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Delores Wheeler: People tend to want to watch programs in which they can relate.

Not only is it important to have diversity represented in entertainment, it’s good business. People tend to want to watch programs in which they can relate. The more diversity, the more people will be interested in viewing their films. As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse […]

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Not only is it important to have diversity represented in entertainment, it’s good business. People tend to want to watch programs in which they can relate. The more diversity, the more people will be interested in viewing their films.


As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Delores Wheeler. Delores has been in the entertainment industry for over twenty years. She is on the regional board of SAG-AFTRA in Dallas, Texas representing the state of Oklahoma.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always loved all aspects of film. It was escapism for me. I could enter any world I chose.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I started doing “no budget” films. I feel it’s the best way to learn all aspects of filmmaking. Although I most wanted to do acting, if the cameraman, director, or any other production staff didn’t show up you were it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I don’t call them mistakes. I call them happy accidents. If something happened that would enhance the film, we put it in.

Ok thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?

I work with SAG-AFTRA to help educate people in the industry about all the new contracts available. They are for independent films as well. There are, also, free classes.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who helped inspire the work you are doing?

Trish Avery, the Executive Director of the regional office in Dallas, Texas has helped me the most. She has traveled to Oklahoma many times to help educate the local people in the industry about the perks of joining.

As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?

Not only is it important to have diversity represented in entertainment, it’s good business. People tend to want to watch programs in which they can relate. The more diversity, the more people will be interested in viewing their films.

Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

I believe writing more parts for our diverse population, producing these scripts, and hiring diverse people for these parts will get us on the right road.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I believe leadership means listening to the people’s needs and being of service to them.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I wish someone had told me how hard it would be to find work, the long hours, the pages of memorization, the sometimes harsh conditions, and little pay at the beginning. The places I lived often times didn’t have many films being made. Before becoming a member of SAG-AFTRA, I wasn’t protected by their safety regulations. I worked overtime and often for little or no pay. Sometimes lines were changed at the last moment before we filmed, but all in all I loved what I was doing. I didn’t mind the hard work.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think scripts that show how people of diversity can work well together would educate our culture. I believe it starts with me. That’s why I’ve written three of them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It was my mother’s favorite quote and is mine as well. “Nothing is impossible with God.” Audrey Hepburn was my favorite actress. Another favorite quote she said is, “Nothing is impossible, the work itself says ‘I’m possible!’

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-).

I’d love to meet Steven Spielberg. I admire his films. They are very diverse and not only entertain people but educate them.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Just type my name in and you’ll find me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Stage 32, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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