I'm also very excited that the entire event was recorded. So I'll be able to post some of our select responses sometime soon. I think the most important point that I wanted to get across was that the lack of diversity on screen is hugely due to the lack of diversity in leadership positions like, but not limited to, creators and writers. In preparation for the panel, I read through a study recently conducted by UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and found some enlightening and somewhat discouraging statistics about diversity in media. One stat, that I think is important to note, is that minorities are underrepresented by a factor of 9 to 1 in show creator positions, which means that compared to the 36.3% minority population in the US, minority show creators appear 1/9th as much as the population should warrant. Compare that to the amount of diversity on screen (only 10% of lead roles were cast with minorities in the top 172 films of 2011) and you can see the correlation between creative control and presence of diversity. Of course, these are stats from two different mediums, but it's safe to say that underrepresentation in media is the norm across the board.
We also addressed questions about civil rights, targeting a niche audience, finding creative collaborators, and a few other valid questions/concerns that opened discussion among the panel. It was a great night and I'm so happy to have been a part of the discussion. Oh right, and my short film, winner of the Best Screenwriter Award, Case File 69 screened again! Many thanks to the Asian American Film Lab for constantly organizing these types of events, and Time Warner for hosting both the screenings and the panel. It gave me the opportunity to think and talk about these important issues, and I hope the viewers got as much from it as I did.