Posts Tagged ‘Audience’

Blind Centered Audio Description Chat: AD 101 for Content Creators

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

In this conversation from March 8, 2023, we bring film makers and other content creators together with Blind consumers. We provide some introduction into audio description and invited Blind and Low Vision consumers to explain the importance of quality AD in film. Plus we talk about why it’s important to think beyond compliance, explore the artistic nature of AD and more.

Join Us Live

The BCAD Live Chats can take place on a variety of platforms including Twitter and Linked In.

To stay up to date with the latest information and join us live follow:
* Nefertiti Matos Olivares
* Cheryl Green
* Thomas Reid](


Transcript – Created By Cheryl Green

Show the transcript

Music begins
THOMAS: Welcome to the Blind-Centered Audio Description Chats. These are the edited recordings of the Blind-Centered Audio Description Live Chats!
CHERYL: The live is the most fun part! We get together, we start with a question, and then we invite up anybody from the audience who wants to come and chat with us, agree, disagree, shed light on something that we hadn’t thought about before, which is Nefertiti’s favorite. [electric whoosh]
NEFERTITI: I’m Nefertiti Matos Olivares, and I’m a bilingual professional voiceover artist who specializes in audio description narration! I’m also a fervent cultural access advocate and a community organizer.
CHERYL: I’m Cheryl Green, an access artist, audio describer and captioner.
THOMAS: And I’m Thomas Reid, host and producer Reid My Mind Radio, voice artist, audio description narrator, consultant, and advocate.
SCOTT B: Hi, I’m Scott Blanks. I’m a passionate advocate for the highest quality audio description in all of the arts. I’m the co-founder of the LinkedIn Audio Description Group and the Twitter AD community.
SCOTT N: Scott Nixon here. I’m an audio description consumer and advocate, hoping to be an audio description narrator very, very soon. [electronic whoosh]
THOMAS: Hey, Nef, why don’t you tell people how they could join the live recording?
NEFERTITI: That’s really simple. Just follow us on social media to keep up with important details, such as dates, times, and what platform will be using. On Twitter, I’m @NefMatOli. Cheryl?
CHERYL: I’m @WhoAmIToStopIt.
THOMAS: I’m @TSRied, you know, R to the E I D.
NEFERTITI: How about you, Scott?
SCOTT B: I’m @BlindConfucius. That’s Blind Confucius.
SCOTT N: And you can catch me on my social media, Twitter only. That’s @MisterBrokenEyes, Capital M r Capital Broken Capital E y e s.
[smartphone selection beeps]
CHERYL: Recording now!

THOMAS: This is a conversation with filmmakers and users. So, we wanted to bring everyone together, and hopefully, we’re doing that, and give everyone a opportunity to hear from one another. Mainly, I think we’re really looking for filmmakers who may be new to audio description, who may not know, “What the heck is audio description? I’m hearing a lot more people talk about it, but I just don’t get it. Why am I supposed to do that? What is that all about? How is that gonna impact my film?” Good questions. And so, we wanted you all to hear a little bit about some of those answers. And even more importantly, because I think the real benefit of audio description comes from those who use it, which is mainly blind and folks who are low vision. And so, hopefully, some of them are in the room, some more of us, I should say, are in the room and will give some of that feedback. So, to start it off, we thought we would hear from someone who sort of straddles some of that, those lines, who’s a filmmaker and has a really good understanding about access. In fact, in my view, she’s an access artist. [chuckles]
CHERYL: [laughs]
THOMAS: And she is also a filmmaker. She has films under her belt or suspenders, whatever she uses. [laughs]
CHERYL: Yes! Yes, suspenders. Yes!
THOMAS: Okay. So, there you go. So, we thought we’d hear from Cheryl to talk a little bit about, you know, maybe a little bit about your experience learning about audio description specifically.
CHERYL: Definitely. Thank you, Thomas. We wanted to start with this story from me because I think a lot of people who are new to accessibility might feel scared. “How do I build it into my workflow? How much is it gonna cost? I don’t, I might say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing.” So, a lot of people don’t get started because they’re scared. So, we’re gonna kick off with an embarrassing story from me. And I went through it. You don’t have to. We’re all here to support each other.
So, when I, back when I was doing more filmmaking, there was a small community screening of one of my films. I had decent captions. Not amazing. And I was very proud of myself for how accessible this film screening was gonna be. And somebody was whispering through the whole thing, which for me, super distractible. I was getting really irritated, and oh my gosh, how rude is this person?!
And afterward, I asked somebody, “What was up with the whispering? Why was somebody doing that during my film screening? How disrespectful.” And they said, “Oh, that’s Carmen Papalia.” Y’all, write that name down. Anyway, they said, they said Carmen’s blind. Carmen uses the term non-visual artist. Carmen didn’t have visual access to the screen, so a friend was whispering to Carmen through the film about what was happening on the screen that wasn’t apparent from the sounds, the sound effects, or the dialogue. And it was just, you know, facepalm moment. I was so embarrassed. But Carmen was so generous and so kind and so forgiving, and was like, “Well, I hope you do audio description.”
And that was the moment that I learned about audio description, started hiring a live describer for all my film screenings, went and got professional training as an audio describer, and now that is what I do. And so, I don’t want you all to be scared to try. Don’t be scared to fail. Audio description is beautiful, and I’m gonna turn it back over to Nef and Thomas.
This section of the recording was inaudible, of course right when I asked
Nefertiti to define audio description for those film makers who may not be familiar.
Fortunately, Nefertiti took some time to provide the definition in a separate recording that I will insert, right here!
NEFERTITI: Audio description is a term used to describe the descriptive narration of key visual elements in a video or a multimedia project. Audio description grants blind and low vision audiences access to content that is not otherwise accessible simply by listening to the audio. In audio description, actions, gestures, scene changes, and other important visual information are typically described. Audio description also includes access to info like titles, speaker names, and other text that may appear on screen.
Audio description is also sometimes referred to as AD, video description, descriptive video, Descriptive Video Service, or simply DVS. However, the latter two terms are registered trademarks of WGBH Educational Foundation. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. Interesting, huh?
In a video program, audio description is added to the secondary audio program, also known as the SAP Channel. In streaming multimedia, audio description can be added by synchronizing the narration track with the visual track.

