Universal’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI) team are proud to have partnered with the Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) to source trainees for its Universal Below-the-Line Traineeship on the Peacock Original ‘Shooting Stars’, a LeBron James biopic focusing on the young life of the basketball star. It was produced by LeBron’s SpringHill Company, directed by Chris Robinson, and one of its three writers included GTDI Universal Writers Lab alumni Juel Taylor (‘Creed II’ ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’).
The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) continues the push to take Ohio’s media industry to the next level by leading efforts to increase the incentive and provide vital industry infrastructure that will allow the state to attract larger productions. With these in place, the industry in Ohio will generate thousands more jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars more in economic impact. It made perfect sense that GCFC was the partner for this project, especially with the film’s director Chris Robinson and producer LeBron James both being adamant that it films in Ohio, not only to give back to the community LeBron grew up in, but to give authenticity to his story and really make the city of Akron a character within the film. The production created employment opportunities for the local community who were hired both in-front and behind-the-camera. Universal Below-the-Line Traineeship Locations trainee Raziya Herton said ‘To know that projects like this are coming to town, it’s a dream come true.’
The encouraging results outlined in the most recent economic impact study illustrate the benefits of GCFC’s efforts to strengthen Cleveland’s growing media sector. Over 300 productions have filmed in Ohio since 2007, including commercials, documentaries, independent and studio feature films, music videos, public service announcements, photo shoots, television shows, video games, and web series. As a result, local businesses have enjoyed significant increases in revenue from the media industry. Retail shops, hotels, contractors, real estate agents and restaurants and other food suppliers, just to name a few, have all benefitted from the increased business during production.
Universal launched the Below-the-Line Traineeship in 2021 on Jordan Peele’s “Nope” and has since run it on nearly two dozen productions. The Traineeship provides on and off-the-job training and mentorship across select below-the-line departments on select Universal film projects around the world. With the increasing demand for experienced crew throughout the industry, this innovative and immersive experience cultivates the next generation of talent by collaborating with local partners.
For more information on the Universal Below-the-Line Traineeship and GTDI’s other talent experiences across writing, directing, and composing, please visit www.universalgdti.com.