The Question of Diversity in Films

26a8af3b39646ba988ae4e25935cf233c20b8abf44e26aab4a8e0fa546d74735_largeRecently I discovered an enlightening YouTube channel by someone named Dylan Marron called, “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in ____.” The blank is usually a blockbuster movie that Marron has edited down to only lines by, as the title suggests, people of color.

Marron includes all minorities in that category–I think he avoids the word “minorities” because the term is relative depending on where you’re from. It amounts to “non-white people”.

If you take a look at the videos, you might be shocked by how short the videos are. For example:

  • The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy: 47 seconds
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone: 100 seconds
  • Wedding Crashers: 40 seconds
  • Moonrise Kingdom: 11 seconds

Those times are all buffered by a title screen and end credits. So, for example, The video for Return of the King is 8 seconds long, and it features not a single line of dialogue.

Granted, so far there’s a very limited sample size (19 movies), and in some ways they seem to be hand-picked for their lack of diversity. I would love to see a comprehensive database.

That said, the results are still pretty astonishing. I’ve been trying to figure out what it all means, though I’m hesitant to draw conclusions until the data is much more robust. I’ve subscribed to the channel and will be watching the videos from now on.

What do you think? Can we learn something from these videos? Perhaps not just from their length (or lack thereof), but also the content?

5 thoughts on “The Question of Diversity in Films”

  1. Is there any indication about the amount of speech by everyone else?

    (These definitely sound super-low, but I’d be interested to know as a %age, not just a count of seconds)

    • There isn’t, but it’s a good question. I would guess that actual time spent talking in movies is a small percentage of the running time, especially in action movies.

    • Yeah, I love the Bechdel Test. I was just thinking about it in a movie the other day…Trainwreck, I think.


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