The “Nepo baby” effect has been laid bare in the UK by Netflix/National Youth Theatre research that showed the vast majority of respondents believe connections rather than talent are required to make it big.
Unveiled alongside the research, the streamer and theater have launched the IGNITE Your Creativity program to “crack the class ceiling,” which will support 500 young people in South Wales, West Yorkshire and the North East to build industry connections and knowledge of behind the scenes careers in film, TV and theater.
Four out of five (79%) of the 3,000 young people surveyed believe they need connections rather than talent and determination to make it, and that the issue isn’t limited to on-screen success but covers a wealth of positions behind the camera. One respondent to the survey said “nepo babies” emerge at all levels, adding: “Most people don’t seem to realize that this kind of nepotism isn’t just for celebrities.”
A further two-thirds (68%)of respondents think they need to live in a big city to have a career in TV or film.
Anne Mensah, Netflix’s VP of UK Content, said: “Young people are brilliantly astute so it’s unsurprising that they believe connections rather than raw talent are key to success. Unfortunately the evidence proves that they are not wrong. Our industry has a pronounced absence of socio-economic diversity partly because it’s freelance, which makes it tough for those from less privileged backgrounds to gain a foothold.”
Mensah, who commissioned the likes of The Queen’s Gambit, Sex Education and Heartstopper, added that the IGNITE program “has been designed to raise awareness and aspirations, and build confidence and networks so that young people don’t need to have existing industry connections, live in a big city or have a degree for a career in TV and film.”
The program will begin recruiting in South Wales in partnership with War of the Worlds producer Urban Myth Films before moving to West Yorkshire and the North East later this year. An advisory panel featuring the likes of Oscar-winning designer Eve Stewart, BAFTA-nominated producer Luti Fagbenle and execs Johnny Capps and Chantal Rickards will support IGNITE.
Last week, Netflix unveiled its debut theater production – a Stranger Things sequel in the West End directed by Stephen Daldry and penned by Kate Trefry and Jack Thorne.