Posts Tagged ‘Conversation’

Blind Centered Audio Description Chat: Talking Training

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Adding on to our last conversation, we continue discussing how more Blind people can get involved in Audio Description. What are the available training options and ways to find opportunities?

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

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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!

NEFERTITI: Hello, everybody! I’m Nefertiti Matos Olivares. I am your Mistress of ceremonies or Spaces, whatever tonight! And I’m here with Cheryl Green and Thomas Reid and the two Scotts: Scott Blanks and Scott Nixon, moderators of the Audio Description Twitter Community, which as I always say, if you’re not part of it, what are you waiting for? Get over there.
Tonight, we are going to talk about training. Let’s talk about training, pulling back the curtain on audio description trainings for blind people. Yeah. Thomas, kick us off.
THOMAS: Cool, cool. Well, hey, everybody. Yeah. So, the idea this week was to talk about, more about training and really sort of pull back the curtain about getting started. That was, I think that was the theme or something like that, right?
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: So, I have a couple of segments here that I think we can talk about. And we don’t have to use these, but these are just some suggestions ‘cause I was thinking about it. And one, the first one I’m calling “know thyself.” And I’ll go into them, but let me just tell you about the other ones before I say it. But the first one is know thyself. And I think it’s a real, real important part to get started. And then we’re talking about the fundamentals. The second part is really talking about the fundamentals that we need to really be aware of when we’re talking about audio description—I mean, really, to be honest with you, anything, any sort of profession that you want to get into as a blind person—but specifically audio description today. And then we’ll go and talk about some of the things that you could be doing right now that you don’t have to wait for. And then I wanna talk a little bit about your interest in AD or the various places that we can go when we talk about AD. ‘Cause right now, I think we’re only thinking one area, and there’s multiple areas within AD that we can really, really talk about and think about getting into and how to and explore that.
So, the first idea of knowing thyself, okay? The one thing I wanted start with is we really need to understand that audio description, even before we go any further, you need to know that audio description, I don’t think right now I would be able to classify that—and Nef, you jump in, you tell me—but I don’t think we can classify that as a job. I think we can call it maybe, you know, for-hire work, freelance work, or something like that. But it is not a job. And therefore, there are some things that you should really sort of know about yourself if you really are trying to pursue this. Would you say AD is a job, Nef?
NEFERTITI: I would say that audio description is firmly in the gig economy. It really is, “Hey, I’ve got this series, movie, whatever, and I think you’d be a good writer for it. Are you available? Yeah? Okay, here you go. Have it to me in three days, one day, a week. This is what you’ll get paid.” And you keep it moving ‘til the next one. Same for narrator, same for QC. Engineers, that might be a little different story. I’ve met a number of on-staff engineers. And there are staff writers. There are.
THOMAS: Yes, yes.
NEFERTITI: But for the most part, what I have found is that it’s absolutely just gig, not like a 9 to 5.
THOMAS: Right. So, the fact that it’s not a 9 to 5, the thing that you have to ask yourself is, well, do you like to hustle? And I’m not talking about the dance from the ‘70s. And yes, I like to do that hustle too. [laughs] But do you like to hustle, meaning sort of get out there and find the work on your own? Because that’s a lot about, you know, that’s part of it. You have to sort of market yourself. And so, that’s a hustle. And that’s not, quite honestly, if we think about the way we as a society sort of think about careers and jobs, that’s not, we’re not raised like that. And so, if you’re sort of coming out of the traditional work environment or even school or whatever the case may be, you really have to give that some consideration ‘cause there’s lots of things that are involved with that.
I think another piece of that is to really sort of figure out what your goal is because with that freelance, maybe, you know, maybe you just kind of wanna, you wanna dip your toe in the water a little bit. You just wanna try AD. That’s cool. That’s, some people just freelance once a year with a certain type of project on something that they wanna do. That’s perfectly fine if that’s your goal. But really have a good understanding of where you’re trying to go, you know? Yeah. I mean, I don’t know if you wanna add anything to that, Nef, in terms of the hustle. What do you think? What would you say about the hustle of AD?
NEFERTITI: I would say that coming into this space, you have to remember that, yeah, this may be something that you wanna do as a career, and that aspiration is perfectly reasonable and fantastic. And we wish you all the luck in the world. But yeah, it’s, again, unless you get a position at a company as a staff writer who does narration or what have you, it’s important to be clear that this is something that’s gonna take a lot of drive on your part. And yeah, if you have that sort of entrepreneurial spirit, I’m gonna put myself out there, I’m gonna, you know, let myself network, and all that stuff, then all power to you. But I think that’s something that we have come across with blind people who come to us for guidance and advice, Thomas, right, where they have this idea of a more traditional kind of work setting, and that’s just not how it is necessarily.
SCOTT B: Hey, Scott B. (Cut 13:47 through 14:01.) So, I can only really speak to my very limited sort of time with audio description, and I agree. It feels giggy. It is that. And I think it’s important for us to do what we can to help educate people that it is not a space, an arena where you can say, “I am gonna grow up and be in audio description.” Doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but there’s some practicalities there that you need to think about. It doesn’t also mean that it cannot be a field that supports, can be more supportive of someone putting most or all of their energy into that field as a job, as a career. But we’re not there. But I think, just in short, what I see is this field is not set up for especially for blind folks to be well versed in the many parts of audio description. It was talked about earlier that there’s kind of an emphasis on certain aspects of it, but there’s really four or five that are critical. And there are no…there are no training supports in most of those areas. And we’re gonna talk more about that today, I’m sure. But this is Scott B. Done speaking for now.
COLLEEN: Hey, guys. So, interesting about kind of training and education and audio description. Obviously, this is a passion of mine, and this year, I became the owner of Audio Description Training Retreats. And I’ve now started teaching kinda the fundamentals of audio description and practice in scripting and, you know, kind of primary inline description. And that sort of level-one base class I teach with Liz Gutman, who is an employee of IDC. She’s also a very good friend. And Melissa Hope was another one of my former students who works at Descriptive Video Works, and we teach a class that is all about writing for the screen, anything that’s specifically to do with technology, screen wise. So, video games and film and television and broadcast and all that jazz. I am currently in the process of developing a live theater and performance class with another former grad, Louise Victor, who is kind of the head of one of the live AD providers in Pennsylvania near Penn State.
So, I’ve got kind of like the three main core things, and we normally allow eight people in each class so that you’re provided ample practice time and any accommodations that you need, and everyone gets quite a bit of time and feedback and networking with each other. The thing I realized was that I want to be able to teach more people, and I wanna be able to educate on a larger scale as well as have it more accessible in a way. What I wanna do is kind of create modules online, like a curriculum of classes you can take in all different areas of audio description so that there would be online courses. And sort of some of the static information about audio description that doesn’t change much is what could be taught there in collaboration with me, and I would wanna collaborate with different people.

