Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Remembering One’s Roots

Jimmy Smith, an accomplished agency creative who currently serves as partner, chairman and CCO of Amusement Park Entertainment, recalled years ago awarding a young filmmaker with his first commercial. That director went on to a stellar career in spots and features. But today, Smith laughed, he can’t get a return phone call from the director—such is life.

Smith related this story on stage as a member of a panel discussing diversity—or the lack thereof—during the first ever Commercial Directors Diversity Program (CDDP) Showcase last month at the DGA Theater in L.A. In the context of that event, Smith and others are hopeful that the young female and ethnic minority directors who get a jump start from the CDDP exposure don’t forget the opportunities they received early on—and once they’re established, they will have empathy for other aspiring directors, including women and minorities, who show promise and can add to the diversity of the industry talent pool.

That dynamic of extending opportunities to—and helping to mentor—others can play a key role in fostering diversity. 

A good step in that direction is being taken in the form of the CDDP, an initiative born out of contract talks between the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) and the Directors Guild of America. A lineup of 13 Showcase directors was selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges who viewed and assessed the work of 122 entrants. Screened for Showcase attendees at the DGA Theater was a piece of work from each of the 13 directors. Many of the 13 directors submitted as many as three pieces. The industry at large can now see this work and much more online at cddprogram.org. Via the site, the directors can also be contacted by production companies interested in exploring a working relationship. CDDP is designed to help gain production house representation for these directors.

Matt Miller, AICP president and CEO, said that this is the first of what he hopes will be perhaps as many as three CDDP Showcases during the course of the year with more to come beyond that, exposing the work of women and minority talent to the production community.

The timing of the CDDP launch is fortuitous as we’re at a juncture, said Miller, when awareness and momentum are steadily building “to make something positive happen.”

About the author

Robert Goldrich is an editor for SHOOTonline.com.