Title: A World Of Difference.


Those views of what disability is point to the fact that disability is not simply metaphysical and physiological, it’s much more. Importantly, it’s social and cultural; it’s a constructed identity… The stigma is globalised to engulf their entire identities.”Paul Longmore, Disabled activist.

For most of the twentieth Century, large numbers of disabled people were ‘put away’ or segregated in institutions on the grounds that it was for their own good, and to stop them being a burden to others.(Barnes. C & Mercer. G 2003)                                                               Since being diagnosed as ‘disabled’ I have witnessed first hand the judgement and discrimination towards disabled people from member’s of today’s society. The 1995, UK Disability Discrimination Act  (which was changed to the Equality Act in 2010)  saw disabled people protected against discrimination in  relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport. The Equality Act 2010 has replaced:

  • Equal Pay Act 1970,
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975,
  • Race Relations Act 1976,
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995,
  • Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003,
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

The act gave disabled individuals independence in public spaces. However disabled people still face many challenges in everyday life. One of the biggest, ongoing challenges disabled people constantly face is the attitude from a non-disabled society towards disability. It is shocking in this era to see disabled individuals  face barriers on transport, in education, leisure activities and public services due to the attitudes of society. As Paul Longmore quoted above, stigma plays a huge part in cultural behaviours and how an individual can relate to another person or a surrounding. Society is not very accepting of illness and disability and a person often becomes stigmatised as a result. This often results in segregation of classes in society. There is no denying power and the ‘mass Media’ are closely related in today’s society. The increase in technology has changed the way people communicate with one another, as individuals, as groups and as communities. Technology has greatly affected the social patterns of people and the way we see things. It has changed the way we interact and has made censorship almost impossible, as almost any image is available to us with the click of a button. The media, whether it is TV, Internet, newspapers or film, is a major contributor to the cultural forms within society. Although disability is seen in a much more positive light today, disability is still often oppressed and hidden and with the recent state of the economy and issues such as Brexit, it seem’s disability is regressing back to the 70’s. Already we have seen cuts to disability payments (PIP) and disabled people who need round the clock care are living in fear of the government putting them in care homes as it is cheaper than paying for round the clock care at home. It is hard to believe the Disability Discrimination Act has only been in place for 22 years. Still today, cultural representations of disability reinforce stigma by labelling disabled people as helpless, tragic, suffering victims rather than people living with a difference. I, myself have been victim to people ‘feeling sorry for me’ as they think my disability means I have a less quality life. My documentary will explore how the Equality Act affects disabled people today. My thesis will attempt to investigate the discrimination disabled people still face in public places but also highlight the changes and acceptance. It will investigate why protests still happen in today’s society and how successful they are in changing rights for disabled people.


The purpose of my documentary is to attempt to change and improve society’s thinking towards disability. I believe, a better understanding of a stigmatised subject will mean less discrimination. It will be observational in that I don’t want the audience to judge people with disabilities but simply highlight the difficulties that disabled people face in today’s society. It’s goal is to bring to light any issues that still affect disabled people today. It will educate my audience on whether  the Equality Act is still effective today and if the act is abided by? I have called my documentary ‘A World Of difference’ as I want my audience to think about disabled people as people with a difference rather than people with a less quality of life. Again changing the way people think will change the way disability is perceived. I want to defy the labelling of disabled people and for society to treat disability as the norm. This documentary is intended to help the audience learn about a topic they know nothing or little about. For primary research I used FaceBook (A social platform of my intended audience age range) to find out what they would like to see in a documentary about Equality Rights.


The replies I received were from a mixture of non disabled and disabled people. It was very effective in helping me to understand the topics people are interested in. One obvious answer was invisible disabilities. There seems to be lack of awareness for people with invisible disabilities that are often scrutinised and discriminated against as their disability is not obvious at first glance. This has given me a topic to think about in my documentary that I didn’t think of before. Another comment I liked was the comment about disability signs always showing a wheel chair or walking aid. Again going back to the theme of invisible disabilities, it is about time this was changed. Further research from this comment taught me about UK supermarket chain ASDA that have introduced the first disabled signs as a man and woman rather than that in a wheelchair. This is a huge step forward to recognising invisible disabilities.


Using FaceBook wasn’t as effective as I had hoped. I only received four replies. This shows me that my intended audience are not my circle of friends! I posted on a few disability sites and got one reply. This shows me that maybe disabled people are not using social media as often as non-disabled. I received one message form a disabled individual whose answer to my request seemed really negative. Again showing me that disabled people are angry towards the way society treats them. However the site she passed me onto was very useful in showing my the 1000’s of real issues that affect disabled people.

