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

  • Los Angeles Times

    L.A. Times Reaches Agreement with Guild

    The L.A. Times has reached a tentative agreement with the union that represents the bulk of its non-management employees, the paper announced Wednesday. The agreement follows more than a year of negotiations. The 475 reporters, copy editors, photographers and other staff covered by the agreement must still vote for ratification. Assuming it is approved, it [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Accused of Firing VP Who Complained of Gender Pay Gap

    A former vice president at AMC Theatres filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, accusing the company of firing her after she complained that she was paid far less than her male peers. Tonya Mangels, who was vice president of product marketing, said that in March 2018 her supervisor inadvertently sent her a spreadsheet that included [...]

  • Johnny Depp

    Johnny Depp Trial Over Location Manager's Assault Suit Delayed to May

    Update: On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Holly Fujie ordered the trial postponed. A new trial date was set for May 11, 2020. Johnny Depp is expected to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom next week for a trial on a lawsuit alleging that he punched a location manager during the 2017 shoot for “City of Lies.” [...]

  • Stranger Things Season 3

    Netflix Undershoots U.S. Subscriber Adds for Q3, Beats Profit Forecast

    Netflix fell slightly short of its U.S. subscriber forecast in the third quarter — and projected lower Q4 subscriber growth than Wall Street was expecting as competition looms from Apple and Disney. Still, the company reported solid gains, announcing a Q3 record for paid subscriber additions and revenue, and handily topped analyst forecasts for profit. [...]

  • Despacito Luis Fonsi Daddy Yankee

    'Despacito' Tops Vevo's Most-Watched Videos of the Past Decade Chart

    In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Vevo today announced its Top 10 lists of the decade’s most-watched music videos. Not surprisingly, the Most-Watched Music Video accolade goes to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee), with 6.4 billion views since its release in early 2017. The second most-viewed video is Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” (featuring Bruno [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Accused of Contract Breach by Oasis Ventures

    Oasis Ventures Entertainment, a Dubai-based investment fund, sued MoviePass on Monday, alleging that the loyalty-card company stole film titles to create its film unit. Oasis has had a joint venture with action movie producers Randall Emmett and George Furla since 2013. In 2018, Emmett Furla Oasis went into business with Helios and Matheson Analytics, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content