Directed by Greg Byers
35 MIN / DOCUMENTARY / 2009 / USA
A performing arts studio for adults with developmental disabilities changes the perception of Hollywood casting agents and producers to hire these trained actors to play characters with disabilities in film and television.
If acting wasn’t a hard enough job to land, throw in being disabled and see what reaction you’d get. That’s the challenge John Paizis and the folks at Performing Arts Studio West face every day in the entertainment biz.
“Acting Normal” is an intimate and cultural look at this group of individual’s lives and showing that “normal” is what life gives you and what you decide to do with it.
Located in Inglewood California, Performing Arts Studio West is an amazing facility where a multi-cultural mix of adults with a variety of developmental disabilities go for professional instruction to hone their skills and confidence as actors and performers for film and television. But amid the auditions, dancing, acting and voice training, it’s the laughter, friendship and mutual support that’s the major highlight at this venue.
In this film, narrated by August McAdoo who is one of the clients, we meet a few of these unique actors and hear their dreams and goals. One lead character, the very confident Nick Daley, has his ups and downs but through some successful auditions and with the support of John and his team, Nick lands a co-staring role along side of a big-time actress on a television series.
From the beginning the goal of the studio was to create a caring and productive program that would make a difference in these people’s lives and teach skills that could be used not only on a movie set but in society as well. John and the studio has achieved that goal.