Am I “To Be or Not To Be” Hamlet?

Probably the most famous question ever asked in the English language and the entire soliloquy of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to endlessly be debated by literature students and actors.

Hamlet1

One of two of my favorite portrayals of Hamlet on film and to not give preference (because I think they are both brilliant) I will place them in order of their theatrical release dates!


Shakespeare’s command of the English language in the opening question “To be or Not To Be” uses the verb “to be” phrased without a noun or pronoun making it infinite. He doesn’t say “Am I to be or not to be” or “to be alive or not to be alive” which allows for it to be interpreted by the audience within the context of the play as Hamlet’s meaning of life or death, but by phrasing it in the infinitive it can also be used in personal context, which is what makes all great works of art, great! Can I take something from this and make it personal? Can it be internalize by the masses and over the passages of time and yet still be profound and not take away from its’ own context? Of course that is in part what will make it popular whether it is in character, plot, and/or dialogue. And I personalize this way whenever I watch a movie or listen to a song. And whenever we see the struggles of a character or a story we try to internalize it to relate to that character or story. Hamlet has his own issues with his mother and uncle’s affair, a murdered father whose spirit haunts him with riddles, all with the pressure of being heir to the Danish throne and rule over an entire country – none of which I am going through – so how can I relate and be touched by this character through his famous soliloquy? Let me share some of it with you by using blue font in parentheses in the following:

“To be, or not to be (my context, as opposed to Hamlet’s context to be “alive” or not to be “alive”, is to be or not to be a “paraplegic filmmaker” dedicated to honestly, genuinely, and authentically representing nearly 6 million paraplegic Americans who are often the “poster child” representing the entire 56+ million Americans with a disAbility – the largest and fastest growing minority in America – who are severely under represented in movies and television and on the rare occasion that we are it is hardly ever being represented by one of our own, and instead by a well intentioned able bodied person who has no idea what life with paralysis or other disAbility is like – and for the record, again, I know that not all disAbilities can represent themselves – but many of us can and yet Hollywood lumps us all together as UNable) — that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows (stereotypes and discrimination)

of outrageous fortune (of Hollywood)

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles (dismissing paraplegic artists as unable to give voice, vision, or performance and represent ourselves in movies and television)

And by opposing end them.

To die (to end being a paraplegic filmmaker), to sleep–

No more–and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks (the Hollywood barriers of attitude that automatically rejects the worthiness and discriminates against the artistic passions of a screenwriter, director, or actor with a disAbility)

That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–

To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death (of not being a paraplegic filmmaker expressing my art of screenwriting and directing) what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil (and instead being a 9-5er),

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th’ oppressor’s (Hollywood’s) wrong, the proud man’s contumely

The pangs of despised love (of screenwriting and directing), the law’s delay (of fair and equal opportunity to represent ourselves with a disAbility),

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? (quietly take myself out of Hollywood and end all efforts to represent and passions to express my art)

Who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprise of great pitch and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action. — Soft you now,

The fair Ophelia! — Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins remembered.”

hamlet_branagh

 

Well, as Hamlet considers suicide, taking his own life, he debates whether it will release him from the frustrations, and pains of his trials and issues. For me it is similar because ending my dreams and passions for storytelling on film as both a screenwriter and director is ending my life as I know it and end the Hollywood trials and issues that are extremely difficult and frustrating as it is for any filmmaker trying to make his way in this industry BUT are doubled due the accepted stereotypes and discrimination against those with a disAbility. If you don’t believe that this exists, then I against direct your attention to the 2005 SAG report, SAG’s Performers with Disabilities (PWD), or merely look around and ask where are the movies that feature paraplegics or others with a disAbility and they are very few and far in between but even those use only able bodied writers, directors and actors. It is as plain as the white elephant in the room that everyone ignores and pretends is not there!

So yeah, merely trying to get anyone in Hollywood to pay attention to the issues, let alone my proposed solutions, my film projects, is extremely frustrating and discouraging. Do I ever get tired and want to end this seemingly futile quest to be or not to be a filmmaker who is a paraplegic? Do I debate what it would be like to end this life of a filmmaker and find another job, career, lifestyle that does not include all these “slings and arrows” in “a sea of troubles” along with “the heartache and thousand natural shocks” of Hollywood automatic rejection of even the idea that a person in a wheelchair can be writer or director? Sure the thoughts cross my mind from time to time, but I have to dismiss them as quickly as they enter my conscious. To give up being a filmmaker and continue on in another field is possible, in fact after I quit freelancing in video production after my days at the Art Institute in the early 90’s, I took a job to pay the bills. I was successful, and promoted within a year to management, had a new vehicle and two-story condo, but there was a big part of me missing, something that I had once, but seemed almost lost despite the aching of my soul which I found again after seeing “Pulp Fiction” in the theatre in 1994! Storytelling on film! But after trying to write and direct even a short film after working 14-16 hour days in my management position was too exhaustive physically and emotionally to get much of anything done. So, I quit that job in January 1995 and took a regular 8 hour a day job (which didn’t have any health benefits) to give me time to work my passion in life, my art, my filmmaking and satisfy that hole in my soul, and 3 months later, I broke my back, severed my spinal cord completely in half and became a paraplegic. But my passion for filmmaking was not broke, was not paralyzed like the bottom half of my body! In fact, they were magnified with getting a second chance at life, and after not finding non-stereotypical portrayals or authentic representation of paraplegics in movies my passions became more defined! And over the years since more refined! Not only in my art but in the cause that became so much larger than just me! My films will give those with a disAbility what they so want and deserve – representation in movies – and not just any representation – but authentic representation with images, characters, and stories that are not stereotypical. And for me to give all this up, leave Hollywood, take another job in any other field, as I referred to above as a 9-5er, it would be like suicide, killing my passion, becoming an empty shell of a man – and although I might still be breathing – I would be soulless, dead in my opinion. And that is how I understand and relate to Hamlet through his famous soliloquy!

