This entry originally appeared on my disability blog, I hate stairs.
Okay, so this is my official announcement (and acknowledgment) regarding the status of the “What Can YOU Do?” video contest hosted by the Campaign for Disability Employment. My entry, “Meet Sue,” was the overall winner of over 130 entries. Suffice it to say that I was surprised and overwhelmed at the very idea. Thanks to all the contestants who entered the contest, many of whom produced videos better than mine. And my thanks to all the folks involved in the campaign, including the nice folks from Best Buy, who put on a wonderful screening event. Flowood, MS represent! Apologies to the guy who blinked. It happens to the best of us.
Now that we’ve covered all of the important stuff, I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about the making of the video.
Making a video without a camera
When I talk about the making of “Meet Sue,” I always end up mentioning the fact that I can not even begin to lift and hold a camera. It’s true. Although I wanted to enter the contest, I struggled with the idea of how I would actually create the video. But then I remembered something. Something I saw on YouTube months before I knew of this contest. It was a rather nerdy video, but what I remembered about it was its emphasis on text. Mind you, this is the first time that I have revealed where exactly the inspiration for the format of the video came from. It came from this:
Although my text effects are nowhere near as cool as the ones in this video, you should be able understand where the format of the “Meet Sue” video came from. Using text and music was going to be my alternative. All I needed to do was to tell the story. And that’s when it got fun.
Having a disability without “having a disability”
If you tell a story about a fictional character, you create the character. The reader (or listener) of the story comes to know the character as you reveal the character’s, well, characteristics. So the goal of the story became to tell people about the Sue that they would see if they were not distracted with the fact that she has a disability. In other words, I told many things about Sue before mentioning that she has a disability.
It is a personal issue in many ways. Sue is me. And “Meet Sue” is a fantasy scenario where people get to know me before knowing that I have a disability. Maybe it is some unknown need to peel away my disability to see what people think. I don’t know. At this point, I’m just speculating. All I know is that you can tell when people don’t take you seriously, and sometimes it happens. Not because people are bad or want to suppress people with disabilities before they infiltrate society at all levels in a massive attempt to take over human civilization. It’s just a matter of feeling uncomfortable and unsure around people who are different than you. I sometimes feel uncomfortable around people who have different disabilities than I do. It happens.
So the moral of the story is that we all need to understand the similarities that connect us and appreciate the differences that make us unique. So all that being said, I leave you with…
And here is a transcript:
Sue is an employee.
Sue is an employer.
Sue is a manager.
Sue is a mentor.
Sue is a teacher.
Sue is a writer.
Sue is a speaker.
Sue is smart.
Sue is funny :-)
Sue is exciting!
Sue is engaging.
Sue is a wife.
Sue is a mother.
Sue is a person with dreams.
Sue is a person with aspirations.
Sue is a person with a disability.
Sue is a person.
(at 60 seconds, video fades to credits)
Thanks to everyone who made this incredible experience possible.