Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Interrogation: A Sci-Fi Webseries

One of the great things about the internet is that it has levelled the playing field (a little) for aspiring and creative writers, directors, actors and artists of every kind. Gone are the days when you need a huge corporation behind you in order to achieve recognition. 

Of course, transitioning from providing free to commercial content requires a little help in the form of good ratings and comments -- and that's where you come in.

Interrogation is a Sci-Fi web series which can be watched for FREE on YouTube.  So far there have been seven episodes and they're mostly around the ten minute mark.

The link is here;

This web series which is is female created and very character driven has obviously been produced on a tight budget, so you can't expect major special effects but it does have some pretty good production values.

More importantly however, the Interrogation series clearly celebrates diversity using disabled actors to play disabled characters -- something all too lacking in Hollywood.

The director of photography for all seven episodes has Asperger's syndrome, so please watch and rate the series to help support an individual on the spectrum and a group with a great future ahead of them.


KateGladstone said...

Re being asked to watch a program because the actors have disabilities, or are otherwise in a certain category: I'm an Aspie and I say "No."

Re being asked to watch a program to "support" being in a certain category: I say "No" again.

Here are some of my reasons:

• To me, being asked to watch or "support" someone because s/he is in a category or has a particular feature (such as having similar neurology) is as repugnant as if I'd been asked to "support" someone for having a particular ancestry or birthplace, or having a particular color of eyes or hair or skin.
I choose what, and whom, to watch on the basis of worthwhileness, not on the basis of physical features such as neurology.

• Reserving disabled-character roles for disabled actors is no significant improvement over deciding that disabled actors should play ONLY disabled characters. If you object that your intent is to have disabled actors recruited for the full range of roles — disabled characters AND completely able characters, too — while able-bodied/able-minded actors would be limited to playing only the able-bodied and able-minded, then your intent is to limit the range of most actors. Just as I have seen excellent and moving performances of OTHELLO in which the title role was played by a non-black (Othello is black), so I have seen excellent and moving performances in which an able person played a disabled person (e.g., Claire Danes playing Temple Grandin in the HBO film on Grandin. Danes was personally coached by Grandin for the role, and Grandin stated that Danes excellently portrays her: more effectively than Grandin could have portrayed herself. Should the role have gone to an actor less capable than Danes, if a less capable actor had had a disability and therefore could have entered a "disabled-only" edition from which Grandin would have been barred? I want to watch the best actors, not the "appropriately disabled" ones.

• Just how far is "disabled play disabled" to go? Is that critrrion fulfilled, or broken, when a blind actor plays a deaf character (because they are both disabled)? Or when an actor with Down's syndrome plays a character with Asperger's syndrome (because both Down's and Asperger's are disabilities)? Or would the next step be to demand that actors must play only those characters with the same disabilities, with the same level of those disabilities, etc., etc. .... E.g., would Aspie roles be open only to Aspies, and closed to those with other sorts of autism? Would people like Helen Keller (blind, deaf, and also with severely impaired senses of smell and taste) be playable only by an actor who was also blind, deaf, and with severely impaired senses of smell and taste? Would Lou Gehrig or Stephen Hawking be forbidden to be put into a film unless a competent actor also happened to have Amyogenic Lateral Sclerosis? (If so, would that stricture be applied also to the film's portrayals of the younger Gehrig or Hawking, before their disability had been diagnosed? Would directors casting Gehrig or Hawking in their boyhood/young manhood be required to reserve those roles for disabled actors, too? Or would those child/younger actors be allowed to be able-bodied, while progressively more and more disabled actors had to be found for later and later stages in the character's life?

KateGladstone said...

Correcting typos in my message —

“from which Grandin” should have been “from which Danes”

“Amyogenic” should have been “Amyotrophic”

If I ever get famous, and a film is made of my life, I refuse to limit the auditions for my role to actors with keyboarding problems, Asperger's, dyslexia, and acne.

Britain Valenti said...

This is the Series Creator, and I thought maybe you'd be interested in this perspective of casting disabled/race-appropriate/etc.

We do not live in a vacuum when it comes to the arts. Art never has. It is created by the world outside and often reflects the changing moods. ideologies and moral lackings of that world (Hence why the Roman loved watching people be torn apart why lions, why blackface performers - however expertly - often played buffoonish characters, why women in 1940's scifi films are constantly providing tea and coffee and little else etc.)

Yes, of course, if the world outside were a fair place - the disabled were not seen as perpetual, asexual victims, if black males were not targets for consequence-less deaths, financial empires built on keeping lower class Hispanics lower class - then there would be no reason to adhere strongly to "only ________ can play ___________ blank".

But we don't live in that world. We are shockingly distant from that world. We live in a world where my well-dressed friend with one leg taking surveys outside a high-end phone store is repeatedly offered money because people can only believe she is begging due to her missing appendage. Where another friend who is 30 with a genius IQ is talked to like a child because of his wheelchair. And these are relatively tame annoyances compared to black people who are killed for what white people walk away from everyday.

What could help this? Black superheroes in our TV screens, wheelchair-using sex symbols in our science fiction, a down-syndrome girl who solves crimes in her neighborhood on PBS. Maybe you doubt the power of entertainment to change perceptions (despite the long history of shows like "All in the Family", "East Side West Side", "Murphy Brown", "Roseanne" and - despite recent revelations - "The Cosby Show" and "A Different World".

Would these shows have been the same if the Huxtables and her kids had been very talented white actors donning very realistic brown makeup? If the answer is no, then race played a factor in the world of the Cosby show. Just like today, race/disability plays a huge factor in the world of today, and having actual people who know the struggles, have the capabilities, etc. can only help illuminate and change the outside world.

KateGladstone said...

The world does not become fairer through such social engineering as you demand. It becomes, if possible, less fair because such measures glorify and expand the notion that category-membership is to be privileged over competence.