CHERYL: Hey, Colleen?
COLLEEN: Yeah?!
CHERYL: This is Cheryl. I wanna jump in just for time’s sake ‘cause we do try to hold to something around a two-minute limit.
COLLEEN: Oh, yeah. Go for it. Go for it.
CHERYL: Yeah. I hate to interrupt you, especially as you’re getting into those really valuable details. But I wanted to also add in there that I am a sighted audio describer, and I often run into people who are asking me, “Where can I get training? Where can I get training?” Not once has anyone ever come to me and said, “Do you know where I can go to a training where there’s a blind teacher or a blind co-teacher?” I just wanted to throw that out there. I don’t think that’ll be a surprise to anybody here who’s listening, but we talked about narrative shift last time. I don’t think the blind community, well, hmm. I don’t wanna make grandiose assumptions, but I do think the non-blind audio description world needs to listen better to the narrative shift that’s already happened. And I think that we need to be asking that question more: “Is there gonna be a blind teacher? Am I gonna be working alongside blind people?” Yeah, so, I’m gonna leave it there and see who wants to speak next.
NEFERTITI: This is Nefertiti. Thank you, Colleen, for telling us about your offerings. What I didn’t specifically hear was any catering to blind people. Here in this space, we wanna center blind people, right? Like, that’s our edict. And would love to hear more, along with Cheryl saying, we want a blind teacher. Here we have Colleen. But I wanna hear more about, and I think our audience would love to hear more about, are there any trainings that have blind people in mind for all aspects of audio description? Whether that be writing, as controversial as that can be, QC. I’m a firm believer in blind QC. Narration, teaching folks how to use their technology, what their different DAWs, digital audio workstation, options are, the accessibility of same, etc. I don’t hear much about that at all. There are plenty of classes/courses. But I’m not hearing anything that caters to blind folk. And more to the point, does there need to be something specific for blind people, or have blind people out there—anybody in the audience, you’re welcome to jump in and let us know about your experiences with any classes you’ve taken—have you found that you haven’t really needed to have anything catered to you or tailored to you as a blind person? That’s what I’m interested in tonight. How about you, Thomas?
THOMAS: Yeah, Nef, I think you just raised a fantastic point about does there need to be anything specific to blind people? Because if, you know, Colleen mentioned something around making the training accessible. If making the training, if the trainings were accessible, I think that is part of what it is, what needs to be done. But also, accessible not only from the point of view of the technology, but just in terms of the methodology, right, of really, really including that. Because when people ask, they always, when people find out you’re a narrator—and I’m sure you experience this, Nef—it’s always like, “Oh, we really wanna talk about your process.” And I almost feel like, wow, I’m really gonna disappoint you because the process is not much different from what your process is except, I use a screen reader. And so, I think you touched on something that’s really, really important there, Nef, because that’s a shift. It’s a shift in the way we think about this, ‘cause there is always this thought that there has to be something really separate. Even for us, getting involved in audio description, it’s always viewed as it has to look at this thing as something separate. But it’s not that different.
NEFERTITI: Something different, something that needs to be accommodated.
THOMAS: Yeah. Yeah.
NEFERTITI: Does it? Does it though?
THOMAS: I mean there are accommodations. Those accommodations are specific. Yeah, there are some accommodations. Absolutely. And there is nothing wrong with an accommodation.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely.
THOMAS: But I’m saying, does it have to be separate? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I really don’t think so, because the training, again, if it’s accessible, and if we are considered, right, if we are a, if we are a customer of this, I mean, and you’re considered, your needs are considered, it might not have to be anything specific. But what does have to happen is that the industry has to be ready because we can have all of this training, but the industry has to be ready. And again, there are things that we can do. And that’s what I really wanted to focus on today was all the things that we can do because we have to, we as a community would have to wait for the accessibility to be implemented. We would have to wait for the technology to be made accessible. We have to wait for the industry, in the meantime, because not everyone is ready. A lot of folks want it, but you’re not ready. You’re not ready. And I put myself in that category, right? At points in my life, I wasn’t ready. There are certain things that I wanted last year that I was not ready for and may be now getting ready, right? And so, those are the things that we can control. And that’s what I wanna focus on, because, again, we’re centering blind people. So, let’s talk about what we can do.
NEFERTITI: Thomas, I think you’re…. Goodness. Yes, yes to everything you just said.
THOMAS: So, one of the other things, you know, I talked about earlier in terms of, and we talked about a little bit the last time, in terms of learning our technology and making sure we’re comfortable with our technology, right? Figuring out the things that we want, you know, figuring out our goals and all of that type of thing. What exactly do we wanna take out of this? I think there’s, the one thing that it doesn’t even matter what career, what profession you’re going into, but I think we need to think about it as professionalism, right? That idea of being professional. And, you know, this is not to throw anybody out there or anything like that, but, well, to embarrass anybody. But Nef, one of the first things that I noticed, your professionalism, on point. On point. And so, that was why I was like, “Oh, no, yeah. You got what you need to go.” That was one of those things. You had the hustle and the professionalism. And so, what I mean by that is I notice how you conduct yourself, right? So, not just in terms of the presentation, the oral presentation, but in just follow-up, doing exactly what you said you were gonna do. “I’m gonna send you an email. I’ll send you that.” She does it, right? These are the things that we need to make sure that we’re doing that too often we know it doesn’t happen. Now, again, no one is perfect. Everyone slips up. I know I slip up. Things fall off my radar. But I know that when they drop back on my radar, I’m gonna apologize, and I’m gonna get back to the person. Like, these are some of the things that we individually can be working on and making sure that we have tight before we even try to go ahead and get into any industry, but definitely AD.
And the reason I say definitely AD is because I’m not saying there is any sort of conspiracy out there. Please don’t take this like that, right? And I’m not saying that anyone is actually even maybe even consciously thinking about, “Oh, we have to keep them out,” right? But you better believe. [laughs] Well, you don’t better believe. But I’ll tell you that I truly, honestly believe that not everyone wants us there. You could apply that to any career. Not everyone would want blind people there. Not everyone wants a person with a disability there, okay? And so, you’re going to be looked at differently. That is just factual. So, you better have your stuff on point. That’s what I’m saying. And so, these are the things that we can be working on today in addition to the fundamentals, knowing our technology. And that’s what we talked about last time, so. Go ahead.
NEFERTITI: Nefertiti again. I 100% agree. I think of these as like soft skills.
THOMAS: Mm.
NEFERTITI: But in a very real way, this is what is going to move you along, literally. Yeah. You say you’re gonna send an email, make a call, do that. You’re gonna audition for things, do that. You know, you’re gonna focus on learning your technology so that you’re better at Word and Excel with your screen reader, do that. Same goes with learning any DAWs program. I’ll tell you, when I first got into this, and I went to Thomas for advice, he told me point blank, like, “It’s okay if this turns out to be something you don’t wanna do, but if it is something you’re gonna, you know, you wanna do, you’re gonna have to do and learn X, Y, Z thing”. For me, the hardest thing has been the audio aspect. You know, if I could just be the writer, the quality control specialist, the narrator, and I just show up, say, to a studio or sit in front of a computer and type away and say my lines, it would be a wrap! But it’s not that simple. You’re not just a voice artist anymore. You’re also an engineer now, a lot of the time. So, learning that for me has been a great learning curve. But you have to do it. Like it or not, you know, it’s like with any job, right? No job is perfect. There are aspects of everything that we do that aren’t necessarily 100% to our liking. But you have to do what you have to do. And in this case, I 100% agree with Thomas. Have good follow-through. Have a driven nature so you can network. Don’t be afraid to say, “Oh, hey, hey! You got, you know, you got any voice work for me coming up? I’m out here. I’m available,” like, you know, what do they say? The squeaky wheel gets the grease or whatever it is?
THOMAS: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: Yeah, that’s part of it, too. Not being shy, putting yourself out there, and being willing and able and dedicated to learning. Super important even before you get into training and the like. I mean, I think those are sort of trainings in and of themselves, life skills.
THOMAS: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you said something, Nef, no job is perfect. And I just wanna point out again, and we’re not even talking about a job. You can get to a job, and you have on-the-job training.
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: Jobs, employers might send you to a training when you have a new system, you’re getting on a new project, you need to learn a new language, coding language, whatever the case may be, right? You’re going to go to a training, and you’re getting paid for that. It ain’t working the same way [laughs] with the freelance work. It does not. You have to cover your own training costs and time.
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: And it’s just really, really something. And again, I don’t wanna sound like I’m trying to scare anybody away ‘cause that is not, that is not why I got into this, because I really want…I really wanna see more blind people at every level.
NEFERTITI: No, we wanna proliferate this with blind people. But we need you to be prepared.
THOMAS: Right. But I want you to ready.
NEFERTITI: Yes. We want you to know.
THOMAS: Yes, yes. Because the worst thing, the worst thing is to have that opportunity, and you’re not ready for it, because then you might— And it’s not to say because nothing is finite like that, right? It doesn’t mean that it is the end-all, but man it sure does make it harder. It will make it harder. And so, be ready. Be ready with all of these things, you know?
NEFERTITI: 100%.
CHERYL: I wanted to just ditto to what you said, and I wanna add another detail to Nefertiti’s just amazing professionalism, and yours too, Thomas, is being collaborative and collaboratively minded. And I have worked with both of y’all on many occasions. And if there’s something that you can’t do or you don’t have time to do, you just let me know, “Hey, could you do this?” And likewise. And Thomas, I’ve been on calls with you talking about something else, and I bring up a tech issue I’m having, and you just give me the solution right there on the call, and then you’ve solved my tech issue. We’re constantly in these conversations, and we want to collaborate and build each other’s skills up. So, I think, you know, Thomas, you keep saying, “I don’t wanna scare anybody from getting into the field,” and I’m glad that you’re saying that. I think part of building up the skills is being in conversation with people who can give you the shortcuts like you do, so you don’t have to take, you know, watch a whole 20-minute tutorial video and take notes. Somebody can just give you the shortcut. But I really think knowing your strengths, knowing your limitations, and talking to your collaborators about it really goes a long way.
NEFERTITI: Cheryl, 100% to that as well. I think that’s where the networking part of what I talk about with people comes in. Build your community, build your network, join the audio description community, join the Audio Description Facebook group, use the hashtag #AudioDescription, and find other folks who are doing this. Listen to these Spaces. If there are Zoom gatherings that have to do with audio description, attend those. Trainings, again, a bunch of them. But one place which I don’t necessarily consider training, but that you can learn a heck of a lot, and they’re just wonderful people, VocalEye out of Canada does these Describer Cafés once a month. And you learn so much, and you can come away with having made a friend or two there as well. So, I think that is hugely important, so you have people to talk to, to ask questions of, to run things by. So, yeah, just wanna stress that point that I think you’re 100%, Cheryl. Thank you for that.
SCOTT B: Hey, it’s Scott B.
NEFERTITI: Scott B!
SCOTT B: Hello. So, a couple things. Just rewinding to the conversation around the soft skills or emotional intelligence or interpersonal skills, all of that, it really is something that whoever you are, blind or otherwise, whatever field, AD or not, you’re getting into, it is so important. Earlier in my career many, many years ago, I was a vocational counselor, a very dry term, but I helped other blind folks look for work and navigate the interview process and navigate the meeting your employer for the first time and going to the job site for the first time, all of those things. And invariably, those skills of socialization and interpersonal activity and engagement, those were the ones that if they weren’t…if they weren’t polished, that is what would, more likely than anything, impact someone’s success on a job. The technical’s important, the mobility’s important, things like that, if you’re a blind person. But those other things really, it’s that social thing of kind of being able to navigate different situations. It is really important to do that.
And I think what a lot of people will ask, what a lot of people ask us when they hear this is, “Okay, so, where do I get those skills?” And the truth, unfortunately, is there are not a lot of resources for it. They are out there, though. And sometimes, frankly, it depends on where you live geographically. There are resources, some places that are rich with them, others that are deserts in terms of access to services. But I just wanna say sort of publicly, as somebody who works at a non-profit organization, that there are options out there if people have questions about how they can improve those kinds of skills, group, myself included, I think, are resources that you can come to that you should feel okay to ask questions of out on Twitter and Facebook and kind of wherever you might be connected with us. Because as a blind person who has moved through various careers and who’s had many of these struggles that we’re talking about, I know that it’s real, and it is something that you need to, that you’ll need to navigate. And we should be able to be that network, that mentoring network for other people, ‘cause that’s another way we’re gonna see and uplift other blind people into this field and other fields. So, that’s it for me.
