SINGLE: an AFI Directing Workshop for Women Project

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Romantic Comedy

Ashley Eakin

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $30,750 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

361 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


A film that confronts the complexities of being disabled + dating. Kim, who was born with a physical difference, gets set-up to go on a blind date. When she finally meets Jake, she realizes he also has a physical difference. And she is pi$#ed. Produced as part of AFI's Directing Workshop for Women.

In Partnership With

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

SINGLE is written & directed by Ashley Eakin - a female filmmaker with a disability and focuses on the dynamics of dating when being physically different. This film will feature two leads with physical differences. AFI Directing Workshop for Women is a program DEDICATED to inclusion. 

The Story


First of all, let's just get real - dating can really suck. And dating with a physical difference is even more complicated! It's a world I've navigated for many years, so I figured why not dive into the trenches and explore this space with some fun interesting characters who have physical differences.


This story is about a girl, KIM who has a physical difference and has exhausted all her online dating options and agrees to go on a blind date. When she arrives, she realizes the guy she is set-up with, also has a physical difference. And she is pissed.



Now you might be asking – "why!?". Which is exactly the reason I want to make this short. Being physically different is complicated. For me, living with a rare bone disease has been a life long journey of acceptance. I have always felt pretty confident in other areas, except when it came to my body and being physically different.


During this short film, these two characters will go on a journey discovering things about themselves they never realized were true. The short explores identity and how sometimes we reject others because we’re actually rejecting ourselves. It explores societies’ perception of the disabled community – and why the word itself is so tricky, even for me as I navigate this new phase of my life owning that word. I am passionate about changing how this word is viewed and I think that starts with visibility.

So when it comes down to it – SINGLE is about representation.



I used to work for Jon M. Chu who directed Crazy Rich Asians, where I spent half a year in Malaysia and Singapore working on the set. That film taught me a whole lot about representation in media. And it actually took me a while to understand how deep the lack of representation for my own community has shaped my life.


To catch you up to speed on who I am - I was born with a rare bone disease called Olliers and Maffucci Syndrome. And it has infiltrated every aspect of my life, especially as a storyteller.


Back in 2017 I participated in a SoulPancake video where I became vulnerable about my bone disease and the world responded in millions – it instantly went viral on Facebook, now hitting 43 million views. Basically changing the course of my life.



Growing up, I never saw a successful adult with my bone disease living in the world. So I always thought I would just die young. It felt like an inevitable fact of my bone disease – because I didn’t see it represented. But when I connected with a group on social media several years ago, all that changed and I realized the full power of seeing people like yourself –  with complex personalities and rich, interesting lives. 


Last year, I directed a short film called BLUE which explores social media and the false ideas of perfection. We raised a bunch of money, I directed the project, and a few weeks ago we held our first private screening. Many of you were on that journey with me! As a result of creating Blue, two incredible strides have been made in my career --



  • I got managers. I am now officially repped by Artist First Management which is a huge stepping-stone in a filmmaker's career. 
  • I was 1 of 8 women selected for the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women (AFI DWW). It is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally as narrative screen directors. Since its inception in 1974, the DWW has graduated over 300 alumnae, creating robust network of female storytellers empowered to lend their voices to film and television in ever greater numbers.



Some noteable alumni of AFI DWW include:

+Lesli Linka-Glatter, Director on HOMELAND, MAD MEN, GILMORE GIRLS
+Victoria Hochberg, Director on SEX IN THE CITY, ALLY MCBEAL, MELROSE PLACE 
+Pippa Bianco, Director of SHARE acquired by HBO, based on her DWW short
+Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Director + Creator of UnREAL on Lifetime, based on her DWW short


SINGLE will forever be part of the AFI DWW legacy featuring two leads with physical differences because I am passionate about creating content that speaks to my community of people in their 20s and 30s. 



This past summer, I went on an incredible retreat with SheLift which is a community of women who all have physical differnces. And to be honest, initially I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t sure what to expect and if I wanted to keep rooting my identity with my disability. But it was a life-changing experience. For once in my life, I am meeting other people, like me – who are complex, hilarious, crude (in the best way possible), kind, sassy, beautiful. It was just a whole spectrum of personality and life stories. AND SO MANY STORIES about the complexities of dating while being physically different. And I don’t see that represented anywhere in media. I want to create something that’s different than the one-note inspirational figure; we need fully-fleshed out characters to feel like our stories are being told.



1. Click the follow button to the right. Seed and Spark rewards us with incentives for the more followers we acquire! It's super easy and connects to FB! 