Topics I want to cover in my documentary are:

  • Discrimination towards disabled.
  • Invisible disabilities.
  • Accessibility for disabled.
  • Attitudes: positive and negative.
  • Equality Act and it’s purpose.
  • Protests and campaigns.
  • Inclusion in social groups.
  • Government decisions and how they affect disabled independence.

I am aware that all of the topics above will have an audience who cares about that issue. Some may only care about one issue and other’s more. I am hoping the vast of different topics will bring in a large audience.


My intended audience is 16-35. It is aimed at all genders, all races, all religions, all incomes, all political views and all marital statuses. My audience’s main values and belief’s will be to aknowledge the need for change. The main question the audience will ask is; how can I change things? Disabled people will learn how campaigns can help give them a voice and secure rights and non-disabled people will ask how can they help disabled people when they see them out in public places e.g. public transport. The primary audience of my documentary is non disabled people as they will get an insight into the discrimination disabled people face everyday. They will benefit the most as they will be educated on the need for disabled people to be independent and included into society. I hope their views will be shaped or changed. The secondary audience will be disabled people as they will benefit from the support and value of contributors in the documentary. As disabled people are living their life disabled, it is more important that non-disabled people get an insight into the way they live in order for my documentary to serve it’s purpose of educating and insight. The secondary audience will include people such as carers, family member’s of disabled and advocate charity workers as they understand what disabled people are going through as they live it too on a daily basis by dealing with disabled people.

Looking at publications in relation to disability has given me a lot of information I can use to form my narrative of my documentary. They are filled with facts and figures and case studies that I can use and feature.However all the online publications I looked at were primarily aimed at disabled people. They were great at providing me with information and facts and figures but not so great in providing me with information on non disabled people and how they perceive them. This is why my documentary will be aimed at non disabled people to give them better understanding.

This documentary is intended to be shown on Channel 4.  I chose this platform because Channel 4 are not afraid to break down barriers, or show content that’s never been seen before. The Channel is also committed to showing content made by and featuring disability so it is a perfect fit. Channel 4 offer programmes on alternative views and my documentary fits in well with this statement. Channel 4’s 360 charter is something I am passionate about being a disabled filmmaker. I agree with Channel 4’s view that in order to represent society equally we must include all members in order to get an accurate view that reflects society today.

Disabled people have an important role to play in all of these, whether behind the camera or on screen.”   – CHANNEL 4

Channel 4’s target audience is 16-30 years olds with over half of the 10 million registered users on the database are 16-24 years old. (http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/channel-4s-viewer-database-hits-10-million-unique-registered-users)


In terms of their audience, Channel 4 have said:

‘Due to our challenging and alternative programming, Channel 4 resonates particularly strongly with young (27% 16-34 profile compared to 24% for average UK adult*) and upmarket viewers (44% ABC1 profile compared to 41% for average UK adult*). In addition, among ABC1 16-44s, Channel 4’s advertising is seen as more relevant than any other terrestrial channel.’

I think my documentary will be best suited for a channel 4 audience as it will challenge perspective on disability, inspire people and show disabled people can do something and I will air alternative voices and different perspectives.

I looked at Channel 4’s documentary commissioning statement  to look at what exactly they look for in documentaries for their channel. Channel 4 set out four core public purposes that motivate its program commissioning decisions and are also relevant to the statement I want my documentary to have.

Nurture new talent and original ideas
Champion alternative voices and fresh perspectives
Challenge people to see the world differently
Inspire change in people’s lives.

I also found out which department to send my documentary to when it is finished, to see if it is suitable for Channel 4’s commissioning statement. This is useful as I can send it to Channel 4 for constructive feedback. My documentary will not have to be shown post water shed as it will not include any swearing, nudity or anything else that will cause complaints or an investigation by Ofcom.

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My target audience is 16-35, so this documentary is intended to be shown on other platforms such as social media; Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube etc. so it is accessible worldwide. Social Media also means audiences can react and interact with the documentary using hashtags. this is relevant to today’s society, as you can connect to more audiences. Social networking is free so you can reach a bigger audience for free. trends are ever changing, and today social media is a big trend among the younger generation.