Editor’s Note:
Thomas: And now back to the recording.
THOMAS: Can I ask you a question?
THOMAS: So, ’cause you said multi-media.
THOMAS: So, would that be, let’s say there was a documentary on, I don’t know, a streaming service or something or YouTube. That’s multimedia.
THOMAS: Would that apply?
NEFERTITI: Absolutely! Absolutely.
NEFERTITI: I’m one of these people. If you know anything about me, I’m #DescribeEverything. So, yes! Yes. In fact, isn’t YouTube/Google sort of patting themselves, talking about patting themselves on the back for now starting to make audio description available or an additional track?
NEFERTITI: Yeah, so, absolutely. We could talk about theater, Broadway, dance. Dance is getting a lot of attention.
CHERYL: Museum exhibitions.
NEFERTITI: Museum exhibitions. Absolutely. Absolutely. It doesn’t just have to be the canned audio description. Award shows. We’re in the award show season, aren’t we, folks?
THOMAS: We are.
NEFERTITI: So, yeah.
THOMAS: Okay. Okay. Somebody knows a little something about that. Award shows and audio description?
NEFERTITI: I mean, you know.
CHERYL: Thomas, are you referring to Nefertiti, who’s doing audio description for the Oscars this year?
THOMAS: I was referring to Nefertiti, who’s doing the audio description for the Oscars this year.
THOMAS: And when would that be airing? Anyone wanna mention that?
NEFERTITI: Well, I better know, right, since I’m gonna be there. I believe it’s on Sunday, March 12, through Descriptive Video Works, who, full disclosure is my employer, my daytime job employer, I should say. We will be describing the red carpet show, so the pre-show and the main show.
THOMAS: Okay. Excellent. So, tune in, y’all, and you’ll hear Nef doing the AD on the Oscars, which is fantastic. And I don’t know if it’s true, but are you the first blind narrator to do that, Nef?
NEFERTITI: You know, I think so. I’d hate to carry that mantle if it isn’t for me to shoulder.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
NEFERTITI: If there is someone who’s done it before me, fantastic. I’ve got some big shoes to fill, I’m sure. But I might be the first one doing the Oscars, so.
THOMAS: Yeah, I’m glad you answered it that way, too, because, like, to me, when I think about, you know, we’re in 2023. And so, I’m like, this is way too late for a lot of these firsts that we’re seeing, whether it be around disability or any other identity. It’s a little bit too late in my book. But, you know, go ahead and, you know, it’s cool. We should acknowledge it.
NEFERTITI: No, I mean, I’m glad we’re doing it. It’s about time.
THOMAS: Yeah. So, Nef gave the, sort of the official definition of audio description, but I wanted to talk a little bit more about what else audio description is, as opposed to that second track or that information, that descriptive information describing those visuals, you know, information that I think is really relevant to this conversation about audio description. And one of those things is, starting off, is that audio description was started by and has always involved blind people from the beginning. Blind folks started audio description. And you can go and look that up, and hopefully it will make mention of the names and also refer to the person as blind because they were. And so, that’s important that whatever history you look up as far as the United States, there were blind folks involved in that audio description process. And we have a lot more folks talking about it now, which is fantastic. But the involvement of blind people, to me at least, is extremely important. I think it’s just as important as the access that this access can be done and performed, a lot of it, by blind folks. And I’m talking about, I’m talking about all aspects of it.
And we had other conversations, so if you wanna go and look those up, other Blind-Centered Audio Description conversations that talked about the roles of blind people in audio description. Feel free to do that. But I’m talking about, I’m talking about every single aspect, whatever that individual wants to do. So, that’s quality control. That is writing. Yeah, writing. Go look up that episode. That’s narration, that’s editing, and that’s actually project management as well. So, the audio editing is what I was referring to there, but I guess it could be editing as well because like I said, QC is almost a editor type of thing. Anyway, so, blind folks should be involved. And when I say blind folks, I always wanna make clear, when I say blind folks, I’m including, that is inclusive of anyone on that blindness spectrum. So, whether you’re low vision to totally blind, that’s inclusive of all.
Audio description is also about access, what I like to say is access to conversations. And what I mean by that is that if you think about your interactions with people, often they are about media, about pop culture. And so much of pop culture is media, right? Specifically, film, television. So, you know, Monday morning, you’re at the coffee maker on your job, and you say, “Hey, did you see that Game of Thrones episode yesterday?” And you have that discussion, and you’re going back and forth. And that can even lead, and has led probably, for many of y’all, to conversations and to relationships. So, to me, audio description is about relationship building, whether that be with your friends and coworkers or if that’s with your family. Parents like to have conversations about the things that their kids are watching. And the only, the real way that a blind parent will have access to that is through audio description. So, we can say, “Wait, wait, wait. You wanna watch what? Okay, I’m not, this movie doesn’t sound like something I really want you to watch. But okay, I’m gonna watch it with you, and then we’re gonna have this conversation about it.” So, maybe it can become a teaching tool, which is fantastic, but you need that AD. So, audio description is about relationships, right?
Audio description is the access point for blind folks to see themselves on screens. And we all know #Representation matters. And so, that ability to see yourself on screen. Consider a young, consider a young blind child who may be thinking about what their future holds. And whether or not the person is blind on screen, because that’s a whole nother topic. We’re only probably about less than 2% of people onscreen are actually someone with a disability. But let’s just say that person kind of can identify with other, because folks are intersectional, so they see themselves on screen in some sort of way, right, and then have aspirations about what they wanna do with their life. A lot of that starts from television and movies. And so, blind folks need to have access to that, whether you’re six or you’re 60, okay? I’m not 60 yet. [chuckles]
But that also, when you talk about seeing yourself on screen, that gets into the conversation about cultural competency, cultural responsiveness, whatever you wanna call it. Correctly identifying culture on screen and representing that culture on screen. And so, you know, for audio description, that’s not only seeing yourself on screen, but it’s also, again, because, you know, the way we take in that content is through the audio description, and through that, that’s sort of a filter. And so, the words used to describe should be culturally correct, right? They need to be correct. You don’t wanna name something from a culture the wrong name especially if you’re of that culture, and you’re gonna notice that. That’s a big deal. That’s a really big deal. But then there’s also the voices of the narrator that apply to the culture as well. Because if a film is sort of intertwined with a culture, especially, right, that narrator should probably be someone of that culture who can really represent it so that voice is authentic, and someone can truly get that experience. Again, think about it. You don’t wanna watch a film through quote “someone else’s eyes,” which is sort of what AD is, as long as that AD is, you know, filtered properly, I should say.
THOMAS: So, give that some consideration when we’re thinking about the importance of audio description. I’d like to see if we have any blind folks who are AD consumers who wanna maybe add something to this list, because I don’t think I included everything about what else audio description is. Maybe you have a quick anecdotal story about how audio description impacts your life. You know, I talk about it about my kids, and don’t get me started ’cause we’ll be here for three hours, four hours maybe if you hear me talk about my kids. So, I wanna hear something quicker. [chuckles] Something else.
NEFERTITI: Two beautiful girls.
THOMAS: Yeah. Thank you. They are beautiful. They look like their mother. Thank God. And so….
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
