While writing and developing these scripts Project HANDUP was invited, on many occasions, to sit in with members of several organizations that represent people with disabilities. One of the key takeaways was the importance of never making content about PWDs. Instead, the content should be PWDs telling their own stories from their perspectives. “By us, not about us.”
This opened up the script-writing process and allowed us to view the project quite differently. The PWDs were never framed as victims and were often framed as heroes, helpers, and authorities. In the music video, it is the child in a wheelchair that is in a unique position to help another child who dropped a toy out the window.
Creating content with a sign-language puppet was extremely challenging. Teaching a professional sign language interpreter to work with a puppet was time-consuming. One take away is that having a small image of a sign-language character is sort of doing “lip service” to the hearing impaired community. The character should really be given a much larger portion of the screen.
The videos gained some amount of popularity on Akili Kids! network and ended up playing throughout the week on the network long beyond the original media buy. In fact many of the PWD videos continue to run well over a year later.