Meena Ramamurthy is a filmmaker and storyteller. A colleague, another writer of color, once told her: “Don’t write a pilot with two people of color.”
“It doesn’t come from a bad place,” Ramamurthy says. “It just comes from experience.”
If you’ve watched “Master of None” (the “Indians on Television” episode), this probably sounds familiar. Studios, investors, networks — they have not caught up to the changing demographics of their audience. And in the meantime, they’re having a hard time bridging the gap between a new generation of storytellers and their old formulas for what works.
So stories with two lead characters who are Indian? They get left behind.
An annual report from USC, Ramamurthy’s alma mater, quantifies the issue. The study, by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative, drilled down into the content of 10 major media companies. The results may not be wholly surprising. This year, they found that, “The film industry still functions as a straight, White, boy’s club.”