SCOTT N: Just quickly to go back to what Scott B. was just saying about some areas being an oasis and some areas being a desert when it comes to training, welcome to Australia. We’re a great big honkin’ desert when it comes to this sort of thing. I have been looking around madly for the past two weeks trying to find audio description training and things like that in my area, and there’s just nothing here. So, at the moment, the best plan I’ve been able to come up with so far as I take my first steps of my audio description narrator journey is to hook up with like AD Training Retreats over in the States or one of the groups in Canada or Britain or something like that. And I’m gonna have to completely change my sleep schedule because we’re talking, you know, their day is my night. So, I’m gonna have to go vampire mode for a little while in order to try and learn because I don’t wanna go into this halfcocked. I wanna come into the job having as many of the skills as I possibly can. And it’s just really difficult in my region to be able to get them. So, you know, facing a lot of barriers at the moment, but hopefully with the help of you guys and other people in the space, I’ll be able to do it because it’s, you know, I’ve been thinking about it more and more over the past two weeks. And this is something I really think is, I don’t wanna say it’s my calling, but it feels like it’s the right path I need to be on at the moment.
THOMAS: So, Scott, I’m glad you said what you said. And so, this is for Scott, and this is, again, for anyone who’s listening. But Scott, you mentioned this. And so, the next thing that I wanted to touch on, and so, I will ask you, and not to put you on the spot, but I’m putting you on the spot. [laughs]
SCOTT N: [laughs] Thanks, man. I appreciate that.
THOMAS: Yeah, no problem! So, you mentioned that you wanna be an audio narrator. Okay, cool. So, my question to you— And again, and Nef could attest to this because this is, if any, anyone I talk to who wants to talk to me about this, this would be what I ask them. So, I will ask you. Have you recorded anything? Have you recorded yourself yet?
SCOTT N: I have recorded myself a couple of times doing some basic AD work, but I have over 25 years’ experience in the radio and broadcast industry. So, I know my voice, I know how to prepare, and all that jazz. So, I’ve got the experience there at least.
THOMAS: Okay. All right. Excellent. So, you have experience. So, you edit? Do you do any sort of editing, basic editing?
SCOTT N: No, I haven’t done any editing up to this point. That’s probably the next thing I need to learn how to do. I briefly spoke to Nef yesterday, and she gave me a couple tips on programs to use. So, I need to get my hands on one of those and start practicing and learning how to do that sort of thing. But I also have several opportunities here in Melbourne where I’m going to be able to have an engineer come in and work with me. And while I’m there, I’ll say, “Look, could you just teach me how to do this, that, and the other thing?” So, I might be able to do a little stink around there, but editing it myself will be something that I will be learning, yes.
THOMAS: Okay. Excellent. Because, again, the idea of just recording yourself, the first point, so many people just sort of miss that. Because this could be a great way to figure out number one, if this is gonna be something that you like to do. It sounds good often enough, but sometimes it just might not be what you like. You may end up figuring out that you don’t like it, and you might be able to find that out even if you were just recording with your iPhone. Now you’re going to have to upgrade from an iPhone if you want to go that route of the professional, right, that professional AD. And when I say that, I’m not just talking about the Netflixes and the Amazons and all of that. I’m really saying if you want someone to pay you, then you should be upgrading from your iPhone. Absolutely. That’s my opinion.
SCOTT N: Oh, of course. Yeah.
THOMAS: Okay. So, yeah. So, you wanna start to, first of all, right now get familiar. You own a PC or laptop or something? You have that?
SCOTT N: Yes, I’ve got a running laptop here.
THOMAS: Okay. And so, we already talked about having all of those fundamentals and all of that stuff and the proficiency with your thing. So, really right now, then, if you’re comfortable there, it’s really about you having some sort of a setup to do that at home and start recording yourself in the way that it would be. Now, the thing that I’m wondering is, and I would say this to anyone again, is what difference—there is difference—but what difference do you think if you have done you said 20-something years of some broadcast, or it was broadcast?
SCOTT N: Mm. Yeah, 25 years of radio and podcast broadcasting.
THOMAS: So, what makes you think you’re not way more, like you sound like you’re, you sound like you’re very close to being ready to go to do this. Like, let’s take out the idea of needing to have yourself recorded. Like, if you had an engineer accessible to you, what is it that makes you think you wouldn’t be able to do this right now?
SCOTT N: At this stage, it’s simply a matter of learning, for lack of a better term, the pattern of work, learning how to properly read the AD that someone says will be in a spreadsheet or through a Word document or whatever like that. Just learning the patterns, learning the method of doing pick-ups, going back and rerecording stuff that may be not correct or needs to be punched up a little bit or something like that. Just really learning the pattern and the flow of the work, I think that’s the next barrier because doing, reading an advertisement is a lot different to going live on air and interviewing someone or doing a prerecorded interview for a podcast. They’re all very different animals and learning how to do them are very different things. And I haven’t had much experience when it comes to reading a script. So, really, that’s my next step to get my hands on an actual AD script. I noticed earlier that the fantastic Liz Gutman from International Digital Center is one of our listeners today. And hey, Liz, if you could send me just one of your old scripts or something so I could practice, that’d be super! Scott out.
THOMAS: Okay, so, Scott, so I’m glad you brought that out. If Liz’s here, shoutout to Liz all day. Scott, you don’t need a script. And I tell everyone this. Why do you need a script? You need words in the format so you can read it. So, if you’re gonna use JAWS, whatever your screen reader is, if you use a screen reader with Braille, you need text.
SCOTT N: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: You have access to text. It doesn’t matter what you read, right? You can download any sort of script. You can read the dictionary! As long as you know how to read in the format, you know, in an accessible way, that process is going to be the same regardless to what the actual text on that screen is. Does that make sense?
SCOTT N: Yeah. Good point. Yeah, it’s a very good point, Thomas. It’s an excellent point. Thank you very much for kind of, you know, smacking me upside the head and saying you don’t need to do everything the same way!
THOMAS: It’s always my pleasure to smack you upside the head, Scott.
THOMAS: and SCOTT N: [laugh]
SCOTT N: Okay, guys.
THOMAS: Virtually, of course. Virtually, of course. I’m not a violent person. But no. But that is really, really honestly true. Copy whatever it is. Read a book. Read whatever it is that you want to read and narrate that and record yourself in whatever facility you have right now. But that is the skill that you need to be working on.
SCOTT N: Right. Thank you so much, Thomas. Thanks, everyone. I’ve really gotta bounce. Just quickly, Star Wars Andor now available on Disney+. The audio description for it is fantastic! Go and listen to it. Okay, guys? I’ll talk to you next time.
NEFERTITI: Thank you, Scott! Always great to hear from you. And let’s keep in touch about your progress. I wanna hear about any breaking news.
THOMAS: We gotta start getting money for the commercials.
NEFERTITI: Oh, yeah. [laughs]
THOMAS: We gotta get money for that commercial right there. Disney ain’t paying us. Come on. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Oh, that’s true. I didn’t even catch that. I’m just happy that something’s being done right. Yeah. Wow. Does anybody have any sort of concrete resources you think we should shout out for folks listening to this Space and wanting to get their hands on or their ears on something? For example, I’d like to shout out the ADP, The Audio Description Project. I think they’re @ADPWebmaster on Twitter. Huge resource of all sorts of things that are being described, but they also have a section on training, different trainings, and I think they’re pretty good about keeping all of that updated. So, how about you, Cheryl, Thomas and Cheryl, Scott B., if you have any resources or a resource you think would be good for people to know about?
THOMAS: I mean, the…. [sighs] I’m not gonna give out a resource just yet. And I don’t really have many. I’m really on this. And again, this is sort of, this is my style, but this is the style that I think is necessary. And I think it’s not just my style. I think it’s because of what’s available. I just think we have a lot of things that we can do right now to really work on preparing ourself for that. I don’t know of anything specific to blind folks or that is accessible enough and that centers blind people or even considers blind people in the training process. I don’t know about that. I really don’t.
NEFERTITI: I don’t either.
THOMAS: And so, I don’t wanna endorse it.
NEFERTITI: Like we said, well, like Cheryl said specifically, blind folks at the helm. Not just as participants, but actually teaching this stuff. I only know of one person. But again, I’m not so sure that even that training caters to blind people. So, I’m not so sure. But I do think I will sort of double down on my recommendation. The ADP is a great resource for everyone to know about. It’s sorta like a repository of information there. And from there you can decide. But we are saying, I think Thomas and I are saying, and Cheryl, feel free to chime in here, there isn’t anything that we know of that we can confidently point blind people to and say, “This is good. Go do that. Reach out to this person or that organization.”
THOMAS: Yeah.
CHERYL: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: And that’s pretty sad.
CHERYL: Yeah. It is. Cheryl here. I would say I am always pointing people to my favorite continuing education, I call it, which is Thomas Reid’s podcast, Read My Mind Radio. There is a tremendous amount—talk about centering blind people—but there’s a tremendous amount of formal and informal learning you can get from the… [laughs] Turning the, turning? Flipping the Script!
THOMAS: [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Flipping the Script. Turning the Switch!
CHERYL: No, somebody has called it Turning the Page on Audio Description.
THOMAS: Yeah. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Oh yeah? [laughs]
CHERYL: That sounds rude!
NEFERTITI: Wow!
CHERYL: But Flipping the Script. Thomas Reid’s Flipping the Script on Audio Description. It’s a series that’s been going on for several years, and you were talking about AD well before you started that series. And that is a concrete place to go to gather information, to listen to AD consumers and AD professionals. And I just encourage everybody go there, and that would be centered on the community.
NEFERTITI: Thank you, Cheryl. And thank you for shouting out Thomas. I kinda hesitate to shout you out, Thomas, ‘cause I know how humble you are. But heck yeah.
CHERYL: Yeah, I don’t care about that part.
THOMAS: [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: But that’s a resource. All right. Cheryl’s cool with it, then I’m gonna be cool with it, too, Thomas. Prepare yourself.
SCOTT B: Scott B.
NEFERTITI: No, but it’s true. Excellent resource. Yes, Scott B.
SCOTT B: I’m gonna challenge people who are working in this space, because I think as a blind person, again, I’ll preface just saying that my sort of impressions about audio description or a career or whatever are fairly limited. But what I see is that no, there are not trainings, technical trainings, that are catering to blind people either as writers, QC artists, narrators, mixers, engineers, etc. We also need a field that is going to have those opportunities for people to learn and get better at the craft or else we will always struggle for more than a very few blind and visually impaired folks to be successful in it. And we know that there can be more. But it does, you know, this, a full, complete ecosystem involves everything. And that includes the training. Right now, it’s very heavily oriented towards writing, and it’s very heavily oriented towards writing for people who are sighted. But we need a lot more than that. And I would challenge everyone who’s involved in any of these resources that’ve been mentioned to think more broadly about including blind people as prospective audiences and learners in those spaces. Thank you.
NEFERTITI: And also teachers! Remember, folks, nothing about us without us. Centering blind people. That’s our whole ethos here, so.
THOMAS: Definitely. And real quick, because this was the last point that I wanna say, is that open, you know, broaden your horizons when we’re talking about audio description. There is more to audio description than Netflix and Amazon. There are so many opportunities, I think, in independent projects. And maybe we can talk about this. There are folks out there who do this where I know that they have worked with apprentices. That’s a old-school thing, but that’s a very awesome opportunity if you can find someone who you can apprentice with and who does independent work. Or they might do, you know, whatever, the bigger stuff too. But it’s AD, right? AD is happening in education. AD is happening on YouDescribe, right?
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: You can get on these platforms and do these things and build up a résumé, if you will. It’s a way to go about it. It absolutely is a way to go about it. So, broaden your horizons when we talk about audio description, because I’m telling you, there’s a lot more going on than just Netflix, etc., etc., so.
SCOTT B: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: 100%. And it’s ripe for the picking, y’all, so.
THOMAS: Let’s go get it. Let’s go get it.
NEFERTITI: Yeah, let’s go! Get it! All right!
THOMAS: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: Well, speaking of getting it, I gotta go get my next gig, y’all! ‘Cause it’s a hustle economy, right? A gig economy.
THOMAS: See? Yeah, no doubt.
SCOTT N: [chuckles]
THOMAS: No doubt.
NEFERTITI: It’s 8 PM in New York City, and I’m off to my next thing!
THOMAS: Aight. There it is. Peace, y’all.
NEFERTITI: Everybody, thank you so much. As always, it is such a pleasure to share this Space with you all. [collar and tags clink and clank as a dog shakes its head] For audiences— Hello, dog in the background! [chuckles] For audiences, thank you for tuning in. And we will be back in a couple of weeks with another fascinating topic.

