Netflix has launched a scheme to help broaden entry-level opportunities for young people after finding that three-quarters of 14-25 year-olds believe connections are more useful that talent to make it in TV and film.
The streamer has opened entries for Ignite Your Creativity, a scheme devised with the National Youth Theatre to offer young people opportunities to network and gain behind-the-scenes experience - and break down perceptions of the advantages enjoyed by so-called 'nepo babies'.
The first round of the scheme will offer free places to 500 under-25s, starting in Newport, South Wales in collaboration with Urban Myth films, the Sherman Theatre, National Youth Arts Wales and local organisations and schools. This will be mirrored by programmes in West Yorkshire and the North East later this year.
Netflix vice president of UK content Anne Mensah said it was “unsurprising” that young people believed connections were key to success.
“Unfortunately, the evidence proves that they are not wrong,” she said. “Our industry has a pronounced absence of socio-economic diversity partly because it’s freelance, which makes it tough for those from less privileged backgrounds to gain a foothold.”
The online survey of almost 3,000 youths also found that 68% believe they need to live in a big city to work in TV or film.
Mensah said the scheme was “designed to raise awareness and aspirations, and build confidence and networks so that young people don’t need to have existing industry connections, live in a big city or have a degree for a career in TV and film”.
The programme’s advisory panel also includes Luti Fagbenle, producer of Channel 4 reality series Highlife – one of the broadcaster’s ‘Black 2 Front’ commissions – as well as Urban Myth’s Johnny Capps and Bafta chief Chantal Rickards.