Greater than a single story: an interview with Disney's Marcus Rosie

Immi Marsh

We are all greater than a single story, our world is multifaceted, interwoven with numerous stories - without them, life would be inextricably dull. All-Inclusive filmmaking from entertainment powerhouses like Disney are the antidote, they represent and commit to tell stories that the world must hear, films that reflect all of us, in all of our guises and all our joyously different life experiences.

So we asked Marcus Rosie, SVP Global Creative at Disney, three BIG questions on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the creative industry, so we could get under the skin of what Disney is doing to drive progress.  

The creative industry is still a work in progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion. How do you think it’s changing, and how do you think this will affect the quality of the creative output we see around us for the better?

“One major shift in the creative industry is the intentionality of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the creative process. For our Consumer Products, Games and Publishing teams, we’re thinking about the unique needs of ALL our consumers at the very beginning of the ideation process. This ensures that DE&I is embedded throughout all stages of the creative process.

This approach also contributes to more intentional and creative product designs that represent our fans and consumers in unique ways vs. a one-size-fits-all approach. I think this shift will contribute to more authentic and innovative creative outputs across the industry.”

 

Genuine diversity and inclusion in organisations spurs richer creative thinking, productivity, and innovation. What do you think needs to be done to drive continued progress and ensure inclusivity is engrained into every part of the creative process?

“A core pillar of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the creative process at Disney is truly our people and ensuring that we have diverse and authentic representation throughout all stages of ideation, product design and product creation. This includes:

Talent – Hiring and retaining diverse talent to ensure we have a variety of opinions and perspectives at the table.

Training – Providing our employees with the tools and resources to continue their DE&I learning journey. We work closely with HR to develop training unique to the organization that promotes inclusivity in our product development and in the workplace.

We also work with consultants and industry experts to ensure we are creating products that are inclusive. Our diverse teams have done a tremendous job embedding DE&I throughout the creative process to ensure it is at the forefront of all our product design, and we are continuing to expand these efforts.”

 

Representative storytelling has huge power to affect real change in the world - what role do you think Disney, and other entertainment companies, can play in shaping a better future?

“Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing has the unique opportunity to connect with ALL of our fans around the world in meaningful ways. Our stories and characters are for everyone, and we are committed to being an organization that represents everyone. It’s important that our consumers know that we see them, we hear them and know them.

We’ve seen significant progress just in the past several years by listening to our consumers and their unique needs and wants, and we know that this work is crucial to fostering an inclusive and supportive culture. Some recent examples across our teams include:

Our adaptive roleplay and wheelchair cover sets which allow fans with disabilities to embody their favorite characters across our franchises. We’ve seen amazing reactions to these products as we continue to develop new adaptive products for this audience.

Last holiday season, we launched our Christmas Campaign, “From Our Family to Yours,” in EMEA which included an advert called “The Stepdad” and highlighted a diverse family story. The campaign also supported Make-A-Wish.

We also worked with a diverse group of aspiring designers for the launch of the first-ever Marvel collection with The Prince's Trust, a youth charity in the UK. As part of a mentorship programme, young designers took inspiration from Marvel's The Avengers to create a gender-neutral collection, which features a range of products including apparel, accessories, and stationery.

We also launched our Disney Pride Collection this year.

Disney and our family of brands are embedded in so many people’s lives across the world. It’s an honor and a great responsibility for our teams to represent all our fans and continue to carry the legacy forward.

 

The Future: An Equal World After All

As the industry plays catch up on diversity and inclusion, fostering a more equal playing field for all, it will create a place where there’s no bounds to where creativity can be taken - to infinity, and beyond.

We’d like to thank Marcus Rosie for taking the time to share some of the inner workings of Disney’s creative culture and their commitment to ever more representative storytelling.

 

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3 min15 Jul 22