Writing Disabled Characters
Disabled people make up about 20% of the U.S. population, but less than 1% of disabled characters are represented on-screen and most of that representation deals with damaging stereotypes. Films like Me Before You boast the dangerous notion that it’s better off to be dead than disabled.
This workshop will examine writing disabled characters for fiction, film and television. It will explore the rampant stereotypes that are so often associated with fiction and media’s portrayal of disabled characters such as the disabled character as the victim like Hillary Swank’s character in Million Dollar Baby, hero or “supercrip” like the John Locke character in Lost or the villain (when a character is negatively associated with having mental illness) such as Captain Hook in Peter Pan or The Joker. This workshop will teach participants how to write well-rounded, interesting disabled characters without trite, clichéd or offensive language that is harmful to the disability community as well as addressing person-first language (person with a disability) versus identity-first language (disabled person).
This will be an interactive session with a Q&A and resources on writing disabled characters will be provided.
Online sign up has closed. Paper copies of workshop, speed pitch, and Saturday lunch table sign-ups will be at registration on Saturday. If there was a workshop or a panel you were hoping to attend, you are welcome to show up in person and a volunteer will check if there is space available.