I must fight on and find those in Hollywood who will give me and this cause the opportunity to produce the kind of films that will provide a fair and equal opportunity at the box office, for audiences with and without a disAbility to experience entertainment that is authentically representing those with a disAbility. Despite the barriers of attitude, stereotypes, and discrimination within the industry, and despite living only on the meager government assistance which is not enough and therefore I must ask for help to pay some of my monthly bills every month, I must carry on and make this happen even if it is to my death. Dying for this opportunity as a paraplegic filmmaker, as a representative of 56+ million Americans and hundreds of millions more world wide in movies and television, proving that this socially responsible filmmaking, can achieve critical and commercial success is better than committing filmmaker suicide and dying a soulless man for quitting and leaving Hollywood! I will continue to fight, even as a poor beggar for my self, the millions of under served and under represented in today’s society and the future generations of those with a disAbility. Will you join me? Pass this cause on, raise awareness, make a phone call if you have any Hollywood connections, or help me find new friends in Hollywood who really care about the repressed voices, visions, performances, and overall representation of those with a disAbility in movies and television! Act now or let it be on your conscious because mine is clear, and my mission is clearly defined and constantly being refine and polished to truly make it the historic “turning point” in American cinema!

Start by leaving a comment, or visiting my website http://AbilitiesUnited.com and find out more of how developed I have for the cause, the production company, and the feature film, “London Time”. I cannot do this alone as I have for the past 15 years but will continue to do so until I find those that care enough to join me! Are you one that cares enough? Prove it!

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Hollywood Sign Symbolizes…

What does the Hollywood Sign mean to you? A lot of people around the world know the sign, what it means to them as the name of the entertainment capital of the world, and many can say it even if it is the only word they can say in English! There was news this week that the Hollywood Sign would be preserved and save the land surrounding it so that no other buildings or signs would obstruct or take away from the sign that stands on the mountain as a symbol of Los Angeles and the world.

HollywoodSigna

In the press conference that announced the that money needed to save this sign and the land around it, Governor Schwarzenegger who may be as iconic as the Hollywood sign itself spoke what it meant to him as he said:

“Now, everyone knows that this is probably the most recognizable, iconic symbol in the world. You know there are a lot of great symbols out there and a lot of signs and a lot of structures and buildings that are historic but I think the Hollywood sign is recognized by everyone around the world, there’s no two ways about it. It is a symbol of dreams and a symbol of opportunity and hope.”

The Governor continued,

“And I know that when I was a kid and I wanted to come to Hollywood, that is the kind of, the thing that I always had in my vision in front of me, was the Hollywood sign. And even though, when you go through difficult moments and times of studying the English language or training five hours a day in a gym to make it over here — and one of the other dreams was to be part of Muscle Beach — but the thing that always was in front of me was the Hollywood sign, so that’s what motivated me. And so I think that Hollywood has been very kind to me. When I came over here, Hollywood turned me into an action hero.

So, of course, when I heard that there were 130 acres around the Hollywood sign that need to be protected, I did what the Terminator was supposed to do, which is to jump into action. And this is exactly what I did. (Applause) And, of course, there’s no such thing as just one person jumping into action; in order to do something like that a lot of people had to jump into action. And especially Councilman Tom LaBonge has jumped into action in a big, big way, so I want to say thank you very much. (Applause) And again also the Trust for Public Land jumped into action and so we want to thank them also for the extraordinary job that they have done.

And I am proud today to say that the $12.5 million was raised and we are going to preserve this historic landscape. And what’s great about it is, it’s not just to preserve the land around it but also to protect the environment, which is so important for all of us. The Hollywood sign will welcome dreamers and artists and Austrian bodybuilders from around the world, (Laughter) to continue coming over here for generations to come.”

(The whole speech can be found at http://gov.ca.gov/speech/14995/.)

But as I have spoken about, and a lot of others with a disAbility have spoken about, and even the SAG report that was published in 2005 not only spoken about but also documented and proved, that the Hollywood Sign is not much of “a symbol of opportunity and hope” for those of us with a disAbility. And although there have been numerous people whose dreams have been realized, as it has been with Arnold Schwarzenegger, thanks to Hollywood, there are countless more that have had those dreams shattered – and I can tell you that that ratio is not favorable for the odds makers it is a lot worse for those with a disAbility who dream of becoming a star as a writer, director, or actor in Hollywood. For the past few decades, really the entire history of Hollywood, has proven that even when there is a role that is specifically written as a character with a disAbility, it is nearly always written and directed by an able bodied person, and then cast with an able bodied actor to portray and represent that person with a disAbility.

If this was the case once in a while, or even 50% of the time, AND of course if it was limited to characters representing disAbilities that are not likely able or at all able to represent themselves, such as some with developmental disAbilities, as I have said before – Dustin Hoffman as Raymond in “Rain Man” could not be portrayed or represented by anyone with the same disAbility as that character with autism, then this wouldn’t be as BIG of an INJUSTICE as it is. But far too many in this industry just look away and will not pay attention to this so that they do not have to feel any guilt for not doing anything about it! Therefore this portrayal and representation, which is already very limited in movies and television, represses the voices, visions, and performances of those who actually know what it is like to live with a disAbility. This is true for all but the very few and far in between exceptions for those with a disAbility that can represent and portray the characters in movies and television – and of course I talk a lot about paraplegics – because I am one and I can represent as a writer and director on any movie or television production lot, studio or location! 

There are a handful of reasons that Hollywood does this, and I can and have gone on for several pages to explain these as well as what impact and the results these reasons have, but want to single out one that was used by the producers of the television show “Glee” who said that there wasn’t any actors with a disAbility that has the talent they wanted for their paraplegic character, Artie. 

Do you think the talent pool of actors with a disAbility will grow and offer more choices to be cast in these roles of characters with a disAbility if they continue to dismiss the talent of actors with a disAbility and casting able bodied actors in these roles?

Dreaming for a opportunity to be hired as an actor for a single role, let alone a career as an actor in Hollywood, if you have a disAbility (and again I am speaking only of those who have the ability to represent themselves) is crazy, improbable, and nearly foolish when you consider the odds that an overwhelming amount of those roles will go to able bodied actors. Dreaming of and working toward becoming an actor in Hollywood is extremely tough as it is for anybody – but it is at least twice as tough if you are a person with a disAbility and the more visible the disAbility – like being a paraplegic using a wheelchair – the odds are astronomical – even getting an audition – let alone a fair audition, instead of the “parking lot” auditions because they were held in an inaccessible place – or when considering that most casting directors, directors and producers in Hollywood already have their mind up about what an actor with a disAbility can and cannot do. They have a barrier of attitude that is thinking but to be politically correct will not openly say is “we cannot hire a person with a disAbility – regardless of their talent – we don’t want someone like that in our movie. Nobody wants to see them up on the screen, they are not attractive people, they are not even whole people. We have to dismiss them as a real possibility for the success of movie with audiences.” And even when there is a character with a disAbility in their movie – they still cast an able bodied actor 99% of those limited opportunities.