THOMAS: And this is the time, again, to explain that importance in your life as an individual. And it could be whatever it is. You know, I’m sure there are a bunch of different things. Educational stuff, non-educational stuff, it doesn’t matter. I wanna hear from you, and more importantly, I want the filmmakers to hear from you. I want them to hear from us. I want them to hear from us.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely. So, go ahead and raise your hands, folks.
THOMAS: [sings] Raise your hand. Raise your hand!
NEFERTITI: We’re gonna start with the blind folks first, blind, low vision folks.
NEFERTITI: And don’t worry, filmmakers, we want to hear from you, your concerns, all of it. All right. Let’s start with Tanya. Welcome!
THOMAS: Welcome, Tanya.
TANYA: Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here. So, for me, I guess I can start with the storytelling perspective that I really enjoy from an entertainment, the entertainment side of things. One of my favorite shows is The Crown, which I’m sure many of you have experienced seeing on Netflix. The storytelling is, like it’s such an art. The audio description, the way it’s written is complementary to the story without being like an audiobook. So, it, the tone of the narration, the performance, the dramatic quality and kind of like the delivery really complements this, the writing, the narration. So, it’s all coming together for me as one big package, and it’s done extremely well. They couldn’t have found a better narrator for that specific drama than they did, in my opinion. Another one I think of is Lord of the Rings. Excellent, complementary entertainment. Thanks!
THOMAS: Hey, Tanya, can I ask you a question real quick?
TANYA: Yeah.
THOMAS: Can you explain what you meant a little bit more about not being an audiobook? Can you talk about that?
TANYA: Sure. So, by that I mean sometimes audio description’s written more of where it’s inferring what the inner dialogue might be of the characters in the story. We may or may not know that by seeing the screen. So, that’s what I mean by more of an audiobook where it’s kind of filling in a lot of space where it may or may not be needed necessarily, because sometimes the sound effects can speak for themselves. Like, if a door closes, you don’t have to say, “So-and-so shut the door and drops her keys,” ’cause you can hear that in the sound effect. And you kind of let it breathe a little bit more. That’s what I meant.
THOMAS: Gotcha. Excellent. So, you wanna experience the movie sort of on your own and figure it out, as much as possible, the way the movie was sort of intended. Is that, would you say that?
TANYA: Definitely. As long as the context is enough for me to figure out what’s happening, I’m not too worried. If the filmmaker really wants someone to notice something, and it may not be apparent just without the description mentioning it, but it’s crucial to the story, I do wanna make that point. Because sometimes, from what I’ve heard from folks that I’ve watched various media with who are sighted is, they’ll say, “If I was just watching it, I would have completely missed this and this detail that ended up being very important.” So, like the color of the dress turns out to be important later because it’s in the crime scene, and it’s directly correlated. I’m just making it up. But you get my point.
THOMAS: Mmhmm. Yeah. Fantastic example. Thank you, Tanya.
TANYA: Thank you. Thanks.
THOMAS: Perfect.
NEFERTITI: Thank you so much.
THOMAS: Tanya, come back! You have to make sure you come back to our BCAD chats!
NEFERTITI: Yes, please.
THOMAS: Yeah. Great input.
NEFERTITI: Please. All righty. Next up, we have Martin.
MARTIN: Hi! I just wanted to thank all of you for putting this up ’cause this is really cool. I’m a huge audio describe user, and one of the things that drives me nuts is when there’s something that’s gonna happen, and the audio description tells you before it happens. So, it’s like a big surprise. Like, one of the Narnia movies, for example, there’s a wolf that jumps on someone, and they tell you before it happens. And it was like, “No! Don’t tell me! I don’t wanna know!” I wanna get surprised just as everybody else. So, that was one of my anecdotes.
But my main question was audio description via geography. I live in Canada, and a big example right now is Everywhere, Everything, Everywhere. And if you live in the States, you’ve got audio description for that. Here, it’s on Amazon Prime, and they don’t have audio description. I looked on the Apple TV. They have audio description in the States, and they don’t have it here. So, I’m just wondering how does that happen, and how can we make it not happen? Because if the audio description is already available in English, why can it, why can’t we not have here as well? Thank you.
THOMAS: Hey, Martin, before you go and before we get into that one, I wanted to ask you a little question about the timing. I can imagine someone thinking, “Well, it’s audio description. You’re blind. How do you even know that the timing is off?” Can you talk about that?
MARTIN: Yeah, sure. So, one of my favorite audio description series was actually Daredevil because they had it spot on. There was things that would happen, and the audio describer just timed it just right. So, you would hear the sound, and then you would say, “Okay, what’s that?!” And then they would say right away. So, it’s just, it’s almost like a split second, but that split second is really important because you wanna be able to sort of experience it at the same time as a sighted person. And you don’t wanna hear it before like, you know, a second before. You want to hear pretty much a split second after it happens. So, it’s like, “Oh, cool!” Right? ‘Cause you wanna get the same adrenaline that anybody else watching is.
THOMAS: Absolutely. Do you have experience watching it with AD with a sighted person where that conflict comes into play?
MARTIN: Well, you know, I watch a lot of series and movies with my wife, and she gets very frustrated when the audio description explains it beforehand, so.
MARTIN: And she can, she goes, “No, no! I don’t wanna know!” [laughs]
THOMAS: Gotcha. Very good. Thank you for that. Thank you, Martin. (Cut 00:31:07 – 00:31:27.) And also, that, the other question about the I think it’s more so it goes a little bit beyond what we’re talking about here today. But I think we’re definitely gonna see some of that conversation as well in terms of, you know, there are some issues where an AD doesn’t run with the, well, it doesn’t travel with the film itself, right? So, the film is in one place, but the AD is not there. But I know the AD was made! Why isn’t it here?!
THOMAS: Yeah, that’s still a big issue.
NEFERTITI: Pass-through is a big problem. You can end up with various copies of the same thing and for no good reason. But yeah, maybe that’s another conversation for another time. Excellent.
THOMAS: So, come back, Martin! [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: Let me check. Please do. Do we have any other blind folks in the audience who want to come up and share your experiences, anecdotes? Vivien Hillgrove. Hello, Vivien!
VIVIEN: Hello. [delighted laugh]
VIVIEN: Hello, hello.
NEFERTITI: Let’s hear from Vivien, because Vivien, if you don’t mind my saying, you come from an amazing perspective, which is that you are a filmmaker who is losing her sight. Is that fair to say?
VIVIEN: That’s correct, yes. I’m low vision. Right.
NEFERTITI: Low vision. Exactly. So, I think you are uniquely poised to talk to us, so please do.
VIVIEN: What I’d like to say firstly is thank you, thank you, thank you. ‘Cause for me, it is the difference between being able to go to a movie and see a film and not. And one of the remarkable things that happens with audio description is that when I hear it, I’ve thought, oh, it’ll be like one, you know, hearing something and then imagining it? But all of a sudden, the film I think I can see, and I lose, I lose the separation of what would be expected to have an audio description of a visual event. And instead, I’m actually seeing the film in my inner imagination, my inner vision. And it is a remarkable feeling of being able to just let go like you do in a movie and have it wash over you and have it affect you. So, to me, it’s a bit of magic, and especially the really good ones that are timed one and mainly the tonality and style of it and that softness of it, maybe matching a lyrical, visual platform, a lyrical section of the film. So, to me, it’s really important that that person doing audio description is actually in the same genre and the same feeling and texture of that which is going on in the film. And Nefertiti, you are really great. [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: Oh! Thank you! I feel the same about you. Isn’t it nice?
