NBCUniversal’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI) today announced Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s (UFEG) launch of its California Below-the-Line Traineeship for individuals seeking careers behind the camera. As part of NBCUniversal’s overall commitment to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within all areas of production, this California traineeship marks the first of wider below-the-line strategies that are currently being rolled out to provide underrepresented talent on-set experience and mentorship. Launching on Jordan Peele’s Nope, the traineeship has served as a model for interested domestic and international film and television productions.
In collaboration with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), Hollywood Cinema Production Resources (Hollywood CPR) and various IATSE locals, this first cycle of the traineeship welcomed six trainees to the set of Nope, which filmed on location in Southern California last year. The trainees were comprised of five Hollywood CPR students, who were selected to gain the requisite hours needed to fulfill their Hollywood CPR graduation requirement, and one member from ARC, who joined to gain experience and exposure in visual effects.
Trainees were assigned to a specific department based on their area of study or interest. The selection process included interviews with production executives, relevant stakeholders and the head of their respective departments. With each traineeship, all trainees will be paid for their work and the duration will vary depending on each production.
“In line with our efforts to provide more gateways into the industry, we could not be more excited to bring this traineeship to a new generation of below-the-line talent,” said Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman, Donna Langley. “Honing your craft on the set of a Jordan Peele movie is an opportunity that none of the trainees took for granted. We are extremely grateful to Jordan and the entire Monkeypaw team, who share our passion and commitment to investing in diversity and early career development.”
“At our core, Monkeypaw has always sought to highlight underrepresented voices and we have been honored to help share those stories with audiences. We are privileged to further our mission as the first production to partner with the California Below-the-Line Traineeship,” said Win Rosenfeld, President of Monkeypaw. “It is crucial not only to Monkeypaw’s growth, but the growth of the film industry that all producers collectively commit to initiatives that bring awareness and opportunities to underserved communities to help careers flourish.”
Upon admission, trainees started receiving support and guidance to participate in production meetings, departmental meet & greets, and relevant health & safety trainings. All trainees were also assigned a GTDI and HR partner to ensure the experience is as rewarding as possible.
Diversity, equity and inclusion have long been hallmarks of UFEG. In 2017, under Langley’s leadership, the studio launched its GTDI department – becoming the first major feature studio to establish a department reporting directly to the Chairman, and the only studio to address these issues with one team delving into both content and work culture.
“As our state works to expand career opportunities for more Californians in the film and television industry, the California Below-the-Line Traineeship is a welcome initiative to increase diversity in below-the-line crew,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Traineeships are an important tool to expand access and foster a more inclusive workforce, supporting California’s commitment to an equitable recovery.”
Governor Newsom recently signed legislation expanding the state’s successful film and television tax credit program, including incentives to meet diversity goals for above and below the line workers. The Film and Television Tax Credit Program 3.0 also includes a Pilot Skills Training Program, which provides technical skills training to individuals from underserved communities.
As one of the inaugural collaborators of this traineeship, Hollywood CPR was tapped by GTDI and UFEG for its deep-rooted program that has over 25 years of experience as a proven career pathway into the entertainment industry for local community members who don’t have the resources or access. Through this initiative, Hollywood CPR will funnel its talented students and expand its capacity to provide even more training opportunities to its cohorts.