The Importance of Diversity Behind the Camera and In Front of It

Diversity rightly takes center stage when content creators think about the characters being portrayed on screen. But diversity behind the camera is just as important.

After casting crews, script writers, directors and casting crew all have a key role to play in ensuring greater diversity in localized content.

During the conference panel session “Diversity Behind the Camera is Just as Important as in Front of it” at the Innovation and Transformation Summit (ITS): Localisation event in London on Feb. 28, two voice talents talked about their experiences and how they are working to ensure greater diversity and preserve authenticity.

Anneke Beukman and Franky Rampen are voice talents and the co-founders of Netherlands-based Voiceconsult. They saw a need in their country to give workshops to attract a more diverse pipeline of voice talent to the sector, Beukman explained.

Kicking off the session, moderator Carlo DeCianti, head of sales at Plint, noted: “There’s been a lot of tech talk this morning, so it’s been pretty heavy – a lot about subtitling. But we haven’t really spoke much about dubbing and we haven’t spoken much about creativity, I think. So, we’re going to shift gears a bit and hopefully lighten the mood.” DeCianti then introduced Beukman and Rampen. ‘

Beukman pointed out she’s a dubbing director, voice talent and singer, who worked on several movies and TV series.

“We are educating voice actors” and introducing them to ‘the world of dubbing,” Rampen said.

The Voiceconsult co-founders are “in the best position to give us a real world example about … the diversity or lack thereof” in the sector, said DeCianti. He asked the co-founders what made them decide to set up a voice consultancy business.

Beukman responded: “We were looking for new talent in the dubbing industry. That was our main goal. And then I did a lot of movies where there were different” cultures being represented in the films but the dubbing industry in Holland was mostly white and reflecting a narrow set of cultures. At the same time, Black Lives Matter was protesting in Holland, she recalled.

Her reaction was: “We have to do something about it. And that’s how we started” giving workshops in the Netherlands, to try and bring more diversity to their industry so their cultures, voices and accents could be better represented in the films being created.

After organizing workshops for Black talent trying to enter the industry, they organized Asian and Latin version of the workshops, they pointed out.

The Innovation and Transformation Summit: Localisation was sponsored by AppTek, Signiant, EIDR, Iyuno, LinQ Media Group, Vubiquity, OOONA, XL8, and Collot Baca, and was produced by MESA, in association with the Content Localisation Council.