“Answering the call for Inclusion in the entertainment industry, two down-on-their-luck buddies open Diversity Casting in their garage. Will their first big client put their money where their mouth is?”
BEHIND THE SCENES
Read more below about the Disability Film Challenge, why we made the film and what the challenges were.
Read the insights and comments from the Producers and Cast.
And check out the awesome RESOURCE section.
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#InclusionRiderMovie #disabilityfilmchallenge #InspireChange
People With Disabilities In USA
Characters With Disabilities Seen On TV
Abled-Bodied Actors Playing the 2% of Characters With Disabilities
Although people with disabilities make up nearly 20% of our population, they are still significantly under-represented on television. What compounds the problem is the fact that even when characters with disabilities are featured on the small screen, they are far too often played by actors without disabilities.
The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge gives filmmakers – with and without disabilities – the opportunity to collaborate and tell unique stories that showcase disability in its many forms and support Easterseals’ goal to change the way the world defines and views disability, so everyone can reach his or her potential.
Why I did the project
I learned a ton about what can be planned from the beginning of production to make a finished film completely accessible. The considerate way to do Closed Captioning or Open Captioning with high contrast and font choice for people with dyslexia, the ways to technically add Descriptive Audio later or the better option – to integrate it in the script with narration, voice over and descriptive dialogue. Although not completely part of the rules of the film challenge, we wanted to see how close we could get to make our film completely accessible. I look forward to putting these challenges on myself when creating my next script and finding innovative ways to tell a story. It has been said a good movie is a movie that can be understood with the sound off. I want to make films that can also be understood with the screen off. Compelling storytelling both visually and aurally.
My personal goal
There is a frankness that disabled people have when they are asked directly and honestly to share about their situation. I, for one, find it refreshing being able to discuss my disability when being asked about my needs or concerns when it comes to how a story is being told or addressing the possible physical barriers of a set. Once we knew our main location I immediately looked for the barriers, reached out to my wheelchair bound actors and we created solutions for steps at entrances, craft table height and a barrier free location, bathrooms and change rooms. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to feel they had been left out or were not considered. I know what that has felt like throughout various aspects of my life. I mean who likes to be stuck on the sidelines of a sporting match and keep score rather than play?
Tips for future entrants
As a writer I enjoy the parameters a challenge like this presents. The story elements provide a springboard for creativity. Nothing is going to affect your story more than genre. Themes/motifs are somewhat fluid and can adapt to the perspective your story is taking. Locations/settings and props need to be gathered quickly as your script becomes realized. You can plan out your technology production side – what Camera your using, making sure camera works with editing software, how you will deal with capturing sound, lighting (you got a day to shoot so maybe avoid night scenes) and gathering crew to run all that. You can plan casting by gathering as many actors possible to have ready so you know who you’ve got, you’ll want to start this early as I found some of the disabled performers were already attached to other teams – it helps with the immediacy of writing the script to have an actual face to put on a character when writing.
Why I did the project
I will always jump at the chance to work with my good friend, Rick Howland. This is our third project together and I hope to be involved with many more. A good partnership in filmmaking not only helps to jumpstart the process, but lowers the odds that you will see it through to the final credits. Two heads are better than one, especially in such a collaborative art form as filmmaking. Of course you can go it alone, but with no one there to bounce ideas off of, some terrible ones invariably make the final cut. Our quick editing of each other’s inspirations helped streamline the process and reduced all aspects of making our movie to its most fundamental and necessary.
What the challenges were
This particular shoot posed specific challenges. Without knowing what our script would be the day before, we had to have a pool of actors ready at a moment’s notice in case we included characters that suited them. In addition to that, we had to have a variety of locations in mind that we could shoot in depending on what our story ended up being These considerations, along with making sure we had the right video, audio and lighting equipment ready at a moment’s notice, were key in making sure we could pull it off. Although we didn’t use it, we also had a vehicle on standby for transporting actors, crew and gear in case we had to travel any distance to shoot.
People get hungry and thirsty, so hearty snacks, water and juice also needed to be on standby and transportable. Shooting where we did in Los Angeles, we made sure we had plenty of sunscreen and umbrellas in case we shot for hours in the blazing heat.
Advice for future entrants
Advice I have for future entrants is to be flexible, open minded, highly creative, resourceful and above all, remember that it’s all about having fun. If you don’t have fun making the movie, the audience probably won’t have any fun watching it.
