What is an Access Coordinator?
An Access Coordinator is a below-the-line crew role that works with film and television productions to ensure that access and adjustments are implemented so everyone can give their best work on set.
An emergent crew role worldwide, Access Coordinators play a vital part in increasing and sustaining ongoing inclusion of diverse deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent (DDN) talent in the screen industries.
An Access Coordinator can (ideally) be engaged as early as development, but will typically be engaged at greenlight/pre-preproduction, through to production and post-production as needed. It is a specialised role combining expert knowledge of film and television production and experience in advising on adjustments and access provisions required for DDN talent in front of and/or behind the camera.
Working with the producer, heads of department, crew members and cast, Access Coordinators ensure best practice is adopted on-set and that productions appropriately support DDN talent and crew. Access Coordinators can work with existing diversity and inclusion officers, complement existing resources/toolkits, and enhance the broader access training that is currently available.
In October 2023, the NZFC delivered an Access Coordinator Training Program in partnership with Screen Australia and inclusion company Bridge06. New Zealand film practitioners Chelsea Bridges, Jared Flitcroft and Felicity Hamill completed the training and can be hired as Access Coordinators anywhere in Aotearoa.
Why does the screen sector need access coordinators?
Productions and Broadcasters are on a constant search for diverse talent and are keen to ensure that they know where to find and retain them to bring equity to the industry.
Employers are also in need of expert help to accommodate the adjustments that potentially 1 in 5 of their cast, crew and creatives expect as part of their access requirements.
By encouraging disclosure, aiding support, and nurturing the intersectionality of disability, Access Coordinators are vital to finding solutions to the barriers that exist in the screen sector.
How does an Access Coordinator support a production?
An Access Coordinator works with the producer, production team, heads of department, crew members and cast to implement inclusion at every stage of production, from script development and casting to post-production and marketing. Below are some examples of how an Access Coordinator could help.
- Advising on the appropriate language
- Advising on practicalities of the scene appropriate to the access requirements
REQUIREMENTS OF THE ACTOR
- Advising on safety and assessing risk alongside the production team, especially if stunts are involved
- Advising how to make the writers room experience accessible and inclusive
- Adding specifics for any known access requirements
- Assessing location and tech/creative plans for accessibility
- Meeting ahead with DDN writers to assess access requirements and adjustments
- Advising the casting team/individual on how to make the casting process more accessible
- Advising on specific access requirements for any individuals who have disclosed
- Assessing building accessibility
- Advising on wording for auditions/callouts and other communications
- Advising on how to ensure documents are accessible
- Advising on accessible videocall audition practices
- Advising and supporting HODs when looking for diverse and DDN crew
- Advising where to advertise to attract the DDN community
- Advice on wording for jobs to be advertised
- Advising on how to accommodate access requirements for interviews
- Sitting in on interviews if required
- Attending production meetings either in person or on Zoom to introduce the role of Access Coordinator
- Providing a toolkit including easy-read call sheet, language and etiquette documents for production
- Working with all HODs to advise and support inclusive practices
- Working with the stunt team and all other departments
- Working with the production team around travel and accommodation to ensure accessibility
- Providing support for all disclosing individuals, feeding back to production with a report and overseeing adjustments when put in place
- Advising on wording for call sheets and other documentation for accessibility
- Advising on locations and studios for accessibility
- Advising on where to find DDN-specific equipment for loan/hire/buy
- Advising on NZSL interpreters when required and how to find them, in addition to finding international interpreters where required
- Suggesting and supporting production in finding and mandating disability training for the team
- Supporting production with any issues arising around DDN discrimination
- Working with Human Resources and Health & Safety representatives advising on specifics when appropriate
- Advising on fire evacuation plans and guiding and working with the appropriate team.
- Being on set for the first day or as necessary for any DDN actor
- Advising on how to make a set/shoot accessible
- If appropriate, staying in the same hotel as any DDN actors to ensure accommodations are appropriate
- Advising director as appropriate in working with actors who have access requirements
- Advising on how to make the process accessible for DDN staff and encouraging production to bring post-production crew into the process
- Providing access coordinator support to anyone disclosing
- Advising on building accessibility
MARKETING & PRESS
- Advising on language for Press and best practice for Comms
- If appropriate, attend press junkets and screenings to support any DDN talent
Where to find an Access Coordinator
Chelsea Bridges, Jared Flitcroft and Felicity Hamill can be hired as Access Coordinators anywhere in Aotearoa. If you would like to hire an Access Coordinator for your project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you require this information in another format, you can contact email@example.com