Don't Panic London Creates Powerful New Spot for National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society has teamed up with Don’t Panic London once again to create ‘Could you Stand the Rejection?’ a film which is part of their three-year Too Much Information campaign, aiming to transform public understanding of autism and open up the world of work for autistic people.
Shocking figures revealed today by the National Autistic Society show that only 16% autistic people are in full-time paid work.
‘Could you Stand the Rejection?’ follows on from Don’t Panic and The National Autistic Society’s last viral video viewed over 56 million times, 'Can you make it to the end?' which showed a child experiencing ‘too much information’ in a shopping centre.
This time, the POV film puts the viewer in the shoes of an autistic adult experiencing ‘too much information’ in a series of job interviews. The film’s star, played by autistic actor Max Green, becomes increasingly overwhelmed by anxiety and uncertainty about what’s being asked of him, to the point where he’s unable to demonstrate his ability to do the job. At the end of the film we see Max, outside the offices, upset and overwhelmed. The film finishes with the message: “I’m not unemployable, I’m autistic”.
For Max, who has faced a difficult journey to employment, this story is all too familiar. Max said: “I left school without any GCSEs and felt worthless, like people would think I have
nothing to offer. I managed to get an interview at a phone company but it was a disaster – I didn’t know what to expect and became so overwhelmed with anxiety that I couldn’t speak. I just sat there, shaking and sweating.” But, in another interview, the panel saw something in him and took a chance by offering him an apprenticeship. Max describes this as a lifeline and went on to become Apprentice of the Year in 2016.
The film was developed in collaboration with the autistic community and is designed to give viewers a greater understanding of what autism looks and feels like and how difficult the job interview process can be for autistic people. We see Max’s character becoming overwhelmed by the bright lights, loud sounds of the office and the unpredictable and open-ended questions of the interviewer.
Over three quarters of autistic people who are unemployed say they want to work, yet they aren’t given the opportunity to do so, with many recruitment and employment practices not being ‘autism friendly’.
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said: “Not all autistic people are able to work. But many are and are desperate to find a job which reflects their talent and interests. With a little understanding and small adjustments to recruitment and the workplace, they can be a real asset to businesses across the UK. Autistic people deserve that chance.”
Alistair Griggs, Lead Creative at Don’t Panic explained that authenticity was at the heart of the film: “We knew the film had to accurately show an autistic person’s real life experience of looking for work and so it was really important for us to meet and speak with members of the autistic community. We knew they’d provide valuable insight into the problems and misunderstandings they can face every day.”
The National Autistic Society want to challenge viewers to experience 90 seconds in a stressful situation we can all relate to - the job interview - but in a way they have never felt before. In turn, perhaps we can start to understand how an employment setting can be made more autism friendly.
Advertiser: The National Autistic Society
Creative: George McCallum, Tom Loader, Maria Goucha and Richard Beer
Managing Director: Joe Wade
Creative Agency: Don’t Panic London
Music and Sound
Sound Design: Final Cut
Post Production / VFX
Post Production House: Cherry Cherry
Grade: The Mill
Production Company: Knucklehead
Producer: Bill James
Directors: Ben & Joe Dempsey
Actors: Max Green
Category: Corporate and social , Social