The 1in4 Coalition is accepting applications for the second edition of its Disabled Writers Mentorship Program. The first program launched in March, selecting 14 individuals who each had a complete script, pilot or play. Each mentee was matched with an industry artist or professional from companies such as CAA, Showtime and Shondaland.
The 1in4 Coalition was unveiled in April 2021 to increase access, employment and authentic representation of disabled people; the group consists of disabled individuals. One of its projects is 1in4 Writers, which is working to offset challenges facing disabled scribes, by providing access to feedback, resources and relationships in Hollywood, something that has generally proven inaccessible.
The program — inspired by the work of Dominique Nieves, writer and creator of the Read Latinx Writers Initiative — includes an advisory committee of disabled WGA writers Katherine Beattie, Marc Muszynski and David Radcliff.
Radcliff, who is also program adviser and co-chair of the disabled writers committee at the Writers Guild of America West, says a recent study by WGAW “found only about 0.6% of our membership are openly disabled. The barriers of entry are high. That’s not because disabled people don’t want to write, or can’t write, but because our industry has — perhaps unintentionally — long excluded and misrepresented disabled writers and disability-oriented stories. 1in4 Coalition understands disability should be a source of great storytelling, of perseverance and of fresh perspective.”
In addition to six months of one-on-one mentorship from an industry professional, the mentees participate in monthly meets to develop relationships within the industry and among mentees. Each month’s meeting is attended by an industry professional who presents info about opportunities and advice.
The mentees for the spring program are Wendy Jane Cohen, Bella Cosper, Kristal Fleming, Peter Forbes, Joshua Friedman, Gianmarco M. Giacomelli, Eden Hadad, Andrew M. Henderson, Justin Jackerson, Samuel Krauss, Taylor Lewis, Elianor M.A., Nina Mahesh and Dominique Nieves.
Jim LeBrecht, filmmaker and a 1in4 Coalition co-founder, adds, “Talented people with disabilities are finding work in front of and behind the camera. But if you look at the WGA West statistics, clearly there is much work to be done. I believe our low employment numbers are a result of the stigma of disability — and the negative perception of the disabled has long been enabled by the content that Hollywood produces. When authentic portrayals of people with disabilities are seen in film and TV, it will go a long way towards dispelling that negative stigma.”
For more about the 1in4 Coalition, or info on how to apply for the mentorship program or to become a mentor, email support@1IN4coalition.org or visit website 1in4coalition.org, or go to social media @1in4Coalition.
Pictured: David Radcliff