Independent productions are quite difficult to produce especially when it comes to producing a film in either Hollywood or New York City; however, with great crowd-sourcing websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are providing independent film makers an excellent way to raise funds to produce small-scales productions. Some examples of this medium being used within the deaf community comes to mind: Spring Awakening, Jules Dameron “Let it Go” in ASL, and This is Normal. Yet, that’s not stopping the power nor the movement of #deaftalent. In fact, there’s a upbeat, new dynamic approach to film that has never been seen before.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger is a brilliant idea that was groomed, tailored and executed by Craig Fogel’s unusual, yet common life experiences as an ASL interpreter. With the help of Andrew Fisher, John McGinty and Onudeah Nicolarakis produced their first ever pilot and it’s rolling over your stomach hilarious! The common theme of the show is to show interpreters experiences socializing and working along with both hearing and deaf people. What makes this show unforgetable is Mr Fogel’s ability to interpret well, but misinterpret social situation. The webisode is like mashing Mr. Bean, Jerry Seinfeld and Friends into one specifically crafted show for deaf and hearing audience alike to enjoy awkward and funny stories related to deaf and hearing culture.
With a young, energetic team, executive producers Maleni Chaitoo and Jessica Wasserman believes in this production so much that they decided to film a pilot episode in late June with a shoe-string budget that was mostly composed of their life savings and asking favors from their friends and family. Yet, you got to watch the pilot! The star of the show is without question, Craig Fogel who plays Jacob, a quirky, yet ridiculously social awkward ASL interpreter. His presence on the screen is quite, how would you put it, enchanting.
Then you have Alexandria Wailes who not only directed this pilot, but she also plays a gorgeous, stunning brunette Shawn. Alexandria cleverly show how real life experiences being deaf is hilarious and fun at the same time. Her direction of the pilot show really demonstrated her vast knowledge of filmmaking and vision with directing. Alexandria is a future director to be on the outlook for in the next five to ten years! The most surprising character in the pilot was no other than James Royce Edwards who plays the handsome, flirtatious Adam. His performance was quite surprising. He played his part perfectly without being overly offensive within the stereotype we often find ourselves when it comes to hitting on deaf women, yet, respectful by using his charm and showing a willingness to learn ASL.
You’ll love the quirkiness of this show, yet, if you want to see more, they are in dire need of your help! With less than twenty days to go, they need to fund-raise more than $18,000 to be able to produce six more episodes! For more information on how they plan to allocate this money, check out their Indiegogo page. This is Normal got their goal of $30,000 in a month; now, let’s work as a team as a community to help raise even more than This is Normal to show to the world that we care about #DeafTalent and how a team of Deaf writers, a show directed by a Deaf woman, produced by two diverse women can change the world.