This manager is working toward diversity in Hollywood — and that includes those with disabilities


After the girl first experience of the Cannes Film Festival in 08, talent manager Eryn Dark brown wanted to end her nascent Hollywood career.

Attending film markets for example Cannes can be grueling for many attendees, with parties and meetings held in occupied hotels, restaurants, theaters, also aboard yachts. For Dark brown, who has a congenital, mysterious disability and uses lower-leg braces to walk, being able to access many of the buildings and activities was a struggle.

At the iconic red steps at the Palais des Celebrations, where women are expected to wear high heels , Brown either needed to be carried or use a side entrance and be separated through her clients. Inside, obtainable seating was reserved.

“I actually contemplated leaving the business, ” Brown, 47, said . “I thought, basically have to go through this dehumanization every year, I don’t think I can do it. I want to be the greatest at what I do, which involves filmmakers, and Cannes may be the pinnacle, so how can I do this? ”


Dark brown didn’t quit. Instead, the lady pushes for greater accessibility for others with disabilities who have been hindered by discrimination within the film and TV industry.

Last month, the Stanford graduate student officially launched 1in4, an initiative run from her Los Angeles home, 13 many years after her first humiliating experience at Cannes. The particular grassroots coalition of business owners and creatives has called on studios, streaming businesses, talent agencies and other companies to include disabled people in their diversity programs.

“We need to see a dedication from the contractors and suppliers that really feed the studios and streamers, ” John LeBrecht, the Oakland-based co-writer and co-director of this year’s Oscar-nominated disability rights documented “Crip Camp. ” LeBrecht, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, is one of the cofounders of 1in4 and highlighted in the documentary. Brown signifies Nicole Newnham, the film’s co-writer and co-director.

“I’m yearning with this day [when]#@@#@!!… we see our representation in comedies and on television and in film and in dramas that really represents our correct numbers in society, and also has storylines that are much truer to our everyday lifestyles. ”

Of all speaking characters across the top 100 movies of 2019, only 2 . 3% a new disability, according to a study by the USC Annenberg Addition Initiative. Another study of the top 10 network TV shows meant for 2018 found just 12% of disabled characters had been played by disabled stars, according to the Ruderman Family members Foundation.

Brown said she was inspired to start a strategy for the disabled after final year’s Sundance festival gave “Crip Camp” an audience award and racial rights protests refocused attention in Hollywood to diversify.

“I started to examine this greater rise in awareness that we’re experiencing about marginalization and systemic splendour, and in these conversations, I discovered that disability was normally left out, ” Brown stated. “When I tried to campaign for disability being part of the conversation, I was met with indifference and in some cases hostility. ”


Brown reached out to LeBrecht and others to form a group — also called 1in4 — to advocate regarding change in Hollywood. Title refers to the proportion of the adult U. S. population with visible or invisible disability. The group is in the process of registering as a nonprofit and it is being financed by the coalition members, private donations and the pro-bono work of allies, Brown said.

The group has called on studios and others to include disability to their diversity plans, employ disabled people whatsoever levels and create more articles about disability by with disabled people. The group furthermore asks that employers need an accessibility coordinator intended for productions and that talent staff work with disabled artists.

So far, Brownish said, her group offers met with representatives through Netflix, Amazon and skill agencies. She said the meetings have been positive. Nothing of the companies would comment for this article.

One problem is that there are couple of executives in the industry greenlighting projects from the disabled community, LeBrecht said.


“I don’t think anybody’s really valued that the stories don’t have to be these harmful portrayals of individuals, ” LeBrecht said. “There are really unique, compelling tales out there. But… we weren’t able to reach people to message them to necessarily. ”

LeBrecht cites the particular 2016 Warner Bros movie “Me Before You, ” as an example of harmful suggestions about the disabled perpetuated simply by Hollywood. The film drew criticism of its portrayal of the paralyzed banker. Warner Bros. declined to comment.

A woman sits in a chair under a sign that says Santa Barbara District School Board.

Natasha Ofili in “The Politician. ”



A good accessibility coordinator would have helped Natasha Ofili, a Hard of hearing actress and writer just who featured in Netflix’s “The Politician, ” in the girl early auditions.

Another co-founder from the crew, she recalled an season casting for a commercial that had hired an interpreter who seem to she said was obviously not qualified and didn’t understand what she was putting your signature on.

“From audition to working on established, it was really bad, ” Ofili said via Focus. “I had to improvise. ”

The girl got the commercial job nonetheless and later could get qualified interpreters employed, something an accessibility coordinator could have done to avoid any mishaps.


“This is a person that would be able to capture all that, ” she said. And that way we can reduce all of that madness and prevent all this headache and waste of time, waste of resources plus stress on both parties. ”

Getting productions accessible is not tough, according to Kaitlyn Yang, the particular CEO of Alpha Studios and an on-set visual effects supervisor.

On the show Yang simply wrapped for Apple TV, which she declined to name, it took adding 2 ramps to make the set accessible to her, she said.

“When individuals think about making sets available, I don’t know if they are thinking about tearing down the entire building or rebuilding this. It’s never that, ” Yang said. “Especially intended for film productions, we’re so used to making multiples of everything. Whenever we can have multiples of the Centuries Falcon built to scale, we are able to definitely have two ramps. ”


Two masked women, one sitting and one standing, talk on a film set.

Kaitlyn Yg, right, visual effects director and CEO of Alpha dog Studios, on set to have an Apple TV show.

(Courtesy of Kaitlyn Yang)

The 33-year-old Chinese language American immigrant, who proved helpful full time through her research at the University of The southern part of California film school, came to be with spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair. Because she progressed in the girl career, the reasons used to reject her job applications grew to become more creative, she said.

“My favorite rejection was that these people didn’t hire me for a TV pilot because We didn’t have an Oscar, ” Yang said. Yang did not believe anyone eventually hired for the project had earned Oscars either.

Some resort to trying to hide their problems or disability. Earlier in her career, Sara Fischer, now head of bodily production at Shonda Rhimes’ production company Shondaland, would hide that she had multiple sclerosis that could lead to her to limp out of fear that it would price her jobs. On one manufacturing, the executive producers asked her if her insufficient balance was because she was drunk.

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A woman with headphones around her neck stands on a film set.

Sara Fischer, mind of physical production with Shonda Rhimes’ production business Shondaland, on set.

(Barnaby Boulton)

Fischer is now open regarding her situation and makes efforts to make the industry plus sets more accessible. “It can be as simple as adding ramps or routing cable connection differently, ” she stated. “It also starts with me and my production exec friends saying let’s work out how we help others in order to work on set. ”

That had been an issue to get Brown. Back in the mid-1990s, the particular Northern California native attempted to break into the industry, after graduating from Stanford with honors in American studies, by applying in a talent agency.

In rejecting the girl application, a woman in recruiting told her it would take her too long to go to the bathroom and she wouldn’t be able to get coffee for the purpose of clients or walk these to the elevator, Brown stated. Eventually, she got job opportunities at New Line Cinema and in talent management, investing the last decade with Hundred years City-based Management 360.

Brown persisted along with Cannes and went back last year, where she met upcoming client Felix Van Groeningen , whom went on to make the Golden Globe-nominated addiction drama “Beautiful Youngster. ” Since then, Brown has already established conversations with the Cannes celebration about ways to improve accessibility.


“It’s not only about me getting into that will screening room. It’s about everyone who is ‘other-ised’ getting in all those rooms, ” Brown mentioned. “Because if you don’t, then other-ised artists who we might have connected with don’t get found out… And their voices fail to find a way out and their stories don’t get told. ”