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Emma Optomen TV

BBC Project - Aspergers and Employment

24 posts in this topic

Dear All,

 

I'm a producer with a TV company called Optomen. I am adding this new topic as I would like to find people with ASD who have struggled to find employment for a BBC project I am developing. The idea is looking at the science of neuro diversity to present people to employers as an asset, rather than focusing on difficulties.

 

If you would like to find out more please e-mail me at employme@optomen.com

 

Many thanks

 

Emma Parsons

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I've emailed Emma expressing my interest. Not sure how much I want to have my chequered work history on national TV, however.

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I'd be interested to know what sort of light ASD people will be portrayed on this programme. So far, autistic people have not been shown in a particularly good light in the media.

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I have exchanged several emails with Emma and her colleague Simon, which has resulted in this message received today:

 

 

We finish this stage of development this Friday, 23rd January and will be handing our pitch document to the BBC at the end of the month with the hope it will get commissioned. What I would like to do, as with everyone applying at this stage is store your details into our datable [sic] so we can call back when it gets commissioned.

I still haven't actually spoken to either of the producers - all they know about me is what I told them in my original email ("I saw your posting on the ASD UK forum and would like to get involved. I have Asperger syndrome and have struggled to find and/or retain work.")

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I would prefer it to be an independent production shown on an internet TV channel rather than the BBC.

 

In my experience, the BBC has a tight criteria for production and a bias of its own. It will not be an authentic or faithful production if it has to pass through the BBC censors.

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If it goes ahead - you have to audition to appear in the show - make sure you have the right support in place.

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Meaning what exactly?

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There has never been an audition for these. they contact u if your interested and suit the requirements and make a documentary out of the fund the BBC gave them to cover also travel and they also decide whether they have enough funding for an extra person in the documentary. I always check out the production before i make a decision to see if they are legit

Edited by Special_talent123

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So far the only contact I've had with the production team has been by email.

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Optomen have been in contact with my company to film as well, and I have asked about the whole process so that's why I know.

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So they do hold auditions? I guess I'd better prepare a soliloquy.

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I finally managed to have a phone conversation with Emma's colleague Simon yesterday. There are still some things I need to clarify, so I emailed him with the following questions:

  • What am I likely to gain out of this project? Is it definitely going to end in a job, or is that more of a nice-to-have?
  • How is the programme going to help me get a job? Simon said something about mentoring. Who would the mentor(s) be? Do they have specific knowledge of autism spectrum disorders? Are they affiliated to a particular organisation, such as Remploy or the Shaw Trust?
  • What sort of questions / situations / scenarios are going to be filmed?
  • Do I have the right to withdraw my consent at any time without the footage shot to date being shown on TV?

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The series is in the can - first episode goes out on BBC2 tomorrow.

Employable Me

 

Although I did take part, my contribution has been reduced to a 10-minute film which will be available to view on BBC3 from 31 March. Not sure how long for, but the producer thinks probably more than the usual 30 days.

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Six days later than originally planned, my film is finally online:

www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/tag/docs

 

Any comments gratefully​ received! :)

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A very good video - it shows just how difficult employment can be for autistic people, even when they are very capable. Congratulations on your new job; I do hope that it goes well for you.

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Just watched it - great video, and congrats on getting the job - I hope it works out for you. It is painful and demoralising when you know you have skills/qualifications that employers are looking for but you keep getting rejected, especially when years tick by - but it just shows with support, and understanding employers, more people with autism could be working.

 

I hope more employers watch these films and appreciate and consider candidates with autism for the abilities they have, rather than rejecting them for the ones they haven't.

Edited by positive_about

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Shame I wasn't involved in this earlier. Could've been on to explain my difficulties with employment.

 

Am E-Mailing Optomen now, wondering if they'll get back to me :)

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Having watched the main series on BBC2, I can understand why the producers might have thought that the other featured Aspies were more in need of a lucky break than me - in particular Ashley (the Victorian gentleman in episode 2) and Ben (the law graduate in episode 3).

 

Regarding Ben, was I the only one thinking: "50 job applications in four years? You need to up your game!"

Edited by Aeolienne

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Having watched the main series on BBC2, I can understand why the producers might have thought that the other featured Aspies were more in need of a lucky break than me - in particular Ashley (the Victorian gentleman in episode 2) and Ben (the law graduate in episode 3).

 

Regarding Ben, was I the only one thinking: "50 job applications in four years? You need to up your game!"

 

Considering I apply for up to 400 jobs a year! And I have them recorded on a spreadsheet!

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In fairness, I do recognise some extent of Ben's approach to jobhunting in myself. Certainly when I was straight out of university I did get accused of not making enough applications. I did get invited to a fair few interviews however (hope that doesn't sound boastful) which may have made me complacent. I suspect it's probably quite typical of Aspies to approach jobhunting (like so many other aspects of life) as how they would like the world to be rather than as it is, especially if they don't have close friends to exchange ideas with.

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I've been interviewed for local radio about my experience on 'Employable Me' - you can listen to me at 1 hr 33 min, and again at 1 hr 46 min:

Link (available for 26 days)

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Just watched it - great video, and congrats on getting the job - I hope it works out for you.

Unfortunately it hasn't worked out in the way I'd hoped. The TV crew were a bit disingenuous (quelle surprise) in that they got me to talk to camera about what having a proper job would mean to me, but that was before it was revealed that the job was actually going to be a three-month placement as an agency worker at National Grid. I pointed out that I would be unlikely to find somewhere to rent in the Warwick travel-to-work area for less than six months, so with a stroke of a pen the company extended the initial contract to six months, i.e. from March to September 2016. This was later extended for a further six months, albeit still as an agency worker, with the proviso that if I displayed sufficient analytical skills (I was given a project to showcase them) I would be upgraded to a permanent member of the team. Unfortunately I didn't and I wasn't. So much for the happy ending.

Edited by Aeolienne

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