SAG: Minority actors see gains the past two years

Status quo for women and seniors

SAG's latest diversity study shows nonwhite performers made incremental gains during the past two years, mostly in supporting roles.

The findings, released Monday, are based on the guild's analysis of casting data collected in 2005 and 2006. Casting data for women and senior performers remained relatively unchanged, SAG said.

"With the public continuing to demand full inclusion in film and television programming, we are proud to be a leading voice in the industry," SAG president Alan Rosenberg said. "We are also pleased to announce the largest percentage share for ethnic minorities to date, (but) we can't be content with the current levels of representation in each category as they do not reflect the current demographics of our country."

Producers on SAG-signatory film and TV projects must submit performer hiring data for analysis by the guild. In the latest survey, nonwhite roles increased in all categories except nonepisodic television, SAG said.

Roles rose by 14.5% in theatrical features and by 20.2% in the newly added category of low-budget films. Roles in episodic TV grew by 13%.

Data in traditional categories all showed a drop in the average work days per role since '05, officials said. As a result, non-whites' total days worked in theatrical features decreased in '06, even though the number of roles rose.

Rosenberg said that other areas of minority representation in the performer work force also needs to be addressed.

"The serious lack of women over the age of 40 is only one indicator," the SAG president said. "We may be getting closer to reaching our goal of a truly representative film and television landscape, (but) it is time for all industry stake-holders to help make it happen now and not generations from now."