Myles A. Taylor is a man of many talents, as his illustrious pedigree as an actor, writer, director, showrunner and musician prove. Nevertheless, he can’t do it all alone, so he’s seeking TV audiences’ help in funding his latest pilot project, Life in the Wheel World, a music-themed drama that centres redemption and familial problems.
Life in the Wheel World “is a show about a set of twins who are the children of a famous musician, and it’s about their lives and trying to deal with the legacy of their father and carve their own space in the music world,” Taylor says.
But here’s where the show would differentiate itself amid a sea of simulcasted similitude.
“Joshua, my character, is disabled. It’s about the collision of celebrity and privilege and disability and how those things kind of intermingle with each other … how all of that affects everybody in the show and their daily lives, both in good and in bad ways.”
Taylor, who has cerebral palsy, drew on his own experiences as a disabled artist for the lead character, Joshua Douglas.
“It is very autobiographical. There are plenty of actual experiences that I have pulled from in doing these writings and will continue to do so,” Taylor says.
Taylor and co-creator/executive producer Jared Adams conceived the idea during their studies in the University of Winnipeg’s film program after producing a series of short videos musing on accessibility problems in day-to-day life, which were inspired by an incident they witnessed downtown.
“We saw a dude on Broadway come running out of the building because he was about to get a parking ticket, and because he had to come bounding down a bunch of stairs, Jared goes, ‘What would you do if you were in that situation?’ and I said “Well, obviously, I would just use my rocket boosters,’” Taylor says.
Collective Film Productions, the entity behind Life in the Wheel World, is a joint venture from Taylor, Adams and other film-school colleagues. They are currently raising funds on Indiegogo to finance the pilot episode of Life in the Wheel World.
While the show focuses on disability, it strives to avoid obvious tokenizing in its prioritizing of authentic entertainment.
“We don’t ever want to stop the show to preach to the audience,” Taylor says. “Both entertaining and educating are goals, but entertainment is first, and if we can educate, then we’ve done our jobs. It’s a healthy byproduct of making a good, entertaining show.”
So where does a music-themed tragicomedy with a disabled protagonist fit in the current television landscape?
“I think it doesn’t fit in. I think it’s so unique that there’s nothing like it quite that has really been shown, especially not on right now,” Melissa Dawn Kennedy, a writer, director and producer on the program, says.
Kennedy was brought on as part of the writing team for her skills in structure, narrative and plot creation.
“The female characters, specifically, I had a lot of influence of rounding,” Kennedy says. “The concept was already created, but I helped with the development of story and getting them to where they currently are now in the script.”
Taylor hopes the show can provide both representation for disabled viewers, as well as general variety from most televised fare.
“What I think we’re doing is giving something they don’t know they want until they’ve seen it,” Taylor says.
“There’s not a lot of content about disability out there. I’ve seen some stuff out there, and it’s really good, but I just feel like we’re doing something different.”
Life in the Wheel World’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign runs from now until Nov. 8. Donate via bit.ly/3EMxnl2
Published in Volume 77, Number 06 of The Uniter (October 20, 2022)