VIVIEN: Well, you’re amazing because you have this voice quality. I love the range of your voice and the sound of your voice, and it just is so beautiful and luscious that it adds a level of texture to a film that I think that is remarkable.
And I have a really off the wall question, though, about just audio description is, does it always have to be speaking? Is there like a rule book that it is always, there’s a guideline for what it has to be and what it can’t be?
VIVIEN: Because I’m very interested in investigating the idea of using whispering and possibly Greek chorus and some other kinds of interesting sounds but within the audio description track. Anyway, can anyone answer that?
THOMAS: There is a creative approach, and so you’re already sort of thinking about that and looking at that as an extension and an addition to the art form, to the art of the movie.
VIVIEN: Exactly.
THOMAS: And so, that’s fantastic. And so, I can tell you that, you know, there are probably guidelines, there are quote-unquote “guidelines.” Imma put those in quotes.
VIVIEN: [laughs]
THOMAS: But I don’t think you’re gonna get in trouble if you do your own thing. [laughs] So, I feel like you can experiment.
VIVIEN: Yeah, that’s right.
NEFERTITI: You certainly won’t get in trouble by the community, right? ‘Cause we just want the access. We want to be able to enjoy.
VIVIEN: Right! Right.
NEFERTITI: So, yeah.
THOMAS: Vivien, can I ask you a question, though? I wanted to go back to something that you said real quick because I just wanna explore it for a second. When you said the feeling of that experience of in the movie, and you said it’s a remarkable feeling, right?
VIVIEN: Right.
THOMAS: Does that feeling end once you’re done with the movie?
VIVIEN: Whoa. Well, a movie always stays with you for, lingers, you know? And so, the audio description and the film itself linger, and they become one for me. It unifies and allows me to understand what the filmmaker is, has in their heart and soul. So, that’s what the audio description does for me is that it lingers of that feeling of being moved by a film or enchanted by a film or crying in a film. It just, it does…. It does give me such access to being able to enjoy somebody else’s ideas and characterizations and love of what they’re doing, the love of their character. And that comes across so vividly for me in almost a visual context when I’m listening to audio description. A whole other world opens up, and it does, in fact, include this emotional heart space that’s remarkable that you want to do as a director. You want to engage with your audience. And I think there’s a bazillion people who would, who wanna see many more things, many more films and television shows in audio description, ’cause there’s a shitload of us, man, that are old and losing sight!
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
VIVIEN: Yeah. [laughs]
VIVIEN: There is a ton of us. So, anyway, that went beyond your question, but the answer….
THOMAS: No. Absolutely. Because you see, what you said, what I’m hearing, what I’m hearing is like, that that ability for a film, like you said, the film is supposed to stay with you, right? If it’s a good film, it’s gonna stay with you. If you don’t have that AD, it’s not going to be etched in your brain the way it is, right?
VIVIEN: Exactly.
THOMAS: The AD helps you do that and perform that. And so, those feelings carry on beyond the movie, which again, audio description is about much more than entertainment.
VIVIEN: It’s much more than entertainment. And it involves you in being excited about, you know, that effect on you allows you to talk and gossip and put it on social media and actually present your film by more people to more people.
THOMAS: Absolutely, absolutely.
NEFERTITI: 100%. Vivien, thank you so much for speaking, for coming up.
THOMAS: Thank you, Vivien.
VIVIEN: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for doing this. Thank you, dear.
THOMAS: Awesome. Awesome.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely. All right. Let’s hear from Wendy.
WENDY: Hi, everyone!
THOMAS: Hey, Wendy.
WENDY: Thanks for this. It’s really wonderful. I’m a producer and writer of documentaries and totally new to AD. So, my question is, given what I’m hearing about the importance of the right AD, when I’m making a standard documentary, and I need a narrator, a voiceover narrator, I have a script, I audition people. I go into a sound booth. You know, an agent or somebody I know can line people up for me, and I have them read pieces of the script. And I decide who has the sound quality, the emotion, the delivery that I want. How do you work through that process in the world of audio description? How do you even start to find and identify people, let alone audition them?
THOMAS: Hmm. What a fantastic question. [delighted laughs] What a fantastic question. So, it’s really going to be-and Nef and Cheryl, feel free to just jump in-but I think it’s really gonna depend on the approach that you take to get the AD done, okay? So, let’s just take it from the, even though I would rather take it from the beginning of the project, let’s take it from the end of the project. Your film is done. It’s in the can, right? And you’re ready to have AD performed in post, in post-production. If you went to a standard audio description company, a post-production company that does that, they pretty much sort of take it and run with it on your behalf. There’s not often, as far as I know, that they involve the creatives in that process. So, they listen to it. They make the determination.
There are some independents out here, such as the Social Audio Description, who want to involve you in that process. And so, for example, and you know, for full disclosure, I’m a part of the Social Audio Description Collective, and so is Neff, and so is Cheryl. And part of the process that we have is that we allow you to pick from those narrators that we use that are a part of our collective. And so, that’s sort of kind of what you’re talking about. But as someone who is, if you’re working with other independents, I mean, you know, Cheryl also just does it on her own. Cheryl would probably say, “Oh, well, what type of voice are you looking for?” And she might work with you to find those voices as well. So, you can take that into your own control, but it’s more likely that when you go an independent route as opposed to going to the big box AD-I don’t know if they’re called that, but I’m calling them that today-the big box AD, and that’s no disrespect to them at all. So, Cheryl, Nef, does that sound about right?
CHERYL: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons why on the Social Audio Description Collective website, which is, if you go to our team page, we have our bios. We also have pictures, and you can both read and listen to us in our own voices reading our image descriptions out. Because we do value people being able to choose the voice that they want, both like Vivien was saying for the tone and the texture, and like Thomas was saying earlier, for that cultural match, whether that’s accent or race or ethnicity, background. So, yeah, I like the independent route because you have that choice. And I definitely, when people hire me for independent work, I get on the phone with them, and I say, “You hear me now. If you don’t like this voice for your film ’cause it’s your film, I’ll write it. You don’t have to use my voice.” I think people are shocked when they go to hire me, and I tell them they don’t have to use me for if I don’t sound like the right voice for them. And plenty of people have said, “Yes, please find me somebody who’s a better match.” And we do.
WENDY: Oh, that’s fantastic. Can I also, I hate to bring up cost, but in the world of documentary, as I imagine you all know, money is always hanging over you. It’s tight, tight, tight. And you have to submit budgets, too, in your grant proposals, things like that. Is it more expensive or less expensive or a wash to go the independent route rather than using the big box model?
THOMAS: Hmm. So, depending on, because part of that big box are those who really cut costs, and they use artificial intelligence. They use TTS, text to speech, for voices. So, your narrator, going to some of those big boxes, could be a computer. [laughs] Like, literally. It could literally be the voice of a computer. And so, that is a thing. And so, they would give you an extremely low price. So, I’ll give you a range that, to my knowledge, that sort of falls, everything falls in there. So, that low range would be around I’ve heard $9, $10 a minute. They usually charge by the minute. It’s often quoted by the minute. And then moving down the line probably to about $30, $30, maybe $35, $40 sometimes, a minute. And so, that would include, depending on the big box, that could include, that would include the writing, usually includes the writing, the narration, the editing. With some, it should include a quality control, QC, process. It should include a quality control process that’s performed by a blind person because that’s your audience. That’s the audience for the audio description. And yeah, and as well as the project managing that whole process.
