How To Promote Inclusivity in TV: Embracing Today’s Female and Underrepresented Creators

Photo by Emma Holley

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By Sophia Abolfathi

Calling all female directors, screenwriters, and storytelling go-getters: Free the Work is a new online talent platform designed to get creative women’s voices heard in Hollywood.

The discovery platform is the brainchild of Israeli-American director Alma Har’el. She initially founded the nonprofit under the name “Free the Bid”, which worked to get advertising brands to pledge to include at least one woman among the three directors bidding for every commercial job. She later evolved the organization into Free the Work with a bigger goal in mind: to revolutionize all of the entertainment worlds into one full of diverse, underrepresented creators.

Har’el’s work is connecting creator-to-company like never before, and has already ricocheted within the industry. Prior to November 2016, 0% of HP’s commercial films were directed by women; but in 18 months, this number boomed to a staggering 59%... all directed by women connected through Free the Bid.

But, Har’el stresses, the platform isn’t exclusively for women: it’s for all underrepresented minorities seeking a voice through art.

Creator profiles can detail their preferred pronouns, race/ethnicity, disability, or veteran status. The platform’s function is simple - budding creators and booming businesses alike can register through Free the Work to browse the database, connect with potential hires, and educate each other on the industry.

The platform has already become host to a number of Hollywood-names, such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Lena Waithe, Natasha Lyonne, Barry Jenkins, and Leslie Jones.

Just like your favorite music app, the online platform provides the user with a curated playlist of creators, based on their selected topics of interest (short films, LGBTQIA+, animation, etc.). Users can browse others’ playlists, view featured films, and see upcoming Free the Work events and workshops in their area.

The site also features a “tools” directory, where any budding entrepreneur can learn how to manage a career in film, market themselves and their product, and sharpen their own filmmaking skills.

Finally, Free the Work’s corporate partners are listed on the site and work with the nonprofit to inspire inclusivity and equal opportunity within the entertainment industry. Some of Free the Work’s founding partners include Facebook, P&G, Ford, and AT&T.

You can follow Free the Work’s podcast for more on inclusivity for women and minorities, entrepreneurship in entertainment, and creativity. It’s free for anyone to browse Free the Work’s database, but if you’re a business or seasoned pro looking for extra resources, you can upgrade to one of their premium perk plans.

Here at DCG, we believe in fighting for change. We proudly stand by Free the Work as an organization shaking up the entertainment industry and making progressive strides towards the inclusivity of all underrepresented creators. As Har’el says in her interview with A Female Lens, “That’s what I’m [Free the Work is] aiming for - a renaissance of creativity.”

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