This is not a guess or speculation – look at the movies – how many feature either a starring or supporting role those that have a disAbility? And out of them how many are written, directed or performed by a person with the same or similar disAbility? Plus I hear from actors with a disAbility on a regular basis – I hear horror stories of how they are treated, looked at, and considered as not even a possible actor for any role. They have the same passions, desires, dedication, dreams, training and education that their able bodied counterparts have – but the “opportunity and hope” that the Hollywood sign symbolizes is not the same for those with a disAbility.

This is what I fight for and work for, an “opportunity and hope” to provide an authentic representation in movies. This is why I modified the Hollywood sign to be a symbol for Abilities United Productions. Where ever you see it on the website and click on it it will take you to the home page!

HollywooddisabilitySign

I write movies and hope to direct those movies that give those of us with a disAbility a fair and equal representation, expression, inclusion on the big screen! I have also written and developed all the material necessary that proves how and why this “opportunity” can be and will be successful. Now all I need is the key people – the Hollywood players and makers – to at least give me the opportunity to show what it is that I have – the “London Time” screenplay, the Abilities United Productions business plan – the blueprint that shows what movie elements and the marketing strategies that are necessary for box office and critical success which will in turn will change their attitudes and barriers to using those with a disAbility in these creative roles.

I believe then the Hollywood sign will not need to be modified to be “a symbol of dreams, a symbol of opportunity and hope” for everyone – and finally for those with a disAbility. After all, if an Austrian bodybuilder can immigrate to American and move to Hollywood to become the biggest action hero, then certainly Hollywood will take a chance on a paraplegic homicide detective character, which is authentically represented and will become a hero for all those in a wheelchair! That is why “London Time” has to be produced with a professional independent budget – $8-15 million, and secure professional independent or major distribution contracts – and to get that we need talent, Hollywood Star talent that provides the attention not only with audiences for success at the box office but with these key elements of funding and distribution that will raise the quality of the film that audiences expect and require when shelling out for movie tickets.

So yeah, despite the realities of Hollywood’s current environment toward those with a disAbility, the incredible odds that are against me to stand firm in my commitment to produce a high quality film that has specific elements and strategies that will break the Hollywood stereotypes and go against the industry wide discrimination of those of us with a disAbility.     

 

I will keep hope alive and just like Schwarzenegger said “I did what the Terminator was supposed to do, which is to jump into action. And…in order to do something like that a lot of people had to jump into action” so I am now engaged in attracting and attaching these key elements, “a lot of other people” such as: the Hollywood Star Power talent, experienced executive producers, entertainment attorney representation, public relations and publicity, all that will contribute to securing the production funding and distribution that will make “London Time” a very attractive option to movie audiences that include the huge and completely underserved target market segment of disAbled consumers, as well as mainstream moviegoers world wide! Do you know one of the key personnel? Are you one of these key personnel? Call me, email, contact me – let’s make a movie that is entertaining for all and what history will record as a significant “turning point” in American cinema for those with a disAbility so that the symbol of the entertainment capital of world, “The Hollywood sign will welcome dreamers and artists and Austrian bodybuilders from around the world, to continue coming over here for generations to come” with or without a disAbility!

The “Lost” Wheelchair

Of course I have several issues with Hollywood’s portrayals and representations of those with a disAbility – and of course even more on those specifically who are paraplegic characters! But it is even more disappointing when a movie or television show that I love, admire and respect cannot even fake it that well. As an example was a blog entry I made a couple three months ago about the BBC show “Inspector Lewis” that is shown in a first run here in the States on PBS’ “Mystery Masterpiece Theatre”. And I have been meaning to make mention of another of my beloved television shows, one of the few created and filmed here in the U.S. and is also loved by many, “Lost”.

I have been a fan of “Lost” since the very first episode which I could not miss because it debuted right after my then and still all time favorite television drama show “Alias” (which as strange as it sounds one of my career dreams is to work with every one of the key players and makers of “Alias”) which both shows were created by genius JJ Abrams. I love the attention detail, the characters, the story, the history, the photography, direction, all of which combined with the wonderful performances I think is what makes these shows so fantastic, great, the best on television. And in “Alias” it was great when in one episode of season 4, they cast actor Alan Toy as a character in a wheelchair and he is a person with a disAbility who uses a wheelchair. Bravo to those who cast Alan in that role.

In “Lost” one of the great characters John Locke, portrayed by Terry O’Quinn whom I think is a brilliant actor, is a paraplegic character! For those who do know, the character of Locke was paralyzed from a spinal cord injury after a fall out a building window years before the show opener that had airliner Oceanic Flight 815 crashing onto the island where he survived and miraculously he immediately found that he was no longer paralyzed as he stood up and walked on the beach of the island with the other survivors!

WOW! Okay, so in this instance there has to be an able bodied actor which I have no beef with. And the idea of a paraplegic walking again borders on fantasy, but on what we come to learn is a very mysterious island where all kinds of strange and super natural events happen, it becomes a plausible and enjoyable dream! A wonderful balance in story and character that even those audience members who are paraplegics can accept and therefore enjoy without going, “Yeah, right! Give me a break!”

So where is my problem? The show mixes the current plot of the survivors surviving on the island with flashbacks of the characters before they crashed on the island. In those flashbacks with the Locke character, he is a paraplegic and where we find out how he was paralyzed. But what is so disappointing, and what my beef is, is one of my pet peeves commonly used with paraplegic characters in movies and television – portraying them using the most basic wheelchair – what we call the hospital chair! It is a standard steel metal frame, a cheap sling back which a paraplegic who broke his back wouldn’t care it is terrible for support of posture (yes sarcasm added for emphasis’), high bulky armrests, standard foot rests, push handles, and all in all very basic.

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Oh and if that wasn’t enough, they rarely if ever are using a cushion on the seat! Whether it is a hospital chair or a regular chair used by paraplegics there has to be a cushion to help prevent pressure sores. Not as glaring to the uninitiated but such an important detail if you are portraying a paraplegic in a wheelchair! Any paraplegic, doctor, nurse, or other disAbled persons who have to use a wheelchair for their mobility knows that if you sit in a regular wheelchair seat with no cushion they are extremely vulnerable to pressure sores. Sometimes Hollywood will portray an elderly person in a home health care facility using one of these basic chairs with a pillow on the wheelchair seat – and in some case depending on how often the chair is being used – that may be the case. But an overwhelming majority has to have a specifically designed seat cushion that will help to prevent pressure sores. They do significantly reduce the risk of getting a pressure sore (aka a bed sore) and that is why they can easily cost $400 or more to help reduce this huge health risk.

