Turning Point in American Cinema

I just read in my Variety Daily email that Julia Roberts and Brett Ratner have pacted with Reliance, the entertainment conglom in India. And in the same email, that 20th Century Fox is making its first Arabic-language feature film after inking a deal with Moroccan director Hicham Ayonch to develop and finance, “Samba.”

And this isn’t the first of these. Last year when Dreamworks and Paramount divorced, it was quickly announced that Dreamworks was to re-marry and basically be under, Reliance. And there was a huge mega-deal in 2007 with Warner Bros and Abu Dhabi to make Arab friendly movies. Warner Bros VP of international division, Richard Fox said, “There’s a huge population of Arabic-speaking youth that needs to have their voice in cinema, and their own heroes.”

Nothing is wrong with any of that. You got to go with the money, after all this is show business. And its great giving voice in cinema to those who don’t have it and especially when it is for a large audience of potential ticket buyers!



  • But do they have to go international to do it?
  • Do they think they have exhausted all the underserved markets here at home?
  • Will they continue to overlook the largest and fastest growing minority in America?
  • And except for comic books and sequels, is this where American cinema is going?

And In 10, 20, 50+ years from now will this be remembered as a ”turning point” in American cinema? I mean will people look back like we do now on the significant change in American cinema for black characters and people in the 1960’s and specifically with roles starring Sidney Poitier?

It can and will be when my work, Abilities United Productions has launched our first of many feature films. Will any of these Arab or Indian crossover, friendly American films do what we will?



  • Giving an authentic voice, vision, and representation to Americans with a disAbility that have been unjustly silenced and forced to have able bodied be our representatives for the over 100 year history of American cinema?
  • Help pioneer the breaking of Hollywood stereotypes on Americans in movies and television which has a huge influence on our culture and in turn our society? The images of Hollywood go a lot further than just entertaining audiences. The impact is much more then just a reflection of American society and most often influences the opinions and subsequent actions on causes and people by our society.
  • And what about how my work and my determination to hire only actors with the same or similar disAbility as my characters will help end the blatant, industry-wide discrimination of those with a disAbility? Will any of those films be remembered as having a large effect on AMERICANS?
How many Americans? Will it be anywhere near the 56 million Americans with a disAbility? Or the impact it will have on their family and friends to see their loved ones finally portrayed as genuinely, authentically and honestly as a part of the American Scene as they know that their loved ones deserve? And if we conservatively just add one family member or friend and expand this niche market to 112 million Americans that will be deeply affected will that not be more significant than Arab friendly movie? You could add all of the Arab Americans including all of their family members of the same decent and the Americans from India and all of their family members, and you would not get near half the 56 million Americans with a disAbility, let alone the additional family or friends that doubles that number to equal ONE THIRD of the AMERICAN POPULATION!

So what is Hollywood so afraid of?

Or even a better question since the bottom line in show business is business, why is Hollywood so blind to the number of this market segment? Why do they seemingly not care for an instant and loyal audience of 112 million American moviegoers? And since Hollywood does rely on the global market for significant revenue, we can certainly expand our reach. As we already know the global market is often much more likely to attend a movie that features a character out of the norm. Especially since they can identify with being out of the normal when it comes to Americans! And the U.N. has estimated that there are 650 million people with a disAbility around the world!

That ought to be enough to make Hollywood at least consider what I have to offer! Especially since my work goes well beyond just sticking a character who uses a wheelchair in the middle of a screenplay. And I have detailed elements and marketing strategies in an 80+ page business plan to tell exactly how to reach and capture this audience in even today’s rough economy! With the commercial aspect covered, I also bring an authentic voice that will not alienate or offend the disAbled community! And it will do so much – for so many!

Come on Hollywood. Who has 10 minutes for me to explain how YOU will have a significant impact on American cinema, if you partner with me and will last more than a lifetime? Someone will take me up on this because I will not stop and then the rest will be recorded in history as a significant “turning point” for those with a disAbility in American cinema.