So, it’s sort of a wide range, but that should give you an estimate of what it would cost. And then again, depending on who you’re talking, if you’re talking about a independent, there’s probably room for flexibility. You know, the Social Audio Description works with folks, so. And, you know, other places might work with folks, but I’m just talking ’cause I know the Social Audio Description does. So, this is not a commercial for the Social Audio Description. This is all about just talking to filmmakers about audio description.
CHERYL: But you know what it is a commercial for? Putting it in your budget before pre-production starts. Because most of my clients, both for captions and audio description, come to me sometimes within days of distribution. “They told me I gotta get captions! They told me I gotta!” And some of this stuff cannot be produced by a human on the time frame that we’re given. And, you know, I know that sometimes distribution and acceptance into film festivals pushes the filmmakers’ timeline in a way they weren’t expecting, so I know that happens. But if it wasn’t in your budget pre-production, that means you weren’t, probably weren’t thinking about it during filming and during post. And then you run into the budget issues. So, moving forward, from today forward, if you haven’t already, always get it in your budget before you start anything so that you’re not stuck. The worst would be that you want to work with an independent, but you can only afford the artificial intelligence written and text-to-speech narration. That would be awful.
NEFERTITI: Yes, that would be very sad.
WENDY: [laughs]
THOMAS: Wendy?
THOMAS: Do you wanna take a minute and tell us about your documentary?
WENDY: Oh, I’ve written a number of films and produced some as well. They’re mostly in the realm of social issues: women’s health, women’s rights, some historical, but largely a progressive look at an issue like war or why war is not the answer, or women’s rights to control their bodies or things like that.
THOMAS: Gotcha. Very cool.
WENDY: I don’t have a particular project at the moment.
THOMAS: Okay. Got it.
WENDY: Thank you for asking.
THOMAS: Oh, thank you.
NEFERTITI: All of that sounds like material that I would love to have access to, and I know I’m not alone in that. So, I really appreciate you being here and that you do that work.
WENDY: Thank you.
NEFERTITI: It sounds very important. Thank you so much.
All righty. Do we want to now go deeper into compliance and creative, explain that a little bit more?
THOMAS: It sounds like the people wanna know! [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Yes, absolutely!
THOMAS: Cheryl, you wanna talk about compliance?
CHERYL: I mean, I can. I just feel like Vivien just picked up every microphone in the universe and dropped them all one at a time very beautifully. Everything that I do from captions and audio description, transcripts, all of that would pass compliance based on whatever law or guideline I’m trying to follow. But the people using the access are not walking lawsuits and don’t wanna be treated as such. So, if you come at accessibility like, “Oh, I gotta do it ’cause I gotta be compliant,” I think you might be feeling less likely to open up to the more creative approaches. And if your film is creative, why not enhance your film by having a really creative piece of accessibility as well? Again, folks have already explained that feeling of the creative audio description and the impact that it has on them. You know, compliance is the baseline, but I would urge folks to have a much friendlier, more exciting, and more curious approach and not focus solely on checking the boxes and saying you’re compliant. ‘Cause that’s not fun.
THOMAS: Yeah. No, it’s not fun. It’s not fun. And so, by the creative, and this gets, I know some people get confused by, “What are y’all talking about when you talk about creative?” Because I think sometimes folks think, you know, we’re gonna watch a action movie, and the narrator is going to describe the film in spoken word. No! Nobody wants to see that, okay? We want, that would not work for that type of film. However, maybe spoken word narration would work for another type of artistic film. That might be cool, right? So, that’s one of the things about creative audio description is that it is taking the feel, the vibe, the context of the film into consideration when creating that audio description track, right? So, again, it’s not just saying, “Okay, we gotta do this. Hurry up! Let’s get it done.” It’s not doing that.
If our audio description is just bam, bam, bang it out, chances are you’re taking the compliance approach. If your audio description is only being recognized, [laughs] it’s only being recognized by the people you want because you make them recognize it? Y’all know what I’m talking about. Then chances are you’re going just, you’re not being creative about your, with your audio description, right? If you’re putting limitations on yourself, if the first thing you think is, “I can’t do that because I’m not supposed to,” you’re not making creative audio description. So, I’m talking to you.
Now what would be? Creating audio description from a creative point, perspective would probably mean you’re thinking about it from the beginning, from the beginning of your film. That is not only the best thing to do from a accessibility perspective, but it’s also the best thing to do for a creative perspective. Because, and Vivian sort of touched on this, you might not need as much AD if you’re thinking about blind and low vision consumers from the beginning. I’m not saying all the time, but I’m saying you might want to think about some of the audio content that maybe you’re filtering out or maybe you’re not even just considering of putting in that is a part of your storytelling process. That would be a creative thing to do, and that would be an accessible thing for the blind community. That would definitely be that. If you’re thinking about it from the beginning, you’re probably going to leave more space for audio description because let’s take the idea of a documentary like Wendy was talking about. If you’re interviewing folks, and you have the talking heads and you have their information written on text on the screen, and there’s no time whatsoever to actually convey that information to the blind user by just saying, “Hey, Nefertiti,” right? “Nefertiti Matos Olivares, world famous audio description narrator. The first blind person to do narration for the Oscars.”
CHERYL: [imitates air horn]
THOMAS: There’s no time to put all of that great information in there, right? So, you may see-
NEFERTITI: You are making this brown girl blush!
THOMAS: [laughs] Well, blush on, girl! Blush on!
THOMAS: and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
THOMAS: If there’s no time to convey that, well, you know, you weren’t thinking about it. And so, that’s not, you know, you can’t be very creative with that, right? You really can’t do anything with that limitation that you actually put on yourself. And so, yeah, that’s not, I’m not gonna call that creative. We can’t call that creative. But it can go all the way to what Vivien was talking about. Oh, my God. A Greek chorus? I’m ready to see this movie! I don’t know what the movie is, but it involves a Greek chorus doing audio description!
NEFERTITI: Me too. I already have our tickets, y’all.
THOMAS: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, let’s go. I got the popcorn.
THOMAS: and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
THOMAS: So, but, you know, there’s so much. I mean, there’s some great examples out there. You know, I always go back to Rationale Method and Nathan Geering’s Not A Slave. Incredible. It was an incredible, incredible thing. It was only five minutes, but it was a dance performance. It was so artistic. And that one was actually done with spoken word. It was amazing. It was amazing. It was great. And it conveyed everything. It used sound design as well to convey some of the elements. Like, there’s lots of things to do once you start thinking about it. So, all of that goes into the creative. And like Cheryl said, when you go the creative route, you’re gonna hit that compliant route. So, you know, just something to consider.
NEFERTITI: They go hand in hand.
NEFERTITI: The other way does not go hand in hand. Compliance.
THOMAS: No, it’s only one hand!