I also looked at other platforms my documentary could be shown on including different festivals. I looked at local festivals, national festivals and international festivals.  I looked at what sorts of films the festivals show and whether they were only a specific genre such as Sheff Docfest which only show documentaries, so had I decided to do a fictional film, this festival would have been no good to submit my film into. I looked at festivals that were aimed specifically at disabled filmmakers or films about disability. As I am doing a documentary on disabilities I have looked at these festivals that accept films from disabled filmmakers or a film about disabilities. I looked at these options as disability is an area that is under represented so felt that my documentary would be best suited at a festival for disabled filmmakers and also it may be more inspirational to other disabled people as it show’s disabled people can do the same as abled people. OSKA bright is a film festival that only disabled filmmakers can apply to. Picture this is also a festival aimed at disabled filmmakers. The table shows the festivals I am interested in sending my film to.








Together Festival


Disabled filmmakers or film about disability



No dates for 2017 Festival yet

Free to enter


OSKA bright film Festival


Disabled filmmakers or film about disability

November 2017

Deadline April 30th 2017



Sheffield Doc Fest


Just for documentaries


09-14 June 2017

Closing date 23/02/2017

£35 + VAT to enter



Eastend Film Festival


All film categories accepted

June 2017

Last entries: 7th April 2017

Fee: £25 or £50 depending on submission



Aesthetica film festival


All film categories accepted


November 8th – November 12th 2017

All submissions by 31st May 2017

£24 + VAT





Researching festivals has been very beneficial to me because:

  • I have learnt about types of films accepted into festivals
  • Numerous awards available so don’t have to enter one category
  • I have learnt entering film festivals is how to gain exposure as a filmmaker
  • I have discovered festivals aimed just at my film genre meaning less competition
  • I have discovered how little some festivals cost to submit a film and as I am on a budget this is great!

I feel this documentary will fit in today’s society as disability is a widely talked about issue. It is becoming much more prominent in television drama’s such as Breaking Bad, American Horror Story and British Soap Opera’s who are using actual disabled actors rather than actors playing a disabled role. Due to events such as the Paralympics, attitudes towards disability have become more positive so I feel like this subject is of interest to the public. At the minute, there are a lot of documentaries highlighting disabled people living normal lives, doing everyday activities such as ‘first dates’ and many other one-off documentaries about topics such as dating, sex and employment, so I feel there is a gap in the market to show recent changes to disability laws that haven’t been portrayed yet.


Great documentaries enrich the lives of individuals. They are about real life and real people. They have a unique ability to engage and connect people, transform communities and improve societies. This documentary will feature the characteristics of many types of documentary styles in order to tell my story. It will be an expository documentary. It will speak directly to the viewer using authoritative commentary to help tell the story. It will propose a strong argument and view on the Equality Act and why it is an important breakthrough. It will be an investigative documentary investigating how disability is perceived by society today. It will persuade the viewer to change their views on how they may treat disabled people in public in the future. It will also be participatory as I, the director is affected by this story as I have a disability. I will be able to offer my own views on matters and understanding. I won’t be adding non-diegetic sounds as I want this documentary to be serious and not funny. I will use actual diegetic sounds of the areas I film in. I will produce an objective documentary that focuses on both sides on the story. It will have a divergent approach in that it will explore the process of looking for new ideas. It will look at the contributors and the problems disabled people face and explore ways problems can be solved. I am not seeking to produce a documentary with a strict closed style, such as disabled people are discriminated against, the end, but simply a conclusion as to how society’s attitudes towards disabled people can change. It will portray an accurate, actuality representation of reality in the form of interviews, facts, opinions and actual footage.

The documentary will follow the three-act structure.

  • The intro will start with an introduction to the Equality Act and past struggles for acceptance.
  • The middle will feature stories from contributors and the obstacles they face.
  • The ending will be a positive solution to the obstacles and of the Equality Act.

Subtitles will enable me to reach a wider audience especially the viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Doing a documentary on disability, I want to be able to make my documentary as accessible to as many different disabilities as I can.


My documentary will contain both archive footage of past protests. There are a number of sites I can take this from but permission and licences may be required. I can also access archive footage from past protests and campaigns from MDUK – a charity I am involved with personally. Actuality footage of real life people and places will be used. It will not be scripted except for questions I ask, that will help flow the story of the documentary. Examples of these questions include:

  • Tell me your story
  • Have you ever been to a campaign to protest about something?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • Are you worried about the future?
  • How does PIP help you and your everyday needs?
  • What are your views on…?

The documentary will follow the stories of at least three case studies and their experiences.

  • Michaela and her struggle of being refused a place on a public bus even though the recent laws of wheelchair users have priority over pushchairs on public transport have come into effect.
  • Lauren and her struggle for access to gigs and cinemas etc. again activities relevant to my target audience

One of the topics I want to cover in my documentary is loss of disability payments. I looked at this short video. I like the emotional style of this video and I want to portray emotion in my documentary. Emotion is one way of changing people’s views on a topic. If it affects the audience so much that they can relate, then more people are going to listen to the message it portrays.