Will it be you or your competitor? Tomorrow might be too late! Yeah, you better get your assistant to find my number before history records that you were one that did NOT act when such an opportunity was revealed to you!

Advertisements

Boston Legal Suit

I watched Boston Legal this week as usual, even though I don’t like being politically preached to every week, I love the characters and the actors portraying them. Including John Larroquette and his character who this week went on to sue the television networks for discriminating against the elderly! The similarities toward those with a disAbility that I have working and shouting about for years was remarkable! Only it is even twice, five, ten times worse with any representation for those of us with a disAbility have on television or movies (oh come on. At least the elderly market had “Murder She Wrote” and “Matlock” which is still in syndication. Its been 40 years since “Ironside” and no reruns on TV Land!).

Still the stats Larroquette’s character spoke about in and out of the court room is what had me cheering at the tv! Most were so identical to our cause here. From the market size which I forgot the exact number he said it was for the elderly Americans but ours of 56+ million Americans with a disAbility, to the spending power of the disAbled consumer market which for us in 2001 numbers is over $1 trillion in aggragate income and $220 billion in discrectionary spending power, both of which he quoted the stats of the elderly market of. to the market demographics of who is watching television (and I might add movies) and yet where is the targeted programing for either of these market segments of the most prolific entertainment consumers?

So kudos to David E. Kelley for bringing up the issue that should be as obvious as a white elephant of ignoring and even discrimination that are common in network and even cable network programming and production practices. Although it was part of the Boston Legal swan song with only 1 or 2 more episodes left in the series at least someone who is on network television has the balls to speak out against the networks! Now let’s keep the ball rolling (no, not Kelley’s balls!) and make a difference. Make our voices heard so that all of Hollywood will recognize the injustices they are unknowingly or uncaring about those of us in the LARGEST and FASTEST growing minority – which by the way as more and more Baby Boomers enter retirement age more and more will also join the disAbled community and therefore why it is predicted that the disAbled community will retain the status of largest ans fastest growiing minority for some years to come.

So listen up Hollywood Dearest. If 56 million Americans is not enough for you to give any respect to, maybe you will when that number becomes 70, 75, 80 million and the voices get louider. Do you really want to wait until you get your balls handed to you as its splashed all over the media on how repressive and disciminatory you have been before making a difference to a very significant market segment of entertainment consumers? When it will be revealed how negligent you have been to us for years – even after the warnings that I have been sending you and calling you about and that you CHOOSE to ignore. Will that be the crowning jewel or the crown of thorns in your contribution to entertainment, your career, your life? Call me!

“Rolling Thunder” part deux

This summer has had another blockbuster season, but I have been stuck in a hospital bed and have not seen a single one of them!  But being in LA the news on television and in the LA Times gives me alot more information than any other city I have lived in and of course info on the protest surrounding the premiere of Ben Stiller’s new movie “Tropic Thunder”.  I have read the contraversial part in the film and for me it comes down to language, equal treatment, and representation. 

I have spoken before about language and the politically correct era we live in.  I am not that politically correct but I will give you an ear full if you call me a handicapped person!  The origin of the word “handicapped”  comes from cap in hand, a person who holds a cap or hat upside down in their hands is often associated as a begger.  The image is also often with a person in a wheelchair.  So, I am not a begger although because of my disabilities and the often unacceptable society, I do have to ask for help and those situations handicap me but I am a person first and foremost who happens to have a disabilty.  If one has to label me, I am a “person with a disabilty” and NOT a handicapped person. 