NEFERTITI: Yeah. [laughs]
THOMAS: It’s like a hammer! It’s a hand with a hammer trying to put a round thing in a square peg or whatever how that thing goes. Yeah.
NEFERTITI: Yeah. I think, yeah, that’s right. Or a square peg in a round hole, something like that.
THOMAS: Yeah, something like that. Yeah. There you go. And if anybody wants to kind of talk about, you know, from the user community especially, I’d love to hear if you have any experience with anything creative or compliant, something that you feel like, wow, now that I think about it, this was really just focusing on getting this done. Like, what did that feel like to you? And you don’t have to mention the specific title if you don’t want, but if you do, go ahead and put them on blast.
NEFERTITI: Yeah, or if you wanna name names. Cut 00:57:07 – 00:57:13.) Is there a way that we could watch this five-minute masterpiece? Is it online at all?
THOMAS: Okay, here we go.
[recorded clip plays, ocean waves and fire whooshing in the soundtrack] Still A Slave, by Nathan Geering.
AUDIO DESCRIPTION: The sea moves softly, illuminated by the setting sun above him. A black man emerges fighting the waves that try holding him back. He stumbles.
-I’m not racist.
AUDIO DESCRIPTION: Collapsing to the seashore, he lays still, both physically and emotionally drained as ignorant racial comments weigh him down.
-I don’t see color.
AUDIO DESCRIPTION: He stands, hands bound by rope above him in the middle of a giant rectangular wooden frame. The skyline eerily dark, shaded with rich hues of fluorescent blues blended with fiery oranges that radiate light on his true feelings.
-Change takes a long time
AUDIO DESCRIPTION: He is shown with the rope around his throat, losing hope.
And then by his hands, hanging from the frame in emotional pain, he stands.
Legs immersed in the freezing water in which he lands.
Holding a rope with a fierce ball of fire raging on one end.
He’s hurting, anguish and despair.
Why don’t they care?
-Slavery doesn’t exist anymore.
THOMAS: So, that’s just a sample. That’s a sample of it.
NEFERTITI: Wow! Wow, wow, wow.
THOMAS: And I’m not sure if it’s online fully. But they might still be on some tours. But it’s The Rationale Method. The name of it is Still a Slave, so.
NEFERTITI: Super powerful. Thank you for sharing that with us, Thomas. Let’s move on to Rein. Rein, are you with us?
REIN: Yeah, hi. I’m here. My name is Rein, but there’s no way to know that.
NEFERTITI: Okay. Hi, Rein.
REIN: Hello, hi. I am excited and hoping to be writing audio description eventually. And I had a couple questions about animation that kind of seemed like they were relating to this discussion about whether something is creative or not being creative. I have been watching things that blind people I know say have good audio description. I just took a couple classes about how to write it. And something I noticed in animation is that there wasn’t a whole lot of description about what the animation style looked like. The show I’m thinking of specifically is BoJack Horseman, which is like a show that has animal characters and human characters that are sort of on the same scale, and they interact with each other. Just they’re kind of mixed together. I guess my first question is about animation style. It’s got a pretty static animation style, but it also has sort of like a watercolor texture that’s everywhere in there. I’m wondering if somebody is watching an animated show, and they have an interest in animation, whether it’s more appropriate to assume that the person who is the audience is gonna look up more details about the artist and the character design and how they wanted the show to look, or if you should try to make room during the introduction part of the show to kind of give some kind of background on what the show actually looks like visually.
THOMAS: Yeah. So, that last thing that you said, I’m very glad you said it. So, kudos to you because, so you know that with something like BoJack Horseman, with something that’s on television, number one, they did not start off, and they’re probably not thinking necessarily about the blind consumer, right? And so, you have a very, very limited amount of time. And so, whether we’re talking about animation or we’re talking about anything else, those time constraints are going , well, constrain you, right? And so, you’re gonna have to make some of these choices as to what to include in the description. What you said is that if there’s someone is interested in animation, so, you know you’re not looking at the masses by going that approach, right? And so, the AD narration probably wants to hit the masses and talk about what the, you know, what the actual story is about. That’s what the AD’s going to do.
However, often, some of that information is really relevant to the story, is really relevant to the story, and it would be great to be able to take some time to convey that to the listener, to the AD consumer. And so, an introduction, if there’s time during the actual episode in the beginning to provide some of that information, would be fantastic. But something that we talk about is a pre-show introduction, a pre-show, and that goes beyond. So, that’s not, there’s no time constraints for that, right? This is just a separate track that you would create for the viewer. So, think about it. Be creative, right? You can have a track like that that is just describing the animation for users, right? So, to the average person who may not be interested in the animation, but man, you know, as someone who would dig that, right, imagine if you had a track that was just for the animation, the person interested in the animation. And so, when you start to build in the idea of pre-show, there are no time constraints because, Rein, I don’t know if you heard of it, but we have this thing called the Internet, right?! And people are allowed to post things on the Internet, right? So, imagine that. That would be so fantastic if folks did that where they post pre-shows online, and then someone who’s really interested in BoJack Horseman like that, they wanna go and investigate it. That would be a way to convey that information. So, I’m glad you’re thinking that way already.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely.
REIN: Okay, I think I get it. There was a weird moment in the show that I noticed which came up when we were talking about creativity in the description, where like, since there’s characters that are, there’s a lot of sight gags in the show. There’s characters that are people, and there’s characters that are animals. And there’s like a joke that’s set up, like Amy Sedaris’s, characters like, “Oh, my enemy, Vanessa Gecko, that cold-blooded, bug-eyed woman that I met at….” And then the door opens, and she’s a human being. And she’s not a lizard. She’s just a person whose name is Vanessa Gecko. And the audio description did not mention what she looked like.
REIN: Are things like character descriptions baked into a pre-show, or is that something that regardless of the way dialogue is going in the show, you should try to be getting in immediately when a character gets introduced?
THOMAS: Yeah. You know what’s funny because I remember I watched one episode of BoJack Horseman because my daughter really wanted me to check it out ’cause she’s a big fan of it. And I was just like, it’s funny, but I was lost. ‘Cause I was like, I didn’t even know that they were cartoons. I had no idea. I was just like, are these real people? What’s going on here? So, it is a difficult thing, but I think a pre-show could be whatever you want. But yes, a pre-show would be perfect to describe the characters, and you can go be as creative as you like with that. Like, in a pre-show in a theater environment, what they do is to bring out the cast who are in character, right? And so, they’re using whatever dialect they’re, and an accent, their accents and stuff like that, when they describe what their outfits look like. And so, you can really get to recognize it and sort of imprint that in your mind. So, that would be fantastic for something like that because, yeah, if they didn’t say that this was a human, everybody else is laughing. And I’m like, okay, I didn’t get it, you know?
REIN: Okay, that’s genius. Thank you so much for your help.
THOMAS: Cool. Yeah. Thank you. And good luck!
REIN: Thanks!
NEFERTITI: Thank you. Yeah, this is a really interesting subject ’cause I find this to be the case where when it’s going from like color to black and white, and there isn’t room to let us know that. And obviously, the creative powers chose to make their film or their show, whatever it is, in that way for a reason. And so, we go without those really important details. So, animation is a place that’s fraught with that.
All right. Frances, are you with us?

