Nick Ransom is a freelance TV researcher based in Manchester. He has recently worked for A Question of Sport and BBC Bitesize amongst indies such as Studio Lambert and Label1. In 2017, Nick was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but some may still identify with Asperger Syndrome. He now campaigns to improve understanding of neurodiversity, highlight the potential that neurodiverse people can bring to the industry, and open up conversations about mental health.
When many people consider the topic of diversity, the focus is often around characteristics including race, ethnicity, physical ability, age, gender and sexuality. It’s no surprise, given those characteristics are more ‘visible’ than others. But what about people who think differently? Nick explores neurodiversity and its challenges, and makes the case for more people with neurodiverse conditions in the screen industry.
Whilst Nick benefited from what he describes as his “stereotypical media upbringing”, his condition can make it difficult to work in TV. In an industry built on networking, conditions that affect social confidence can be really challenging. As a freelancer, Nick finds that this can make chasing new contracts tiring and the spare time has a knock-on impact on his mental health. In an industry that relies so heavily on freelance operators, this requires urgent attention.
What can the industry do to help? Greater acceptance, support and encouragement for people with neurodiverse conditions would be welcome; a big step forward would be for people to feel more confident about explaining their conditions and how they need to work. The industry stands to benefit too. There are many strengths associated with neurodiverse conditions.
In Nick’s case, these include strong attention to detail, acute observational skills and a methodical approach. There’s no doubt that the industry mindset needs to change and for neurodiversity to be increasingly recognised, accepted and embraced.