So it really irks me when I see a paraplegic character, one who is being portrayed as an established paraplegic and not one who is just leaving the hospital, using a hospital chair and one without a cushion as their everyday typical chair! It is almost like watching an athletic character playing basketball or football in a movie or television show wearing men’s dress shoes instead of sneakers or cleats! It is that ridiculous!

basketball_dress

The power of Photoshop! Nice shoes and socks, huh? Who cares what shoes a character is wearing? Or what wheelchair a paraplegic character is using?


This kind of hits close to home to me right now because my chair is in the shop waiting to be repaired – waiting for Medicare approval and then the repairs – so I have a “loaner” chair – which is great to have – let me say that up front – because without it – I am stuck in bed 24/7 – but it is a rather basic chair – a hospital chair. A big difference from my TiLite wheelchair which I love (yes it is an endorsement – are you paying attention TiLite – this is not a paid endorsement so if want please throw me a bone!!!) But even in this hospital chair, I am using my Roho brand air cushion that I think is the best design with air pockets to shift the pressure as I sit and move on my seat. Although I have gone through a few chairs and cushions over the years, I have always remained with Roho cushions since I was paralyzed 15 years ago (again not a paid endorsement so if you feel so inclined Roho send me a free replacement cover for my cushion!!!). 

Earlier this season in “Lost” there was a featured episode that primarily centered on Locke in flashbacks and what they call a flash sideways (if you watch the show you understand what that is) which he is not on the island and is a paraplegic. And when they showed Locke getting out of his wheelchair accessible van, on a wheelchair lift, but in that same old hospital wheelchair and without a cushion – IT JUST DROVE ME CRAZY! A show that is so good at details can make something this blatantly ignorant is very disappointing.

I guess this is just another glaring example that even when brilliant movie and television makers, like those on “Lost” try to fake the portrayal and representation of a paraplegic character they just follow the same old stereotypes of those that came before them in Hollywood. Perpetuating the images of paraplegics the only way they know or the only way they care to. Come on guys and gals of “Lost” even your disAbled consultant (which most often is a paraplegic and Hollywood uses as their excuse to be authentic in their portrayals) didn’t tell you this is a disregard to details? Basic details? Or even if you didn’t hire a disAbled consultant, you couldn’t find out this basic information on portraying a paraplegic character? One of the best, highest rated series in television and this is the best you can do – using a hospital wheelchair? Come on, a show with this kind of budget and that has raised the bar so high on its entertainment of American television can go so far below the bar of common portrayal of a paraplegic? No big deal, huh? Oh, I guess they couldn’t afford a real wheelchair. The hospital chair can be purchased for around $200 and a chair that a real paraplegic would use is around $3500. The strength of anything is measured only by its weakest link and this glaring dismissal in the portrayal of a major character does diminish the overall value in the show.

So tell me which one of these characters do you believe are actually paraplegics? Not just someone who is temporarily injured but is a paralyzed person living his everyday life?

John_LockeLost2

This is the John Locke character in a flash sideways segment. Does he look like he has been a paraplegic for the past several years as he is portrayed to be?

In another flash sideways segment (from an earlier Lost episode this season) that features the character Claire, who is pregnant and being rushed into the hospital uses a more modern “hospital wheelchair” (and very much like my current “loaner” chair) as you can see below.

LostClaire_Ep3_Season6_ABC1

Even Claire’s wheelchair would be a more believable chair for a paraplegic then the one they are using for John Locke, an actual paraplegic character! But lets look at another Hollywood television portrayal of a paraplegic character below.

Glee_Season1_promo_01_rs

Here is a promo picture for the character Artie who has also being portrayed as a paraplegic for the past several years. He is using a chair that is typical and not a hospital chair. This is downsized to fit in the blog but in a full shot you can also see there is a cushion that he is sitting on. Of course I have my issues with this character as can be read in the blog entry Glee is Everything to Everyone but at least they got this health and image portrayal issue correct! And what makes it this even more difficult personally, I love Lost and don’t care at all for Glee!

But nevertheless, which of the Hollywood television character portrayals do you believe is more realistic as a paraplegic? Does the fact that one is an older adult and the other is a high school teenager play a factor? No, it shouldn’t. Look below!

DanMurphy1

wheeler_vacuums

Tom_Muxie_businesst_RS

DaveNicholls2

All of these adults actually are paraplegics using their everyday wheelchairs. Not a sports chair to go play tennis or basketball – just their everyday wheelchair and this is how paraplegics live.

And none are using a hospital chair!

IF they had gotten a real wheelchair that a paraplegic would use, then the John Locke character would be a lot more believable as a paraplegic. It is kind of demeaning to me as a paraplegic that the image that is being portrayed of a paraplegic is one that uses a cheap, underdeveloped chair for those who are temporarily injured or sick. One that doesn’t care or respect his disability. And speaking of image – frankly it does have a lot to do with it. Aside from the health issues that a hospital chair does not address – the seating, positioning, including the proper back support, image is important. I can tell you as I go out in this “loaner” chair it does have an affect on me in both my health and self image. My chair is as much a part of me as my legs in function and as much as my clothes in image. But how is Hollywood suppose to know any of this when they only use able bodied to write, direct, and act in roles written as paraplegic characters! Obviously the John Locke character has to be portrayed by an able bodied actor, but if Hollywood did use paraplegic writers, directors, and actors for other roles of paraplegic characters they would know this and be able to address it with characters like Locke – which will only enhance and give depth and some authenticity to the character! And what will that hurt? Does the character of paraplegics not deserve the same respect in image and depth as all the other characters in movies and television? Well that is but one aspect I hope my films will change!

In this past week’s episode (“Everybody Loves Hugo” April 13, 2010), at the very end of the episode, in another flash sideways, the Locke character is wheeling across a school parking lot and gets hit hard and deliberately by a car – his body flies out of the chair and my second thought is a hope that the hospital wheelchair is demolished!

