The entertainment and production industry has been flourishing. Part of this growth is the increased diversity in media. Despite seeing more women, minorities, and LGBT characters on TV, in films, and in commercials, it can still be hard to film and edit videos to make them more representative. But there is an increasing demand for it!
The entertainment industry has realized they can generate more business by catering to audiences outside of white males. Yes, capitalism is part of the reason why there’s a push to be more inclusive. However, there is a genuine desire from viewers to see themselves represented. If they can’t find anything similar in the media, they will create content for themselves.
This belief has caused a cultural shift towards being more mindful of intersectionality and inclusion. People want to see people that represent them. They don’t want to see token characters that only exist for the sake of “proving” a show is diverse, and they don’t like it if those characters are stereotypical. Now, it brings us to the question, “How do we create more inclusive content?”
The most straightforward answer is hiring people outside of the more privileged community for your film crew. However, its reality is that not many people have the time or resources to do that. So what are producers supposed to do? Here are some tips you can follow on how to film and edit videos to be more inclusive.
Ensure your subject is on camera.
Representation is essential now that we are in the 21st century. Thus, show your audience what being with people who have disabilities is like – for instance, you can film an interview with a mother of a child with autism to show viewers what the experience may be like for parents of children on the spectrum. For example, if you are interviewing them in their home because that’s where they feel most comfortable, it would also help your viewers to get a better sense of their surroundings. Thus, avoid using stereotypes to represent any group of people, including people with disabilities. Allow them to be their most authentic selves.
Show the right angles.
When you film someone or yourself, try filming from different angles so that your video is more inclusive of all types of bodies and abilities. Be aware of your subjects’ body language and how viewers could interpret it – for instance, standing in front of someone in a wheelchair is likely to portray them in a less powerful position. But more than this, consent is critical. That’s why you should not film others without asking them, and certainly not in a way that invades their personal space. Also, be mindful of the effect the filming process may have on your subject. For instance, some people with severe anxiety disorders may find it difficult to film or even follow someone with a camera. Thus, it is essential to keep them safe and calm when filming people who are disabled or autistic.
Make sure you’re using the correct language for your audience.
Note that producing a video and uploading it online can mean reaching many people, whether disabled with hearing or sight. Thus, recommendations to insert subtitles and a sign language interpreter if possible arise often. Furthermore, since you’ll upload this online, different nationalities and races would be able to access it; thus, consider the language you use and avoid words that are gendered or racially insensitive.
Edit out any offensive content or slurs.
Your video will likely contain many takes and clips, but be sure to edit out any offensive content or slurs. For example, you’ll want to ensure that you do not include words like “retard” in your video. This effort protects both your image and the subject’s image. Nonetheless, it would be best if you were an expert in these fields to educate anyone taking part in the video on addressing someone properly. You can also seek guidance from specialists if you are not confident with what you know about these topics.
Include typically underrepresented people in media (elderly, children, LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, racial minorities).
If your subject falls under one of these categories – it’s essential to show that they also live their lives to the fullest. Consider offering them in different places, doing various activities, and participating in their communities. With that, remember not to fetishize or objectify anyone. And above all – include any person who might want to share their story with you!
Be mindful of cultural norms and practices.
Always put others’ needs before your wishes, especially when handling a specific group such as LGBTQIA+, indigenous tribes, and more. Also, trust your gut if you think it might be offensive to others’ cultures and traditions – there is a good chance it will.
Confirm all information before publishing it on social media or a website.
When it comes to sensitive topics and disabilities, your audience is bound to vary widely from family members and friends with disabilities to people who are able or disabled themselves. Thus, it’s always best to be careful when sharing information about people with disabilities – mainly if that information is negative, which means – citing all statistics correctly.
In conclusion, making accessible and inclusive videos is something anyone can achieve at any skill level. The only thing you require is the will to make it so, whether you’re a producer or a viewer. However, it is worth noting that the goal of creating videos where everyone feels included should be a shared responsibility. While producers and filmmakers can go a long way in making more inclusive videos, viewers also play a role by watching with an open mind and language to make sure marginalized voices are heard. Even if your video content doesn’t directly involve marginalized people, consider yourself responsible for recognizing and acknowledging different communities.
And most importantly, have fun! There’s nothing more important than being able to spread love and joy through media production. After all, a producer’s priority should be bringing people together instead of tearing them apart.