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.
Music fades out!

Hide the transcript

Blind Centered Audio Description Chat: Blind Professionals in AD

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Prior to this live chat, we polled the AD Twitter Community to see which one of three pre-selected topics most interested the people… The winner… Blind professionals in the audio description business. Whether we’re talking about narration, quality control, audio editing and writing, many want to know how they can get started. During this conversation we hear about the importance of having a foundational skill set and exactly how that goes beyond audio description.

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

Listen

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!

NEFERTITI: So, everybody, hello. I’m Nefertiti Matos Olivares. And this is the Audio Description Twitter Space all about what? Audio description! Yes. And we are so glad you are here. We wanna welcome you tweeps, and so glad for those of you who are with us live. And if you’re listening to the replay, that’s cool too. I am honored to be your MC this evening, and I’m joined by my capable, classy, and at least in one case, curly haired co-host. That’s Cheryl, ’cause Thomas got that smooth, bald head thing going on, right, Thomas?
THOMAS: Yeah, but if I let it grow back it’s curly. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Okay. Me too! My natural hair is curly too.
THOMAS: Yeah, yeah. [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: You know what? We’re all curly hairs here. But you know what? I’m getting into self-description. So, before I get too get ahead of myself and start describing people, always remember that this is a space that prides itself in centering blind people. Audio description was made for and by blind people. By blind people for blind people. And so, our focus will always be blind people. That’s, of course, not to say that sighted folks aren’t welcome. Absolutely. We love our sighted allies and colleagues, but always the center will be blind excellence. So, with that, Thomas, would you like to reiterate our question for tonight?
THOMAS: Absolutely. Absolutely. And it was posed, you know, it was posed to the people. The people had options, and the people have elected [chuckles] and selected. And what they came up with is what we wanna talk about today is specific to blind professionals. And the specific question is what is the outlook for blind professionals in this audio description industry? Yeah, that was pretty much what it is if I recall correctly. So, we could start there, and then we can get into some, see where that conversation goes. So, I don’t know if we wanna- Nef, you said you don’t wanna talk too much, but you know, you can start it off if you want. Like, if you wanna mention some of the what you think the outlook for blind professionals in this industry is and we go from there.) And since we’re gonna use our words to end our statements, I’m gonna take it back because I like the throwbacks. So, I’m gonna take it back to Audi 5000. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Huh. What’s that?!
THOMAS: One of my favorites. Oh, yeah, you a young’un. You don’t remember the old slang. That’s the old slang. Audi 5000!
THOMAS and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
SCOTT B: I remember it.
THOMAS: So, what do you think about the, or if anyone else wants to jump in, yeah, what do you think about in terms of the outlook for blind professionals in this industry? Let’s talk about it.
NEFERTITI: Sure. I’ll be happy to get us started. I’ll keep it nice and short. I think that it is bright. There’s definitely work that needs to be done as far as folks already in this space, whether they be established narrators or writers making room for blind professionals in that we are capable, we do have skill sets, we have lots to contribute, and who better than us to do this for us? So, there are some folks who still need to sort of come around to that and be more open to that. But I do think that there are people, and especially companies, a couple of companies, who are very forward thinking in that regard and are open to and making strides towards allowing blind professionals to enter this space and be successful in this space. We need more allies, and we need more opportunities, to be sure. And I think that’s a really big part as to why we’ve started these Spaces, so that we can come together and speak truth, right? The truth is that there are blind professionals in this space, but there needs to continue to have room being made for us. So, yes! The outlook is bright, but we need to fight. There you go. That’s the logo.
THOMAS: MC to the fullest right there. You actually rhymin’.
NEFERTITI: Whoo!
THOMAS: Yeah, nice. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Droppin’ bars, man. [laughs]
THOMAS: Very nice. Very nice.
NEFERTITI: How about you, Cheryl? Do you have anything to share?
CHERYL: I do wanna hear folks in this group, especially blind and low vision people here in this group talk about what you already raised, Nefertiti. Yeah.
THOMAS: Very cool.
NEFERTITI: Yeah.
CHERYL: Audi 6000! [laughs]
THOMAS: Oh, my gosh! [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Oh my gosh! Listen. That might be the, “I’m out, I’m done, I’m complete” phrase of the night. I did not say it. I’m sorry. I’m not following my own rules.
THOMAS: Yeah. It’s really fine. Cheryl just changed it ’cause it’s 5000. I don’t think Audi made a 6000, but whatever. [laughs]
CHERYL: Well, but, so whoever goes next can close with Audio 7000.
NEFERTITI: I’ll be 7000. [giggles]
THOMAS: Oh, okay. We’re gonna, let’s see where we end. That’ll be the thing. What number will we end on tonight? [laughs]
NEFERTITI: There you go! [chuckles]
THOMAS: You know, at some point, though, I wanna come back around. Not yet, but ’cause Nef, you mentioned we need more allies.
NEFERTITI: Yes.
THOMAS: And I wanna talk about what do allies really look like? What should we expect from allies? What do we wanna see from allies? So. But for now, let’s hear from the people. We got anybody who wants to speak?
SCOTT B: My experience with audio description has until recently been as a fan, as a consumer, and only in the past few months has it sort of developed into a little bit more of the getting to know the professional side. The AD field sort of breaks down into a few different things. We’ve got, we talked about this last time too. You’ve got these different phases, right? You’ve got writing, you’ve got the narration, you’ve got the mixing, QC, the recording. And I only know about a couple of those relatively in depth. And what it seems to me is looking at each of those phases, each of those pieces on its own is one way that we might sort of start feeling like we can get our arms around this thing that might otherwise feel kind of big.
The question of allies is important too, but for example, the work that someone does to handle the QC phase of audio description, it seems like that work is often conducted in various online platforms. And those are the kind of the power behind the QC is a lot of online platforms, some of which are navigable and accessible and a number of which are not. So, unfortunately, we’re dealing with much the same thing that many industries are where we have inaccessible tools. And so, to me, to the question of allyship, what it looks like to me is we need allies in positions of power who can have influence to say to developers, “This matters to us that blind people be able to exist in this profession. And in order to do that, we need to develop these tools in a way that allows screen reading technology, magnification, Braille displays, whatever technology you might be using to interact with and move through those workflows without being blocked.” I’m done speaking. Audio 5000. I’m staying old-school because I remember it. I remember it, Thomas!
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
THOMAS: Thank you, Scott. Thank you. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Excellent points. Thank you. And how about you, Scott N.? Would you like to speak?
SCOTT N: Certainly! It’s…. I see the audio description space for blind professionals at the moment kind of like a cookie, okay? You’ve got all the different ingredients that have to come in to make the perfect cookie. You’ve got your base, you’ve got your flour, your sugar, your chocolate chips if that’s your jam, whatever. And all these things need to come together to make the perfect recipe. And at the moment, we don’t have all the ingredients quite the way we wanted to have, particularly in regards to scripting, making sure that scripts are accessible to people, making sure that if a blind professional wishes to do some editing and stuff like that, making sure that the editing software is all accessible. Quality control, once again, is a huge thing, making sure that that is a streamlined process, like Scott Blanks said, on platforms that are fully accessible to people. And, you know, with the, it’s really just a top to bottom thing. And I’m really, really encouraged at the moment. I’m working with, I’m in preliminary stages of working with one of the big audio description providers possibly to set up a branch of their organization here in Australia because there is a desperate need for audio description here in Aus. And we’re currently working on it, and I’m gonna make sure that blind professionals are fully centered and fully catered for and fully looked after in this space when we open the branch here in Australia because-big announcement, people-duh duh duh duh duh duh! I am going to become an audio describer.
NEFERTITI: Whoo!
SCOTT N: Oh. Oh, yes. Model-T Ford. I go really old-school.
THOMAS and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
THOMAS: Well, I think you can get a [imitates air horn blasting].
NEFERTITI: Heck, yeah!
CHERYL and NEFERTITI: [imitate air horn]
THOMAS: Yeah. For your entry into audio description. That’s awesome.
NEFERTITI: Yes!
SCOTT N: Thank you.
THOMAS: Yeah. Yeah. Cool. I wanna hear more on that as it progresses.
SCOTT N: Oh, absolutely. I’m gonna be doing a sort of diary thing through the community with Scott and Nef’s permission, and I’ll be letting people know how the journey goes as it goes.
THOMAS: Very good.
NEFERTITI: Excellent! I’m sure there are plenty of people who will love to be on that journey with you.
SCOTT N: [chuckles] Thank you.
NEFERTITI: Excellent. Okay. Well, Thomas, we haven’t heard from you yet.
THOMAS: Well, I’m just really gonna echo everything all of y’all are saying, but also, I wanna throw in that, you know, we mentioned the accessibility to all of these things, a lot of software. And it also, it should be noted that just like in other industries, when accessibility, when access is an issue, there’s accommodations. And there are lots of available accommodations in this space, but not everyone considers them. Not everyone employs them. And so, that’s a part of, again, that whole allyship, right? So, making, you know, yeah. Okay. “Currently, this is the process that we use.” “All right. Well, this process that you’re using is a roadblock. There’s a roadblock in this in the way for blind folks to get involved in here.” “Okay. Well, how can we work with that,” right? That’s what we need to hear. And like you said, Nef, there are some people in some companies who follow that, and that, to me, that makes them true allies. Absolutely. Because, they want us in the mix, and we wanna be in the mix, so.
NEFERTITI: Thomas, I’ll say that, yeah, there are companies and entities who have a vested interest and a proven record of giving blind people opportunities. But there are also those who, like in the example you posed, “Well, how can we make this happen?” Really, what we hear is, or what I have heard, I’ll speak from personal experience, “Oh, we just don’t have the necessary software or the know-how to change our set-up to make it accessible for you, but we’re working on it. We’re working on it.” And then you never hear from these companies or these entities, these people again. When you check in, they’re still working on it. It’s a perpetual working on it when it’s really quite simple, you know. Send us a script in Word format or Excel format.
THOMAS: Right.
NEFERTITI: We don’t need any specialized software beyond Word in a lot of these cases. But they are, they’re resistant. It’s one of those mentalities of, “This is how we’ve always done it, so this is how we’re gonna continue to do it. And it’s nice that you blind folk wanna come in and do this, but, you know, we’re resistant to change.” And that can definitely be a roadblock for our success as blind people who really don’t need much in this space to have room made for us.
THOMAS: Absolutely not.
NEFERTITI: Yeah.
THOMAS: Absolutely. Absolutely not. And I beat around the bush, but I feel like I don’t think there’s anything wrong with naming names, especially when they’re positive. I won’t necessarily name the name, I’m not gonna ask you who that company is or anything like that. But I do wanna name the names of folks who are being allies, folks who, because I think it’s important for anyone here or anyone listening later on, if you’re looking for opportunities, you should know where to go. It’s not something that I wanna keep a secret. And I think most people who are looking for that information, it’s pretty easy to find it. So, the number one, in terms of the big industry that I’m gonna shout out is IDC. I’m gonna shout out Eric Wickstrom and IDC because-
NEFERTITI: [imitates air horn]
SCOTT N: [sings] Hallelujah!
THOMAS and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
