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Laura Alsum

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2020

Laura Alsum smiling headshot

Laura Alsum

Born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, Laura Alsum spent her childhood enjoying less physically demanding pastimes, including reading books, watching television and movies, and creating elaborate stories with her dolls (complete with high-stakes drama, backstabbing and murder mysteries). Pursuing a writing career seemed like the next logical step.

Alsum earned an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA where she won an Alfred P. Sloan prize for her original script Survival of the Fittest. Since then, she has written additional feature screenplays, a novel and television pilots. She co-wrote a webseries, Disability Etiquette, for Denver’s Phamaly Theatre Company and wrote a short film for Women in Film and Media Colorado, which was produced for a TEDx Mile High session. She is drawn to stories about complex characters who explore life beyond its day-to-day meaning.


After an extensive search and interview process, 30 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2020 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 5-week, 15-session virtual summer Lab series for people interested in – and with experience in – development, production and post-production, including careers as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, animators and other production roles, will take place June 16 – July 16, 2020. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. Learn more:

This program, which continues building the talent pipeline of young professionals with disabilities looking to work behind the scenes, is made possible with support by:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation and The Walt Disney Company
  • Gold Sponsors: Cast & Crew, Comcast NBCUniversal and Final Draft
  • Silver Sponsors: Fox Corporation and Sony Pictures Entertainment

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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