Of course I speak on physical disabilities because I am a paraplegic from a spinal cord injury 13 years ago when I broke my back.  But the language used to label people with developmental disabilities can be just as insensitive and demeaning if not more so.  Using the word “retard”  or  “handicapped” is as much as a slur as “nigger” or “faggot”.  Yet I didn’t read anywhere that even with Robert Downy Jr.’s character in Blackface that any racial slurs were used.  Society has deemed those as politically incorrect and not to be used.  Yet those with a disability are once again not given the same consideration.  As if living with a disability, physical or mental, is not as significant, not as important as a persons skin color or sexual preference.  And even though I have mentioned this before, but the numbers are staggering.  There are approximately 40 million black Americans, the same for Hispanics, and 15 million gay, lesbian, and transgender.  And 56 million Americans with a disabilit.  Some say that that is a low number and there are actually 62 million with a disability.  Either way, clearly the largest and has been the fastest growing minority in America and yet society doesn’t give us the same consideration and respect. 

So language and equal treatment is obviously a part of this “Tropic Thunder” controversy.  Lastly I again I have to talk about representation.  If there were more, or today’s Hollywood, any authentic voices and representation of those with a disability in movies and television then the tongue and cheek satire like that in “Tropic Thunder”  would create the same controversy as the Blackface.  It could actually be less offensive given the context and genre of the film.

Since the only representation those with a disability have in Hollywood is limited, stereotypical and all of pend, helmed, and performed by able bodied, each reference is that much more significant and has to be protested.  If the only representation and even references are a slur to get a laugh or to magnify stereotypes and it is easy to see why each one is offensive regardless of the context.  I wonder how black Americans would feel if all representation of their lives was done by white actors in Blackface.  Or all representation of women were written, directed, and performed by men. 

I am here in Hollywood to not only hold this mirror up, but to also say “Look at this protest.  Can you imagine the box office of a film that authentically represented this huge market segment that often ignored or when recognized is only humiliated” I can not only imagine the great potential for commercial success, but I have the creative works and a business plan with step by step details on how to capitalize on this socially responsible genre!

Hello, Hollywood

I haven’t been around for a while and I am sure this update will explain. 

I have returned home to SoCal!  Got here in the middle of May and spent time with friends and hanging out at some of my favorite places like the Huntington Beach pier and O’Neil Park and the rolling hills behind Lake Forrest.  But all of them are in Orange County and an hour drive (if traffic is good) from Hollywood, Studio City, Burbank, etc.  So as much as I wanted to find a place to live in OC I was determined to live closer to the action (no pun intended!) and be able to network at the many events and functions.  So, after almost 4 weeks living in the OC (thanks John for letting me stay on your couch) I found a place only minutes away.  4 days before moving in I went camping at O’Neil Park for 2 days.  They have a wonderful wheelchair acceptable facility.  But on the second night I was enjoying my camp fire and the star filled sky and set my foot on the fire pit’s concrete ring which was next to my hot dog buns.  So I know the temperature was safe.  Muscle spasms was the reason I stretched my leg out and set my foot on the concrete ring.  The muscle spasms continued and my foot fell off and so did my shoe.  I set my shoe up there and my bare foot on top of that.  No biggie, right?  Well there was a steel plate that bordered the inside of the concrete ring.  It went 10 to 12 inches above the ring and my foot leaned against it.  It was there for about 4 minutes and when the spasms didn’t cease I moved my leg and set my foot up on my other leg so I could do some range of motion on the foot.  When I touched the part that was leaning on the steel plate, I found that I had burned it – real bad!!! 

The local ER doctor patched it up and gave me silverdine cream and bandages to treat it until I could see my primary doctor, which I don’t have at this point!  No use in looking for one in OC when I would be moving to LA in a couple of days! 

During the same time, I was also feeling a pressure sore directly on my tail bone.  And, same thing, just wait till I got to LA to find a primary doctor.  The day of the move I didn’t feel that good, in fact, I didn’t move much out of my van except for the neccessities for the night.  The next morning I woke with a terrible fever and feeling really bad.  So, although I am finally here in LA county, I still didn’t have a doctor to call so I went to the local doctor.  I figured they would patch me up, give me some meds and maybe help me find a primary doctor and I would be on my way!  After all, the LA Film Festival was getting started the next day and although the host, Film Independence, rejected my application for the “Fast Track” program because as Josh Charles said “I was currently a 1 man show.”  I thought that was what the “Fast Track” program was to help fix I still was going to network at the LA FIlm Festival. 

