Humanity on Set is the name of a film leadership program recently created by veteran film producer Gary Foster and leadership expert Eileen Coskey Fracchia to train producers and directors on how to run film sets effectively and with respect. Foster’s film and television screen credits include Sleepless in Seattle, Ghost Rider, Community and Tin Cup and he’s worked with cast and crew on a plethora of film sets and witnessed all kinds of bad behavior – including temper tantrums, passive-aggressive tactics and meltdowns. Humanity on Set (HoS) plans to integrate coaching and leadership philosophies with diversity and inclusion practices to bring about positive societal and cultural change in the entertainment industry.
In a guest column in Deadline.com, Foster wrote “For decades, Hollywood productions have been a game of survive the bully. Endure the chaos. Manage the problem. We have allowed bad behavior to rule our world and define our way of working… Is it any wonder we find ourselves at a crossroads on behavior in our industry?”
As Variety reported, studies have shown that less than 2% of producers or directors have had any formal leadership training. “Why would you bet millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs on people who might not have leadership ability?” asks Foster. “It’s a good business decision to do this,” says Coskey Fracchia. “It’s not that you’re not going to have tough conversations, but it’s going to be done after establishing a code for how that will take place.”
They plan to establish a leadership program for producers and directors and offer a HoS certification that can be put on the end credits for projects that abide by an industry good behavior code as a way of implementing these ideals and principles for film and television. For comparison, in 1940 Animal Humane created the HumaneHollywood program that codifies and certifies the “No Animals Were Harmed” program to protect all animals on film sets. Now eight decades later, perhaps Humanity on Set will do the same for the safety and decency of all humans on set.