Diversity: Food For Thought


(Herman Wang) #1

There’s been a lot of attention lately about diversity, both in terms of race and LGBT membership, which is a wonderful thing to see. I invite you to consider another aspect of diversity that is less frequently discussed: age diversity.

Lawrene Denkers is an award-winning actress who plays Professor Grinlow Caltain on our series The Spell Tutor. She has remarked to me on a few occasions that there are not a lot of quality roles for actors in her age range. In fact, when we cast JoAnn Nordstrom for a role in a Season 3 episode, it was a treat for them to be onscreen at the same time, as the two of them are usually competing at casting calls.

Behind the Camera
A few years ago, one of the member festivals of the Web Series World Cup had a submission rule stating that creators over the age of 40 need not apply. I immediately called bullshit on this with the WSWC, who contacted the festival in question and had them remove the rule. Even so, the selection bias on the part of the festival is still pretty clear.

In Conclusion
Not every series or story is suitable for having older characters, but if you’re genuinely interested in diversity, spreading the age range out is another way to achieve it. Thanks for reading.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #2

I can’t believe they did that! Good for you for calling them out on this! I work with an older actress on my show as well, Julie Chapin. She is absolutely wonderful!

(Meg Carroway) #3

Definitely agree. However, I don’t usually write parts for older people just because they’re much harder (at my recent grad age) to find and especially to convince to work for free with a bunch of amateurs.

(Herman Wang) #4

True - older actors will typically be less likely to want to work for experience or exposure

(Bri Castellini) #5

And often they don’t LOVE working with a crew, no matter how professional, with all under-30-somethings.

(William E. Spear) #6

Herman - Great article; age diversity is how we are broadening the characters in our series. We are looking for actors, mostly female, aged 40+, 50+, and 60+. Looking forward to hearing more of your success.

And, Bri, your point about hesitance at working with under-30-somethings is noted, too. Thanks.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #7

I was thinking about my crew’s ages. We have some older folks there as well. And I had this weird feeling bossing him around at first because he’s old enough to be my parent!

(Michael Competielle) #8

Not this old guy.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #9

You caught me! :face_with_hand_over_mouth: