Tag Archives: film

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Francesca, the theatre star

Francesca Mills is a 20 year old actor who has achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism. She is currently on tour with a Ramps on the Moon production,of the Government Inspector where she plays Maria.

As part of our 30 Under 30 campaign, she talks about inclusiveness in the industry and her top tips for breaking into the world of theatre.

Kids who are interested in performing arts and children who have gone to drama school are much more open-minded and much more accepting. They just love anything diverse. So this meant that breaking into the industry was never an issue for me. No-one has ever been like ‘you can’t do that because you’re disabled’, my family and friend are always 100% behind me.

Changing attitudes

I think roles in theatre for disabled people are very important in changing attitudes towards disability.

Audiences are very accepting without realising it. If you’re out on the street just living everyday life, you’ll get stares and people don’t quite understand but if you walk on stage playing a character, it’s different. Maybe in the first two minutes an audience member might be thinking ‘oh that’s a little person’, but then they’ve completely forgotten and they’re completely on board with what you’re doing.

It may also make them think ‘why do I over-think this? Disability really isn’t a big thing, it’s fine’.

It’s also really important for kids to see disabled actors represented in roles of authority. In the show I’m doing now we have a deaf judge, who’s also a woman, which is brilliant.

A group of disabled actors perform on stage. Fran, a young woman with dwarfism, smiles as a man with a cane kisses her hand.

How the industry has changed

I’m growing up in a time where people are starting to realise they should do projects that are inclusive. I’m lucky in a way that I’ve mainly seen the positive. People older than me have memories of a lot more prejudice. They’ve had a much more tough time which is good to know about because people can appreciate how it’s changed and how things are getting better.  It’s on the way up.

From my experience, a lot of casting directors are becoming more versatile and opening their gates to disabled actors for parts that aren’t specifically disabled parts. If they have a brief for a blonde haired girl with blue eyes, they might open it up to someone with an impairment and it’s not an issue.

I think we’ve still got a long way to go but it’s better than what it was.

Advice for others

If you really want to do it, just go for it, even if people question it. My motto is ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. If you want to get into acting think about how you’re going to do that.

Get involved in local amateur productions just to get some confidence, like I used to do. See if local theatres are auditioning. If you’ve got an appetite for it just go for it and everything else will fall into place.

Just have fun and enjoy it because it really is the best job in the world.

Top tips for breaking into the industry

Enjoy yourself

Have fun and let people know that you’re having fun, it’s really nice to see! I did Peter Pan in Wimbledon. I was playing Tinkerbell and there were kids playing the Lost Boys. Just seeing their faces when they were in the theatre and how excited they were was amazing. It’s just a really nice quality to have.

Go to the theatre

It’s important to go to actual shows and enjoy shows and see as many as you can.

Learn from everyone

Watch people and learn from them. With the amount of actors that you come across, make sure you ask questions. Watch their technique and etiquette. You can pick up a lot from people.

Never be late!

I’m ridiculous with how early I am. It makes you more relaxed when you get to the theatre and have plenty of time. Never leave anything until the last minute. Give yourself time to settle ahead of a brilliant day.

A large group of disabled actors perform on stage in a theatre. They are looking out to the audience with shocked faces.

Francesca is sharing her story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Read more from our #30toWatch on our website.

Watch Francesca perform in one of our End The Awkward shorts from last year.

 

“YouTube is really great for talking about disability” Landie, vlogger and entrepreneur

30 under 30 logo

This story is part of 30 Under 30.

 

Joe Land AKA Landie is a 19 year-old video blogger (vlogger) who also owns a business called Social Land. Joe has hypotonia which affects his muscles.

As part of our 30 Under 30 campaign, Joe talks about his passion for making and editing YouTube videos, starting a business, attitudes online and gives some tips for anyone who wants to start vlogging.

My interests and hobbies involve spending a lot of time making and editing YouTube videos. I especially enjoy the editing side of it. When you edit a video and it looks good and you’re proud of it, it’s a nice feeling.

