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Helping Open the Doors to a More Diverse Entertainment Industry

Helping Open the Doors to a More Diverse Entertainment Industry

“What I’m here to tell you is it’s possible.”

That was one of the key messages Darnell Moore, Netflix director of inclusion strategy, had for more than 50 current college students and recent graduates hoping to break through in the entertainment industry.

His remarks were part of a day-long career workshop held at Netflix’s Los Angeles offices earlier this year in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Evolve Entertainment Fund. 

Darnell Moore speaks to students and recent graduates during the workshop. 

Launched in 2018 by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Evolve Entertainment Fund’s mission is to build pathways into film, television and music careers for women, people of color and low-income Angelenos through paid internships, mentorships and an ongoing series of panels and workshops, much like the one held at Netflix. 

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos sits on the Evolve Entertainment Fund’s Advisory Committee, along with Netflix creators Ava DuVernay (When They See Us), Dan Lin (Avatar The Last Airbender) and Ryan Murphy (The Politician). (All workshop attendees are members of the Evolve Fund.)

The goal of the Netflix workshop was to help prepare these students specifically for interviews for internship opportunities at Hollywood studios, networks and production companies. Rather than focusing on careers at any one company, the event was organized to hopefully help foster a stronger and more diverse ecosystem in Hollywood.

Participants were invited to ‘show up as your best selves’ for a day of events that included mock interviews, resume workshops as well as presentations on elevator pitches and virtual production. Participants were also invited to have new professional headshots taken to use for their online profiles.

Throughout the day, attendees were able to meet with nearly 30 Netflix employees who volunteered for the event. These staffers came from a wide variety of Netflix departments, ranging from recruitment and research to production and marketing. The event also stretched across multiple organizations within Netflix, including talent acquisition, inclusion & diversity and Netflix’s ION (Inclusion Outreach Networking) group, which is focused on bolstering inclusion and diversity efforts across the entertainment field.

“It was exciting to see our colleagues from different disciplines including our production, post-production, talent acquisition, and inclusion teams come together to make this event happen,” said Annisa Kau, a member of Netflix’s talent team in Los Angeles. “We hope our participants were able to get exposure to industry folks who are in fields they are interested in pursuing, as well as getting the chance to prep and refine their interviewing skills and talk about what it means to show up professionally, but also as themselves.”

Evolve members and Netflix volunteers gather at the end of the day-long workshop.

Many employees were optimistic that, once these students were able to complete internships and entry-level jobs in the entertainment field, they could then return to Netflix as potential employees in the future. 

Leslie Montoya, who is studying mass communications and media at Santa Monica College, called the event a “great opportunity” to get her foot in the door.

"I come from a very low-income community and I'm Latina so it's very difficult to even enter these spaces,” she said. “It just makes you feel like you're getting one step closer each time. You take something and learn something from each company.”

--Kate Stanhope

Kate Stanhope is a member of the U.S Communications team.

All photos credit: Kyle Photography