Look on the bright side – Abilities United Productions and my first feature film “London Time ” will show all of Hollywood how to portray and represent paraplegics the CORRECT way. In a respectful way and although it will also show how incompetent Hollywood has been in their portrayals – I hope it will set a new standard – a realistic standard – in a more genuine and authentic portrayal and representation of paraplegics and others with a disAbility! It is a shame that I have to blaze a trail only to raise the standard to being a basic and realistic portrayal. And I guess that is why I feel that because I take it further than merely realistic, to being authentic portrayals and representations is why I think history will record it as a significant “turning point” in American cinema for those with a disAbility. And everyone, most who will be able bodied, who joins with me in producing London Time will be recognized as blazing this trail and participating in the “turning point” in American cinema. So let me ask, “Are you in?”Tell others, visit my website, make comments here or on the website, follow me on Facebook (use my email address: Larry@AbilitiesUnited.com and/or also search for the “Abilities United Productions” page) and/or Twitter (@wheelrFilmmaker). Let others know this is an important issue to you, to American cinema, television, to the images and opinions of society in general and therefore on the population of 6 million  paraplegics in America and the additional 50+ million Americans with a disAbility. I am not just pointing out the issues, I am making a difference – providing a permanent solution but I cannot do it alone. I need you and many others to support with as little or as much as you can do. Do you even care that we are not discriminated against and instead allowed an equal opportunity to provide our own voice, vision, and performance with characters that are paraplegics and those with a disAbility who have the abilities and can represent themselves? If you are not part of the solution (in doing anything mentioned above to advance the cause, or the production of “London Time”, or even merely raise the awareness by voicing your opinion or adding your voice) then you are part of the problem. Take a moment and be proactive! Are you with me?

The Oscars

Wow! After the Golden Globes this season, I was a bit worried the proper credit would go to where I felt and thought it should go. Yes, I am talking about the credit the Hollywood Foreign Press lavished on Avatar and James Cameron. And it is not fair that I be biased since I have not seen, even to this day, Avatar. And because I think he is a brilliant storyteller on film. But that might be limited to unpolitical sci-fi and historical epics because I have read the Avatar synopsis, details on the story, and it seems aside from the technological breakthroughs and wonders, it seems like a tired old story with political agendas and a fairy tale ending portraying a person with a disAbility who becomes able bodied. A new twist in the same old fairy tale ending in which he becomes a computer animated able bodied blue alien smurf! I know that smurf crack was a little cheap but I didn’t originate it, I read it from some other reviewers!

 

But then the Oscar nominations came out and as usual I went right to the categories that I love, screenwriting, directing, and picture! Knowing that Cameron and Avatar won the Golden Globes and giving it that bump at the beginning of the awards season, I worried that it would sweep the entire season ending with the Oscars. Again it is not fair for me to say which is best because I have not seen all the nominees, but I did see and love, “The Hurt Locker.” I felt it was definitely the best picture I had seen in 2009 and wanted to see it get the credit and accolades it deserved but going up against a monster picture with the monster marketing machine of Avatar who had already won the Golden Globes?

But my faith was restored in Hollywood when the Producers Guild of America gave The Hurt Locker the award for best movie of the year, the Writers Guild of America awarded Mark Boal with best original screenplay for the Hurt Locker and then the Directors Guild of America awarded the best to Kathryn Bigelow! The chronology may not be correct because I have a terrible memory and do not feel like Googling it!  

 

So with all those awards that does give credit to the movie and the people who made it but the biggie, the Oscars! Here it was tonight – 9 award nominations for “The Hurt Locker” and despite the momentum it rightfully took from Cameron and Avatar, there was a little scandal many probably were not aware of (but I get the email
updates from Variety that keep me in the know) but one of the Hurt Locker producers got a hand slap (and banned from attending the show) for submitting a letter asking Academy voters to vote for Hurt Locker and ask their friends to vote for it over the mega-budget and mega-box office successful competition.

 I began watching the red carpet show primarily from my favorite local television network, KTLA channel 5 because I adore Jessica Holmes (and the main reason I watch the 9 o’clock hour of the KTLA Morning Show) who was one of the two doing the red carpet interviews (OK Sam Rubin I will give you props too but Jessica
is just hot, and cute, and sexy, and beautiful and, and, and!) and was thinking how the Oscars in the past usually upset me with their picks for the winners. Well, there is usually some that I agree with and some that I completely disagree with and every year it seems to be different on it being 70-30, 40-60, or 50-50! But as the stars walked and were interviewed, James Cameron came on screen, and despite my animosity toward him from dissing me for two and a half years, his gracious credit he gives to all those who work with him on his productions, and generally speaking about how regardless of who walks away with the awards that they all should feel like winners for being there, you cannot hate him!

 

On with the Show!

The Oscar show started out good although I was taken aback a little with a Broadway opening song and dance, you cannot help but love Neil Patrick Harris and the song was funny. And the hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin I thought was great compared to the last few years – the best from the past I feel since Billy Crystal.

And then the first award went to Christoph Waltz for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. I agreed that his performance was fantastic in “Inglourious Basterds” and my choice for the award. It continued to go well and when Original Screenplay came up I was a little torn because although Mark Boal won for “The Hurt Locker” which I already mentioned that I loved, I also was pulling for Quentin Tarantino because I love his work and the significance “Pulp Fiction” played in reminding me back in the day it was out in theatres of my passion and dream of being a filmmaker that I had put on the back burner to get a paycheck to pay the bills in 1994 and months before my accident. But still both “The Hurt Locker” and “Inglourious Basterds” were worthy to win the best original screenplay so I cannot complain.

 Later in the show the award for Best Cinematography went to “Avatar” DP, Mauro Fiore. Are you serious? Not that he isn’t an excellent cinematographer, but for “Avatar” which was nearly all done on green screen and animated computer generated images! “Avatar” did win for Best Visual Effects and who can deny that? That award was deserved but this is a little strange for cinematography!

 

In between those two awards was the award for Best Music/Original Score and I wasn’t too familiar with the nominees until I saw the nominees and the one I certainly recognized was Michael Giacchinio for “Up”.

