Last year at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, writer-director-mogul Ryan Murphy launched Half, an initiative within Ryan Murphy Television that seeks to make Hollywood more inclusive for women and minorities behind the camera.
It has already paid dividends, as 60 percent of Ryan Murphy Television’s director slate were women, and 94 percent met the minority requirement. That extended to FX Networks, who have partnered with Murphy in the effort, increasing from 12 percent female and diverse directors in 2015 to 51 percent in 2016.
“I love looking around my company and empowering inclusion in all departments,” said Murphy, in a statement. “I recently led a production meeting and was proud to see that more than half of the people sitting at the table were women and minorities. That’s the way it should be.”
Half launched a Directing Mentorship Program in which every director on every Ryan Murphy Television production —which includes Feud and American Horror Story— mentors emerging directors through production, and offers a stipend for their commitment.
The program had 29 participants in 2016 and has added 30 more in 2017, including more than $200,000 in financial aid for the filmmakers. Three of them have already become first-time episodic directors because of the program.
It was announced today that Half will be launching “Half Fest” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles to showcase the work done by the participants in the Director Mentorship Program.
In addition, Half has teamed with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on creating an internship program to help underrepresented youth with the California Film Commission. Murphy has also joined Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Advisory Board on the Entertainment Inclusion Fund.
“I want to mentor and sponsor these emerging directors as storytelling continues to move forward and so should the storytellers,” said Murphy, in a statement.
Murphy, FX and company hope that others will follow their lead, making Half’s model and statistics completely transparent to any company willing to jump into the business of inclusion and diversity.