Hacking the Script: Disrupt Diversity in Hollywood
Hacking the Script: Disrupt Diversity in Hollywood panel was hosted by Courtney McCarthy from Google, Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin, Jon Spaihts from Passengers, Wendy Calhoun from Edgewood Place Entertainment and Yara Shahidi from Blackish.
While it may seem like a random assortment of panelists, this group of inspiring individuals makes sense. Google has always examined diversity and inclusion data in the media. The other four panelists are at the forefront of diversity in the media while being actors or producers or anywhere in between.
Jon Spaihts began the panel by explaining his script writing process. “I try to write the scripts race blind and without gender pronouns as well. You can dance around the pronouns,” Spaihts said. He goes on to explain how some scripts are harder and how you can accidentally mark someone with phrases like “pale with cold” and you have to work hard around these obstacles to truly be inclusive.
Yara Shahidi explains she gravitated towards her role in Blackish because they are an “unapologetically black family.”
“I remember when the internet came around. I remember looking at the screen and feeling I didn’t belong,” Gina Hernandez said.
Hernandez went on to explain how hard it was to see yourself not reflected on the screen and how that affected her as a kid growing up and also how that affect is so great that is never discussed with young kids.
Here is a sneak peek into the panel and into the passion these actresses have toward inclusion.
Wendy Calhoun explains a little about her background writing characters and scripts and how black America can change these issues. She stated that the black community rallied behind Hidden Figures and it was so successful. She also says the black community and any other community can dictate what they see on screen by going to the movies or watching television and supporting shows that way.
“If you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem,” Wendy stated.
At the end of the panel I had the opportunity to interview Yara Shahidi who reiterated some of the important points and takeaways from the panel.