FRANCES: Just on the examples of Thomas and also Vivien were talking about building AD in from the beginning, partly from a financial perspective, but also from a creative perspective, I’ve noticed over the years when I work closely with filmmakers, it’s in both directions. So, they’re learning about AD, I’m learning about their film, and it really can change their process approaching it next time around to the point that maybe they’re gonna name their characters earlier. You know, the audio describers among you or audio description users would know that you can go halfway or even most of the way through a film without one of the main characters ever being properly named. And then the describer’s got the dilemma whether to keep calling them, you know, “The man with short black hair” or just giving them the name that hasn’t been given in the script. So, little things like that can be changed.
But I’ve also noticed with since audio description’s been on TV in Australia, some of the programs that have really embraced it have built it into their scripts. Like, one of the, there’s a program called Gardening Australia, and now a lot of the presenters will, they’ll talk about a plant, but they’ll say, you know, “This beautiful yellow daisy, it’s about two meters high. It comes up to my knee,” kind of thing.
FRANCES: Or, you know, obviously, not a two-meter-high knee person, but along those lines, just building in little extra comments that do a lot of the description within the program just because they now know it’s being added later, and there’s some of this they can do themselves. So, I think that’s really wonderful to have that engagement actually meaning that more audio description is built into programs and also that the people, the creators of TV and film, have a little bit more creative control over the audio description because they realize it’s this extra layer of interpretation that’s gonna be added onto their baby, so to speak. And so, they can get more involved in creating, in making it more in line with their vision. And I think that’s wonderful.
And as someone else mentioned, it might mean having a voiceover read out a title card at the beginning or the end where it may otherwise have been silent or getting actors themselves involved. I think, Thomas, you just mentioned that can be in a pre-show for theater, but I know in the UK, ITV has audio introductions now that are accessible online. And it’s sometimes the actors from the particular series. The recent one was Trigger Point, and the actors themselves get on there saying, “I play whoever. This is a bit about my character. This is what she likes to wear. This is the kind of house she lives in.”
NEFERTITI: Oh, that’s brilliant.
THOMAS: Exactly.
THOMAS: Exactly.
FRANCES: It has a spoiler, a spoiler element as well, as someone objected to before, knowing things before they happen. There is a big element of that in pre-show AD or audio introductions.
THOMAS: There doesn’t have to be, though. There doesn’t have to be.
FRANCES: No. I guess in the case of the gecko woman, if you had that as part of the introduction, it would spoil the joke, but it would also explain the joke that they may get in the program. Oh, and if I can mention one more example, it’s an oldie but goodie of integrated audio description working really well. It’s the Stevie Wonder music video, So What the Fuss, and the describer is rapping along in beat, in time with the music. It’s really well done. It’s beautiful.
THOMAS: Yes. Yeah. Busta Rhymes was the, is the narrator.
FRANCES: Totally.
NEFERTITI: Describer of that one, yeah.
THOMAS: Yep, yep.
NEFERTITI: That is a beautiful example. Well, thank you, Frances. I’m so glad we were able to hear you.
FRANCES: Thank you! [giggles]
THOMAS: Thank you, Frances. And come back!
NEFERTITI: Always, always, all of you! We have such great speakers.
THOMAS: I have separation issues. [laughs] I’m telling everybody, “Come back! I have separation issues, y’all.” You know, right now as a filmmaker, wherever you are in your process is probably the best place to start, right? And that’s the beginning. If you’re still sort of working out your film, this is the perfect place. But if you’re in the middle, yeah, that’s cool. Think about it. Start talking about it. Talk to some of the experts to bring in somebody who you want to describe your film and have some of these conversations. It’s the perfect time, wherever you are. But again, the best, the absolute best, is at the beginning. With whatever you’re doing, keep in mind that you’re gonna have to leave in some time for describing. And so, Cheryl, you have experience with this. I don’t know if you wanna talk a bit, but the B-roll. Can you talk a little bit about B-roll and getting more B-roll?

