Sony Pictures Television has launched the Diverse Directors Program - an initiative aimed at, according to the program's website, providing "access for highly qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds to potential episodic directing opportunities on scripted one-hour and half-hour SPT series."
The Diverse Directors Program provides participants with the opportunity to shadow directors working on SPT shows, as well as the opportunity to network with studio executives and producers. Aside from shadowing and networking, participants are also enrolled in a workshop on directing episode television and attend sessions with guest speakers. If a participant successfully completes what SPT is referring to as "the first season" of the program, he or she may be offered the opportunity to return and direct an episode of one of SPT's current shows.
Presumably, to be considered you must be "diverse" -- although the program doesn't define exactly what that means. However, it would stand to reason that this is one Hollywood opportunity that won't favor white males with Ivy League educations.
Paul Martin, senior VP and chief diversity officer for Sony Pictures Entertainment said, “This program reflects Sony Pictures’ ongoing mission to provide our divisions with the support needed to undertake initiatives that enrich the lives of our employees, our corporate extended families and our audiences. Diversity on all levels is a central focus to many of our programs, and we fully believe that the Diverse Directors Program will not only provide access and experience to a diverse group of potential directors, but will also become a key component of Sony Pictures’ business strategy.”
All applicants must submit an example of their directing work. As to the type of work that will be considered, the guidelines are very explicit, so before you click submit, make sure you read them over very carefully.
For those of you living outside Los Angeles, be aware that SPT won't cover travel or accommodations. Additionally, the only time a participant is paid during the course of the program is if and when he or she is given a shadow assignment, which typically last around three weeks. During a shadowing assignment, the participant is paid a stipend that is remitted on a weekly basis. Since the program does not constitute full-time employment they do allow participants to seek out additional employment to cover expenses.
Applications are being accepted until June 6th or when SPT receives 500 applications, whichever comes first. You can access the application here. Good luck!