Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 8 - Page 24

members communicate with each other, an article section with exclusive articles and howto guides, a blogging feature, and a lot more. We now have 100,000 registered members and usually get up to around 20,000 unique visitors a day. MP: How do you think Wrong Planet has made a difference in people’s lives? PLANK: The most popular aspect of Wrong Planet is the discussion forum. Members find the most value in connecting with one another. It’s an aspect of their lives that they find very important. Many members have gone their entire lives being disconnected and feeling alone, so the opportunity for community is something that’s valuable and game changing for a lot of people. People feel like they’ve finally found their “tribe;” they finally belong somewhere. did you have to deal with in order to do that? PLANK: There are more opportunities out here for film stuff, and I wanted to have those opportunities, so I packed up my Range Rover and went with a buddy. I didn’t have a job, but I did have the website. I was worried that I would get there and not support myself financially. Finding work was a struggle, but I was doing video projects for a few nonprofits. I had speaking engagements, so I was able to travel to different places as well. “Asperger’s isn’t something that needs to be cured. It just MP: You graduated from George Mason University with a degree in film and video studies. Tell us about your college experience, and do you have any advice for others? ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses involvement with FX’s The Bridge. PLANK: I was in LA a couple of years before I started working on The Bridge. An executive at FX called and, basically, he asked me questions on the phone about autism and about a character that they were developing on this TV show. Then the writer called, and I was asked to meet with the lead actress (Diane Kruger). I guess the meeting went well because after the meeting I got an email from the executive producer, who said that Diane loved me, and they invited me to work on the series. gives me a different outlook.” PLANK: Good. It was a very big growing ex- 24 MP: Tell us about your perience for me. I learned a lot about making friends. For kids that are out there considering college and trying to make friends: don’t see rejection as a bad thing; just see it as a part of the process. You’re not going to get along with everyone, so if some people don’t want to be your friend, I wouldn’t take that personally. The character’s autism is never really mentioned; you don’t know if she even knows it. It’s just addressed in the behaviors and relationships she has. The problem with a lot of shows is that they usually have a stereotypical character with Asperger’s. They just go through and give them all the symptoms and then they make a big deal out of it. MP: A few years back, you packed yourself up and moved to LA. Why? What kinds of issues The Bridge isn’t about autism or Asperger’s; it’s about the character, and that just happens to ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 25