But it was worst than I thought and I was admitted to the hospital with 3rd degree burns and a serious pressure sore.  They did a skin graff on my foot and treated it with special foam bandages that have medicine in it and changed the bandage on the pressure sore daily.  I was on a specially designed air mattress and had to turn from side to side to stay off of it to heal.  In mid July, a month later, I was transferred to a rehab and skilled nursing facility to continue daily treatment, air mattress to lay on my side to stay off of it. 

I am still here in this facility located in Conoga Park, still only minutes away from Hollywood and Studio City but cannot do much.  I am away from my computer because it is a desktop and I don’t have a laptop.  In fact, this blog entry is being dictated to my brother who is good enough to type this up for me (thanks Jason!) 

So, although I am extremly glad to be back in SoCal where I grew up, the circumstances have become another big challange as I can’t really do the work I so want to do in raising awareness and eventually the finance and distribution deals to end the discrimination and break the stereotypes with those with a disability.  I am hand writing some letters and doing all that I can to do whatever I can from this damn hospital bed!  I just found out I should be ready to go home around the end of September.  So, please be patient with updates as I will get to them when I can.  Do not worry I will never give up on this cause and my pationate work.

Reap What You Sow

I was re-watching “Trainspotting” on television recently and a song that played repeated the words about reaping what you sow. And the metaphor which is commonly used crept up into my mind using my work in it for the first time and as usual I grabbed my pen and some paper and began to jot down those thoughts.

 

I’ve been tilling the ground in my garden for many years now. I have cultivated the area into some rich and fertile soil. I have planted some hybrid seeds that through my endless research and work I have created and am fully prepared to make into a healthy crop. My garden is in the entertainment field and I have done all that I could and used all the resources that I have at my disposal and have waited for the one crucial resource that I do not control – water. It has not rained in many years. In fact it has been decades since substantial rain has fallen on this part of the entertainment field and maybe is the reason why I was able to place my garden firmly in this area of the field. But I certainly expected that if I were to cultivate this harden and clay like ground into a rich and fertile soil and plant it with my specific hybrid seeds, the water would come.

It’s worked in Arizona!

 

When the heavens still did not open up over my section of the entertainment field and onto my garden – I spent more time creating a wonderful irrigation system and went to those with abundant water resources to help me – give me some life giving resources and promised with a complete plan on how I can make a healthy and profitable crop when the harvest time comes and share with them the great rewards to compensate for the water.

I first went to the entertainment farmers, those who have great big gardens and could supply me as they have many other farmers and asked if they would send me a shipment of water in their trucks but none would even accept my inquires because of not being a member of their entertainment association and because I was tilling the ground they have either written off or never even considered to be a potential success for a garden.

The Banks and even the Government

So I changed my focus and after a lot more work created a proposal for the business community – the traditional water suppliers for all types of farmers and gardens. To my surprise even after having a complete business plan written and showing exactly how I expect to make a success out of my garden and have a wonderful crop they would not consider my proposals. It was not so much because of where in the entertainment field I have my garden but mainly because my garden is in the entertainment field itself and that is one they consider to be far too risking. When that came to light then I adding the fact that I am a minority farmer having a severe disAbility and because there are special programs out there to help those who just happen to be in a rural area – a less developed area of the country – I pointed out that my garden was located in the banished area of the entertainment field – yet I was unable to get far enough to show how I WILL overcome the objections and make something out of nothing and in an area that nobody has succeeded at before. When it was apparent that the traditional supply of providing water by trucks was obviously not going to happen, I dug trenches right up to their reservoirs and asked that they merely open the gates and allow some water resources to flow down and into my well designed and crafted irrigation system. But to no avail as they said this method is reserved for other farmers and gardens and that they only provide these exceptions to other less fortunate minority farmers and that they did not consider those with a disAbility as being among the disadvantaged (The Small Business Administration does not and in FACT you have to submit an exception form that includes proof that your group is both socially and economically disadvantaged in American society! This is when the facts are clear and known everywhere that the disabled community has the highest rate of unemployment and where laws have to be enacted just to make sure there is access to public and private areas of social gatherings and commerce.)

Back to the West

So I refocused and returned to the only place known to help those in the entertainment field and that was the farmers and workers in the entertainment field. Excited with more detailed information and a blueprint, my complete business plan that also answers any and all questions and objections to helping one who has his garden in the formerly known barren ground and area of the entertainment field and that I also dug trenches right to their water resources and so there is little they have to do to reap what I sowed – but I knock and knock and they do not even answer the door.

Over 96 entertainment farm owners, entertainment farm workers and those associated with supplying the entertainment farmers I have contacted and many of them multiple times and still less than 2% have even responded. Of those that did respond it was merely a polite and maybe PC gesture that all ended with “it is a great idea and I wish you good luck in your endeavors.” Not to say that I am not grateful for the encouragement and praise that have given me for my passion in this garden I have created – but it does nothing to help make the garden grow!

Many Moons and several Almanacs

This has gone on season after season, year after year and without having water to grow what I have sowed – there is nothing to harvest and nothing to reap! After a few years and continuous efforts and hope and faith that it will happen the next season or by the next year – I think you can see how my frustrations have been gaining in strength and size. But I still push on and even though I have had to work in other gardens by farmers or farm owners most of which are not in the entertainment fields but that is because they will hire a minority from my community of those with a disAbility. Some of these have lasted a few seasons but usually only lasted for a short term and regardless of the length I was always consumed with the thoughts of my own garden. Especially after I got it to the state as it is now – completely prepared and developed so much more than other first time farmers or wannabe farmers with a garden in the entertainment field.

Pie in the Sky

There have been times when I had to use a portion of the garden when I was sold on formulas and methods that promised a great crop and a lot to reap during a harvest that would not take as long as most and usually will less effort. I took the time and effort and resources to follow things such as internet marketing, affiliate marketing, pay-per-click Adwords, writing copy and many, many others. I would give it all my effort as I do with anything I am involved in but when I finally gave into the fact that it was not going to work I would till under the ground that I used for it until by necessity I was seduced into a different formula or method that promised big rewards all because my simultaneous efforts to attract water to my garden continues to go unnoticed by the others in the entertainment field.

I really am tired and don’t know how I’m keeping alive. I have very little income which currently is coming only from government subsidy due to my disAbility, I’m in debt and the only good thing is that I cannot qualify for any more personal loans to get me further into debt.

Purple Rain

I counted on being able to get some water by now. In fact I thought I would surely not only have the life giving resource but would also have reaped the rewards of my first harvest well before now! And when a couple of more seasons passed and a couple of years passed the point that I expected I began to rely more on hope and faith – and it became a daily hope that something would turn that day. That was a few seasons ago and so I am sure you can tell where I am today and although I have never just sat and waited or expected to have someone come by and give me help – I have always gone out there and asked and searched for assistance and you can see for yourself when you look at my work that I have shown on the website – exploring all areas of my garden and my trials and tribulations! But there are times when I sit in the middle of the garden and hold my head in my hands and wonder what is going to
happen to all of this.

I used to be so happy and celebrate whenever any farmer in any field would overcome the obstacles and reap rewards from their garden and especially those who where members of other minorities that gave me hope that I would also have a day when I was able to reap – hell, I just want to be able to grow in my garden! But lately I am so tired and so frustrated that I’m not celebrating with them anymore. I am still happy for them and although I still do NOT ask “Why me?” I am wondering “Why not me?”

Recently seeing the whole nation being swept up in a Big Give to those less fortunate and many following that example I wonder what it will take to harness some of that from those who can afford to give. I have a cause and a mission that will give so much too so many with the labors in my garden that I cannot understand why I couldn’t find someone to help. Even if not for the cause or the mission – what about for the person? For a less fortunate farmer who despite the incredible challenges physically, emotionally, financially and socially that is added due to being a paraplegic and living with a disAbility all hours of all days!