We asked our cast to share how and why they got involved in this film project, and to share any thoughts they had with us. Not surprisingly, all these wonderful, unique, diverse, talented individuals support diversity on screen. They have either experienced the exclusion themselves, or know fellow actors who have. We all feel it’s time for change.
We want to thank all our amazing cast and crew for your honest and committed participation in this project.
Pablo Gutierrez III
“After the car accident at age 14, medical bills were crippling our family – we had lost our house, business and lives, and Easterseals stepped in and helped us. I am very grateful to Easterseals for that support and I was therefore excited to be part of this project, to give back. I support diversity and universal design and am hoping this film will educate people.”
“I have systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and it’s really important for actors who are disabled to be included in mainstream television shows and not just in a guest starring role or in a very special episode. And I don’t think we are well represented as it currently stands, so doing a project like this with Rick which shows the diversity of diseases and disabilities and the stories that go with them that are not being told, is really important to me.”
“I really wanted to started working with other disabled actors and so I wanted to be involved in this project. I think it’s incredibly important that we include the disabled community in all media because we make up 20% of the population and that’s a huge chunk, and we need to see that on the screen. And in the writing rooms. And behind the camera. Pretty much everywhere.”
“Being a woman in this day and age, everybody has a story about the lack of diversity, and even the title of this film #InclusionRider Movie is amazing because I think until recently, no one probably knew what an Inclusion Rider actually is. So I think that now that that’s been brought to everyone’s attention, and people are more aware of the need of more diversity and with things like the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, this is a new age in Hollywood, so I am hoping women will be cast in a lot more roles in film and on crew.”
“I remember being a little kid and I never saw anybody that looked like me on camera and the first time I ever saw somebody that sort of resembled me, it was in the Disney cartoon The Jungle Book. And it was Mowgli. And I was like “Oh there’s a little brown kid on camera”, not fully realising it was a cartoon and that also now as an adult when I revisit that movie, the features of Mowgli were very white. Just his skin tone was different. And I never really had any representation of that until I became an adult in theatre school and I saw other people that looked like me in this business trying to do the same thing. But it was really hard as a little kid not seeing anybody that looked like me on TV or film. It’s a really great movement, it’s 2018 right, doesn’t there need to be more of this on screen and reflect everybody? I think so.”
“It’s an important cause, and I feel like I haven’t been doing work lately that has involved a meaning with importance such as this one. So I am happy to be involved with it. I have been very fortunate but I know people who have fallen victim to it and it’s hard to watch. It’s interesting to see diversity through the lens of other avenues such as the ones that we are touching on in this project.”
“A lot of people will be surprised to know that I am diverse. So, there’s that! In one experience, I was auditioning for a teacher, and I was replaced when they realised they already had an Asian teacher. So I was replaced by a white middle-aged man to be the new Science teacher. Funny story, that while middle-aged man was my husband – I got replaced by my white husband. There is a need for real diversity not just token diversity.”
“I have known Rick Howland for many years and have had the pleasure of working with him twice! I was happy to jump in and help with this project because I can see how important it is to talk openly about diversity (or lack thereof) in this industry – and by diversity, I mean ethnicity, disability, age or gender. Being from a mixed background, I have had the awkward issue of not looking ‘ethnic’ enough or of looking too ‘exotic’ for a role. We don’t all fit in a neat pigeon hole!”
“Before I knew what the premise of the short film was, my friend Todd asked me help out and I said yes. Then, when I got here I learned that the project was about diversity in film and equal opportunity for everyone and I thought it was great. The whole purpose of an actor is to tell stories of the human condition and I get lucky to work with other artists who come from other geographical places, other ethnicities, other families, other socio-economic backgrounds and it’s benefited me to hear their stories.”
Erik came on board to do our behind the scenes photography and videography. He is not only a brilliant photographer, but he had a passion for the content, the purpose of the project which was priceless.
Photo credit: Erik Fischer
Tom jumped in to help us as our Boom Operator and we were so fortunate to have him – thanks Tom!
“He is a seasoned AD and a lifelong gear-head, and loves cars despite the bad experience with the Chevy Vega, and has raced sports cars and restored cars all his adult life. He has lived in LA and in Vancouver B.C. and is a proud citizen of both the U.S and Canada.” per IMDb