I am a huge fan of the television series “Alias” which I have all 5 seasons on DVD and re-watch about once every 12-18 months! I took note of some of the bonus features at the end of the Season 2 where they did a featurette about the last episode of that season and JJ Abrams talked about sending the episode over to Michael Giacchinio to do the score and they showed him working on it. I always recognized that his music score on the show was spot on and when I saw how fast he did it – well his talent is amazing. I was thinking how great it would be to get him to score “London Time”.  He has also done two other favorite television shows – which just happen to be JJ Abrams creations as well, “Lost”
and “Fringe (which thank heaven was just picked up for a third season)” and has done movies – interestingly enough for JJ’s helmed “Star Trek” and a few other movies including “Up” which when the envelope was opened – Michael’s name was read! He just won the Academy Award for Best Musical/Original Score.

michael_giacchino-oscars

And while the night would go on to be memorable – to me I think Michael’s acceptance speech was incredible and right on top of the things that were memorable. He did not go through the typical thank you’s – instead he told of how from a young age his parents, teachers and friends all encouraged him to do what he wanted to do.  Nobody told him he couldn’t do it or that it was foolish to chase his dreams, but that he recognized that not everyone has such a support group and that they should know they can and should follow their dreams. It was a great speech and inspired me. I can say, many people in my life, have not been that great of support of my dreams. Nearly all of them think and some will actually say that I am “foolish to chase [my] dreams.” So, thank you, Michael. That was inspiring to me and I mean that above and beyond my desire to have you score my movie! After all, now that you are an Oscar winner, my chances of getting you on my indie film probably shot right out the roof, but I think your work is amazing and after that personal and unconventional acceptance speech you personally are amazing as well.

 

Best Director

Ok on with the show! Let’s jump to the other ones that I was most interested in! Best Director. Wow, it was great and groundbreaking with the first woman director winning the Oscar and inspiring to me – yes I am man and not a woman but still, Kathryn Bigelow is a wonderful filmmaker and “The Hurt Locker” was another fantastic example of her incredible talent as a director. And as a writer/director with a disAbility, it does give me hope that Hollywood would look upon me and others with a disAbility in this industry will be judge by our talent and work and not by how we are different from them and the past winners. And I must say that James Cameron was gracious as Kathryn was going up on stage he was applauding respectfully and where the cameras could see his hands. Not crazily like the over amphetamine Nancy Pelosi every time President Obama opened his mouth when he addresses Congress, but very dignified, especially since Kathryn
is his ex-wife and competitor for the Best Director of 2009! My congrats to Kathryn Bigelow for winning the DGA and the Oscar for Best Director!

 

Best Picture

With time having run out, Tom Hanks comes out and immediately opens the envelope for Best Picture, and happily it went to “The Hurt Locker”! A low-budget independent film, that had to find money and then distribution from outside the studio system of Hollywood, comes in and wins the top honors – 6 of the 9 awards it was nominated for. Independent films are still alive in Hollywood! And my faith in the industry is restored! They gave proper credit to the BEST even over their own super high budgeted movies! And finally here was a successful movie about the war on terrorism and I think it was successful because as Collin Farrell said when he introduced the best actor nominee, Jeremy Renner for his role in “The Hurt Locker”. Mr. Farrell said of the movie it was neither right nor left (politically) but about the people, the soldiers involved, and the story of what they had to do. I hope future war movies keep that in mind rather than preach their views about it. Meanwhile, independent films won on this night at the Oscars and that is encouraging. Especially movies like “The Hurt Locker” that are not all about special effects and huge runaway budgets! Other nominees if all categories prove this, it is about the story – such as “Precious”, “Up In The Air”, “Crazy Heart”, “The Blind Side”, “A Serious Man”, “An Education”, “Invictus”, “A Serious Man”, “The Last Station”, and others. In fact they dominated the nominations and the winnings at the Oscars, and throughout the award season despite the faith bending beginning at the Golden Globes. So Hollywood, keep it up and hey, how about a film about a paraplegic that is written, directed, and acted by paraplegics? A film that gives that authentic representation along with its portrayals in a movie that is entertaining to all? I have one that you might consider for next years award season! Providing we get it completed and find a distributor by the end of this year!

TV Writers Settle Age Discrimination

In case you didn’t get the news, it was reported last Friday in Variety that the decode long class action lawsuit of tv writers against the television networks and talent agencies was settled. Here is a link to the article:  www.variety.com/article/VR1118014185.html?categoryId=14&cs=1&nid=2854

The suit was because some writers claimed there was “systematic age discrimination by talent agents who aided and abettednetworks and studios by refusing to represent and refer older writersfor work at the studios.” I do not know all the facts of the case but I do not think there was any “industry reports or research” to support their cause – probably the fact that there were not that many show or programs that featured characters over the age of 40 – which was the age discrimination age group of 40+ so I wonder what a class action suit against these same agencies and tv networks would say if there were a disAbility discrimination class action lawsuit against them – especially when there is a industry reprot, commissioned and published by SAG in 2005, conducted by UCLA researchers that showed this industry is incredibly discriminatory against those with a disAbility?

I warned about this in a blog entry or two over the years – that IF they don’t listen to us, listen to me who not only knows the issues, but also have the solution ready for production, then what would be the next logic step? Lawsuits against them directly – and if they disn’t change the “system” to be more inclusive then maybe legislation and suddenly there is an “affirmative action” imposed on Hollywood to include those of us with a disAbility! Well now there is a legal precedent – so Hollywood – are we going to play? Softball or hardball? Its your field, you tell me? Either way, I’m game, and I am the star pitcher that will strike you out on every batter (issue) you bring to the plate! Its all clear, like the white elephant in the room, and someone is going to call you on it and when they do – count on a big smile on my face! Especially if I am the one directing them on call you out!

Do we need a check list?

Your so-called “Diversity Programs” that rarely if ever include a category for those with a disAbility and when they do they are only some minor outreach program that looks like your helping. If you did – where are the movies and television programs that feature those with a disAbility? Oh, yeah “Glee” and “Avatar” and yet the writers, directors, and actors who portray those characters are ALL able bodied. Hmmmmm, and after 3 years of trying to contact Mr. James Cameron for a little recognition and ask a couple of questions, might like to finally answer them in court that he never even auditioned any actors who were paraplegics for his paraplegic character – oh and he cannot use the excuse that he needed a A-List actor to attract audiences to his movie (as Hollywood loves that excuse) because he hired a no-named actor for the role.

Lets ask each TV network and Hollywood studio – how many people with a disAbility do you have or have you hired for creative roles – as writers, directors, actors who can provide the authentic voices, visions, performances of those with a disAbility? Where are our voices, our heroes?

I tell you what – I would much prefer to “settle” this issue before it becomes a lawsuit, before it becomes legislation, let’s settle with accepting my film “London Time” with the same production and distribution support you’d give any other worthy indie film! And when “London Time” becomes a mega-hit – which I know it will because of the movie elements that I have included go way beyond the authentic representation element then I will settle – with all those who supported me in the film and we will all smile as we travel in the car pool lane to the bank with our trash bags full of money! I would prefer that money, then YOUR money in the settlement! But again – this is your home field – how do you want to play it?

