Los Angeles, September 9 – During the final week of RespectAbility’s Summer Lab for Entertainment Professionals, NBCUniversal’s Robert Baltazar, Senior Director of the Creative Talent and Content Team, and Emerlynn Lampitoc, Vice President of Creative Talent and Content, joined the eager RespectAbility cohort to discuss NBCUniversal’s upcoming programs that support emerging creatives from underrepresented backgrounds. Lampitoc, as head of the Creative Talent and Content Team for Film, oversees the Global Talent Development & Inclusion Team and their efforts to push new voices into production roles.
Despite the new challenges brought about by the pandemic, NBCUniversal continued to bring on new talent into their space through Zoom. Programs like Writers on the Verge, Female Forward and Late Night Writers Workshop carried on virtually with the goal of getting new writers staffed on NBCU TV programs. In creating space for aspiring young directors, NBCU also hosts the Emerging Directors program to allow new talent to shadow on multiple episodes of a series and eventually have the opportunity to take the lead on their own episode. “This is a one-of-a-kind directing program where you’re actually guaranteed a directing assignment at the end of the program. So, it’s a spectacular opportunity for our directors,” explained Baltazar during NBCU’s presentation to RespectAbility’s Lab participants.
NBCU’s efforts to bring new and diverse voices into the industry have proved to be successful with the alumni of the emerging talent programs including Juel Taylor as a writer in his most recent success on Creed 2 with Sylvester Stallone. Also notable is Hussein Parani on FBI International, Leon Hendrix III on Cointelpro, as well as Sarah Cho on The Girl from Plainville.
RespectAbility’s third annual Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities brings authentic and diverse portrayals of people with disabilities to the screen by creating a pipeline of diverse professionals with disabilities behind the camera. 2021 participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age from people in their 20’s through their 50’s. Lab alumni from 2019 and 2020 currently work for a variety of studio partners including Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and The Walt Disney Company, as well as in writers’ rooms for Netflix’s Mech Cadet, CW’s 4400, and Showtime’s Dexter, among others. Others have had films featured at festivals such as SXSW and participated in additional career track programs including with Film Independent and Sundance Institute.
This Lab is made possible with support by:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, Netflix, Pop Culture Collaborative, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company
- Gold Sponsors: A+E Networks and Final Draft
- Silver Sponsors: NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS