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RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Great entertainment requires authentic stories, and authentic stories require the creativity and talent of people with a variety of lived experiences. In the entertainment media industry, the impact of working with people with disabilities behind and in front of the camera can lead to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. While 1-in-4 adults in the U.S. have a disability, only 3.5% of onscreen characters have a disability. Furthermore, 95% of these representations are casted by nondisabled actors. The need for inclusion in the industry is more important and recognized than ever before, and it is crucial for authentic storytelling that the disability lens is applied to all aspects of the process.

Comprised of diverse people with disabilities, RespectAbility’s entertainment media consultants partner with studios, production companies, writers’ rooms and news organizations to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. Since 2015, RespectAbility has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and a dozen films by partnering with studios and productions from development all the way through production, promotion/publicity and impact/outreach campaigns, often from the very early stages of a writers’ room, in addition to ad hoc requests.

RespectAbility team members have conducted trainings for and consulted on projects with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, CAA, DreamWorks, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment, ViacomCBS, The Walt Disney Company and others.

Consulting Scope of Services:

The most common requests are sensitivity reads and script development; casting and talent consultations; referral or staffing services including disabled writers, directors, crew, actors and more; creating reference videos for animators; and reviewing animatics and rough cuts of live-action content throughout the production process. We also are able, but are not limited, to consult on the following:

  • Ongoing writers’ room consultation and script development
  • Site visits / trips to the field including set accessibility checks
  • Help ensure accommodations are made through connections to ASL interpreters, live captioners and other resources
  • Disability-specific one-pagers for crew
  • Creating reference videos for animators to accurately depict a disability or a conversation in ASL
  • Reviewing animatics and rough cuts of live-action content throughout the production process
  • Media training and talking points
  • Promotional and publicity support (i.e. marketing campaign development and panels)
  • Creating personalized resources, study guides, or toolkits for productions
  • Trainings and workshops including issue-area presentations for writers’ rooms, crew trainings, network executives and other audiences (topics include Disability Representation & Inclusion 101; Producing Deaf Content & Working with Deaf Performers; Media Accessibility & Audio Description; and other specialized trainings including disability-specific workshops)
  • Referral or staffing services including disabled writers, directors, crew, actors and more
  • Facilitating connections with people with specific lived disability experiences and serving as a liaison and collaborator with experts, writers and creative executives

All consultation requests involve bringing an individual with the specific disability in question to the project. Occasionally, the request may be outside the scope of our work. In that case, we will make introductions to other organizations and individuals that can better service the request

Please email Vanni Le at VanniL@RespectAbility.org so we can assess your needs. Our team of consultants with lived disability experience and industry knowledge is ready to assist you in your process to ensure authentic disability representation.

 
Alexander Howard smiling headshot

Alex Howard

Entertainment and News Media Fellow, RespectAbility

Alexandra Grossi headshot smiling in front of a wall

Alexandra Dean Grossi

Writer

Andrea Jennings smiling headshot

Andrea Jennings

Music Business Advocate/Event Producer

Andrew Pilkington portrait with him using a wheelchair

Andrew Pilkington

Producer/Writer

Andrew Reid headshot in front of a tall building

Andrew Reid

Director

Ashley Eakin smiling headshot

Ashley Eakin

Writer/Director

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

Writer/Actress/Advocate

Delbert Whetter smiling wearing a suit jacket and glasses

Delbert Whetter

Producer

Emily Kranking smiling headshot

Emily Kranking

Actress/Writer

Eric Ascher smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eric Ascher

Communications Associate, RespectAbility

headshot of Gail Williamson

Gail Williamson

Talent Agent

Harold Foxx headshot

Harold Foxx

Actor/Comedian/Writer

Kiah Amara smiling headshot

Kiah Amara

Production Access Coordinator/Producer

Lachi smiling headshot seated backwards on a chair.

Lachi

Recording Artist/Composer

head shot of Lauren wearing an orange blazer, smiling and facing the camera color photo

Lauren Appelbaum

VP, RespectAbility | Disability Inclusion & Accessibility Consultant

Leah Romond smiling headshot

Leah Romond

Attorney/Producer

Lenny Larsen smiling headshot

Lenny Larsen

Development Executive/Producer/EP

Lesley Hennen smiling headshot

Lesley Hennen

Writer/Producer

Nasreen Alkhateeb smiling headshot

Nasreen Alkhateeb

Writer/Director

Rachel Handler smiling headshot. Rachel is a white woman with brown hair down to her shoulders, and is wearing a black jacket and red shirt

Rachel Handler

Filmmaker

Roque Renteria headshot smiling

Roque Gregorio Renteria

Writer/Comedian

Shaina Ghuraya smiling headshot

Shaina Ghuraya

Writer/Director

Shireen Alihaji smiling in front of a fence

Shireen Alihaji

Documentary Filmmaker

Tatiana Lee smiling outside in a parking lot.

Tatiana Lee

Actress, Activist and Senior Associate, Entertainment Media, RespectAbility

Vanni Le smiling headshot in front of a staircase

Vanni Le

Entertainment Outreach Program Manager, RespectAbility

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East Coast: 11333 Woodglen Drive, #102, Rockville, MD 20852

West Coast: 5115 Wilshire Blvd, #231, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Office Number: 202-517-6272

Email: info@respectability.org

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