Shorthouse of late has been working to create engaging multiplatform design campaigns for all of Turner’s tentpole sports events. As someone initially hired as an animation designer despite only having experience in print, Shorthouse’s advice to people entering the industry comes from personal experience: “Attempt to get your hands on as many aspects of the business as possible,” he says. “This will make you a well-rounded employee. Also, pace yourself for the long-game—there are no shortcuts to success in this industry.”
A February 2018 UCLA study revealed that of the 45 new scripted shows approved for 2017-18 across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, only four were from creators of color, all of whom were black. What is your reaction to this report?
I’m disappointed but not surprised. This is an ongoing trend in our industry. With that said, I’m encouraged by the success that creators of color are experiencing. Some of my favorite shows are produced by, written by and directed by women of color and in all three shows, people of color play leading roles (Power, Insecure, Queen Sugar). Viewers are hungry to see themselves reflected on the screen and I’m hopeful the industry will respond.
What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
We’re seeing more films and network shows being produced with female-driven leads. I feel like “Wonder Woman” was a big turning point for women in the industry.
In what areas should the industry step up its efforts with regard to diversity and inclusion?
I think that there needs to be better outreach to schools with high minority enrollment – specifically HBCU’s. We need to open more doors for those who historically have NOT been exposed to the wide range of opportunities across the media industry. The landscape of storytelling is changing and we need to tap into a future generation of potential game changers.
What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
Attempt to get your hands on as many aspects of the business as possible. This will make you a well-rounded employee. Also, pace yourself for the long-game – there are no shortcuts to success in this industry.
What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
The growth in “over the top” or SVOD platforms (Netflix, Hulu, Facebook). Our viewing is no longer constrained by time, which has resulted in the creation of more original content.