Shonda Rhimes and Netflix are partnering on The Producers Inclusion Initiative and The Ladder, two new, paid programs to expand opportunities for emerging creatives in TV and film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Both initiatives are underwritten in part by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity and are designed to provide training and mentorship for producers and crew members who are seeking opportunities in the entertainment industry.
According to a post from Netflix back in February, “the Fund has already committed $14.5 million toward programs that help identify, train and provide work placements around the world.”
Sara Fischer, Shondaland’s head of production, spoke of the purpose of the initiatives in a statement.
“At our core, Shondaland is a company dedicated to championing opportunities for underrepresented communities both on and off the screen. We have made incredible strides with ensuring women are represented in our productions and I’m excited to expand our efforts and see real results with all marginalized groups,” Fischer said. “Our partnership with Netflix has allowed us to create these two new incredible programs that have already led to palpable changes in our industry. I am extremely proud to be a part of history as we look forward to greater representation on set.”
Noelle Green, Netflix’s director of production management, also released a statement about the significance of the partnership
“At Netflix, we are passionate about highlighting a variety of stories from different backgrounds and perspectives,” Green’s statement read. “From ideation to inception, we are thrilled to bring these two initiatives to life with Shondaland—a partner that has the same commitment and desire to impart change within the entertainment industry.”
Per the report, “The Producers Inclusion Initiative is specifically designed as a nine-week virtual program to train indie producers, unit production managers, supervisors, and first assistant directors, who come from those historically underrepresented communities.” The participants will learn first-hand from executives and production department heads from Netflix, Shondaland. While in the program, students will receive monthly stipends, and graduates will network with the two companies for potential employment opportunities and career development opportunities.
The Ladder will provide opportunities for underserved folk looking to gain the kind of on-set experience and training that’s key to success in the film and TV business. Launching in the U.K. with content that Shondaland currently has in production, participants will receive on-the-job training with roles in departments such as production, locations, assistant directors, costume, sound and stunts. Like the Inclusion Initiative, the Ladder participants will be paid during their time in the program and eligible for job consideration on Shondaland and on Netflix projects.
Both initiatives are a part of Rhimes' commitment to expanding the representation of those in front of and behind the camera.