THOMAS: Because right now, I mean, for real, when people ask me, “Okay, what’s the outlook? What are the opportunities?” You know, there’s a lot of talk about QC and certification and pursuing a career or opportunity, whatever sort of opportunity. It may not, you know, it could be a career. Absolutely, it could be. It takes a lot, but what I tell folks is, “Yeah, contact Eric Wickstrom.” Because number one, he’s asking you to contact him. He’s looking for that, right? He wants to hear that. So, he’s the one who grew their particular, their roster. They have a roster of probably like over 15 blind narrators that they use. They use folks, blind folks, QC.
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: Limited opportunity. So, there’s a lotta talk about certification for QC “jobs,” but I don’t know where you gon go. [laughs] I really, I really don’t. I’m really not sure. I will also shout out DVW because they also give opportunities.
NEFERTITI: [imitates air horn]
THOMAS: Go ahead! Yeah. Is there a Canadian version of that? [imitates air horn] Eh?
THOMAS and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
NEFERTITI: Yes!!!
SCOTT N: [imitates Canadian accent] Sorry, they don’t have one, eh?
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
THOMAS: Yeah, Yeah.
NEFERTITI: I love that, though! [imitates air horn] Eh? [giggles]
THOMAS: Yeah, there you go. They get that one. That’s right. Shout out to Canada, because I mean, they also hire blind narrators. They also hire blind QC folks. So, I think that’s all of them.
NEFERTITI: Yes. And DVW also has an advisory council made up of very accomplished blind people. And it’s a consistent meeting and always tapping into the community: “What do you think about this? What are your thoughts on that? Are you willing to join us for this focus group or that consulting opportunity?” So, they are the real deal as well.
SCOTT N: And Nef, you might be hearing my name a little bit more in those consulting meetings, because they’re the people I’m gonna be working with to branch out into Australia, so.
NEFERTITI: Whoo!
SCOTT N: [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Excellent! I had a feeling it might be DVW, but of course, you know, didn’t wanna jump the gun. But I’m so happy to hear that. And I 100% agree with you, Thomas. I think that we need to absolutely call people out on their BS, but also, just as hard, if not harder, shout out the positives and the people who are putting their money where their mouth is. Literally, because this is all paid, everybody. This is not volunteer, as beautiful as volunteering is. These are legitimate jobs where your skill set is put to the test, and you are being paid, you know, that money you use to eat, that you need to eat, that you need to put that roof over your head. This is happening. So, definitely International Digital Center, Descriptive Video Works. Do we have any others?
THOMAS: Now, let me, so, let me just say it like this, right? I’m judging this based on numbers, based on people, not person.
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: Because I think there are folks who might think they should be included because they have a person on their roster or a person they work with. I don’t necessarily agree with that because one isn’t, one is about that one person, and that’s fine. That’s nice. That’s great. But if you’re really going to be about this, right, meaning you’re supporting blind professionals, you have to make that a plural, right? So, there has to be more than one. And so, those are the ones that I can definitely. There are some others maybe. I’m not sure of their numbers, but I can speak to these two specifically.
CHERYL: Thomas, do you wanna name any particular cars?
THOMAS: Oh. Oh, yes. Audi 5000.
SEVERAL PEOPLE: [laugh]
CHERYL: Oh, my god. Okay. I wanna jump in about narrative because…and going back to the training. There seems to be, in some audio description training-I have not taken all, so I don’t know how they all work-but I do see this overarching story of, “Hello, sighted people. We will train you to help the blind.” And then there’s a lotta statistics about like, vision loss and how many people in this country have this and that. And this is the narrative, at least that I was trained on is, you get to earn money helping this community that needs your help. And when I hear Thomas Reid talk about the origins of audio description, it is the same as what Nefertiti said in opening today’s Space, which is this is a practice, a line of work that was created by and for the blind community. And so, when you have the companies that are like, “Sorry, this, you know, our scripting software, we haven’t made it accessible yet. We still have to sort that out,” you can sit and talk about accessibility all day long. We all know if that software exists in one place, it could exist in all the places. So, that is not the barrier. Getting the technology is not the barrier. I think it comes from attitude and this mistaken narrative that the non-blind people are here to help and serve. And so, I want to hear more people in the community accepting the narrative of audio description as by and for and be an ally in that way of helping to share that narrative because that is part of the foundation that the other changes will be built on. [sighs] I had a Dodge Grand Caravan SE.
THOMAS: [laughs]
CHERYL: That is the only car I’ve ever had. So, I’m gonna wrap up with that fun fact.
NEFERTITI: I love it!
CHERYL: Yes, it’s a minivan!
NEFERTITI: I love it. We can all fit. That’s great. This is Nefertiti. And Cheryl, I could not agree more. Audio description as an art form, as a science, as a way for folks to keep up with their favorite shows when they have a migraine or they’re driving or doing dishes, as a means to learn a language better, as a means to understand the emotional context of what’s going on maybe a little better. I mean, I’ve heard all sorts of ways that audio description is used and will hopefully continue to be used. But it’s never been thought of, or at least by me, as a charity. It’s not a charity. I hear you, like what you were saying about this is to help. You know, this is to serve. And that’s great. But can’t that be said about everything that we do for one another? And audio description is not…it’s not, you know, it’s not the Lord’s work, shall we say.
THOMAS: [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: It’s not a charity. And I agree with you 100%. The narrative definitely needs to shift. And I think through conversations like this, it will shift into audio description is an artform, a science. And I know I’m repeating myself, but it bears repeating. It is not a charity.
SCOTT N: Absolutely, Nef. Scott Nixon, if I could just add.
NEFERTITI: Please.
SCOTT N: With regards to allyship, explaining that to people and showing them that audio description is serious business. I was talking to someone a couple days ago, and I brought up audio description. They asked me what it was, so I gave them a brief description. And they just stood there and went, “Aw! That’s cute!” And I’m like, “No, it’s not cute. It’s vital. It’s important. It’s how I engage in fandom. It’s how I talk to my friends, you know, the way I talk to my friends and engage with my community, stuff like that. It’s not cute. It’s what we need.” And being able to explain that to people and show them that it is such a vital service, I think, is the really important thing that we need to keep pushing towards as time goes on. Michael Keaton’s Batmobile.
NEFERTITI: [laughs] Love it! Love it. My out is gonna have to be no car. No car. That’s my, ’cause I don’t drive, obviously. I know how to, believe it or not, but I don’t. So, yes, thank you, Scott. I think that’s absolutely essential. Yeah.
THOMAS: Yeah. I just wanted to mention, to Cheryl’s point that I think was really fantastic, like, we really do need to change the narrative. Like, if you look just within the community specifically, it’s us in the community who do a lot of harm sometimes in the way we talk about audio description. We do. I’m saying “we.” I don’t necessarily do that, but I’m just talking about in terms of the community. We do speak about it in a charitable sense because we show so much extra gratitude around it.
NEFERTITI: Uh-huh.
THOMAS: And I think you’re absolutely right, Cheryl. If we started to just refer to it as in a way that was like, acknowledge that foundation, right, so that history as well as the current, what’s happening right now. I’m trying to see a renaissance happening right now. You know what I’m saying? Like a blind renaissance within audio description of folks getting involved. But if we talked about that more and we expected it, I think that would make a really big difference. I don’t know what it is. You know, I’m thinking of maybe we should throw out this hashtag, but I really do think it’s like ADFUBU. I don’t kinda wanna bite FUBU because that was used, a whole clothing line and where that comes from. But it’s for us by us, right? And that’s sort of how we need to talk about this. I really do like that because yeah, that shows the support, that shows what we’re thinking about, that shows support within the community, which we don’t necessarily always see. I think that’s another piece of this whole conversation of where we go from here. Because the companies that we mentioned, well, there’s a bunch of other companies. What if-what if-the community actually got together and was like, “Hey, let’s write to these other companies and say, ‘Yeah, we want more blind narrators. We want more blind QC. We want that’.”
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: What would that do?
NEFERTITI: And not just the providers, but the folks who issue the contracts to these providers.
THOMAS: Yes!
NEFERTITI: The HBOs, the Amazons.
THOMAS: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: Netflix is at the forefront of all of this. But even Netflix continue to reinforce that they’re doing a great job. But even, again, even Netflix hires the less-than-stellar companies, less-than-stellar in the audio description that is produced, but also in hiring blind people as part of the workflow, even QC. And I am a big believer in quality control being done by blind people.
SCOTT N: Mm!
NEFERTITI: Big into that. QC folks or QA: quality control, quality assurance. This is the step of the process that comes in after a script is written and a blind person, in my perfect world of audio description structure, would come in and make absolutely sure that everything that’s written makes sense to them in addition to choosing the proper wordage and all that stuff. But QC, absolutely essential that it be done by a blind person or blind people, and a lot of these companies don’t even have that. It really has devolved. The more audio description has become part of the general, “Oh, there’s money to be made here.” It’s cheap and fast, or good but fast, so not cheap. You know, we all know that whole you have to pick two out of the three, right? You either want it cheap or fast or good. And no matter what combination you do of those three options, something’s gonna be left out. It’s inevitable. So, yeah, advocating to the big boys, the big guns that contract out to these companies, letting them know en masse we are out here, and we don’t like this. Or we love this, we want more of it, and we wanna be a part of it. I think that would be a huge sea change for this community and would bring about employment and involvement and all sorts of good things. Nefertiti…red Lamborghini.
THOMAS: [laughs]
SCOTT B: Oh, look at you.
NEFERTITI: Whoo!
SCOTT N: Mmhmm. Fancy! [laughs]
NEFERTITI: Yeah, baby! [laughs]
So, anybody is welcome to come up, and let us know where you are in this process of AD. If you’re a blind professional trying to get into this field or are already in it, be you blind or sighted, what your ideas are insofar as improving the AD workflow to be more inviting to blind professionals, allyship. We’ve touched base on narrative and sort of the change we wanna see in the community. ‘Cause I, man, Thomas, that is the dream, right? That we come together en masse…
THOMAS: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: …for something and develop communication strategies for letting our collective voice be heard and make a difference that way and make things better.
THOMAS: Absolutely. And we don’t really have roadblocks for that. There’s no real access issues that are keeping us from doing that. The only thing that’s keeping us from doing that is us.
NEFERTITI: That’s right.
SCOTT N: And also the thing is, yes, on our end, we have got the drive and the capability and the accessibility to be able to do that. But at the other side of things, you come up against these huge conglomerate companies that just don’t wanna listen or just wanna give you lip service. And in this case, I will call out a substandard system. The Paramount+ streaming service are absolutely 100% hopeless at dealing with any sort of request, concern, or complaint from a vision impaired audience member. I have sent them many emails over the past few months complaining about their service, everything from quality control to the standard of the app and so on and so forth. And all I get in return is these pro-forma emails, “We listen to your concerns,” yadda, yadda, yadda. And the most action I’ve ever had from them is them writing back to me and asking me to catalog the problems and send them to them, in other words, doing their job for them. So, I just went [chuckles] uh…no. And let’s see. Flintstones pedal car.
THOMAS: But you see, Scott, you did the thing that you can do. After you did that, it was out of your control, right?
SCOTT N: Yeah.
