And I take this opportunity to correct myself… Yes, I’ve learned to be humble and recognize and hold accountable those who are doing what they must. In this case, Hollywood, production companies, talent agencies, theater because they all make the obvious decision to hire individuals with a myriad of diagnosis, that in previous weeks, months or years they would not have been considered.
Two years ago I had written the exact opposite headline – Hollywood can’t handle talent with a diagnosis! But, lo and behold, as I stated, I correct myself.
Why is this happening now? Is it enough? What else needs to take place?
Our experience with a production company out of L.A. (HopLite Entertainment) confirms things are changing… and it is incredible.
HopLite hired my daughter diagnosed with autism. They wanted to film Rainbow Mosho for a major network — yes please say it with me… a major network investing in quality productions to share a variety of messages the masses must witness, discuss and enjoy. We are elated. We are thrilled. We can’t wait to see the final product.
But, I can write about this experience in a positive tone and strongly urge others to seek these opportunities…
Because I, the parent, was involved in the process from start to finish.
Because I, the parent, recognized this was an incredible occasion and was beyond receptive to the ideas presented. I was also able to help Rainbow Mosho enjoy this break and discover that her diagnosis will not stop her from achieving grandiosity.
The greatest production crew in the industry was at our disposal to keep bringing out everything that makes Rainbow be her. Five days of filming were all about her and a variety of organizations in the state of Tennessee that are opening the doors to people like Rainbow (All Stars- Scott Hamilton Skating Academy; Beale Street Art Crawl and The Arts Company).
And they made it all so easy. And they were so flexible and understanding. And they were willing and ready to listen to everyone involved to guarantee the strengths and challenges of a person with autism were presented in an accurate manner. This is so important because when millions of people will be enjoying this production, it is a must to guarantee reality is shared. After all, the main goal is not to show her face. The main goal is to guarantee her story can be a source of inspiration for others as they face they same realities we do.
In our reality, physical limitations were not the main source of detailed exchanges. It was so important to be heard when explaining how would Rainbow react if exposed to a different schedule or what could be done in case pain attempted to limit the completion of filming for the day (and this did happen and it was handled so professionally by all). Bottomline, we all learned from each other.
To answer my questions above… In my opinion, this is happening now because the media is realizing our stories sell. Networks are willing to invest in productions that not only highlight a reality many insist on rejecting or accepting. Networks and major studios are also being influenced by personnel who face the same dilemmas we do.
Is it enough? Of course it is not. Yet, it is a great start.
What else needs to take place? Talent agencies, filming studios, producers — they all must communicate and hire individuals like me who are willing and able to invest the time in first of all, keeping their child safe and second, recognizing the value of our stories. Let’s not forget… what we have survived while raising our children is beyond worthy of being presented in T.V. and movie theaters. Also, not all stories are funny or can be romanticized because there is plenty of value in reality, raw, crude, at times entertaining and some times disturbing.
Come on Hollywood! Come on Netflix! Come on cable channels! Come on film festivals!
Keep embracing us. Continue to hire us and pay us fairly. Do not be afraid to break molds and do things completely different from they way it’s been done for years… Enough we say!