We will SOON see! Meanwhile I will continue with fund raising for the production of “London Time”! You have my number! I have been contacting many of you the past 5 years so you might want to ask your assistant who blew me off! I have a database with over 100 contacts – all with the documented times, types, and content of communications with you. Or attempted communications with you.

Your Honor, I would like to submit this database as exhibit A. The SAG report as Exhibit B, and the law suit settlement of the tv writers in the age discrimination as Exhibit C! Employment records of the Studios and networks for the past 5-10 years as Exhibit D! The charter and program outlines for the studios and networks Diversity Programs as Exhibit E! The results of how many films were written, directed, acted by those with a disAbility as Exhibit F! Statistic of those with a disAbility being the largest and fastest growing minority in America as Exhibit G!And then I would like to call actors with a disAbility who have been on auditions by the hundreds and never get cast in any roles – even those specifically written as characters with the same or similar disAbility to the stand!

WE are not going to continue to lose this battle in Hollywood! So again, how do you want to play this? My film? Or in the courts? And then to the Supreme Courts and have affirmative action for those with a disAbility to have fair and equal representation in the creative roles in motion pictures and television? Your home field. Let’s play!   

HAPPY 2010!

I am so excited now that the New Year is here! This is THE year. I already have things moving and I will have the funding for the company, Abilities United Productions, and the film funding for “London Time” by April 1, 2010. There is a very good chance it will be done before April 1, but that is the deadline I am setting. April has always been a very good month for me despite April 1st being the anniversary of my spinal cord injury in 1995. Like many others who have acquired their disAbility from an injury, it is also the date I survived and is a second birthday I celebrate each year. Not with a cake, candles, and presents, but I do celebrate life on that day! And this year it will be a huge celebration as I will be fully funded and preparing for pre-production on “London Time”!

 

2009 had its challenges, and as a brief update, I decided not to make a complete protest on James Cameron and “Avatar” but that was a business decision and certainly not a personal one! It was tough constantly being ignored by Cameron even after so many attempts I made on contact, to strike up a dialogue to work
together for a brighter future in American cinema and those of us with a disAbility, but I also felt personally and business wise that keeping our focus on what we do, providing an authentic, non-stereotypical representation of paraplegics and those with a  disAbility in general, rather than on how Hollywood is content with perpetual practices of discrimination, stereotypes, and a basic attitude that we should remain invisible. But I do continue to make those points for business purposes of showing what the environment is like and exactly how what I do will create a
permanent and historic “turning point” in American cinema by addressing, reaching, capturing an ignored target market segment that is very underserved but is a significant consumer market, how I will have crossover appeal to mainstream moviegoers by providing “entertainment” to both domestic and international
markets, to have a socially responsible, critically praiseworthy, and
commercially successful feature film(s) that authentically represents with great entertainment value for those with and without a disAbility!

And looking for the positives – “Avatar” is on pace to be the most successful box office movie in history and it does feature a character who is a paraplegic – a person with a disAbility! That is a step in the right direction and we will transform American cinema into an authentic roll in the right direction!

 

It is still essential for you and everyone you know to continue to speak up about authentic representation in non-stereotypical movies, such as “London Time” and the other film projects I have at Abilities United Productions. Make your comments, simple, brief, or long and complex at the “Authentic Representation in Hollywood” campaign page of my website; AbilitiesUnited.com/arh.html and sign up for the new
eNewsletter on that same page to stay updated on all things happening at Abilities United and the film production of “London Time”! Remember this is THE year! Encourage your family and friends. ALL voices are important in this issue and campaign. You are important in helping me prove to Hollywood players, makers and my investors that this is the roll in the right direction and many do support what I am doing with authentic voices, visions, performances and overall representation of those with a disAbility! So let’s get going this is an exciting new year! GO 2010!

The BIG Shebang!

Over the last 2 years I have tried to contact James Cameron
and start a dialogue on how we can work together to bring authentic representation of paraplegics, of those with a disAbility, a reality in Hollywood. For the last 4 years, Mr. Cameron has been working and filming his new movie “Avatar” which features a paraplegic character in a science fiction story who uses a computer to operate a life like avatar of an able bodied alien. But all of my many, many attempts have been ignored or dismissed by not responding.

 

I am a paraplegic filmmaker and business man and I have to
know if I am giving 100% support for or in opposition to “Avatar” and its’ portrayal of paraplegics – and generally of all those with a disAbility. Regardless of which support I give, Mr. Cameron’s casting of Sam Worthington is done in the Hollywood tradition of portraying but misrepresenting those with a disAbility. So how can I support it? I cannot change the casting – but I can provide and do provide film projects, like “London Time” that does provide the authentic voice, vision, and performance of a paraplegic – of those with a disAbility, and I have proposed to Mr. Cameron that if he would simply admit that at the time he cast the relatively unknown
actor, Sam Worthington in the role of a paraplegic character, that he did not realize how significant a disAbility is to the identity of those living with a disAbility BUT now that he is aware of it, he supports the authentic portrayal and representation of paraplegics – of all those with a disAbility who can represent themselves. And in a show of his support he is supporting Abilities United Productions, and more specifically, my feature film, “London Time” that will finally give the authenticity to a featured character and story about a paraplegic and those with a disAbility in a featured film.

 

Either way – with my support of “Avatar” that includes James
Cameron’s new awareness and support of authentic representation of paraplegics, or in opposition because of the lack of Mr. Cameron’s support, this will put the spotlight on the issue of representing ourselves and how my company and films provide a solution – a complete solution in every aspect, from the social, critical, and commercial factors of a wide release motion picture that features the authentic voice and vision from the writer and director, yours truly and the authentic performance of a paraplegic actor, yet to be cast, all of which provides 100% authentic representation – instead of the long history of Hollywood’s stereotypical portrayal and misrepresenting of paraplegics and
those with a disAbility in general. The time is NOW!

 

What’s the BIG deal, Larry?

 

If the character in any movie was specifically written as a black man, would you cast a white actor?

 

What? It’s not the same thing?

 

Why – because you can immediately see the difference between
a black man and a white man? Can you not immediately see the difference between a paraplegic man using a wheelchair and a standing able bodied man?

 

It is a lot more than that!

 

Yeah, it surely is! And so I ask – is the life of a
paraplegic not as difficult to live as a man of color?

