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‘Empire’ Casting Dir. (Leah Daniels Butler) Shows SoCal Youth How Stars Are Made

Leah Daniels-Butler
Leah Daniels Butler

*(HOLLYWOOD, CA) – Entertainment industry executives and youth from south Los Angeles are taking part in a new initiative that seeks to expand diversity in Hollywood to include a platform to train residents for future employment at studios, networks and production companies, and then identify viable job opportunities.

“As I stepped into the lobby of Sunset Gower Studios I felt this presence, the feeling that I could work in this building one day” / LaDawn Rowles, 10th Grade – LAUSD

The Myriad Makers initiative supports existing city and state funded economic and workforce development efforts to reduce unemployment by aligning with diversity hiring, internship and youth mentoring programs, which in most cases are federally mandated, at studios and networks. At the same time, Myriad Makers educates Socal residents on the wide-range of career opportunities the industry offers.

The goal is to cultivate a workforce by training residents as early as 8th Grade on possible careers in Los Angeles’ largest industry. Empire (FOX) casting director Leah Daniels Butler allowed 10th graders from Executive Prep Academy of Finance, an LAUSD charter school, to shadow her and learn the job of casting.

“As I stepped into the lobby of Sunset Gower Studios I felt this presence, the feeling that I could work in this building one day,” said LaDawn Rowles from Executive Prep. “If I could sum up this experience in two words it would be eye-opening. I have consumed so much information about the film industry.”

“We identify and train dynamic people living in South Los Angeles but have trouble
placing them in jobs” / Hugh Carter, Program Director – Watts

From 2013 to 2015 the City of Los Angeles spent over $121 million on workforce investment programs that yielded few jobs. Myriad Makers’ goal is to replicate systems the automobile and steel industries used to cull workforces from residents living in the surrounding communities to support City and State programs with securing jobs.

“If this were Detroit or Pittsburgh residents would learn about opportunities in the car and steel industries as early as middle school,” says Darren D. Dickerson founder of Myriad Makers. “We need similar develop programs in Los Angeles to teach and train our residents how to find jobs that lead to careers in our biggest industry, Hollywood.”

Myriad Makers also seeks to align with the vast number of third-party vendors and suppliers that support the entertainment industry, as well as, the various trade unions and employee organizations in Hollywood.

“We identify and train dynamic people living in South Los Angeles but have trouble placing them in jobs,” says Hugh Carter Program Director, Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement – Watts. “By working with Myriad Makers we ensure more opportunities for our participants to compete for and gain employment, which is our primary goal.”

Carter’s program teaches youth in the Watts community television and film productions, sound engineering, coding and other key skills used in the entertainment industry. However, upon completion program participants do not get to compete for internships or jobs in Hollywood.

“I learned things about the film industry I never knew but had the opportunity to see it up-close and personal” / Moneka Scott, 10th Grade – LAUSD

The Myraid Makers team believes that Tinseltown offers just about every career imaginable and with the right focus Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles will work together to address longstanding issues of inclusion and employment.

“From seamstresses to ad sales, global finance to forklift operation, just about every job imaginable exists in Hollywood,” says Myriad Makers co-executive director Nicole Murray. “We are a conduit bringing a wide-range of employers to a pool of diverse employees.”

Targeting students in high school to young adults in graduate school, Myriad Makers officially launched in April offering shadowing and internships during Spring Break. In addition to FOX, youth were placed at L. Plummer Media, a full service production company, DSD Publicity and YouTube’s #1 urban entertainment channel, BlackTree TV. This summer the program will offer employment and internship programming to youth from June – August. Myriad Makers is set to launch in Chicago in May.

“Shadowing Mrs. Butler, I got to learn new things and experience an environment that I hope to soon be apart of,” said Moneka Scott from Executive Prep. “I learned things about the film industry I never knew but had the opportunity to see it up-close and personal.”

For more information visit





DSD Publicity
Daren Dickerson
[email protected]


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