2. Share this campaign! E-mail is the most successful! But also social media pages can spread awareness! 

3. Donate! Every dollar counts and I promise I am pushing towards something really important and giving it my all. AND THESE DONATIONS CAN BE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE, AFI is a non-profit organization! WooHoo! 


I want people with physical differences and disabilities to feel they are being heard. This isn’t a small community, based on the National Service Inclusion Project 48.9 million people in the US alone have a disability – and that’s likely people who identify with a disability. And I can’t tell everyone’s story, but I can start somewhere. 



During this campaign I am going to be featuring dating stories and highlight some couples who have physical differences – it’s going to be a fun couple weeks, so I hope you follow along! And if you want to contribute anything or reach out, e-mail us! [email protected]




I hope you join me on this next journey! 


With Love + Gratitude,



Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $5,000

Locations we need: A Bar! A Roof! A Parking Lot! A Grocery Store!

Camera Package

Costs $4,000

We need to rent a camera and lenses!

Production Supplies and Equipment

Costs $3,000

Things we need behind the scenes for the set to function: tents, tables, chairs, walkies, etc.

Production Sounds

Costs $4,500

We need great sound for 5 days!

Meals and Catering

Costs $2,500

Our peeps gotta eat!


Costs $3,000

It's not a film without the post team! Editor, Sound mix-ing and Color!


Costs $1,000

Finding talent with physical differences is not easy!

Hair, Make-up, Wardrobe

Costs $1,000

We have to make our cast look great!

Music Score!

Costs $1,000


Lighting Package

Costs $3,000

We're going to be using some neons, so this will be needed for our DP to work with.

Production Design

Costs $2,000

We will be filming in modern locations, that will need to be dressed and set.

About This Team

ASHLEY EAKIN - Writer + Director

Born in California and raised in Nebraska, Ashley Eakin is a filmmaker based out of Los Angeles. She was recently 1 of 8 women selected for the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women and is currently in the 2020 program. In 2017 she spent 5 months in Malaysia and Singapore working for director Jon M. Chu on his Warner Bros. feature, CRAZY RICH ASIANS. She also shadowed Chu during the production of the Freeform pilot GOOD TROUBLE, as well as assist with the development of a TV series sold to Apple in the Summer of 2018.


Prior to working for Chu, Ashley worked for Beacon Pictures in development, in the writer’s office of the NBC scripted drama THE NIGHT SHIFT and for 10X10 Entertainment, which produces America’s Next Top Model. In 2016 Ashley was selected as a Top 10 Finalist in a Project Greenlight & Peets Coffee contest for film directors. Her spot was later featured during Peets 2017 brand marketing launch. Her documentary short THE DETAILS, featuring Henry Golding, Awkwafina, and crew members of CRAZY RICH ASIANS was selected for the 2018 Hamilton Film Festival. Eakin recently directed a short film celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Cancer For College. The film features CFC spokesman Will Ferrell and was screened at a sold-out event at The Greek Theatre.


Last year, Ashley was featured in a SoulPancake video talking about her rare bone condition, Olliers disease and Maffucci Syndrome. The video went viral reaching over 43 million views and counting. Her personal life and medical journey has immensely influenced her passion to pursue stories that help people understand one another. She believes the positive impact of vulnerability is immeasurable and continues to be a representation advocate for people with physical differences and disabilities in media. Last summer she completed production on her short film BLUE, which incorporates these themes. Ashley is repped by Artists First Management. 


SUZANNE YAVUZ - Casting Director

Suzanne Yavuz has worked extensively both in the studio system and in independent casting. She got her start as a casting assistant on the Starz series “American Gods,” and worked her way up from casting assistant to associate casting director in record time, accumulating a diverse range of credits along the way under the tutelage of some of today’s best talents in casting. Her varied credits run the gamut from network television programming (The CW's "Legends of Tomorrow") to big-budget studio features (20th Century Fox’s “Logan”) to animated features (Blue Sky Studios’ “Ferdinand”). She has also worked on various youth programs for Disney and Nickelodeon, and on a number of television pilots for network, cable, and streaming platforms, as well as studio and independent feature films. Her notable credits in 2018 include the Blumhouse/Hulu anthology series "Into the Dark," the Netflix series "Trinkets," and the Netflix feature "Rattlesnake," with the latter two slated to premiere in 2019. She is currently working as an associate casting director on two CBS projects ("SWAT" & "ALIVE.") Suzanne is a member of the Casting Society of America.

Current Team