 

Every aspect of my life is directly affected by my disAbility. In every social situation, at a party, in a business meeting, on a date, trying to get a date! And with the many economic challenges, of getting a job, making enough money to support my disAbility, going into a bank to try and get a loan. I am faced with stereotypes and discrimination everywhere I go and that is on top of the huge physical challenges I go through on a daily basis, the obstacles, the barriers, the physical and emotional pain, the way people
look at me, and a ton of other issues that make my life – and that is exactly what it is – my life!

 

Hollywood Stole My Identity

 

And all of these challenges that I face in dealing with my disAbility as a paraplegic, make my disAbility a HUGE factor in my identity.
Not just in the fact that my identity is nearly always described right up front and is labeled right away since most do not call me a man – they call me a handicapped man, disAbled man, a man in a wheelchair, a gimp, a lame man, a man with a disAbility, a paraplegic man! By them not recognizing this, by not portraying it, by misrepresenting me, in movies and television is the same as
stealing my identity.  That along with the images of stereotypes in movies, that society often basis their opinions from, of paraplegics and those with a disAbility on, is offensive!

 

Tell me, why is it offensive if a white actor plays a character who is specifically written as a black person but it is not offensive for a able bodied actor to represent a character specifically written as a paraplegic?

 

Is it because it is easier to fake? Just putting a person in a wheelchair makes them disAbled?

I can tell you, it is offensive to the nearly 6 million Americans who live with paralysis in some form that requires the use of a wheelchair. And believe me the other 50+ million Americans with a disAbility would also be offended because they can relate and understand how it is to be stereotyped and discriminated in movies and television. To think that any able bodied actor can understand what this life is like by reading a book, by talking or hanging out with a real paraplegic, to simply use a wheelchair for the few weeks before production begins, or even through the common practice in Hollywood of hiring a “paraplegic consultant” to be behind the camera and advising the actor on how to “act” paralyzed is incredibly moronic. And it is even more offensive because this disAbility is one that can be easily represented by actors who are paraplegics – and there are plenty to chose from.
Contact the Screen Actors’ Guild and their Performers with disAbilities (PWD) committee – not to mention the many more who do not belong to SAG because they cannot get a job acting in a movie that would give them the credentials to join!


I hear from both SAG and non-SAG actors with a disAbility all the time! And by the way – to answer the often used excuse by Hollywood and more recently on Broadway by the producer of the new production of “The Helen Keller Story” who say that they need a name recognized actor to draw in audiences – and that there were none available that had a disAbility. My answer is there never will be because you continue not to hire any – so how will anybody ever get to know their names? You will not cultivate and help make a star out of an actor with a disAbility. The results are their continued use of this excuse, of perpetuating the misrepresenting of those with a disAbility. And also there are co-starring roles that a name recognized actor can portray and draw in the audiences. This is part of my business model and my screenplays as I am writing my characters, I make sure I have strong and exciting characters, first and foremost for my audience, and then also to attract actors with the Hollywood Star Power factor to play opposite my actor with a disAbility! I know that Detective London, my 21st century “Ironside” type character would not be nearly as exciting without his professional and personal relationship with Marci Waters or his homicide partner, Detective Richmond, in “London Time”!

 

But nobody will know this if Hollywood continues its practice of
discrimination, of stereotypical portrayals, and misrepresentation all stemming from their repressing the authentic voices, visions, and performances of paraplegics and those with a disAbility that CAN REPRESENT themselves!

 

I have an answer to every question or objection to using a paraplegic screenwriter, a paraplegic director, and a paraplegic actor. And based on experience, vast research, and basic common sense, I have created a business model, a company, and several screenplays that erase any and all objections to authentic representation of paraplegics – of those with a disAbility, and would end the perpetual cycle of Hollywood practices of stereotypes and discrimination that will be socially responsible,
critically praiseworthy, and commercially successful. And just for a small example, go to the website – AbilitiesUnited.com and surf around looking at the Feature Films, the “London Time” page that is entertaining and authentic in both portraying and representing! And the newly created “Authentic Representation in Hollywood”
campaign page!

 

On your Mark. Get Set. GO!

 

Which brings us to the end – or as the saying goes the beginning, because the end is where we start! I am waiting until the Tuesday,
December 1, 2009 to begin the marketing campaign that will raise the awareness of this issue, this cause of authentic representation in Hollywood. It will include the viral marketing of a YouTube video (there may be more than one – but currently I am making one that is awesome!) and a complete internet campaign that will target
every website, forum, and board, that mentions any movie that features a character who is a paraplegic or has a disAbility and is not authentically represented in voice, vision, and/or performance of an actual person who is a paraplegic or lives with a disAbility. I will provide links to each one where all you from this blog, my website, my Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter page followers, can go and add your comments about their portrayals and misrepresentation of paraplegics and those with a disAbility in general! Yes, this will heavily weigh in on the December 18th world wide release of “Avatar”! And this includes the aforementioned, all out internet protest (through mine and your commenting) and a physical demonstration of hundreds of people (location in Los Angeles pending! Watch our website and this blog for more information – and then watch your mobile devices such as iPhone for Google maps and detailed information.)

 

Personally, this is not what I want – not only is this difficult because as a filmmaker I admire and respect James Cameron as a masterful storyteller on film, but it also costs a lot in time, effort, and expense that I would much rather spend wholly on the promoting of “London Time” – on providing the answers to the authentic representation and portrayals of paraplegics and those with a disAbility. Not on having to demonize the stereotypical and discriminating practices that Hollywood perpetuates on those with a disAbility and using “Avatar” for what it is – a prime example.

 

Left or Right? Up or Down? High or Low?

 

But if I hear from Mr. Cameron and he does wish to work together in the positive nature of authentic representation of paraplegics and those with a disAbility in movies and television – this “prime example” spot light on “Avatar” will switch to support and we will use that forum to make the change in Hollywood that will end the offensive dismissal that being a paraplegic, that having to live with a disAbility is not a big deal and that Hollywood will finally give those with a disAbility – who can – who have the Ability to represent themselves – the same fair and equal opportunity that give all other minorities!

 

The change is coming – we are at fork on the road where James Cameron is at the center of and it is up to him on which road we will take. And no response is a response – the high road or the low road? Either one will get us to the destination of change in Hollywood!

 

Join me right now. Go to the website, AbilitiesUnited.com and click on the link to the “Authentic Representation in Hollywood” to add your comments and thoughts about this change coming to Hollywood! And if you wish, also join my brand new eNewsletter and you will get all the latest updates and information about “London Time”, Abilities United, The Authentic Representation in
Hollywood campaign, and on which route “Avatar” will play in our march on Hollywood!

Authentic Paraplegic Filmmaker