×

Listen: Producer Jeff Valdez on Fixing Hollywood’s Supply Chain With Data and Deals

You can’t change tires on the freeway. That’s producer Jeff Valdez’s description of the systemic issues that have kept Latinx talent in the entertainment industry at minuscule levels, despite the growth of the U.S.-born Hispanic population and its influence on popular culture.

Valdez, a comedian turned producer (“Comedy Compadres,” “The Brothers Garcia”) turned entrepreneur, has launched a production venture, New Cadence, designed to bring promising Latinx creative talent to the forefront.

Before New Cadence hit the content marketplace to shop its wares, however, Valdez and his partners commissioned a study of the creative community’s “supply chain” — examining everything from the age and ethnicity of studio film directors and TV showrunners to the representation of Latinx talent agents at the major agencies. The results were disheartening, but not surprising. In most areas, Latinx talent represented less than 1% of those employed in Hollywood.

Valdez and partner Sol Trujillo — former CEO of US West, Australia’s Telstra and France’s Orange S.A. — have made the rounds in recent months in meetings with top corporate leaders, from Verizon to Viacom, presenting their findings to make the business case for embracing Latinx culture as an essential part of mainstream U.S. pop culture.

“What we are doing is not political — we’re not saying you should do this because it’s the right thing,” Valdez says in the latest episode of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast. “We’re having conversations about economics. When you look at the economics of this market, you can’t continue to ignore it.”

But to meaningfully change the dynamic of Latinx employment in Hollywood is “mathematically impossible” at the rate that traditional Hollywood is opening its doors. New Cadence aims to scout for untapped sources of talent on both sides of the camera who are ready to spark with a little guidance from seasoned pros. Valdez’s other partners in New Cadence include Univision and Fox Deportes alum Vincent Cordero and Bruce Barshop, an investor who heads Barshop Ventures.

“We propose to go outside of the traditional system,” Valdez says. “Job one for us it to educate the marketplace and cut deals.”

More Biz

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Case Dropped in Nantucket

    Nantucket prosecutors have dropped a sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey, citing the “unavailability” of the complaining witness. Spacey had been accused of groping an 18-year-old busboy at the Club Car restaurant in July 2016. He was charged with indecent sexual assault, and a trial was set to be held in the fall. However, [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Updates Staff on Fire Damage in Internal Memo (Read)

    Ahead of an expected motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed last month by several artists over damage in the 2008 fire that destroyed hundreds of thousands of master recordings, according to the New York Times, the company’s chief archivist, Pat Kraus, issued a memo to the staff that has been obtained by Variety. While the [...]

  • CAA Signs Jay Shetty

    CAA Signs Jay Shetty

    CAA has signed award-winning host, storyteller, and viral content creator Jay Shetty for representation. Shetty’s videos have been viewed more than 4.5 billion times and he’s amassed more than 30 million followers across social media, becoming Facebook’s No. 1 creator on the platform with 24 million followers. After graduating university in the U.K., Shetty moved [...]

  • gordon-ramsay-masterclass-review

    Gordon Ramsay and Studio Ramsay Return to WME for Representation

    Superstar TV chef Gordon Ramsay has returned to WME for representation after eight years with CAA. WME will represent Ramsay and his production company, Studio Ramsay, in all areas. Ramsay is one of the most recognizable names in the culinary world after establishing himself as a TV star in the U.K. and U.S. Studio Ramsay [...]

  • Jim Gosnell

    APA Seeks to Move Assistant's Harassment Suit to Arbitration

    APA filed a motion Tuesday seeking to force an ex-assistant to arbitrate her claims of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The motion, filed in L.A. Superior Court, accuses the former assistant of fabricating texts and emails in order to accuse the agency of fostering a “toxic, pervasive and sexually abusive environment.” The assistant, known in [...]

  • UTA

    UTA Launches Sports Division With LeBron James' Agent

    UTA is diving into the sports arena through an investment in Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents LeBron James and other stars. Klutch Sports founder Rich Paul will serve as head of the newly created UTA Sports wing in addition to running his own banner. Paul launched Klutch Sports in 2012 in Cleveland. UTA [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content