Wheelchair Chronicles Update

It’s been a couple of months since I last posted and a lot has happened in those two months that I need to get everyone caught up on. I recently announced the name of my new media company called Cooper Industries, a company that focuses on my filmmaking, photography, and production work (which I’ll go into more detail in a future post). I’m collaborating on a couple of media projects that are disability focus and will start early next year. I’m also working on putting together a web series continuing where the wheelchair chronicles left off and I’m very excited to be working on that and you’ll find out more about it because it’s in the early stages.

The main reason I’m writing this is because I’m gonna be making some pages to the Wheelchair Chronicles site and also the Facebook page. I feel like it’s time to make a few changes.

Thank you all so much for your continued support of me and your support of the Wheelchair Chronicles, I really appreciate it!

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Focusing On Self-Care

I’ve spent this week devoting myself to self-care. I never realized how physically and mentally burnt I was until I spent time taking care of myself and focusing on healing my mind and body. Also this week, I found out that some of my closest friends have been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks due to school, workload, etc. I got a lot of support for focusing on self-care and it’s important that we all look out for each other and encourage our friends and family who are struggling to take care of themselves, to take the time to heal and to recharge our minds and bodies. I love you all and it’s important that you all take the time for self-care.

My Own Worst Critic

Over the last few years I’ve seen my version of The Wheelchair Chronicles countless times and with every viewing, I’m often cringing at what I’m saying on screen. Being my own worst critic, I’m saying to myself during these viewings, “what the hell was I talking about, why did I say what I said in this scene, I can’t believe I said that.” I realize recently during a private viewing session I did for a friend of mine that I’m a completely different person now than I was when I did those interview sessions. 2017 Justin Cooper is different from 2013 Justin Cooper (the year I recorded those sessions).
 
For example, in parts of the film, I talk about wanting independence and not wanting help from strangers, friends, and even my mom. I felt that in order to be independent, I had to do everything by myself, I had to “prove” to everyone how independent I was gonna be. That was me in 2013 and in the present day I’m thinking to myself, why would you say something like that? It makes no sense. I say that because my interpretation of being independent was slightly off. Being independent is not about trying to prove to others that you don’t need their help or that you can do everything by yourself. In all honesty, I can’t do everything by myself and I require help from my friends and family in certain situations because I see them as being apart of my team, my support system. I can still crave independence but without the strong support system in my life I’m nothing, I’m nothing without them.
 
Let’s be real, I’m my own worst critic when it comes to my film. In the two showings that I’ve done so far people have been positive in their reviews and understand where I was coming from in talking about being independent but from those interview sessions I’ve grown and have learned more about myself and I’ve met so many wonderful people who made me see that needed help and being on a team is not bad at all.

Self-Evaluating

I’ve been doing a lot of self-evaluating as of late, thinking about how I can improve as a person, how I can be a better friend, how I can be a better advocate. I’ve been thinking more about how I can make more of a social impact in society and through that thinking process, I figure the way I can make that impact is through my passions, through filmmaking, photography, art, and through other forms of media. I feel like I can make a real difference in the world and I’m starting to make a difference in small steps with The Wheelchair Chronicles and I plan on continuing to do that.

Only The Beginning

On Monday after five long years, I finally showed off The Wheelchair Chronicles to a group of my closest friends. It was easily one of the best night of my life. I was a little nervous at first but I knew I was amongst friends who have been so supportive of my journey over the last five years. The great thing about it all is they want more, and there will be more premieres and more celebrations. The next phase of the process is polishing up my edited version and putting together a crowdfunding campaign, where I can hire professional editors, hire composers, work on a proper marketing and promotion, and working on a logo. This only the beginning for me in my life as a filmmaker and I look forward to what the future holds.

Amazement

I continue to be amazed at how many people are still interested and excited for my film. I feel like I continue to let you all down because I still haven’t released The Wheelchair Chronicles. It’s frustrating because life has gotten in the way and the added responsibilities that I’ve taken on recently. All I just want to do is just show you all the finished product and focus my time on creating my business and working on other film projects. I really appreciate your support and continued excitement for this film. It means a lot.

Film Update

2017 is shaping up to be a huge year for me and The Wheelchair Chronicles. This year my film will finally be released and I’m so excited! So my plan is to do a private screening of the film (featuring my edited version) for friends, family, and supporters of my long journey. After that, I plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign that will go into hiring professional editors, a composer, and hiring people to do marketing and promotion so I can submit it to different film festivals across the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. I’ll be providing more film updates in the coming months and posting more personal stuff on this blog as well. Thank you to everyone for their continued support!

Life Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog. Since I finished my film back in February, it’s been on my external hard drive waiting to be released to the public. However, my life has been very busy and I haven’t been able to showcase my work. Since February I’ve had a bigger role in my young professional’s council group at Access Living, I joined a couple of groups there as well. I was involved in putting together the disability pride parade back in July and I also took an entrepreneur training course at UIC during the spring/summer. During all this time I was going through some issues with my body that was making my life a living hell. So my plate has been full and then some. I feel like I’m constantly letting people down because I’m asked when my film is coming and all I can say it’s coming soon but then I realize people understand what I’m going through and continue to be excited about this project that’s been four years in the making and I really appreciate their enthusiasm and it makes me work harder to give the people what they want and that’s the wheelchair chronicles.

The Portrayal of Disabled People

I saw this quote scrolling through tumblr and this made so much sense to me and also in regards to my film. I want to show the world through this film a more real representation of a disabled person and that I have my own identity as a person with a disability.

The history of the portrayal of disabled people is the history of oppressive and negative representation. This has meant that disabled people have been presented as socially flawed able bodied people, not as disabled people with their own identities.

– David Hevey, 25 March 1992

Where Have I Been

So where do I begin!? It’s been a long as time since I’ve written on this blog and many things have happen since my last post. I’m upset at myself because I’ve wanted to keep everyone updated on what’s going on with the film but life has gotten in the way of providing you all with updates. Just to let you all know my film is still going well. I haven’t worked on it as much the past few weeks but I’ve come up with a brand new idea that I feel will add more to the overall presentation of The Wheelchair Chronicles and I’m very happy with my decision and I think you all will like it very much.

While I’ve been away from the blog my life has gotten a bit busy and for good reason. I recently started working with Access Living, which is a strong advocacy group in Chicago dealing with and helping people with disabilities in many ways. I joined Access Living’s YPC (Young Professionals Council) a few months ago on an invite from one of the amazing therapist at Day Rehab Center, Alli Luft and became a member from day one and it’s been incredible. So far I’ve met so many awesome people who work all over the city and come together for a common goal and that’s to help people with disabilities and I’m loving it. You know at first I really didn’t think I fit into this group because I’m just an average filmmaker and many in the group have legit professions. I got over that quickly because being a filmmaker is a huge asset to a group like this and that matters. So I’m grateful to be a part of that group.

Even though I’ve been away from the blog and my film, it’s for a very good reason. I hope to have the film finished by the end of the year and I expect to continue my work with the YPC at Access Living. I feel that my best work is yet to come and I look forward to what the next few months have to bring.