Vendors ranging from full-service production companies to casting firms mingled with representatives of major film studios last Thursday at the 2017 Studio Collaborative Supplier Diversity Showcase, hosted by Time Warner. The goal of the event—the first of its kind in New York—was to forge connections between diverse suppliers of production and post-production services with producers, directors and showrunners from major studios.

“In the production and post-production space there has been a challenge in identifying diverse suppliers,” Clint Grimes, Time Warner's executive director of global sourcing and supplier diversity, told Crain's New York Business in an article about the event.

As a start to overcoming that challenge over 50 vendors were invited to the event, selected based on their track record working with one of the major studios in the Collaborative, including 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Viacom, Walt Disney Co., Paramount and CBS Corp.

“Ideally, familiarity will lead to opportunities for them to do business with any of our studios in the future,” said Grimes.

In addition to networking opportunities, suppliers received guidance from representatives from Empire State Development; the National Minority Supplier Development Council; the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council—all during a panel discussion moderated by Grimes.

Diverse businesses can benefit from a formal designation from these third-party certification bodies. For example, a female-owned film editing company may become certified as a woman-owned business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, allowing inclusion in studio directories created to diversify vendor pools. However, the certification process can be an obstacle for some businesses. The forum allowed diverse suppliers, the Studio Collaborative and  member organizations to open a dialogue about the challenges in the process.

The Studio Collaborative effort was started in 2016 with the aim of better understanding capabilities of diverse production and post-production suppliers. Time Warner is a leader of this effort, which is part of a larger push to increase diversity within the media and entertainment industry. 

“This successful event continues to put Time Warner in the forefront of supplier diversity in the media and entertainment space," said Melanie Gunn, Time Warner's manager of supplier diversity and chief organizer of the event. "We look forward to greater inclusion and moving the needle even further to create opportunities with diverse suppliers.”