Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Miller.
Rachel Miller is a founding partner of Haven Entertainment, a management and production company based in Los Angeles. Miller specializes in intellectual property development and has sold over 27 books to major publishers. Her clients have worked across every entertainment platform including on acclaimed television shows “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Simpsons,” “Parks and Recreation,” “House of Lies” and “Family Guy.” Additionally, she produced UNDER THE ELECTRIC SKY, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and sold to Focus Features. Miller is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts. To help pay for NYU, Miller taught at a Manhattan public school where she saw first-hand how low-income students struggled to compete. That experience, coupled with years of working in Hollywood, led her to found Film2Future.
Film2Future is a non-profit organization benefiting diverse teenagers from low income families that unlocks access to college, paid internships and entertainment careers through professional filmmaking and content creation education. Our mission is to inspire and empower diversity in a new generation of content creators through traditional and emerging technologies. Rachel Miller founded Film2Future in 2016 to create real change in Hollywood.
The four-year curriculum includes programs in narrative filmmaking, animation, emerging technologies and advertising. During the program, F2F brings in over 100 volunteers, all professionals within the entertainment industry — from above-the-line to below-the-line, to agents, managers and producers. Students then pitch, write, film and edit their own short films while building their portfolios for college and/or jobs in the industry. Students also learn life skills such as resume writing, how to interview, financial literacy and how to build a creative portfolio.
Despite the backdrop of Hollywood, the Los Angeles Unified School District has spent the last five years cutting $60 million from the arts budget, impacting over 734,000 students. In fact, out of more than 700 LAUSD schools that were surveyed, only 35 offered adequate arts programming — and not surprisingly, almost all of those schools were in affluent neighborhoods. F2F levels this inequitable playing field by providing professional arts programming to underserved students who strive to pursue a degree in the arts or to enter the Hollywood workforce.
You can find out more at www.film2future.org
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Easy is a relative term. Our students and their families struggle in ways that are hard for anyone to comprehend without walking in their shoes. If businesses and people with the financial capacity to support Film2Future understood HOW and WHY the industry is not diverse, we could improve more lives on a faster timeline and we could change the face of Hollywood on a much bigger scale.
So, like many small non-profits, we have obstacles and the biggest ones are fundraising, marketing and bringing awareness to the barriers to entry in entertainment.
There’s been some big struggles along the way.
I spend most of my time planning the program, mentoring the students, writing recc letters, setting up internships, really in the weeds working with the students – which I love – but that leaves very little time for fundraising. Film2Future is a COMPLETELY FREE, zero barrier to entry program. Put simply, without fundraising, we cannot continue to operate. We invite anyone who wants to support the work we are doing to please connect with us.
2) Educating entertainment executives on the barriers that deny entry to diverse students from low income families
Let’s be honest: Hollywood tends to be composed of privileged wealthy or upper middle-class white people. (Check out the numbers here: https://socialsciences.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UCLA-Hollywood-Diversity-Report-2019-2-21-2019.pdf). There is a huge lack of the understanding of what prohibits our students from having access to opportunities. Many people assume owning a MacBook Pro and iPhone is a right not a privilege. Others assume anyone can afford a free internship or that it is ‘dues paying’ to work for $400/week at an agency. Opportunities require access to a car, insurance, and gas money to run errands. Not everyone can afford to go to schools that are $62,000/year—or even afford the admission application fee alone at $150. And then there’s the costs of staying competitive with SAT tutors, extracurricular activities, summer camps, resume building programs – all expensive things you need to get into elite universities. And did you know that some entertainment internships are only available to students in a four year college? This excludes so many talented students at community colleges who can simply not afford to attend a four year college at 18. One of the first conversations I have with people who have enjoyed privilege is to help them understand how others need a way in to access the same opportunities.
3) Getting the word out
Many journalists and reporters in Hollywood like to talk about all the problems, but rarely the solutions. There’s lots of coverage for #oscarssowhite but very few articles on organizations addressing the problem successfully. So we have struggled to attract attention to the amazing results our students are achieving and this attention is critical to spreading awareness of the work we are doing and to help with fundraising (without which Film2Future couldn’t operate). One time I inquired about getting on a panel at a diversity and inclusion focused event hosted by a major publication only to be told that I could join the panel at a cost of $10,000! That was a quick no because every dollar we raise goes towards pulling off a successful program (including making sure this year every single student got a computer, headphones, software, and wi-fi hotspots so they could remote learn). We simply do not have the budget to hire marketing and publicity staff or to pay to be on panels. In fact, the number one thing I hear is, “Wow, your program sounds amazing, I wish I had heard of it sooner.”
Please tell us about Film2Future.
For five years we have been addressing the lack of diversity (due to systemic racism) in Hollywood. We have built a direct pipeline for diverse high school students from low income families to have careers in the entertainment industry.
Our students all receive 100% free tuition to our program. We remove all of the barriers to entry — transportation, food, and access to computer equipment, cameras, sound equipment, editing software —to ensure that all of our students can learn and develop skills that will open doors to higher education and jobs.
We place our graduates in paid internships and production assistant roles on shows such as Glow, Vida, Brooklyn 99 and Mayans MC. Since 2016, our students have worked in 43 paid internships (resulting in over $50,000 in earnings!), and six students have earned full scholarships to four years universities such as USC, University of Chicago and Syracuse.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t really believe in luck. As Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
- Website: www.film2future.org