Data Shows Highest Ethnic Minority Representation on Record
Newest Casting Data Shows Highest Ethnic Minority Representation on Record
Los Angeles (October 29, 2007)Following a fifteen year trend,
non-Caucasian performers made incremental gains over the past two years,
although mostly represented in supporting roles, according to the latest
casting data collected and analyzed by Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2005
and 2006. Casting data for women and senior performers has remained
With the public continuing to demand full inclusion in film and television
programming, we are proud to be a leading voice in the industry, SAG
President Alan Rosenberg said. While we are also pleased to announce the
largest percentage share for ethnic minorities to date, we cannot be
content with the current levels of representation in each category, as they
do not reflect the current demographics of our country. We will continue to
insist on greater access to employment opportunities and accurate
depictions of the American Scene.
In a joint effort by Producers and the Guild to realistically portray the
American Scene, Producers signatory to the Guilds television and
theatrical contracts must submit hiring data of performers on all
productions from Theatrical Feature Films, Theatrical Low Budget Films,
Television Episodic Programs and Television Non-Episodic Programs.
Specifically, with the purpose to improve conditions for equal employment
access and opportunities, the collection and analysis of hiring data based
on gender, age, and race/ethnicity of performers are examined to determine
hiring trends of our traditionally underemployed and disenfranchised
Beginning in 2004, the Theatrical Low Budget Presentations section has
been added to accommodate the reporting and analysis of low budget
theatrical data as the Guild determined the importance of tracking low
budget and modified low budget films since such film agreements contain
Diversity in Casting incentives.
With the exception of Non-Episodic Television, the total number of roles
that were reported for theatrical features, theatrical low budgets, and
episodic television programs all grew from 2005 to 2006. The total number
of roles in theatrical features rose by 14.5 percent, while the total
number of roles in the newly added low budget films grew by 20.2 percent.
Episodic television grew in the number of roles by 13 percent.
Non-episodic television, which is the lowest contributor in terms of roles,
fell substantially from 2005 to 2006. Likely contributors to this drop off
were the broadcast networks wholesale abandonment of so-called Movies of
the Weekby 2006, the format moved primarily to basic cableas well as the
increase in Reality Television programming. Additionally, production
pilots, which are another component of non-episodic television, fell in
numbers from 2005 to 2006.
With the exception of the newly recorded theatrical low budgets, the data
indicates a drop in the average work days per role since 2005. The result
saw the number of total days worked for theatrical features to actually be
lower in 2006, even though the number of roles was significantly higher.
For non-episodic television, the steep decline in average days worked per
role made the impact of the role loss even greater in terms of fewer days
The Commitment to Diversity and the American Scene
Rosenberg added: Screen Actors Guilds longstanding commitment to
accurately reflect the American Scene is exemplified in iActor, an
invaluable database of our members that can eliminate rationalizations for
exclusion by giving the employers the tools they need to identify
individuals who have historically been underrepresented. The serious lack
of women over the age of 40 is only one indicator that while we may be
getting closer to reaching our goal of a truly representative film and
television landscape, it is time for all industry stake-holders to help
make it happen now and not generations from now.
Other recent Guild efforts to enhance casting diversity and increase
employment opportunities and access have included:
Hosting the American Scene National Diversity Summit on October 16, 2007, a
symposium seeking realistic solutions for greater diversity in casting.
Conducting special educational and network events and training programs for
women and senior performers.
Establishing the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Actors National
Committee, the Presidents National Task Force for American Indians and the
Presidents National Task Force on Spanish Language Media.
Expanding the responsibilities of the National Director of Affirmative
Action/Diversity to include serving as the Senior Equal Employment
Opportunity Counsel, adding a legal enforcement function to the role.
Promoting SAGIndies low budget and modified low budget diversity in
Working closely with television networks in conducting talent showcases
that highlight traditionally underemployed groups of performers.
Expanding the Diversity, Special Skills and Talent Banks free casting
service to expose studios and casting directors to diverse pools of talent.
Through advocacy, education and outreach, the Affirmative Action &
Diversity Department works tirelessly to advocate diverse hiring of
underrepresented groups, including minorities, women and the disabled, in
the entertainment industry.
Gender and Age Statistics
Role distribution by gender continues the well-established patterns of
prior years, whereby males garnered the lions share of roles. With regard
to age, previous casting trends prevail, with a majority of roles going to
actors under the age of 40. The nexus of gender and age creates an enormous
impact on female performers over the age of 40 as their employment rates
fall substantially compared to male counterparts over the age of 40. For
example, men over 40 account for 40 percent of all roles for men, whereas
women over the age of 40 make up only 26 percent of all roles for women.
Although the casting data shows highest ethnic minority representation on
record, most ethnic groups were down a fraction of a percent in proportion
to total roles, while the number of roles classified as Unknown/Other
grew from 2.1 percent in 2005 to 3.3 percent in 2006. It would be
impossible to determine whether the reduction in ethnic percentages are
attributed to performers classified by Producers as Unknown/Other versus
an actual drop in the ethnic groups proportion to all roles. Therefore,
the following section must be read with caution as any losses could
potentially be exaggerated by the increase in Unknown/Other categories.
Asian/Pacific Islander is the only ethnic category to finish with a higher
percentage of roles in 2006 than in 2005, growing from 3.1 percent to 3.4
percent of all roles. Highlights in this category saw the number of lead
roles in episodic TV grow a net of 146 in 2006. Nearly twice as many women
than men, with women under 40 continuing to be the most representedover
twice as many women under 40 than any other group. There was also evidence
of continued growth in lead roles, but still mostly represented in
supporting rolesnearly twice as many supporting roles than leads over past
African-American roles as a proportion of total roles fell slightly over
last year, although a more pronounced drop-off was seen in lead roles. Even
as the total number of lead roles in episodic television grew by 10 percent
from 2005 to 2006, the number African American lead roles fell by a net of
49 during this period. Men under 40 continue to be the most represented
gender/age group with modest gains in women over 40 in supporting roles.
Latino/Hispanic roles fell slightly as a percentage of total roles in all
categories from 2005 to 2006, with the exception of theatrical features. In
theatrical feature presentations, their number of lead roles grew from 31
to 52, while their number of supporting roles grew from 302 to 364.
Native American Indian roles fell from 0.4 percent of total roles in 2005
to 0.2 percent of total roles in 2006. The non-episodic television category
saw a net decrease of 69 roles over 2005. Excluding this category, the
total number of roles for Native American Indians actually increased from
76 to 89. American Indian performers continue to be the least represented
ethnic group with less than one percent share of all roles.
In comparison, Caucasian performers continue to be the other ethnic group
that continues to have greater representation in lead roles than in
supporting roles. While the overall number of roles fell in theatrical
features and episodic television, Caucasians gained 752 roles in low budget
films. This represented an increase of almost 28 percent over 2005. Men 40
and over continue to be the most represented gender/age group in both
supporting and lead roles.