Trevor Pacelli discusses autism in the media

On Oct. 12, Bellevue College hosted BC alumnus Trevor Pacelli to speak about his work in film and media. During his time at BC, Pacelli received assistance from the Autism Spectrum Navigators and soon after, transferred to Arizona State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies. Held in the Library Media Center’s small screening room, Pacelli’s lecture focused on how he learned to use autism as an asset and shared his future plans with a degree in film.

Currently, Pacelli is raising more awareness about autism through a variety of media. Besides speaking at schools, he manages his own website called “Trevor’s View on Hollywood,” which is dedicated to his analysis of movies and lessons that they may have about autism. “My blog is all about displaying my personal views on films old and new, specifying how they can help you learn more about autism,” Pacelli wrote on his blog. Pacelli’s work also spans to photography, which had been an interest since high school. He sports a separate website with his portfolio of families, events, portraits and animals. In addition, Pacelli is publicizing his book “Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic – 100 Lessons to Understand How Autistic People See Life.” In this book, Pacelli uses his own life experiences to teach his readers how to cope with people who have autism.

During his lecture at BC, Pacelli shared his movie reviews and his process of analyzing movies. Pacelli’s grading system evaluates a wide range of aspects in a movie. He gives points to audience reactions, portrayal of race and gender, the quality of editing, relevance and accuracy of the subject and more.

However, Pacelli confessed that his analysis of acting ability is still a work in progress. “To be frank, my assessment of the quality of acting is not as strong as my ability to assess cinematography,” explained Pacelli. “A lot of people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome don’t have the natural ability to interpret emotions.”
“I’m more of a technical guy than an acting guy,” said Pacelli.

Pacelli’s interest in a movie career began when he was young. “It did start with Disney and Pixar movies and when I was applying to [Bellevue College], I was looking through the list of majors and I was wondering which one would best apply to me and I saw movie making was listed as one of them, so I picked that one,” said Pacelli. After taking a few more classes and watching Hollywood classics such as “The Godfather” and “Citizen Kane,” Pacelli found his interest in film growing.

Apart from his film reviews and photography, Pacelli hopes to work on a screenplay soon. “I haven’t gotten that out of the door yet and I do want to do more promotion for my book. The other part of my work involves going to other fundraisers with causes about autism,” he explained. “I do want to get a screenplay started and produced, but it’s kind of hard to make time for that right now.”

With the advertisement of his book and website, Pacelli hopes to increase awareness about developmental disorders. He hopes that Hollywood would also make more movies that would give accurate and equal representation to these disorders. “There’s always talk about equality for blacks or equality for women, but no one ever talks about equality for people with developmental disorders,” said Pacelli.

To pave way for this issue, “Hollywood needs to hire more writers with autism or other developmental disorders.” Pacelli suggested, “Autism is not an obstacle and instead, it should be treated as an asset.”