THOMAS: And so, we can’t control what the response is gonna be. But I can tell you that if there’s enough complaint, enough action there, it’ll move it. It will move it. So, if it was more than you writing to Paramount, if there’s a bunch of people who are doing that and/or making it public. Make it public. You know, @ them right there on Twitter or whatever the case may be. Folks doing that, yeah, they will change their tune. They will change their tune.
SCOTT N: Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I did, Thomas. Every time I come up against these roadblocks from Paramount+ or content isn’t passed through to the Australian audience and is readily available to a US or Canadian audience, I always make mention of it on their website and personally on my Twitter feed and with the simple, but I think quite effective hashtag, #ParamountDoesntCare. Because at the moment, they don’t care about their blind audience.
THOMAS: Well, no, they don’t care about you right now! I don’t mean that in a bad way. But it’s you, right? Not personally you. Meaning it’s just one person. And what I’m saying is that what you did is absolutely what you should be doing and what more of us should be doing. I’m just trying to say that that result should not stop anyone. And I’m not saying it’s stopping you because it’s not stopping you, right?
SCOTT N: Aw, no.
THOMAS: Right. It’s making you go harder. We need other people to do the same. And so, when we have the conversation about us taking action, yeah, the conversation is about us taking action specifically, not what the end result is going to be. We don’t know what the end result is gonna be, but we know that if we take a lot of action, right, isn’t that like sort of a, isn’t there some sort of Einstein theory about this, you know? Like the amount of pressure you put or whatever the hell it is, you know?
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
THOMAS: But y’all know what I’m talking about, right? So, if we continue to put pressure, or if we put pressure-I don’t wanna say continue-but if we, we, the community, lots of us put pressure, We’re gonna see a response. We’re gonna see a response that is in our benefit.
SCOTT B: They need those numbers, yeah.
THOMAS: I know that for a fact. I know that.
SCOTT B: They need it in big numbers, and that’s exactly right, though.
THOMAS: They need it [unclear]. Yes.
SCOTT B: They need it at a scale that’s going to matter to them, which means they get enough of those tweets-sorry, this is Scott B.-enough of those emails, and they will, their customer service people will start to notice it, and it will be taking up more of their time. That’ll get pushed up, and I think that we’ll see it may be incremental, and may take longer than we want it to, but it is. We see this in so many aspects of advocating for something, whether it’s related to blindness or not.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
SCOTT B: And it’s, it is true here, just as it is in many of those other things. Scott B. Big Wheel. I’m done.
THOMAS: Ha!
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
THOMAS: Big Wheel, yes! [laughs] Aw, man.
NEFERTITI: Yes. Now, I just check. Do we have anyone from the audience who wishes to speak?
THOMAS: I want a Big Wheel again.
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
SCOTT B: We did get a reply in the chat from Bruce Cameron, who says, “Good evening. First time listening in. I’m a sign language interpreter and always wanting to learn.” So, welcome, Bruce.
NEFERTITI: Welcome, Rebecca!
REBECCA: I am loving that you guys are talking all about quality control, because that is what I am trying to get into in this industry. And I am about to do my second training course with Colleen of Audio Description Training Retreats, and I just wanna say that it’s hard getting into this field! It’s been a challenge. And I wish that it was easier.
THOMAS: Rebecca, this is Thomas. Hello, first of all.
REBECCA: Hi.
THOMAS: Nice to meet you. What was your first course? You said this is your second. What was your first?
REBECCA: Yeah, my first course was with someone named Bonnie. Yeah.
THOMAS: Okay. Okay. And so, were these courses specific to quality control?
REBECCA: No.
THOMAS: Or were these general- Okay.
REBECCA: They’re audio description. I would love to take a quality control course for audio description.
THOMAS: Okay. So, you’re a consumer?
REBECCA: Yes. Trying to get into quality control.
THOMAS: Okay. So, you’re already quality controlling, I’m assuming.
REBECCA: Yeah.
THOMAS: Yes. Tell me about what you’re doing right now when you watch content with audio description. How do you sort of pick things out, identify issues, or whatever?
REBECCA: I really, I’m an author, so I’m used to critiquing written word. And I really listen to the script, and I also listen to the amount of audio description that is in a TV show or movie. I recently watched a show on Disney+. And it was one of those shows that has 12, like, they’re two episodes in one, so each was like 12 minutes. And the first 12-minute segment had two lines of audio description. Two. And I counted about 20 different spots there that could have had it that needed it.
THOMAS: Hmm. Okay. And so, you’re a author. You’re a writer.
REBECCA: Yeah.
THOMAS: You already are doing audio quality control on your own in a way, because that’s what you’re doing. ‘Cause you’re interested in it.
REBECCA: Yes! Yes.
THOMAS: But what do you think someone can teach you that you probably don’t know already?
REBECCA: Well, I recently took a quality control test.
THOMAS: Uh-huh.
REBECCA: And from one of the companies that you guys were talking about.
THOMAS: Okay.
REBECCA: And…I did not pass.
THOMAS: Okay. Do you recall the issues that were-
REBECCA: Yes. They said that I needed to be more detailed.
THOMAS: Okay. Okay.
REBECCA: And I went into this kinda knowing what I was doing, and I caught most of the mistakes. But I didn’t know to listen for some stuff because I wasn’t told. Like, I didn’t know that I need to really pay attention to the beginning credits. I didn’t know that the names in the beginning credits were said wrong. Because when I watch a film or a TV show….
THOMAS: You don’t pay attention to credits.
REBECCA: I did not know that I was supposed to be listening for the credits. Like, no one told me. And then when I did another, they sent me another test. But this one was, it was a movie trailer. And it was without the recorded, you know, without the narration. And they sent me the script, and they wanted me to just see what stood out to me. So, I gave them notes, and they never said anything about….
THOMAS: Okay. Okay.
REBECCA: They never said anything about it. And then they emailed me and said that I needed to be more detailed and that I needed more training. So, yeah.
THOMAS: Okay. Okay.
REBECCA: So, that’s…. Yeah. So, it was just really confusing because I wasn’t really told what I was, like, I mean, I knew what to do, but I didn’t in a way.
THOMAS: I got you. I totally understand. So, it sounds like what you’re looking for from the training is very, very specific to QC.
REBECCA: Yeah.
THOMAS: And so, yeah, and I don’t know if there are any QC trainings that exist, but-
REBECCA: There isn’t.
THOMAS: Okay. So, that’s why I’m, yeah. So, I would be sort of reluctant. And I’m not trying to dissuade you from taking any sort of training, but if your real goal is that. But what I would, I wanna go back to Nefertiti or anyone else who sort of. Scott, I know you do QC as well. What could you say about that?
SCOTT N: [sighs] It’s a very sticky wicket. Sorry, I’m going all Australian on you again. It’s a very difficult thing. Rebecca, I’m very sorry that the people giving you these scripts didn’t properly or correctly explain to you what they wanted or were expecting and then didn’t give you the feedback before failing you. really giving you the scope of what they wanted is a really sucky way to do things.
REBECCA: Yeah.
SCOTT N: Yeah. Because-
REBECCA: Yeah, they gave me notes on the first part. Sorry.
SCOTT B: Mm. No, go ahead.
REBECCA: I did get notes on the first part, the first part of the QC test, just not the second. And I’d never, up until I did this test, I’d never seen an audio description script.
SCOTT N: Right.
REBECCA: This was my first time ever seeing an audio description script! And then the template that they sent me to write my notes in wasn’t accessible. So-
SCOTT N: Ugh.
REBECCA: [chuckles] Yeah. So, it was in a table in Word, which is not accessible when you’re using a screen reader. You don’t know where you are on the page. [laughs]
SCOTT N: Yeah.
REBECCA: So, I had to get them, [laughs] so, I had to get them to send me it again in a different format that I could actually do.
SCOTT N: Mm. Yeah. You see, this is a thing. And this actually warrens us back just a little bit in the conversation to something Thomas was saying. And with all due respect to Thomas, one of the kings in the biz, not everyone is as computer literate or as fluent in certain programs like Word or Excel that as other folk.
REBECCA: Yeah.
SCOTT N: So, a little bit of extra training in those areas and being able to make the people applying for these training courses comfortable enough to be able to put their hand up and say, “Yo, I don’t exactly know 100% what I’m doing here. Can I get a little bit of extra support?”
REBECCA: Yeah!
SCOTT N: You know, making people comfortable to be able to come in at, for lack of a better term, Level 1 and giving them a base level, which is actually, “Okay. Do you know this? Do you know this? Do you know this? It’s okay if you don’t. We will show you. We will give you a little extra time. We can maybe set up a training module or something like that to give you that little bit of extra support to give you.” ‘Cause really, one of the biggest discouragement-and I personally, I don’t mean to steal your thunder here, Rebecca, at all-but one of the big things I have, one of my concerns coming into the audio description space is am I actually going to be able to do it and from a technical point of view? And it is a really big source of anxiety for me, and it sometimes makes me think maybe I shouldn’t, you know? But then I keep, just keep pushing myself. But yeah.
THOMAS: So, Scott-
NEFERTITI: This is Nefertiti. Oh. May I just quickly say? I think the two of you, Rebecca and Scott N., are talking about something very real in the blindness community in general.
REBECCA: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: As somebody who has quite an extensive background in assistive technology, teaching it to folks, I spent years teaching people who came from all walks of life, whether they be congenitally blind or went blind later in life. And the aptitude in technology varies so much that yeah, maybe a table in a Word document is something seemingly insurmountable for someone. And another person might come in and be like, “Oh no, this is a breeze. I got this.”
REBECCA: Yeah, yeah!
NEFERTITI: “This is no problem at all.” So, I happen to know-and I don’t think I’m at liberty to name names yet-but I know that there is a company who is diligent-blah, excuse me-diligently working on creating an area for QC for blind people, and training is definitely part of the getting ready for employment with this company. Because not only is it they’re gonna send you scripts in Word and Excel, and you need to know those, but you also need to know the platforms you’ll be using for, say, QC for Netflix. It’s different from Amazon. It’s different from Disney.
REBECCA: Yeah!
NEFERTITI: So, all of these things require some type of training, not necessarily hand-holding. So, I do wanna make that clear to people. You do need to come into this with some basic knowledge of your screen reading technology, of your magnification software. Whatever your access technology needs are, you do need to have that base. So, if that’s something you’re a little wobbly on, work on it because it’s only going to benefit you.
REBECCA: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: These companies are there to train you on audio description and QC, narration, whatever it is. They’re not necessarily there to teach you your technology. That is up to you. That is up to you.
SCOTT N: Mm.
THOMAS: Nef, that was exactly what I wanted to point out. And so, to get back, and again, I’m just using your case, Rebecca, to help others.
REBECCA: Yes.
THOMAS: But at some point we need to sort of reflect and say, okay, what is the training that I can do right now that is going to help me in the long run, right? And so, if your intention is to do QC, okay. Then, now maybe, maybe-and I’m not saying this directly at you-but maybe it is, “Okay, let me get more familiar with Word. Let me get more familiar with my screen. Let me get more familiar with the tools that I’m going to need to be really comfortable in order to do whatever it is in the thing.” Because when I’m approached by folks who wanna know, in terms of doing narration, I tell them this exact same thing, like, “Look. You’re going to get, you might get things in Excel.”
REBECCA: Yes!
THOMAS: “So, you should be very comfortable in Excel. And if you’re not comfortable in Excel, well, then you should be comfortable in taking, in exporting from Excel to a format that you’re comfortable with.”
REBECCA: Right.
THOMAS: Because every time that we ask for-not that it’s wrong-but every time that we ask for some accommodation, even if the accommodation is not a burden, we know that that is looked upon as a possible nother reason to not utilize us.
NEFERTITI: That’s right.
REBECCA: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: And we do not want to give these folks any more ammunition!
REBECCA: No!
SCOTT B: Right.
REBECCA: No.