I will also include dialogue from professional advocate charities that help disabled people learn their rights.  MDUK and SCOPE.

I have considered the use of re-enactments to use as cutaways, although this all depends on the content received when I interview my featured case studies. I will also use cutaway shots of the locations I am filming at.

I like the style of this documentary: ‘Disability, the truth, 2011’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ4JOomkyNI

This documentary follows people all over the country to hear their insights; these conversations reveal the truth about disability from the eyes of disabled people. What I like about this film is that it shows many different views. It also shows disabled people in active activities e.g. Kayaking. I think this is important that the viewer can see disabled people are just as active as normal people. I like how the film has shots of lots of different disabilities and doesn’t focus on just one. It conveys that there are hundreds of disabilities out there. I like how the contributors are portrayed as fun and likeable and it is a very positive documentary. I like that this documentary makes the viewer smile, which takes you away form the real reason of disability. In my documentary I want to show disabled people take part in every day activities and show that they are not secluded or limited.

I really like this short documentary:  The Disability Discrimination Act 1995. and want to base my documentary on this style.

I like the use of footage of the protests, highlighting the serious issue, especially as the disabled protesters chain themselves to fences and stand in front of buses, defying what is expected of them!  I like the female voiceover, she sounds assertive yet empathetic all at the same time. The use of facts and relevant case studies make the story easy to follow. The documentary is well lit, the use of cutaway shots are relevant and effective. I like the use of camera shots. The low angles don’t overpower the subjects or make them look small.

Looking at many BBC and Channel 4 short documentaries, I noticed the use of subtitles. I also like this idea as I mentioned earlier it means my documentary will reach a wider audience plus it will make my documentary understandable especially if I feature any contributors with speaking disabilities. I noticed subtitles usually are white in colour, sometimes on a black background and the text font bold.

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Legal Constraints.

In the Media industry, there are many limitations, laws and restrictions. A constraint is a limitation or a restriction on something to prevent something else form happening. Not all regulations are provided by the law. There are many types of legislation that companies must follow which help to protect employees from unsafe conditions.

Public liability insurance is important when filming in public premises because it will have to pay out in the event that a mistake is made which may cause injury to a member of the public or which damages their property. I must ensure when filming at locations such as MDUK that I respect their property and belonging’s and ensure I don’t put cast, crew or the public in dangerous situations.

Copyright applies to work that is recorded whether it be film, photo, written.

Copyright exists on all forms of media items such as literacy, artistic, musical and dramatic work as well as films, sound recording’s and typographical. It gives the author specific rights and they can stop unauthorized action of their work meaning they can take legal action. Copyright can also include performing artists and broadcasters in their radio and television programs. I must ensure I do not take anything or use anything without the owner’s permission, especially when using a brand such as channel 4 as this could create bad publicity for them. I must ensure I create a confidential relationship with anyone involved with my film to protect any information about client or production. Ethics are the moral principles that define how a person or a group acts. Principles I should follow are:

  • Trust
  • Liability
  • Truth
  • Privacy
  • Serving the publics interest.

Accuracy is not simply a matter of getting facts right when necessary. I should always be honest and open. I should take notes when necessary. I should be fair and open-minded when looking at facts and offer a range of perspectives so I create balance. I should always respect privacy and not infringe it without good reason. Private conversations and actions should not be bought into the public domain unless it is of public interest. Trademarks are a certain indication used by a business or company that defines that company and makes it  stand out from all the other company’s also making it unique. I must ensure I protect trademarks  when filming in their building and representing them in my film.

  • I must make sure I get all the correct permissions, including signed documents
  • from participants and make sure I represent them in a fair manner.
  • Representational issues are to do with the representation of
  • people, facts, opinions and events

Representation & ethics refers to the construction of reality such as people, places, objects, events, cultural identities and other abstract concepts. Such representations may be in speech or writing as well as still or moving pictures. I must ensure I represent people, places and facts in a fair and equal manner.


—13th February – Research done

—18th February – RECCE at MDUK headquarters in London.

—25th February – All contributors confirmed, including VO.

—3rd March – All pre-production done – call sheets, schedules, Risk assessment etc.

—4th March – confirmed interviews with Lauren, Mickayla

—1st April – All footage shot

—8th April – first edit

—15th April – final edit

—22nd April – voiceover recorded

—1st May – hand in


Barnes. C & Mercer. G – (2003) – Disability.