GS&P Launches Residence, an Artist-In-Residence Program for Underrepresented Directors

The inaugural class began in June, in partnership with Free The Work

Goodby Silverstein & Partners has partnered with Free The Work, the nonprofit talent discovery platform for underrepresented creators, to launch Residence, an in-house program for diverse directors in the commercial production industry.

Helmed by JP Patterson, director of film content and partnerships at GS&P, and Sophie Zelon as program manager, Residence aims to expand the stories told by brands and agencies with a diverse roster of directors.

In three rotations a year, 12 directors will participate in roundtables, workshops and experience the creative process between agency and clients on a firsthand basis. Each rotation lasts 15 weeks and includes 100 hours of workshops and guest speakers, discussing topics like emerging trends, career development and best practices.

Directors also participate in networking activities with the agency and have the opportunity to work on client assignments.

The first set of Residence directors started June 13 and includes Pete Lee, Shaandin Tome, Shadae Lamar Smith, Carly Usdin, Lamont Lamar, Taylor Garrett, Christina Xing, Madelaine Turner, Aisha Schliessler, Christopher Guerrero, Juliana and Nicola Giraffe, and Kadri Koop.

"I had the idea in June 2021, shortly after starting at GS&P under the premise that I was here to up-level and evolve their previous filmmaking capabilities," says Patterson. "I reflected on the state of things and knew we had to innovate on the traditional in-house model that everyone has been doing in recent years. I wanted to create something that would be a true partner to the production community and could also introduce the agency to new talent and diverse perspectives. I pitched it to GS&P Partners in July 2021 and it was an immediate yes! From that day on I've been planning for the launch, which finally arrived June 13, on my birthday."

Patterson works with Free The Work to compile and select potential participants from more than 250 directors to 12 for each rotation. At the conclusion, directors receive alumni status and a Residence badge on their Free The Work profile page, acknowledging their completion in the program. They are also eligible to participate in a separate certification from Brand Storytelling. Directors are compensated by the agency's partner, Team People, for their time in the program.

"The agency is committed to working with diverse directors and hopes to establish ongoing relationships with the directors who graduate from the program," Patterson tells Muse. "I hope to break down barriers that exist between underrepresented filmmakers and brand content opportunities. I hope we can connect hundreds of artists with brands and create authenticity in brand storytelling in ways that aren't happening now."

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