SCOTT B: Scott B. real quick. So, I, like Nefertiti, I used to be an access technology specialist trainer. And I equate this to I used to teach a bunch of people going into training at Social Security and IRS here in the States, two federal government agencies, right? They had very in-depth training programs that taught people about how to be customer service reps or claims reps or whatever the jobs were. That stuff was part of the job, but people had to come in with a certain amount of aptitude in the basic office applications that they were using. But the challenge with audio description right now is we don’t have that yet, but it is coming, where there will be more sound and built out training programs that people can take part in.
REBECCA: Yeah.
SCOTT B: And the good news, too, is that there are resources if you need support on, if anybody needs support on, let’s say, just operating in Windows or the Mac or using office productivity tools. There are a lot of resources out there, both online, in your local area, and even textbooks and things like that, that can help give you that stronger baseline for entering into this or any other industry, really.
REBECCA: Yeah.
SCOTT B: I’m done speaking.
THOMAS: I think this is a great place to end because it puts the power back in our side of the court, right?
SCOTT N: Mm.
THOMAS: We do have power, but we have to make sure that when we, you know, when we walk into this building, that we’re ready, that we’re equipped.
NEFERTITI: That’s right.
THOMAS: So, do what you can right now. Don’t necessarily run out there and sign up for this and for that. Think about all the things that you can do. I always tell folks, “Hey, you can start doing audio description right now.” You can take an existing film or a show, whatever it is that you like and note the audio description. This is for folks who wanna do narration. And then go record it on your own, right? Just record those same lines. It doesn’t even matter what you record. It really doesn’t. Are you comfortable recording? Are you comfortable speaking those lines? How do you think it sounds when you compare it to what the other person did, right? How did that feel to record it? You can do all of this stuff. You can get yourself prepared. Because the worst thing to happen is when you get the opportunity and you’re not really prepared for it.
NEFERTITI: That’s right.
THOMAS: That sucks. That sucks. It’s a awful feeling. So, do all of those things, you know? Do all of those things, and then you go for it. Then you go for it.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely. I wanna tell folks that Thomas has been my mentor in all of this. This is Nefertiti speaking. And he gave me that same advice when I was exploring, is this something that I want to dedicate myself to? Do I have the skill set necessary? And one of the things he told me was to get very comfortable with, my DAWs, the digital audio workstation, which for me as somebody who is not technical at all, if it were up to me, I’d do the writing, the QCing, I’d be the voice, and that would be that. But as a voice actor now with a little home studio and the like, it’s so much more than that, you know. It’s learning that digital audio workstation so that I can record myself, so that I can make myself sound good enough for auditions or a studio quality recording that I’m sending in for these narrations, right? Same for QC, as an example of what we were talking about, you have to make sure that not only do you know the mechanics of writing and the like, but also that you know audio description. But that you literally know your screen reader well enough or your technology well enough to get in there and be able to edit those scripts, make notations, etc.
So, there is definitely some preparation that goes into this beyond just sort of honing up on the skills of what you ultimately want to do. There is some prep work that needs to go into it, and I agree with Thomas 100%. When you get that audition, when you get that role or that opportunity to QC or to write a script, you gotta be ready. ‘Cause like it or not, we all represent one another, and again, we don’t need to give these folks any more ammunition. They try it with one of us and we flub it, like it or not, they’ll think that we will all flub it. So, if that’s a little pressure on folks, I’m sorry. That’s just the reality of things. I think we all walking in this space of disability know that we are out there being ambassadors, like it or not, advocates, like it or not. And so, yeah, my advice, and I guess in closing for me-everybody will have a chance to close out too if you’d like-is get ready so, you know…. I guess stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready kinda thing, right?
THOMAS: Yeah, yeah.
NEFERTITI: Hone your skills and make sure you’re on top of your game, and then go for it. Rolls Royce. [laughs]
THOMAS: [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: I’m a bougie.
THOMAS: Apparently!
SCOTT N and NEFERTITI: [laugh]
NEFERTITI: I said I’m a bougie bitch, okay? Okay. [laughs] Anyone else have anything to say before I say our little closing?
SCOTT N: I just thought with all the Spaces we do within the community just at the very end as we’re all signing off and so forth, we all just mention one audio described title that we have watched this week or are planning to watch this week just as a way of promoting the business and just showing that we’re all engaged in the community. So, just before I throw mine in there, I just wanna thank Thomas and Nef there for the advice about building up the skill sets and getting the fundamentals down before you go headlong into it. It has given me a fair bit to think about, and it’s something that I am going to have to go and assess and make sure that I do have everything sorted out before I take my next step. And that’s on me. That’s something that I have to do. But I really wanna thank both of you for reminding me of that. And just a big thanks for Rebecca for putting her hand up. She was absolutely . And thanks to everyone for coming today. I am off to watch the second half of this season of Cobra Kai on Netflix.
NEFERTITI: Whoo!
SCOTT N: So, that’s me, guys. And let’s send off [trills lips like a big raspberry].
SCOTT B: [laughs]
NEFERTITI: With a sound effect and everything! Thank you, Scott N. Thank you so much. I love this prompt. Anybody wanna say something they’re watching with audio description or maybe working on if they’re willing to say.
SCOTT B: If you’re allowed. [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: Yeah, we know there’s a lot of NDAs and such.
THOMAS: [chuckles] Yeah, definitely not saying what I’m working on. I’m actually not even watching anything this week, but I do wanna shout out, Year of the Tiger by Alice Wong.
NEFERTITI: Whoo!!!
THOMAS: Y’all need to get that.
SCOTT B: Mmhmm.
THOMAS: Go ahead and get that book. Yeah, I’m reading that on Audible right now. Although-
SCOTT B: Is she reading it, Thomas?
NEFERTITI: Is she reading it? Yeah.
THOMAS: No, no, no.
SCOTT B: Okay. I wasn’t sure.
THOMAS: Oh, I did start watching, it’s a old thing. I’m actually going back to like, I’m looking for series that I can get into. So, I’m watching Silicon Valley on HBO Max, I think it is.
SCOTT B: Yes.
THOMAS: That series. And I missed it when it first came out ’cause it was not described. So, it’s like, oh, I’m gonna go back and catch all of these things that I missed back maybe ten years ago now [laughs] that they came out.
SCOTT B: Right.
THOMAS: So, I’m watching that. It’s kinda funny.
NEFERTITI: Funny you should say that, Thomas, because Scott and I are currently working on something which was not described when it was first released back when was it, Scott, 2010?
SCOTT B: Yeah, that’s when it started.
NEFERTITI: Yeah. It’s a show called Tremé.
THOMAS: Oh! On HBO!
SCOTT B: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: On HBO with one of our favorite writers.
THOMAS: Oh, excellent, ’cause I wanted to watch that. Oh, I can’t wait.
NEFERTITI: He wrote The Wire, one of my all-time favorite shows.
THOMAS: Yes! Yes!
NEFERTITI: What is it, David Simon?
SCOTT B: Yeah, that’s the one.
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm.
SCOTT B: It’s got, you’ll recognize some of the voices. You’ve got, like Clark Peters, who was in The Wire, a couple of other people. Yeah, and it’s about New Orleans, post-Katrina.
THOMAS: Yes.
SCOTT B: All of the music and the beauty and the sadness and the rebuilding. And it is a beautiful show. We’re only through the first season. But I also have to give a shoutout to the description, though we can’t say who it is because we don’t know. There is no attribution on HBO, which was a little bit of a surprise. Most of the HBO content I’ve encountered there is, there has been attribution, but not this one. The narration is fabulous. And the script is really a top-notch script.
THOMAS: Really? And there’s no attribution? Huh.
SCOTT B: None. None at all.
NEFERTITI: No.
SCOTT B: I know. You would expect [laughs] something else.
NEFERTITI: We think, you know? But we don’t wanna say incorrectly.
THOMAS: Okay. Do you know who the narrator is?
NEFERTITI: No. No.
SCOTT B: No. We haven’t determined that either.
NEFERTITI: We think that we know the company. We’re not sure.
THOMAS: POC? POC?
SCOTT B: I don’t think so.
THOMAS: Agh! All right. Got a problem! [laughs] Okay. Go ahead.
NEFERTITI: No, no.
SCOTT B: Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s a problem on this one. I mean, New Orleans is a diverse city, so you’ve got folks all over the place there. But yeah, the cast-
THOMAS: The cast, yeah.
SCOTT B: -being predominantly people of color.
THOMAS: Yeah.
SCOTT B: I don’t, you know, we could be wrong. That’s the other thing, too, is there’s really no way of knowing. First impressions? I don’t think that the narrator is a person of color. But again, how could we know?
THOMAS: Okay. Right, right, right, right, right.
SCOTT B: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: Yeah.
THOMAS: Interesting. Well, I’m glad to hear that it’s being described, so.
NEFERTITI: Yes. And well, which is of the utmost importance. Cheryl, anything to share?
CHERYL: Well, sure. Nefertiti, you and Thomas and I have been working on audio description in various roles for three films for Superfest International Disabilities Film Festival.
THOMAS and NEFERTITI: Whoo!
CHERYL: So, we have been working on three titles for that. Tickets went on sale today. They are sliding scale all the way down to zero for anybody who wants to attend but doesn’t have the funds. But they are a non-profit, so if you’ve got the funds, please pay for a ticket if you want to. SuperfestFilm.com. All of the films have captions and audio description, and we are super excited about the three that we worked on.
THOMAS: If you’re not going to Superfest, you need to do something about your life. Okay?
CHERYL: Thank you. [laughs]
SCOTT N: [laughs]
THOMAS: If you’re not going to Superfest, check your life. I’m just sayin’.
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
SCOTT N: [chuckles]
NEFERTITI: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
CHERYL: Because it’s in-person and online. [laughs]
THOMAS: And online. You have no excuse except check your life.
NEFERTITI: That’s right. SuperfestFilm.com. And that was done through the Social Audio Description Collective that we three are a part of!
CHERYL: [imitates tiny air horn]
NEFERTITI: [imitates air horn] Shameless, not so shameless plug.
CHERYL: [imitates more enthusiastic air horn]
NEFERTITI: [laughs] Well, listen, everyone who has listened and who will catch this on the replay, thank you so, so much for joining in the conversation even if that’s just through listening. Please spread the word that we’re here. Remember, we are considering doing a cross-platform type of situation. So, the next time we get together, it might be on some other platform that isn’t Twitter. So, stay tuned for that. We also want to again remind you audio description was made by blind people for blind people. Let’s make room for blind people in all aspects of audio description. And yeah, stay tuned for the next time, likely in two weeks with your three co-hosts and hopefully the two moderators, Scott B. and Scott N. from the Audio Description Twitter Community. And about the Audio Description Twitter Community, if you haven’t joined us, what are you waiting for? Communities. Communities. Audio Description. We are there, and we’d love to have you join us if you haven’t already.
THOMAS: Right. Get your life in order. [cracking up] Join the Audio Description Community.
NEFERTITI: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah. [laughs] Love it. All righty, everybody. Thank you so much.
THOMAS: All right, y’all. Thank you.
NEFERTITI: We’ll talk again soon.
SCOTT N: [imitates the cartoon Bugs Bunny] B-deep, b-deep, b-deep. That’s all, folks!
NEFERTITI: Hang on. Hang on. I’m so sorry. One last thing. I do wanna let folks know tonight, because of the interest, we did focus on blind people being professionals in audio description, and we talked about the workflow and all of that. But we had two other conversation topics, and we want to assure you that we will cover everything that we put out there to folks. It’s just a matter of priorities and what’s most important to the community. But next time we might talk about training opportunities or self-description or something else entirely. So, stay tuned to the community and to our individual Twitter handles, and we will continue to engage with you all. #ADFUBU, I love that. And now I am done. Uh…I don’t know…uh. Mercedes Benz.
THOMAS: Nef, Audi 20,000.
NEFERTITI: Audio 2,000.
THOMAS: 20,000! We got up to 20,000.
NEFERTITI: 20,000!
THOMAS: Come on. [laughs]
SCOTT B: [singing] Bugatti. Bugatti.
NEFERTITI: I’m not fast at this. Sorry!
THOMAS: Oh, Bugatti.
THOMAS and SCOTT B: [laugh]
THOMAS: All right, y’all.
NEFERTITI: All right, you guys. Have a great weekend, everybody. Till next time.
SCOTT B: Take care, y’all.
SCOTT N: Hasta la vista.
NEFERTITI: Bye-bye.

