Indispensable Foundation Hollywood is calling on disabled creatives to be more inclusive, a community that is often looked down upon for jobs and removed from conversations and studies about diversity. People with disabilities make up more than 20 percent of the population, but rely on less than 1 percent of representation in film and TV.
Founded in 2021 by Richie Siegel and Marisa Torelli-Pedewska, the non-profit organization was originally started with the aim of supporting writers with career disabilities. But as he began talking to groups and Hollywood executives in the diversity and equity inclusion space, he faced challenges.
“We have this dual mission when we started: It was about funding and mentoring writers with disabilities and increasing the number of characters on screen. That second part turned out to be really problematic because we talked to executives and others. And they say, ‘Oh, great, I’ll call you when the disabled roles come out.’ No one ever called us, shared Seagal StarzInaugural #TakeTheLead Summit Thursday evening in Los Angeles.
He continued, “And we started to realize that by concentrating on-screen and off-screen, it was starting to pigeonhole the writers we care about so deeply, so we gave up on the onscreen mission.” gave in and instead focused on the workforce—no one has ever raised that objection again… They are great writers. First and foremost, they are disabled writers second.”
Invisible Foundation recently released accommodation costs The report looked at all the hurdles disabled talents face while trying to get housing.
The report found that 30 per cent of the disabled talent had to pay out of pocket for their accommodation. These post-tax, post-representation-commission expenses are a dent to the income of disabled talents.
Also, to support a disabled crew member (based on a budget of $47 million), the production budget would increase by only 0.033 percent on average.
“I think this issue will become very front and center in expanding the range of disabled crew, workforce and talent in the industry,” Siegel shared. “We are really open to any kind of progress that companies can make to start wherever they feel like it.”
In response to their findings, Siegel and Torelli-Pedewska assembled a creative team consisting of creatives with all disabilities from 5 different countries to promote that there is no diversity, equity, or inclusion without a disability. .
“The campaign consists of 8 or 9 guiding questions that prompt the industry to think about how they can do their part,” Siegel said. “Some questions are: Why don’t people with disabilities make up 20 percent of your leadership teams? Why don’t people with disabilities make up 20 percent of your employee base? Is disability tracked as a metric and we are the tangible diversity report ‘
And you don’t have to be a Hollywood executive to help make room for creatives with disabilities—anyone can be an ally.
“I am an ally in this work. I do not identify as handicapped and so when we look at the industry, if 1 percent of talent is disabled then 99 percent of allies can be,” he said. “And that is very important because The people in power usually aren’t handicapped. It’s a great opportunity to really step up and stand up for this population, which has a lot of stories and a lot to add to the room. It’s an incredibly creative population and at the same time they live in a world that is not designed to allow them to thrive. So the whole industry can seamlessly be collaborative and we are excited for it to happen.”