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AICE and AMP Make Diversity a Priority Through PrePro

Posted April 6, 2017

Last year, AICE and AMP, the trade associations for post production houses and music studios serving the advertising industry, launched PrePro, a new mentorship program designed to expose culturally diverse students to careers in post production and music and sound for brands and ad agencies.

The PrePro program is open to students between the ages of 17 and 23 and includes benefits such as access to AICE and AMP members to solicit and identify prospective PrePro mentors as well as an outreach to schools to build awareness for the program.

The program kicked off its spring session recently in New York and Chicago.

Rachelle Madden, AICE’s Executive Director talked to DIVERGE about the program:

Where did the idea for this program come from?

The plan to mount a mentorship initiative was the result of like-minded thinking on the part of members of two trade associations: AICE, which represents post production companies such as editing houses, visual effects studios and music companies, and AMP, which represents music and sound studios and music licensing specialists. Marlene Bartos, Managing Director of Yessian Music in New York and past president of AMP, was talking about the need to attract a more diverse talent pool with Gloria Pitagorsky of Heard City, a member of AICE’s International Board and president of its New York Chapter. Meanwhile, in Chicago, AICE International Board president Craig Duncan of Cutters Studios and Chicago Chapter Board member Jon Desir of Optimus were discussing the same issue. When both shared their thoughts with me, I realized we had a great opportunity to launch something meaningful. A joint AICE/AMP committee then started working on the program.

How long has it been around?

The program was unofficially announced last May at both the 2016 AICE Awards presentation in Chicago and the AMP Awards in New York. Applications opened on the PrePro web site, www.prepromentorship.org, in mid-December with a January 20 deadline.

AMP and AICE threw a Mentor/Mentee Kick-Off Event that was hosted by AICE member company The Mill on February 15th to officially begin the Spring 2017 session.

Why is it significant?

PrePro is our industry’s first effort to raise awareness of the career possibilities in post production and music with our target group of students. Our goal is to provide mentees with hands-on learning opportunities in editing, audio mixing, visual effects, color grading and other related disciplines. They’ll get a chance to see the day-to-day operations of a professional post production, color or audio post house, and receive the kind of one-on-one guidance that will help them eventually land an entry level position in the industry. They’ll also get a chance to build the kind of contacts and relationships that will help them get their foot in the door when they’re ready to launch their careers.

Why does diversity need to be a priority in your industry?

Diversity needs to be a priority in every industry, as it’s a reflection of the society in which we live. Beyond that, in creative industries such as ours, a broad variety of viewpoints and cultural influences helps keep work fresh, innovative and relevant. Making sure that the next generation of post production and music talent servicing the ad industry is as diverse as possible is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

What kind of response have you seen so far?

We had an overwhelming number of mentee applicants for the first session, so many that had to be particularly selective in pairing mentors with mentees.

The Spring 2017 session so far has been wonderful. Many mentors and mentees have been cross-pollinating, so to speak, with mentors bringing mentees to multiple post and audio facilities so they can get a 360 view of what our industry is about. They’ve also introduced them to other mentor/mentee pairs and a small group is even working on producing a spec spot together.

How can other students get involved?

We hope to open applications for the next session soon – which will most likely be during Summer 2017. PrePro will also be expanding to our Chicago chapter in the next session as well, with plans to roll this out in other AICE and AMP Chapters.

How can agencies and brands help?

Our counterparts on the agency and marketer side have had their own diversity mentorship efforts in place for a while, so our focus at the moment is on building PrePro. I think one thing they can do is make sure they’re living up to their commitments to work with minority and women-owned vendors when it comes producing their work. The more opportunity they can spread around, the better.