I’ve been thinking about this issue for literally decades. I’ve often been in situations where there was a mandate from the top to put together a diverse crew. The challenge has always been finding the people – not the cast, but the Below-the-Line personnel. That’s when I concluded that the best way to find that crew was to start at the top – the Key Creative positions and the Department Heads. The selections are driven from the top down.
That’s why I’ve written this piece http://www.indiewire.com/article/why-we-need-diversity-incentives-for-film-and-television-20150207 about the need for Diversity Incentives at the top levels of the industry. The corporate decision makers have no reason to ask the question, “Could a woman direct this? Or perhaps an African-American? Or do the lead actors have to all be white?” The idea of a Diversity Incentive is just that – a reason for the decision makers to ask the question. In much the same way, they ask, “Could we shoot this in Louisiana? Or Georgia?” Those questions are asked every single day because of the financial incentives for shooting in those states.
Why not add that discussion to the make-up of the cast and crew?