How to Increase Representation In Hiring

July 15, 2020 An Eastern Diversity Steering Committee panel discussion

On July 15, during their online meeting, the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC) featured a panel discussion with Director Reggie Rock Bythewood (Swagger, Shots Fired) and 1st AD H.H. Cooper (When They See Us, The Hate You Give). In a conversation moderated by Director/EDSC Co-Chair Jono Oliver (American Soul, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector), the panel explored how to increase representation in hiring for Directors, Assistant Directors and Unit Production Managers while living in a world challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panelists highlighted issues they have faced trying to improve inclusive hiring on set, such as hiring in distant locations, push back from producers and executives when they were perceived as hiring too many people of color, and working with executives and department heads who did not share inclusive hiring as a priority. While the COVID-19 pandemic throws an additional wrench into the struggle, panelists suggested that members spend their down time focusing on skills that may have proved challenging in the past, and networking with industry contacts virtually. The event concluded with the panel answering questions submitted by the online audience.

About the Panelists:

RRBDirector Reggie Rock Bythewood
A DGA member since 2002, Bythewood’s credits also include the feature films Dancing In September and Biker Boyz.

HHC1st AD H.H. Cooper
Cooper joined the Guild in 1992 and has 60 credits as an Assistant Director on projects including Lee Daniels’ upcoming feature, The United States vs. Billie Holiday and series such as Mozart in the Jungle.


JODirector/EDSC Co-Chair Jono Oliver (moderator)
Oliver, whose directing credits include episodes of Law & Order: SVU and The Enemy Within, has been a DGA member since 1993 and in addition to co-chairing the EDSC, he has served as an alternate on the Eastern Directors Council.

About the Committee:

Eastern Diversity Steering Committee

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility in the industry. The Committee’s current Co-Chairs are Directors Jono Oliver and Louis Venosta and Associate Director Joyce A. Thomas.

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