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Headshots of 20 RespectAbility 2022 in-person Entertainment Lab Participants

Vanessa Pegram

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2022

Vanessa Pegram smiling headshot

Vanessa Pegram

Vanessa Pegram is a comedy writer, chronic illness warrior, and script reader who founded and runs Script Rx Consultancy, a script notes service. Growing up, she was the chubby, weird girl at school who didn’t realize she was chubby or weird. Raised by a single mother in the Midwest most of her life, Pegram preferred to sit in her room creating stories rather than dealing with the chaos of adolescence. Now as an adult with more self-awareness (probably), Pegram naturally chooses to write half-hour, female-driven comedies about strong, independent outcasts or lovable weirdos with hearts of gold. Pegram earned her B.A in Fiction Writing from Columbia College and put to rest any hopes of her joining the family business of pharmaceuticals. Oddly, she chose to leave the “snowmageddon” winters of Chicago for sunny Los Angeles and earned her M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Pegram also wages a daily war against several chronic and autoimmune conditions, including Lyme disease and PTSD. Living with chronic illness has taught her that mental health is as important as physical health and that sometimes you just have to laugh through the pain. This is a theme she now embraces in her writing along with striving to make the invisible visible while advocating for so many other chronic illness voices that unfortunately slip through the cracks.

Learn More

After an extensive search and interview process, 20 individuals were invited to participate in the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2022 Entertainment Lab taking place June 7 – July 14, 2022. This 6-week, 18-session Lab aims to further develop and elevate the talent pipeline of diverse professionals with disabilities working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age from people in their 20’s through their 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.

The Los Angeles Cohort of the 2022 Entertainment Lab is made possible with support by:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation and Netflix
  • Gold Sponsors: The Harnisch Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and The Walt Disney Company
  • Silver Sponsors: Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NBCUniversal
  • Location Sponsors: Bunim-Murray Productions, DreamWorks Animation, Endeavor, Lionsgate, Nielsen, and ROSIES Foundation

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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