RespectAbility Children’s Content Lab for Disabled TV Creators, 2022
Maddy Mermelstein is a creative based in New York City. Though she began college with the plan to become a special education teacher (something she still wants to do someday!), she graduated from Boston University with a degree in Film & Television and Sociology and a concentration in Spanish. Deeply passionate about the potential impact of television that uses humor to discuss significant social issues, she started her career path in Late Night TV, where she worked at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
After spending a semester at WGBH working for Arthur (yes, the aardvark!) and doing some soul searching during the pandemic as a 2020 grad (though didn’t we all), a lightbulb went off and she realized that the intersection of her passions, particularly education, humor, and advocacy, lent itself perfectly to the world of children’s media! She is currently a Research and Executive Assistant on the Dora the Explorer reboot at Nick Jr., where she is learning from some of the best and brightest in the ‘biz. She intends to fill the screen with characters and stories that she wishes she had seen as a child, and to continue Fred Rogers’ legacy of teaching and affirming children everywhere – from all backgrounds and abilities – that they are special.
After an extensive search and interview process, 15 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s inaugural cohort of the Children’s Content Lab. This new Lab provides education and training for disabled writers, animators, and creative executives interested in preschool and children’s television and streaming content. Supported by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, the Children’s Content Lab spans five weeks and includes in-person programming in New York City with production partners 9 Story Media Group and Silvergate Media, a part of Sony Pictures Television.