Double the Line
Many agencies and clients are reaching out to production and post companies asking how to add mandates to the bidding process to increase diversity among crew.
We are asking clients and agencies to take the pledge to #doubletheline so that we can increase diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on leadership positions.
What does it mean to #doubletheline? It’s simple. On every commercial production, roles for the project are listed on individual lines in the budget with their associated costs.
On every job you are bidding, the agency and/or client will consult with the production and post production company and based on potential candidates, costs, and opportunities, will agree to double the role of any single position on the bid. In doing so, they agree to cover the costs to hire a BIPOC candidate to work alongside the chosen role.
Once the role is agreed upon, the ﬁnal total of that budget line (including the appropriate P&W, insurance, etc.) would be duplicated on a separate line item labeled “Double the Line.” Production and post companies can make this “Double the Line” line item cost plus and provide any required back up. In this way, the total amount invested is clear on every project and makes the monetary investment accountable and measurable.
In order to increase the diversity of crew at all levels of the process, we have to acknowledge that a primary issue we face is access to our industry. We need to allow access to well-qualiﬁed crew from other arenas of production such as television, ﬁlm, music videos and live theater. Our companies believe that access and exposure to our industry, with a ﬁnancial buy-in for on the job training, can create a pathway for these individuals to quickly learn the language and nuances of the commercial business and help us all create a crew base that is sustainable and reﬂects our collective company goals.
The way it works is simple. An agency or client commits in advance to #doubletheline in their bidding specs. In bidding, the production or post company will identify one or more lines they’d suggest be doubled, based either on potential candidates they know, the nature of the job, or a predetermined ﬁnancial commitment. Once the role is agreed upon, the ﬁnal total of that budget line (including the appropriate P&W, insurance, etc.) would be duplicated on a separate line item called “Double the Line.” Production and post companies can make this “Double the Line” item cost plus and provide any required backup. In this way, the total amount invested is clear on any project and makes the monetary investment accountable and measurable.
Of course, multiple lines can always be doubled, and we encourage that you separately continue to support organizations who are working hard to diversify the new pool of talent entering our industry. We also ask that in addition to looking to production companies to diversify our ranks, that the same focus is put on hiring and access opportunities within our advertising agency and client partners as well so that the entirety of our business – from video village to craft service, from the pre-pro to the wrap party, from leadership to PAs – more accurately reﬂects our population and supports the presence of BIPOC at all levels.
The role will be selected based on the parameters of the project with potential candidates identiﬁed by the production or post production company. The goal of this is for the companies to invest in the building of careers and apprenticeship training over a period of several jobs to ensure the needed experience is received. The agency and the client would commit to covering the cost of the selected role, thereby doubling the line.
The AICP has been featuring a monthly webinar series entitled, AICP’s Commitment to Change. Each month, multiple organizations doing work in the industry to increase D&I are spotlighted and present their organizations. We suggest starting here and reaching out to the AICP Equity and Inclusion Committee if you need assistance getting started.
For instance, an agency or client would commit to spending $15k and the production company could suggest they double the line for the producer. Whether it’s someone coming from television, or a producer that they have been working with in music videos and want to continue their training. The agency or client would agree, thereby allowing a BIPOC producer to work alongside the commercial producer in a paid capacity.
The idea is to pick one line that allows a candidate who has not previously had access to our business, but is qualiﬁed in the role, to have access to the production to learn the nuances around commercial production in a real, hands on way.
We recognize that post production bids are slightly differently from production, often presenting firm bids with strict parameters for overages. These different kinds of bidding practices should not deter clients from investing additional monies to support increased opportunities for underrepresented talent in post. The mission remains the same. If we are to increase diversity and opportunity, it must be throughout the entire process. As with production, the post company can work with the client or brand to identify which role they would like to #doubletheline, providing transparent metrics for all. Worth noting, these funds should be above the approved firm bid budget.
DTL was conceived with the intention to complement and amplify the missions of the existing programs. Streetlights, ManifestWorks and Made in New York provide entry level access to our industry. But DTL helps address D&I across all departments at all levels with a particular emphasis on leadership positions. It is an access point for alumni of these programs as well to gain further experience focusing on roles that advance beyond PA level.
This extends beyond mentorship where someone is learning from the sidelines and provides actual access and apprenticeship. The spirit of DLT is to amplify the rate in which individuals gain access to our industry with on the job training and experience as well as to grow their individual networks. DLT allows someone to be paid for their time/work so they are able to afford to get the training and career advancement that has been denied to so many. It enables them to be dedicated and invested in the project. It also shows true investment by agency and client to meaningfully participate in the diversiﬁcation of our business.
We believe DLT individuals should be paid the industry standard rate. The only exception is the director role which is often paid above and beyond industry standards. For the director position only, the doubled role can be paid at industry standard scale.
By agreeing to #doubletheline, the production company takes on the onus of identifying, hiring, and educating the candidate by creating a committed community of crew to teach the nuance and detail of the commercial industry standards and expectations. This requires a signiﬁcant time of investment on behalf of the company and its employees. In this way, it is a shared responsibility, a true partnership that allows us to more quickly get qualiﬁed candidates into our pipelines to help diversify all of the departments while showing true commitment to the candidates who are working professionals and who deserve to be paid for their time and efforts.
Everyone can beneﬁt from this program and ultimately the ﬁnancial commitment can vary pending on each budget as there is ﬂexibility and transparent communication around which line is doubled.
The funds would be clearly labeled in the budget on their own dedicated line to easily allow a production or post production company, agency or client to track the monies invested. That line would be handled cost plus with backup provided to show the investment made.
With the pandemic taking a toll on our business everywhere and sadly, perhaps, all the Covid disruption is becoming a justiﬁcation for not pushing D&I. While staying mindful of Covid protocols, and keeping on set crew numbers to a minimum, we believe we can still safely achieve goals for the advancement of many individuals in a meaningful, sustainable way. We would note that the shoot days of a job are traditionally far less than the prep and wrap time and that the addition of one to three persons (who will be subject to the same safety protocols as all other crew members) will not affect overall crew safety.