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George Clooney, Gov. Newsom celebrate LAUSD’s Roybal Film and TV Magnet School – Daily News


The students at LAUSD’s Roybal Film and Television Production Magnet School are accustomed to meeting celebrities. After all, Hollywood guest speakers are a core component of their curriculum. Nevertheless, the star-studded lineup at Friday’s event — including George Clooney, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Governor Gavin Newsom and U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler — couldn’t help but impress and inspire.

The politicians and performers came together to commemorate the first year of the unique Downtown Los Angeles high school, which is on a mission to diversify the entertainment industry by preparing more young Black and brown students for careers in film and television. The school’s student body is composed of 99% minority students and 97% economically disadvantaged students.

 

“We need more students like you on set,” actress Eva Longoria said to the students. “We are so honored that you are doing the hard work to be able to change this industry and transform the industry.”

“We can’t wait to be working alongside you, and be working for some of you,” she added.

The school is focused on preparing students for “below-the-line” jobs, meaning those not directly related to creative development of a film or TV show.

Those jobs make up 95% of all industry positions, but only 5% of them are currently held by people of color.

“Our industry has failed; it’s in the most diverse state but is not the most diverse industry,” said Clooney.

“We haven’t been able to fix that problem. We’ve been trying to fix it at the end as opposed to at the beginning,” Clooney said. “This is the way to fix it. We’re going to change the face of our industry from the ground up.”

During their time at Roybal, students get to specialize in below-the-line career paths such as production design, cinematography, costume design, makeup, animation, post-production, visual effects production, and lighting and sound engineering.

Many of those career paths have staggeringly low levels of diversity. For example, 94% of America’s production designers are white, as are 81% of camera operators.

Roybal seeks to change those ratios by opening students’ eyes to the opportunities in their home city — there are 65,000 below-the-line positions in Los Angeles alone.

“At first I wasn’t interested in the industry, but now I’m in the makeup and set design track and I realize it’s really interesting,” said 11th grade Roybal student Jennifer Lopez. “Being here in this program helped me understand that it is really a career.”

By educating students about industry careers, the school is also setting them on the road to financial success. Entertainment industry workers earn 47% more than the average U.S. worker and collected $84 billion in wages in 2022.

Eleventh-grade student Karisma Quinteros, in the post-production track, is well on her way to becoming certified in AVID, the industry standard for film and TV editing. After graduating, Quinteros intends to continue enriching her editing skills in college before pursuing a career in post-production.

“It was brand new, something really exciting, something I never heard talked about,” she said, describing post-production. “It was nice to know that these opportunities exist. I would have never known about any of this without Roybal.”

Students also gain access to industry guest speakers, curriculums developed in partnership with industry professionals, field trips, and a direct pipeline to job opportunities with leading entertainment companies such as Amazon, Fox, NBC and Netflix. Students also complete all standard high school academic requirements and are highly encouraged to pursue post-secondary education.

The school was founded in 2022 by George Clooney, his producing partner Grant Heslov, and his agent Bryan Lourd, who is co-chairman of one of America’s largest talent agencies, Creative Artists Agency.



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