Born in Argentina and raised in Claremont, California, Garcia has always been a natural artist. She started dancing at the age of 4 and at one point yearned to date Juilliard. That is, until she got hooked on an action drama series about an anti-terrorist operative played by Kiefer Sutherland. It was great television, her obsession, and, later, she inspired her career path by pursuing two passions – television and entertainment.
“For some reason this show just gave me a light bulb moment,” she said.
With no connection in the industry – her parents waited 13 years to come from Argentina to the United States and finally did so with three children “and a little prayer” – she had no shame in “playing the student card “to get people to meet her and discuss her ambitions. His family motto is “toma el toro por las astas“(grab the bull by the horns) – and that’s exactly what she did.
She eventually landed an internship at what was then called 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produced her favorite show, and a door opened.
“In my first internship, which was unpaid, I was commuting four hours a day to the Fox parking lot, but I wanted it so badly, I was like, ‘I don’t care. I’m making connections. here. I’m doing a good job, ”she said.
After nine years at Fox and five+ years at Netflix, she still does a good job as an original series director in the company.
Executives in a position to decide – unilaterally or, as in Garcia’s case, as a team – which projects are bought or which writers, directors and actors are hired. They are seen as the ultimate gatekeepers in the industry because they can spend money and influence what creatives are – and are not – invested in.
It is important to have Latinx leaders in all corners of the industry – they are needed in marketing as much as they are needed as heads of departments on the set – but without representation at the top, significant change will be. difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
Lasting change is what Netflix hopes to achieve with a recently announced plan to invest $ 100 million to help make its programming more inclusive.
“Netflix has become very aware of what we need to improve as a business and has committed real dollars to help channel that,” Garcia said.
Part of this initiative will be channeling money to organizations and programs that will help creatives in under-represented groups “get found” and “give them the tools to be great,” Garcia added.
“It’s not about lowering the bar. It’s about opening up the possibilities where excellence can come from,” she said.
Recipients will include the Latino Film Institute of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.
“I love it when people in our culture shine,” Garcia said. “It’s just a good thing to, you know, people. The world needs more of this – not at the expense of anyone else – but I want us as a people to feel pride in who we are and what we do. ”
Pride and joy. Too often, Garcia said, Latinx stories center around pain or trauma, which is a far cry from the whole history of culture.
“We are a happy bunch,” she said. “One of the issues we’ve had with what I call the trauma stories is that people come in and say, ‘We’re going to tell this really sad story of being Latino or being an immigrant. “So I say, ‘Okay, who are you doing this for? Who are you trying to invite into this experience? ”For me it’s so much more about portraying Latinos in hero roles and hero positions because we’re here to do it. not really on screen. ”
Now, more attention is also being paid to who studios and networks choose to tell stories about under-represented groups. This debate – for example, whether only Latinx creators should tell Latinx stories – is a complex debate with heated opinions on both sides. Garcia worries that a rule that is too strict one way or the other will ultimately limit the opportunities for creators.
“The bad result, in my opinion, is that only Latinos can only tell Latino stories. Only whites can tell whites’ stories. Only blacks can tell black stories. Because I also want black people. Latinos in White Stories and Latinos working in pieces for Creative Blacks, ”she said.“ I think if someone comes in and tells a story about a Latino family and they’re not himself Latino, that’s okay. The important thing is to make sure that we fill the series with writers, directors and actors who have genuinely lived this experience, so that they can inform about the authenticity of the storytelling. ”
At the end of the day, Garcia said, authenticity is hard to emulate and someone’s experience will, more often than not, be brighter in the end.
“As a human who watches things, I love it when I see something on TV and they come across an idiosyncrasy that makes me think, ‘This is so much my family. “Like, there’s a baby Jesus in every drawer in the house or, like, someone talks to their mother 150 times a day,” she said, shortly after admitting that the ping on her Her own phone was her mother texting her. “That moment of connection between someone you see on the screen and your experience, makes you feel like,” Oh, I’m not alone in the world. “I want to. that people feel less alone in the world. ”
This includes, she said, Latinx people of different backgrounds and backgrounds.
“If we can provide a place where people feel seen, it makes you feel better,” she said. “And I think we all deserve to feel a little better.”
Questions and answers
Last name: Caroline garcia
Employment: Netflix Original Series Director
The shows I worked on: “Stranger Things”, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, “Atypical”, “Raising Dion”
Years in Entertainment: 14 years old
Mentor: Dana Walden (President of Entertainment at Walt Disney Television), Brian Wright (Former Head of Global Affairs at Netflix), Cindy Holland (Former Vice President of Original Content at Netflix) and Bela Baharia (Vice President of Global Television at Netflix ).
Latina … from dónde ?: Second American generation, born in Argentina and raised in Claremont, California.
Latinx trope that I would banish forever: “All Latinos who have money are drug lords.”
Latinx actor / actress I think he will become a huge star one day: “Olga Merediz, who plays Abuela Claudia in ‘In the Heights’ because I love seeing people in their mid-career find new successes. And Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. He’s already a star but we just cast him in our ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ series. Also, Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera and Edgar Ramirez. There are so many! “
Latinx TV Show I wish everyone had watched / watched: “‘On my block.’ He has a fierce love and a fierce following and I want more people to love him and watch him. “
Overused line executives say when they pass on a Latinx project: “We already have a Latin show.”
What I think all executives could do for a better representation of Latinx on TV: “We can be more intentional about where we look for writers and where we discover and discover talent. I also think it’s incumbent on Latino talent to show off. There are so many ways now for people to show themselves off. connect or for people to show their craft and be discovered. I think in terms of executives and decision makers spot this talent that honestly like me is not perfect coming out the door. know Latinos is that we are the embodiment of Yes if you can attitude. Finally, the next generation must know that it can become the agents of change of tomorrow. You can build a truly wonderful life and a great career and be involved in so many of these decisions. You just have to ‘toma el toro por las astas“And go for it! “