Attitudes to disability on YouTube

When I first started making YouTube videos, people didn’t know I was a wheelchair-user at that point. The reason I didn’t say anything was because it didn’t really matter. But then, when I started to vlog, you could quite blatantly see that I use a wheelchair.

My followers’ attitudes didn’t really change. If they do bring it up, that’s fine, they’re just curious. If someone asks what’s wrong with me or asks questions – I see that as a good thing. The worst thing is when I’m out or something and there are just some people you can just tell are a little bit awkward. They obviously want to ask a question but they don’t. I just hate that. That’s the one thing that really annoys me because I don’t want people to feel awkward.

Landie, a young disabled man in a wheelchair, sits in front of two computer screens and is editing a movie in advanced software

The reactions to the videos I’ve made about disability have actually been the best I’ve got. The videos have around 200 views but 40 comments which is a lot in comparison. People respond to it really well and it makes people ask questions.

I think the videos are quite good at making people be honest with you and interact with you because I’m making the video about it and I’m clearly not trying to hide anything. People quite like personal videos and that’s about as personal as it gets isn’t it really?

My tips for vlogging

The advice I would give to someone who is thinking about vlogging is don’t make it false. There’s nothing worse than when you watch peoples’ videos and you can quite clearly tell that that’s not who they actually are and that they’re trying to copy someone. Getting inspiration from someone is good but when people try to flat out copy, it’s just really cringey.

I use a Canon DSLR which is perfect for filming vlogs where I’m sitting still. But to be honest, you can definitely just vlog using your smartphone. If you are out and about, vlogging on your phone camera is ideal, especially with something like an iPhone 6 onwards.

People really worry about being awkward in front of a camera but, as long as you just act normal, it’s not going to seem awkward for the people watching it. If you worry too much about how you’re coming across, you can give the wrong impression. Don’t do it if you just want to get the subscribers because it doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to enjoy it to get the subscribers!

Landie, a young disabled man in a wheelchair, films himself using a digital camera

Joe is sharing his story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Catch up on all the stories so far on our 30 under 30 page.

To see and hear more from Joe visit his YouTube channel.

The Scope Film Awards 2015

2015 has been a very successful year for Scope’s film team. We’ve dusted off the disability history books, trained comedians to be spies, kissed awkward goodbye and got all hot under the collar about sex. All in all, it has been one big rollercoaster ride.

We thought we’d mark the end of the year with a mini ‘awards ceremony’ to mark some of our favourite and top films. What have been your favourite Scope film moments?

Most viewed – What Not To Do

We enjoyed a whole summer of ending the awkward. Who could forget our “What Not To Do” shorts made in collaboration with Channel 4? Fronted by Scope Ambassador, Alex Brooker, these six hilarious short films racked up over half a million views on our YouTube channel, thousands upon thousands of views across our social media and became the most viewed shorts on the Channel 4 website.

Most shared – The Disability Discrimination Act 1995: The campaign for civil rights

Last month (November 2015) we delved into the archives to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act. We featured a variety of content on our website for the occasion including a film which collected the stories and voices of some of the most influential campaigners of the time. This film became our most shared video on our Facebook page with over 2,300 shares, over 1,700 likes and over 235,000 views.

Best female – Kelly Perks-Bevington

For those of you who have been following Scope in 2015, you’ll probably recognise Kelly. She has been popping up everywhere, from talking about awkward moments at festivals to stripping off for Enhance the UK’s Undressing Disability photo exhibition. We got Kelly involved in our A-Z of sex and disability. In this film she talks about dating, marriage and sex.

Best male – Adam Hills

The Australian comedian best known for hosting the Channel 4 show, The Last Leg, became a firm favourite when he took on the role of the enigmatic man in black for our parody of the classic Milk Tray advert. With his daring stunts he won the hearts of many, including celebrity actress and singer, Holly Valance in our advert for Great Donate campaign.

Best story – Harrison’s story

We love our story films here at Scope. What better way to capture the incredible stories that are happening up and down the country? Our latest offering focuses on Harrison’s story, a young disabled man with a learning difficulty, who has struggled to find and stay in employment. However, thanks to the specialist support he got from his local Scope employment service, that has all changed.

What’s next?

We’d like to thank you all for your support, shares and likes throughout 2015. We really hope you’ll subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us in 2016 for what we promise will be our greatest year of film yet.

You can expect compelling stories from disabled people and their families, vlogs from some of YouTube’s rising stars and appearances from some well known faces…

If you can’t wait until then, check out our playlist of some more of our top films from 2015 below.

 

Our top 5 films of people’s stories

It’s National Storytelling Week 2015 and we’ve just launched 100 Stories in 100 Days.

To celebrate, we’re sharing our five favourite Scope films in which disabled people tell their stories.

So without further delay, here they are:

    • Fighting all my life – how mixed martial arts helped me conquer my impairment – Jack’s story


      At just 17-years-old, with a weaker right side and no use of his right hand, Jack competes in mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting with non-disabled men, who are often much older and bigger than him.

 

 

    • The best future for my son – Dionne and Jayden’s story


      Dionne first rang the Scope helpline in 2010 to find out about physiotherapy regimes for her son Jayden. Since then, she has been working with response worker, Vasu, to get information about respite services, equipment and support groups.

 

    • Six years leading Scope – Alice’s story


      Alice Maynard was Chair of Scope for six years and stepped down in October 2014 after two terms. In this film, she talks about the changes she’s seen during that time, and what she thinks the future will be like for disabled people.

 

  • Behind the scenes of Scope’s work in the community – Ian’s story


    Follow Ian Jones, a regional response worker, and find out about the vital information and support he gives to over 80 families living with disability every year.

Coming in 2015

We’ve got some really exciting new stories coming up on our YouTube channel in 2015. If you’d like to be the first to see our videos as they are released, then please subscribe to us on YouTube.

About 100 Stories in 100 days

Every day from now until the general election we’re publishing a story from a disabled person or a family with a disabled child. We’re encouraging parliamentary hopefuls to read just one story – so they’ll better understand disability if elected.

Find out more about 100 Stories in 100 Days

Film with Beaumont College students seen by Queen

Beaumont IT Technologist Zak Sly reports on an exciting development:

Over the past six months a group of students from Beaumont College, Lancasterhave been working with the BBC R&D (Research and Development) on a research partnership to make television more accessible for disabled people.

As part of the partnership some of the students got to opportunity to visit MediaCity in Salford, the BBCs new centre in the North. The students had a great day and thought this couldn’t be topped… Well…

On Friday 9 March three students Rebecca Hall, Jodie Turner and Hannah Dilworth were asked if they could have one final session with the BBC to do some filming. They were told that the short show reel will be shown to a VIP at MediaCity on 23 March. The VIP’s identity was secret at the time of the filming taking place.

The three students were filmed using a switch and a head mouse.

For those of you interested in the technical details – the switches were used to control a grid set from ‘The Grid 2’ on a normal laptop, which was connected to another computer (via a router) running a modified version of Mythbuntu (an open source Linux operating system with a media centre application built in). The operating system has been adapted to implement BBC R&D’s Universal Control API, and the Universal Control Mythbuntu files can be downloaded from GitHub.

The switch and head mouse allow the person using them to control a communication aid, which as well as giving them a ‘voice’  means they can do lots of everyday activities from talking to their families to controlling their environment (lights, heating, TV) and ordering a take-a-way or booking tickets to the cinema.

A couple of days later an email came from the BBC  to let us know that VIPs due to watch the show reel were Her Majesty The Queen, while Lord Patten (Chairman of the BBC Trust) and Mark Thompson (Director-General of the BBC) had seen it at a previous screening. Read more about the opening of the BBC’sMedia City and the Queen’s Jubilee Tour.

The three students were all really excited about this! Rebecca Hall said “When I got the email off Zak about the Queen I was really excited.” A staff member who was with her at the time said that when Rebecca read the email she screamed with excitement! Jodie Turner said she was very excited and Hannah Dilworth agreed.