drove Hollywood’s greenlighting practices. In short, the previous reports in this series dispel a stubborn Hollywood myth that in order to reach the widest audiences possible, films and television shows must center White characters in their narratives and relegate racial and ethnic others to, at best, supporting roles.

This report adds to the growing body of evidence that diversity is essential for Hollywood’s bottom line. Global box office and television ratings, on average, are highest for films and television shows with relatively diverse casts. Indeed, a consideration of top 10 films and television shows underscores how important diverse audiences have become as drivers of box office and ratings, and that these highly engaged audiences prefer diverse content. But the report’s findings also reveal missed opportunities. For example, we see that Hollywood continues to produce a plurality of films and television shows with casts that are 10 percent minority or less, despite the fact that these projects are collectively among the poorest performers. It also appears as if the industry undersells the relatively small number of films with diverse leads and casts in a global market that is primed to connect with them.

 

This post contains excerpts from the Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 that was released on February 27, 2018.  To read the latest report, download it HERE.

To read the previous four annual reports, click HERE.

This research is led by Dr. Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA.

If you are interested in learning more about the Hollywood Diversity Report research, please contact the Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, at acramon@ss.ucla.edu.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the report or donating to this research, please contact the Executive Director of Development for the Division of Social Sciences, Julie Strumwasser at jstrumwasser@support.ucla.edu.

[1] See: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/The_EU_in_the_world_-_population

[2] See: http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/economic-indicators/GDP_Share_of_World_Total_PPP/