But just a couple of days ago we had a very special visit to Inclusion Films in Burbank, a film studio/training center founded by Joey Travolta. We are very interested in the power of film to share the story of what we do, and Inclusion couldn’t have been a better place to learn from the pros.
We had the good fortune to learn about Inclusion at the Extraordinary Ventures Autism Employment Conference in Chapel Hill this past January. Several of their trainers and filmmakers attended to share a presentation on their venture and to film the conference. At the time, we were incredibly inspired and knew we wanted to learn more from them.
In the best sense of “bloom where you are planted,” Inclusion uses its LA base to train young adults on the autism spectrum in all aspects of filmmaking. With LA being such a major center of filmmaking, Inclusion uses the resources there to recruit film industry contacts and trainers to teach its students scripting, filming, and editing. Their venture also makes great use of its LA location to train and build meaningful job opportunities for its students in the film industry – first as production assistants, then with the opportunity to move into other positions in film.
When we visited this week, instructor Bill Dion gave us the inside scoop on their business, and showed us roomfuls of equipment, cameras, and film sets. One of their rooms even had a mini-New York subway system for use in a film their students had recently made. You can believe that caught our attention!
What does a film studio have to do with aquaponics? Well, plenty!
We loved Bill’s emphasis on training, support, and excellence. Inclusion is using the creativity and visual strengths of people with autism to do something truly amazing. And clearly, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to autistic employment. As a venture, Inclusion is blooming where they are located, using the resources of LA to develop jobs and hope for adults with autism right where they are.
We get that. From our base in Indiana, traditionally a farm state, we are blooming in our own location – using organic farming and aquaponics to build jobs here.
And Inclusion certainly knows how to tell stories through the films they create. “A story is just a beginning, a middle, and an end told well,” said Bill. He emphasized the importance of telling a story consistenly and even in today’s digital age how much we need to stay connected to people personally to discover the stories worth telling.
The story of Inclusion is clearly about excellent training, using resources well, and tapping into creativity and gifts. We are inspired by their operational style and their power to tell a story. We come away from our time with them full of ideas and great insights, ready to keep sharing our story and doing our part to create meaningful job opportunities for those with autism.