CHERYL: Sure. The daily life footage or the B-roll or the establishing shots, you can add more of those in and hold them longer. Make a slower pace. It’s not that somebody has to then describe every aspect of whatever that shot was. You know, you’ve got “waves crashing on a rocky shore.” You don’t have to go into great detail if you use that shot, if you hold it five, ten seconds longer to give a little space to describe what’s coming up next, not in terms of spoilers, of course, or to describe something that just happened or to get some of those speaker IDs read.
A lot of times in documentary when you’re cutting between some footage of people doing whatever the action is, and then you cut back to the talking head and back to the action, what gets lost is that opportunity to read out the name and the other speaker ID stuff that’s on the screen. And so, with that constant talking head voice that turns into voiceover, I think you need to look at how you’re considering those edits and maybe add in that extra B-roll shot before this person comes on so that their name and their credentials and affiliation can be read first. I’ve done several films where all I can say sometimes is just the first name of somebody, and they’ve got like three lines of credentials. And if you’re using the AD, you might never know where this person works and what their degrees are and all the other stuff that’s so handily provided in the visual format. So, think about the way that you can take advantage of a slower pace between, between events or between stories.
THOMAS: Excellent. Cool. Very cool. And, you know, kind of in there, you even, in your example of the waves, so you kind of talked about the next thing that I was gonna mention, and we mentioned it, just the idea of using, ways to use audio and other elements. Filmmakers could think about some of that stuff as well.
CHERYL: Yeah! Well, yeah, you know, if you can hear the waves crashing on the rocky shore, you don’t have to say, “Waves crashing on the rocky shore.” That already is done, so you can use that time then to give the name of the next speaker who’s gonna come up or what they’re about to do. Really just, and I mean, yes, I’m with you. I wanna see the film with the Greek chorus as audio description, but it doesn’t have to be that dramatic or creative. Bringing in those sound effects or the natural sound and then using that time to describe something that we can’t hear is great.
THOMAS: Absolutely. And again, one we didn’t talk about, we talked a little bit about it, but always kind of be thinking about considering cultural representation. And so, whatever that is, if your film is about or of a certain culture, then you probably want your audio description narrated to represent that. Because again, you don’t want someone to be disrupted while they’re watching your film, and someone can be when the person is not of the culture. It can definitely disrupt. Whether that be if, even if you’re not of that culture, you might feel like, “Ah! This doesn’t, something about this doesn’t feel right or it just doesn’t flow right to me.”
THOMAS: And so, something to definitely take into consideration at any point, whatever point you’re in there.
NEFERTITI: This is a super important point. I just want to share a little story here, which is there was a show that I became aware of recently, and just based on the name of the show, I was like, “Oh, man, I’m there.” And then I heard the narrator, and it made me, it made me sick. Literally made me sick. I could not, I cannot watch the show. And that’s a shame, don’t you think? That I have to go without watching something that I was super excited about. Just the name of the show had me pumped.
NEFERTITI: And then I realized who was matched with it, and I couldn’t do it. Have not been able to do it. And I think that’s the last thing that a creative filmmaker, producer, whatever you may be, wants to have said or thought of about their show or their content.
CHERYL: That’s what happens when you, Nef, were not considered as a potential audience member. This is what happens when you go the compliant route and, “Quick, we gotta slap this AD on, and here’s a person with good credentials and a nice voice. Let’s go.” And if you stop to consider who is your target audience for your film and then who is your target audience for your audio description, you have to think about culture in both of those, both of those audiences, because there are audio description users in every culture and subculture. And so, the audio description users are part of your audience, filmmakers. Caption users are part of your audience. And so, that care you put into representing the culture in that film that Nefertiti couldn’t watch, the audio description should have matched the film with the same cultural consideration.
THOMAS: Yeah. And I was just gonna mention that that person, Nef, that you mentioned was doing it, you know that that person is not of that culture, which is why you saying that you could not watch it. Is that correct?
NEFERTITI: Absolutely.
NEFERTITI: That is 100% correct.
NEFERTITI: Yeah. Meanwhile, there are, I am noticing, if anybody wants some recommendations on HBO, old-timey shows-well, old-timey shows, but shows from like the ’90s-say, like Martin and Family Matters, shows that are, I mean, I consider them to be Black shows. Anybody can watch them, obviously, but they are a predominantly Black cast. And I’m delighted to say that the wonderful April Watts, who I believe is a Black woman herself, is doing a fantastic job describing those shows! And that is as it should be. That is as it should be. I’m very, very happy to have found that the last couple of days.
THOMAS: Absolutely.
THOMAS: So, another point to consider is involve blind people.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely. Nothing about us without us, folks.
NEFERTITI: How are you going to know that something is making sense to us, that it’s-your audience, as Cheryl said, you know, blind people as your audience-how are you going to know that this is what we want, what we need, what we expect, what is good, unless we’re part of it?
THOMAS: That’s right. That’s right.
THOMAS: I’d also like to hear from filmmakers in terms of how would you want us to continue this conversation? What are some other things that you might want to dive into that would be of help? How can we help you make sure that your film represents you properly and is accessible with audio description?
NEFERTITI: Yeah. How can we help you help us gain more access? How about that?
THOMAS: Well, how can we help you help us help you help you help us?
NEFERTITI: Yes! Let’s just keep helping each other.
NEFERTITI: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I, again, wanna say that we are available. LinkedIn, Twitter, you know, there’s a LinkedIn group all about audio description. There’s a Twitter community all about audio description. There are Facebook groups about audio description. So, please join the conversation. You can hit us up because we are running low on time here, but we don’t want this to end. We don’t want this to be a box you checked, right?
THOMAS: That’s right. That’s right. One of the ideas that we’re thinking about, folks-and this could be for anyone, but what we’re specifically targeting, we’re looking at blind consumers of audio description, but it would be cool for others as well-what we wanted to do is to maybe put out a film, a project, whatever that has AD that is available to all to watch, and hopefully we can find something that is available, and maybe it doesn’t have to just be on Netflix, but we want it to be the most accessible. And we talk about it. We talk about it from the perspective of what did you like about the AD? What didn’t you like? So, in a sense, we QC it together. And I know there are a lot of people who are interested in quality control and getting into that and offering such a service and doing that for films. Maybe we could start to do that together and pick out points. Because I think with multiple ears on it, [laughs] multiple ears on it, it will be interesting to see what folks kind of pick out and maybe say they like and don’t like. And again, it could be, you know, whatever. Hopefully, it won’t be something too long, but maybe like a project is under an hour or maybe an hour and a half or something that we all would be interested in watching and talk about it together. So, that’s one of the things we’re thinking about doing.
NEFERTITI: We are. And we’re thinking about doing it on Clubhouse, folks. So, if you’re already on Clubhouse, that’s amazing. If you’re not, get familiar. It has a very nice sort of let’s just hang out on a Friday night type vibe. That’s what we’re going for ’cause, yeah, we wanna make this fun. We wanna make this educational. We wanna make it all of the things, most importantly, that people go away having learned something and having built community.
THOMAS: Yeah. And Nef said she was gonna bake the snacks, right? Didn’t you say you’re gonna bake a cake?
NEFERTITI: Oh, sure.
NEFERTITI: Yeah, yeah. Some brownies. Some blondies, you know.
THOMAS: Nice, nice. Uh-oh! What kind of brownies?!
NEFERTITI: Well, maybe for the afterparty.
THOMAS: Excellent!
THOMAS: So, this was cool, y’all. I thought this was pretty cool.
NEFERTITI: I think so, too. This was a great gathering. Again, thank you all so much for making it. And for you listening later through the replay, thank you. Yeah. Remember, this will be on Thomas’s podcast, Reid My Mind Radio in a few weeks, right?
CHERYL: And I wanna put another plug in for Reid My Mind Radio, for filmmakers to check out the Flipping the Script on Audio Description series that you can find on Reid My Mind Radio. Because, as Thomas was saying, involve blind people. This is a place where you can go read the transcript, listen to the audio, hear both from audio describers and from audio description users. I mean, just subscribe to the podcast and listen to the whole thing. [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: It’s gold, gold.
CHERYL: It’s gold, and I feel like it’s like this form of, you know, community access and continuing education that can’t be beat. And yeah, subscribe twice! [laughs]
THOMAS: Aw! OR you know what? Maybe they wanna subscribe three times! [De La Soul’s version of The Magic Number plays]
NEFERTITI: [delighted laugh]
THOMAS: You know?
NEFERTITI: All right.
DE LA SOUL: [singing] Three. That’s the magic number. [music stops abruptly]
THOMAS: There we go.
CHERYL: Yes, it is!
NEFERTITI: Thank you so much for joining us, everyone. We hope you join us again for the next chat. Stay tuned to our social media spaces for that announcement. And yeah, watch the Oscars. It’ll have description. [laughs]
THOMAS: There you go. With Nefertiti Matos Olivares.
NEFERTITI: Whoo! And two other folks too. Not just me, you guys, not just me! [laughs] Shout out to Erin Agee and Joe Amodio, I believe, is how it is pronounced.
NEFERTITI: All right. Thanks, everybody.

Energetic outro music

THOMAS: Cool. Well, that concludes this week’s conversation. Why don’t y’all keep the conversation going on social media.
CHERYL: Use #ADFUBU, for us by us, #DescribeEverything, and #AudioDescription.
NEFERTITI: And hey, you know we’re out here, right? Mmhmm! Gathered and galvanized y’all. If you haven’t joined us yet, what are you waiting for?! You can find us in the LinkedIn Audio Description group and the AD Twitter community. We know that your participation will only make these spaces better.
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