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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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.

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.

Film Update

It’s been too damn long since I’ve given y’all an update but there’s been a lot of things (good things) that’s been happening recently. The film is all finished and it’s on my external hard drive waiting to be released to the public. I’ve been focused on collaborating with my UIC family, I’ve got a bigger role in YPC (Young Professionals Council) at Access Living as membership & recruitment chair, I’m working hard with the disability pride parade committee on putting together the parade that’s coming up in a few months, I’m working with a few friends helping put their own projects together, and lastly I’m doing entrepreneurial training at UIC. So I haven’t neglected y’all or my film. I’m getting great opportunities to better myself and collaborate with other people. Thank you all for your support and patience.

Traveling Through The City

With The Wheelchair Chronicles completed, I still don’t have a release date for the film but this morning I wanted to share with you all a clip from the film talking about my travels through Chicago. Thank you all for your continued support and I’ll update you all on when the film is coming out.

Wheelchair Chronicles Update

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote on my blog or provided any news on the film. Well as I mentioned back in November of 2015, I completed the film and explained the wonderful journey I went through to finish the Wheelchair Chronicles. Fast forward to today, it’s still finished but life has gotten in the way recently and in a good way. I’ve taken on more responsibilities in my life but don’t think for one minute that I’m forgetting about my film. Once I figured out where I’m gonna debut it in Chicago, I’ll let you all know where and how you can see it. Sorry for the wait everyone but you’ll won’t be disappointed when I present The Wheelchair Chronicles.

The End of My Journey

I finally did it! Last month after nearly 4 years of hard work, after 4 years of blood, sweat , and tears, I announced to my friends and family that The Wheelchair Chronicles was finally completed. At the time of that announcement, I didn’t know how to feel about it being all over. I didn’t know how to put my feelings into words so you all could understand where I was coming from. Sure I was joyous about this huge accomplishment in my life, but that was pretty much it. Now that I’ve had time to take it all in, I can now share my feeling in deep context than I could when the film was finished.

Let me tell you, this has been a wonderful journey for me but when I started it was completely different. In February 2012, I had no clue what I was doing. I had decided a month earlier that I was gonna focus the direction of The Wheelchair Chronicles from telling stories of people with disabilities to telling my story. I was worried because one, I had never worked on a film, let alone a documentary in my life. Second, I wondered if my life was too boring and that no one would care if my story was told or hell, no one would watch me tell my story. I didn’t wanna go through the process of working on this and no one not giving a damn when it was all finished.

As I started my journey I was getting guidance from of one my professors at DePaul who had experience in filmmaking  and that helped this first timer out immensely. I got a lot of early support from my friends and family at DePaul, my professors, my family, and my mom. That gave me the motivation to keep going. People were actually excited when I would tell them of my progress, I couldn’t believe people wanted to hear my story and felt like telling my story would help a lot more people with disabilities. To be honest, that was a heavy burden for me at times because I felt I had a responsibility to share my life with the world, to change people’s perceptions of people with disabilities, and to be an ambassador/advocate in the disability community.

As time went on, I started to embrace how I was going to present this film. I wanted this film to aid in how able-bodied people viewed the disability community, and to change the beliefs that able-bodied people had of us through misrepresentations of disabled people in the media. I felt that I could help in contributing to that change and let my voice be heard. In the last two years of this film being completed I became more active in the disability community, and more people became interested in The Wheelchair Chronicles and the work I was doing.

During the last year or two, I joined Access Living, I joined the Young Professionals Council, got an article written in the Sun-Times, joined another wonderful organization in 3Arts, doing projects for UIC, and hell, even being the head marshal of a big time parade. As I was nearing the end of this project, not only did I want this film to change the beliefs of able-bodied people but I wanted this to film to be apart of my disability advocacy, and my continued role as a disability ambassador.

Now that it’s all over and I’ve had time to think about everything, I’m so glad that I’m done with this amazing journey. I didn’t know when I started where this film was gonna take me, but it has taken me places I’ve never thought possible and where it’s gonna continue to take me in the future. I’ve met so many wonderful people through this journey and that I’ve developed great relationships with. You all kept me going when I wanted to give up, when I was questioning myself and my abilities as a filmmaker. I’m grateful to everyone who supported me on this journey, and grateful to everyone who’ll support through my next project.