2022 Grants Challenge

Advancing racial equity through content creation

Rideback Rise is a new creative hub and accelerator committed to advancing racial equity and creating a more empathic world. Popular entertainment is arguably society’s most powerful force for change, but lack of accurate representation perpetuates racial divides in America. Our mission is to create opportunity and offer a transformative way forward for the entertainment industry by supporting talented and diverse young creatives. We believe that stories have the power to unite people, bridge cultures, and achieve racial equity. Join us.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by Snap Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Prejudice and violence against people of color are recurring issues (evidenced by Stop Asian Hate and Black Lives Matter movements). Lack of accurate representation in mainstream entertainment perpetuates societal divides, threatening basic principles of equality, civility, and opportunity. According to UCLA’s Diversity Report, people of color accounted for less than 25% of writers, 14% of directors, and 8% of executives in Hollywood – though they encompass 40+% of the American population. Major Hollywood studios have acknowledged the lack of diversity in popular entertainment, yet few systemic efforts exist to increase representation. Further, the traditional content creation funnel has utilized an outdated assessment model, sidelining BIPOC projects by incorrectly deeming them not mainstream, higher risk, and thus, not commercially viable. It is critical to support talented BIPOC creators in reaching mainstream success, and to empower the next generation of leaders in Hollywood.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Rideback Rise wants to reshape majority opinions to improve racial equity by ensuring that creators of all backgrounds can tell their stories and see themselves in popular culture. We believe stories and content have the power to unite people, bridge cultures, and lead to a more empathic world. Our goal is to help young creators, artists, and entrepreneurs break through the restrictive barriers in the entertainment ecosystem and enter the creative economy. We’ll provide a community of support in the form of (i) a structured creative process to guide them (ii) resources to develop their ideas, (iii) mentorship and collaboration opportunities to refine and develop ideas, (iv) giving the ability to take creative risks – essential to developing mainstream content that shapes popular opinion, and (v) opportunities to package projects with additional talent so they have the best chance for conversion when the creator, artist, or entrepreneur takes them to buyers and distributors. By scaling this new funnel for content creation and allowing more BIPOC pieces of IP, original ideas, and talent to come through the system, Rideback Rise will be able to empower a more diverse generation of leaders in the entertainment industry. With support from LA2050, we will scale this new funnel, advance racial equity, and empower the next generation of leaders in Hollywood.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Long-term success will mean translating our Fellowship into projects that generate mainstream viewership, conversation in LA, shape popular opinion, & advance racial equity. Further, there are many near-term program activities that will create massive impact for Fellows: - Funding initial content development, including the acquisition of IP rights, creation of visual & pitch materials, and building MVP concepts - Mentoring by expert filmmakers & showrunners through structured “Brain Trust” sessions - Peer cohort for collaboration within a larger community of like-minded professionals - Regular programming & events (monthly masterclass sessions & quarterly performing arts events), along with workshops providing practical skills & networking - Dedicated workspace & performing arts hub at the Rideback Ranch campus Rise Fellows also have access to Rideback Ranch & the Rideback Barn, a collaborative co-working space & performing arts hub in Historic Filipinotown in LA.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Leveraging the learned experience of Rideback's successful for-profit company, Rideback Rise will build robust infrastructure, systems, and processes to support cohorts of diverse creators, artists, and entrepreneurs. Success will be measured by tracking: - The number of young creatives accessing the creative economy through our Rideback Fellows programming, - The number of mentors supporting each young talent, - The pieces of IP optioned for further screen adaptation by young BIPOC creators, artists, and entrepreneurs, the number of program events and opportunities to access knowledge and a broader community of support, and assessing: - The quality of practical training we provide, - The growing experience levels and track records of talented BIPOC creators so they will be well-positioned for success across multiple future initiatives, - The number of people and audiences that Rise projects can reach via viewership (i.e. to help shift majority opinions and create narrative change).

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 200

Indirect Impact: 1,000,000