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Adam Wright is no stranger to the spotlight. Born with a rare disorder – so rare it’s dubbed Adam Wright syndrome – the St. Thomas 2011 grad has suffered through 45 surgeries and is confined to an electric wheelchair.
But Wright’s most important piece of survival equipment isn’t his wheelchair, it’s his sense of humour. And he’s now trying to turn his sharp comic take on all those awkward stares and patronizing attitudes into a television show.
“I think that everyone has obstacles,” said Wright. “Everyone has a sad story. I’m no different than anyone else. That’s the point I want to make with my show. We don’t need to be put up on a pedestal. We deal with the same boring normal shit everyone does: school, family drama, love life, sex…or lack thereof.”
While initial pitches of That’s How I Roll were considered by Canadian television networks but ultimately rejected, he’s buckled down to write four episodes and now has a Hollywood agent to represent him.
“All the Canadian networks pretty much said no because they just didn’t have room or were, sadly, focusing on Reality TV,” said Wright.
“I must have mailed about 50 to 100 agencies … no joke. But one day, thanks to my reach on Twitter with my site I got a bite; and today, I can happily say that I now have a Hollywood agent working for me, well working to help me get my show on the air.”
In 2007, Wright enrolled at St. Thomas University and joined the team at The Aquinian, creating the longest running column in AQ history, TV Done Wright.
While Wright realized landing a job in the field was nearly impossible, he was already doing his thing with his website TVDoneWright.com.
“For my career dream, I’ve always had two options…one be a TV critic, or the second was to be a TV comedy writer, both of those I need contacts and experience, which is why I started the site.”
In his second-year journalistic writing class, Wright had an assignment to write a personal story. It gave him the opportunity to truly open up to his peers about his condition.
“I know when people meet me, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is ‘OK, what does he have?’ but they don’t want to ask because they feel it’s impolite,” said Wright. “I knew my classmates were curious, and I surely don’t mind talking about myself, or my story.”
Wright’s essay, “That’s How I Roll” received praise from peers and a notoriously critical professor. He submitted it to The Aquinian.
“The main theme pretty much was how I used humour and wit to get through all the shit I’ve been through. My main message was ‘stop walking on eggshells, people! Be impolite, talk, ask questions, be curious, it’s all OK.’”
That experience gave Wright the inspiration to work on his television pilot.
“If it wasn’t for that assignment, I would not be the writer I am today.”
To gain some traction, Wright spread his essay around, but to even be considered by a network, a writer needs an agent. Wright decided to go ahead and turn his essay into four full episodes of That’s How I Roll to impress agents and networks.
So far so good. That’s How I Roll is now being pitched to major American cable networks, thanks to the help of his newly acquired agent.
That’s How I Roll is a semi-autobiographical story of Wright’s life, particularly his university life. The show is not inspirational fluff about the hardships of being disabled.
“It’s a dark comedy that definitely not politically correct,” said Wright. “I don’t want it to be some cheesy bullshit show. I don’t want to be the ordinary inspiration story you see on the news. My show is going to be raw and real.”
The official tag line for That’s How I Roll, summarizes the tone Wright is aiming for: “Now off to college, Adam, a young man with a rare physical disability, will use his razor wit to prevail over his biggest obstacles – idiots.”
“Now this is still a long shot,” said Wright. “Getting a show on the air is a process that can take years, but long shots is something I’ve been doing all my life.”