Get to Know Ensemble: Q&A with April Reign and Donnovan Andrews
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, Brandstorytelling.tv
April Reign, the equity advocate, former lawyer, cultural marketing expert and creator of #OscarsSoWhite, is partnering with New York-based media company Overture Global to launch a digital content studio that will accelerate opportunities around content and development in front of and behind the camera for people of color. The new initiative will be named Ensemble, to signify that it takes a collective effort: people of various talents, backgrounds and cultures to create content that is inclusive, equitable, authentic and relevant for the masses.
Brand Storytelling caught up with April Reign and Donnovan Andrews, Founder of Overture Global, to learn more about the new initiative:
April, what motivated you to engage in this partnership and put your attention to the world of brand-funded content?
April Reign: I created #OscarsSoWhite in 2015 to bring increased attention to the lack of marginalized communities working in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. We know talented people of color exist, from gaffers and key grips to aspiring actors and actresses, but they are sorely underrepresented. Ensemble provides an opportunity to allow marginalized creatives to put their best foot forward and gives them a larger platform to do so.
What short term and long term goals did you have in mind when deciding to launch Ensemble?
AR: One of the most important issues in the entertainment industry is who is telling the story, and whose story is being told. The goal of Ensemble is to provide opportunities for underrepresented communities to tell their own stories. Stories that resonate with them that will also resonate with an ever-growing audience as we watch the demographics of entertainment consumers skew toward traditionally underrepresented communities.
Donnovan, what about this partnership clicked for you?
Donnovan Andrews: April and I share the same vision of wanting to create an organization and to be part of an industry that is fair, inclusive and transparent. We know that in order to be successful with this approach you have to be authentic, forward looking and willing to do the work.
What can Overture contribute to April’s work?
DA: Me being a part of the technology and media landscape for over two decades put us in a position where we can leverage relationships not understanding of technology to bring stories to life. In addition, overture is a profitable organization that's been around for several years and has been able to build relationships with Major Brands, NGOs, editors and of course with our readers - this puts us in a position where we have an understanding of what content to create, what brands are looking for and how to reach a very unique, influential and intelligent audience.
What services will Ensemble include or seek to provide?
DA: We aim to provide a full suite of services ranging from custom branded content, overture owned and operated content to lastly, production services to brands and distributors.
What can consumers expect from Ensemble content?