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The Hollywood Disabilities Forum

Saturday, Oct. 24, celebrities, screenwriters, actors, and writers mounted the first-ever Hollywood Disabilities Forum–an event for entertainment industry professionals to “explore opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities in entertainment.” Comedy writers (and actors) Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant contributed that mildly controversial video to support the cause.

The all-day event was held at UCLA’s Melnitz Hall. GalleyCat caught up with Allen Rucker–the Writers with Disabilities chair for the Writers Guild of America, West and a critically-acclaimed author–to find out more about the event.

He explained: “The event was packed. Two morning workshops for aspiring actors and writers with disabilities had to turn people away. The afternoon keynote by ‘Something About Mary’ director Peter Farrelly was an hysterical primer on how things get done in Hollywood. After that, the panel of Farrelly, David Milch (“Deadwood” creator), Vince Gilligan (“Breaking Bad” creator), Daryl Mitchell (star of the new Fox series, “Brothers,”–the first sitcom ever to star in a man using a wheelchair), and others.”

Rucker concluded by laying out the day’s most controversial writing topic: “They discussed the creative inclusion of characters with disabilities into their work and argued, sometimes vehemently, over the issue of whether only actors with disabilities have the right to play characters with disabilities.”

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