Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman, co-creators and stars of This Close, have announced they are partnering with Easterseals to provide support to deaf writers in the television industry. Stern and Feldman are two of only three writers in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) who are deaf. (Gisselle Legere of Quantico is the third.) And they want to improve those numbers.
Stern participated in the Power of TV: Representing Disability in Storytelling panel on April 24th, which was presented in part by Easterseals. She talked about the importance of creating a pathway for others, saying that “sometimes you have to chop down the trees yourself to make the road clear.”
Stern also discussed how she and Feldman originally pitched This Close as a story that focused on a character who was deaf and a character who has hearing. But they realized there was no reason why both main characters couldn’t be deaf, so they shot their own version of the show and uploaded it to YouTube.
As of today, This Close has wrapped its second season (scheduled to air later this year) and has been nominated for a Peabody Award.
Easterseals is a nonprofit organization that provides educational, outreach, and advocacy resources for children and adults with disabilities all over the world. Stern shared her excitement on social media about partnering with them in this endeavor.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this exciting initiative and can’t wait to see all the roads Stern and Feldman will clear for others in the television industry!