Going to Market

 

I have tried to gain attention with descriptions of how colorful and how sweet the fruits of my garden will be once we get them some water to grow and then finally harvested. But that has not seemed to work so I use descriptions and details on how powerful crop will be and what it will bring at the market – which has a great chance of being very successful based on all other factors I have included in my garden and the farming of it! But that hasn’t brought any awareness or support either – sooooo even with the social conscious of this garden being what is so needed for so many is not touching the hearts of those who can help I know that the main issue of all of
this is that I have not been able to get it in front of those who have the power and means to help. Once I do, I know I will be able to sell them on the idea or the chance of this barren land in the entertainment field becoming an oasis of success both socially and commercially! So I am no longer waiting for the perfect time to go to Hollywood and instead I am going and I will take it directly to them – meet them at film festivals and other entertainment field gatherings! How long will it take before I get that appointment – until I get that attention to have them consider an appointment? Yeah, yeah, time will tell – it’s been over 12 years now so I can only hope it will not be too much further in the future!

If you see me passing by your garden or at one of the many entertainment field markets I do hope you’ll come and shake my hand and say hello. Eventually all will know who I am and what I have done in this once barren section of the entertainment field and I will remember all of those who said hello and all those who ignored my proposals and labors just because my garden wasn’t originated in a
prosperous section of this vast entertainment field!

What is the Problem?

Some think that if the issues I bring up about the authentic
voices and equal opportunity to represent ourselves as people with a disAbility
is such a problem and has as much of a deep impact as I proclaim then why
hasn’t it been addressed before?

 

That is a good question and I am sure it has been addressed
but was obviously squashed before it got any momentum. First is the stereotypes
and the way that most of Hollywood believes that only the stories and
characters that fit into the stereotype can be made into a movie. I know this
first hand as I have told you before that I have had my screenplays reviewed by
some who requested that I make changes to make them more stereotypical. But I
refused and besides how many stereotypical movies can you do? How many movies
that focus and center on the disAbility, or are surrounded by a political
agenda or how many after-school specials can you do?

 

But it is not all on the industry. You have to look at the
very nature of the disabled community. Most of us do not want to bring any
attention to ourselves and especially if it deals with our disAbility. Why?
Because the very image and opinions of general public – the American society
are that we are needy, dependent, unable to contribute to society and more of a
drain on our welfare and medical system then most. This is the image and
opinions we fight against and therefore do not want to bring any more attention
to it. If we protest and scream about the fairness and equal representation in
movies and television – or any cause for that matter – it will only contribute
and perpetuate the very image and opinions we are protesting! Serious catch-22!

 

And of course as I preach about the influence that movies
and television have on our culture and our society’s images and opinions – the
very stereotypes and even the essence of the problem is connected so much that
it is the main reason why the endless cycle continues. BUT this is where it
must start – in movies and television programs. We have to break through – I
have to break through to a producers, financiers, distributors so I can get my
vision, my authentic voice and representation in front of the ultimate group to
break through to – the audiences!

 

This is where it is a win-win. I want to get in front of as
many audiences as possible. And so along with the specific 3 elements that I
have included in all of my film projects, I also include the elements that all
successful movies and moviemakers are looking for – a well crafted script
(which has its own elements that make it more likely to become successful and
considered “well crafted”), and the very next thing – Hollywood star power –
name recognizable talent which I know I can and will attract to my co-leading
roles next to my character and actor with a disAbility. I plan to first attract
this
Hollywood star power by pleading the
cause and how great it would be for them to help me in breaking the stereotypes
and helping end the discrimination against other actors! Then when they agree
to look closer at the project I can get them to read the script where I know I
will capture their desire to portray the co-leading characters in my movies.

