"What's Out There for Performers-with-Disabilities: Resource Opportunities Available Now" - Vince Staskel-MediAbility

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Cover image for  article: "What's Out There for Performers-with-Disabilities: Resource Opportunities Available Now" - Vince Staskel-MediAbility

One of the perks of being involved in the promotion and production of performers-with-disabilities is to interact with some of the best practitioners of same in the industry.


1- TheMedia Access Office (MAO) has been on the forefront of preparing and promoting actors-with-disabilities since 1980. Established by the California Governor's Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities to improve employment in the entertainment industry. Headed by Gloria Casteneda the MAO serves as a liaison with studios, casting directors and producers to present their consumers for acting roles. They also provide technical assistance on productions and talent development.

The MAO holds their annual Media Access Awards honoring actors, producers, and writers for honest portrayals of disability and inclusion. Contact the MAO at gcastene@edd.ca.gov or at 818-409-0448.

2- Meet The Biz Workshops hosted by actor/casting director David Zimmerman. David has been holding his monthly networking workshops for over a decade. Entertainment Industry newcomers have an opportunity to meet and learn for established professionals in all aspects of show business. For more information on fees and locations please contact David at info@meetthebiz.net or at 323-868-9913.

3-Exbound (Expanding Boundaries through Arts and Entertainment). Created by producer Michael Steiner Exbound enables performers-with-disabilities a chance to display and promote their talents to a wider audience. In 2006 they were the first organization in history to tour China with musicians with disabilities. This included performing a concert on the Great Wall. You can join Exbound on Twitter at www.twitter.com/#1/Exbound.

4- I AM PWD (Inclusion in Arts and Media for Performers With Disabilities) is a joint tri-union coalition of SAG, AFTRA, and Equity to foster and present disabled actors on stage and screen. They work within the entertainment community to fully integrate their members with disabilities with increased employment and casting opportunities. Their goal is for access, inclusion, and accuracy so persons with disabilities can finally become part of the American Scene in the media. Contact SAG's Rebecca Yee National Director for I AM PWD at 323-549-6644 or email diversity@sag.org.


These resources are available now for anyone working in the entertainment industry that has an interest in media inclusion for all performers. And most certainly they are a great group of committed professionals getting the job done. Please check them out.

Vince Staskel, M.S., is a retired Legal Rights Advocate and Consultant. His thirty-two year career has included working on IDEA, ADA, SSA Claimant Legal Representation, and Media Arts Inclusion in the not-for-profit, business, and governmental sectors. He is presently very active in the promotion of performers-with-disabilities in the entertainment industry. Vince can be reached at vin3a@verizon.net

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