 

The main elements of a professional independent production
budget and distribution deal that includes a respectable P&A budget that
other successful movies have is where I am fighting and have been fighting for
the past couple of years!

 

But just like my fellow individuals with a disAbility
working or trying to work in this business – I not only face all the same
challenges that all of my able bodied counterparts have in getting funding and
distribution support – but on top of that I am fighting the stereotypes and the
discrimination the industry has on those with a disAbility – the very
stereotypes and discrimination that my film projects address and will break! Another
catch-22!

 

I cannot wait until we finally get the first step – the
first roll in the right direction of this change that I have planned for and
prepared to become a permanent solution to ending the seemingly endless cycle.
It will be like the snowball effect and depending on the success of the first
film (or size of the hill the snowball is rolling down) the faster it will
become. And just maybe one that I think is a very good possibility if given the
proper production and distribution support, will become a literal gold mine –
the mother lode of independent films and one that I have prepared and planned
already for so I can mine it for a very long time! This is the win-win
situation in where I get to have the social issues addressed and provide the
authentic voice and representation AND the financiers and distributors all make
a healthy return on investment. This affords me the opportunity to continue and
provide the long term answers to the current problems and finally break this
catch-22 forever!

 

And because I am a person who cannot be squashed and will
not go away – I will make my film projects with the proper production and
distribution support this cause deserves and will not back down until I get it
– all of the social issues that I have been preaching AND the commercial
success that is possible will come together in the same projects. How do I know
about this? I have worked it from every angle for the past 12 – 13 years and I
know and I can make it happen. It’s just a matter of who will I be able to
influence to assist in this process? Are you that person? Do you know that
person or someone who might be that person? Whether big or small contributions
– big or small abilities that you have that can be added – United to this cause
will be significant and never be forgotten.

 

Will you join with me?

What Do You Think?

Do you think the
general publics’ opinions, views, and treatment of those with a disAbility are
fair and equal to those who are able bodied?


 

Do you think those with
a disAbility deserve to be treated fairly and equally? Is that only in some
circumstances, or all aspects of society?


 

Do you think some of
the opinions of society, the general public are influenced by their culture?


 

Do you think that
movies and television affect the culture?


 

Do you think that
repeated stereotypes and misrepresentations in film and television can
influence the opinions, views and treatment society has on a people, a class, a
minority or subgroup?


 

Did you know that
nearly all representation of those with a disAbility are written, directed and
performed by able bodied individuals? Does any able bodied person know what it
is like to live everyday with a disAbility – and with the knowledge that it
will never change – even after production ends?


 

Do you think that
disAbilities, such as paralysis, deafness, or blindness and others are
significant to the identity of a person just like their gender, race, age, or
sexual orientation?


 

Did you know that in
the 2005 Screen Actors Guild report on those with a disAbility showed that most
in the industry believe that actors with a disAbility can only be hired for
roles that were specifically written as characters with a disAbility? Did you
know that nearly all of the already limited roles that are written specifically
as characters with a disAbility are cast using able bodied performers? Double,
double standard or merely just double discrimination?


 

Did you know that there
are over 1200 SAG certified performers who bravely admitted by self identifying
themselves as a person with a disAbility even though they know their disAbility
will be stereotyped and discriminated against in the industry?


 

Do these performers and
others such as writers and directors with a disAbility deserve a fair and equal
opportunity to represent themselves in movies and television? Can you see the
significance of this – just as any person within the majority representing a
person of a minority subgroup?


 

Would these honest and
authentic portrayals affect the stereotypes propagated and perpetuated by
Hollywood and eventually influence the opinions, images and treatment of
society on those with a disAbility?


 

If you could, with
minimal effort, be able to help change all of this, the discrimination, the
stereotypes, the non-genuine representations of a person not belonging to a
specific minority subgroup – through supporting authentic voices and
representations of those with a disAbility – just as fairly and equally that
all other minority subgroups have in Hollywood – would you?

Authentic Paraplegic Filmmaker