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.
Music fades out!

Hide the transcript

Flipping the Script on Audio Description – And the Winner Is…

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

There’s a lot of conversation taking place about Audio Description. While Flipping the Script is less about the mainstream AD talk, I wanted to bring some perspective to this discussion.

I invited Roy Samuelson to share some of what he has been involved in as a means of creating awareness and advancing Audio Description. We’re both pretty passionate about this subject and while we may disagree on what will be effective, it’s clear our goals align.

Our conversation actually went beyond what we both intended. This version however, is mainly focusing on some news concerning Audio Description awards outside of the blindness organizations, some interesting news regarding The EMMY’s and implications for Blind Narrators and there may even be a special appearance from a Jeanie!

For a less abbreviated version check out The Audio Description Network Alliance or ADNA.org

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Transcript

Show the transcript

– “Recording in progress!” Zoom synthesized voice announcement

— Hip Hop Beat begins…

TR:

Greetings beautiful people!
Welcome back to another episode of the podcast bringing you compelling people impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability.

My name is Thomas Reid and I appreciate you hanging out with me.

Today, as part of the Flipping the Script on Audio Description series, I want to pause for a moment…

— Pause in the music

and discuss some things happening today to advance Audio Description in the mainstream.

For this, I reached out to Roy Samuelson.

Roy:

Hey, I think I’m here.

TR:

Come on Roy, you know I have to kick off the theme music first!

Roy:

Oh, so excited.

— Reid My Mind Radio Intro

TR:

If you watch movies with AD or you’re following the Audio Description space, chances are you know Roy. He’s a Voice Talent & Audio Description Narrator and Advocate.

We’re doing a sort of joint podcast effort here.

Roy:

Being a part of Reid My Mind Radio has been an honor from the first time that I learned about you and was a part of your conversation and in following all of the amazing podcast episodes that you released over the many years that you’ve been doing this. This is really great, I’m so glad that we’re doing this.

TR:

In addition to interviews with some of your favorite people in Audio Description, You can check out the full version of our conversation over at The Audio Description Network Alliance or ADNA.org.

Roy:

Putting a showcase on the voice, not only to celebrate those specific voice, talents, efforts, but also to give a language to people to be able to talk about audio description, quality and excellence, and give them something to anchor in on and starting with voice talents seemed like a great place to start strategically and see how that goes.

And as it grew into including writers, which it now does, as well as the engineers in the quality control specialists, it’s the audio description network Alliance. And so it’it’s become a lot more inclusive, specifically about film and TV at this point.

— Music begins – an upbeat, high energy Hip Hop beat
TR:

When it comes to Audio Description and this podcast, I want to showcase some of the interesting people and things taking place. I want to ask questions, but let me be clear,
I don’t propose to have the answers, nah, but I do have a perspective that I’d like to share. That’s as a consumer and advocate.

Advocacy, we know, takes many forms, like legislative work as in the CVAA or 21st Century Telecommunications Accessibility Act.

Roy:

I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I do feel that that mandate is an absolute necessity that having the FCC demand so many hours of broadcast television to include audio description has been so influential in where we are today. And it’s a necessity to continue being there.

TR:

Every time you inform a broadcaster, streaming provider or AD creator about your experience, you’re advocating and it makes a difference.

Remember, there’s never just one way to advocate.

Roy shares some information about some of what’s been taking place in his wheelhouse.

Roy:

SOVAS , is a society of voice arts and sciences. And they have
basically a awards for voice talents. It has nothing to do with audio description historically, but I was nominated for a SOVASS award for narration category. So it wasn’t audio description, narration, but it was an audio description narration that I was nominated for.

And over the past few years, I’ve been working with SOVASS , and specifically, this year 2021, I’ve been talking with the heads of SOVASS and sharing some of my experiences as a sighted person and what that means and to make sure that blind people are judges for audio description, when the audio description awards were a part of their categories for awards.

It’s just been amazing to see that connection, which is completely outside of the blind organizations, is now recognizing voice talents in this work. And I think that in a good way, it’s going to start bringing more quality.

TR in Conversation with Roy:
So let me just say that I’m not a big fan of awards, award shows in general.

Now, I admit it’s a great business. Move to gather the top celebrities and harness all of that attention. And brand yourself as the gatekeeper. That’s a great business move.

When I think of audio description, one of the first things that I usually apply to everything AD is, how does it impact the experience for blind people?

I realized that it could be direct at times, a one for one exchange, this happens, and then this happens. But sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes it’s not necessarily obvious. So how does this help blind people?

Roy:

I think when it comes to celebrating the work of audio description, particularly in the SOVASS, they have found a way too, to share the performance in a way that celebrates it. And it is creating a competition in the sense of the people that are voting for the audio description, narrators are going to choose the best if there’s going to be a handful of submissions. Or if there’s going to be hundreds of submissions, they’re going to have to narrow it down and to narrow it down, they’re going to have to choose the best. And by celebrating which are the best that that’s going to impact our audiences.

This will lead to more quality, because people are going to want to have good voice talents to be able to be a part of this award ceremony, which will lead to better audio description. It’s almost a cart before the horse sort of situation.

TR in Conversation with Roy:
What I’m hearing, though, is that it’s still so dependent on for example, who’s judging? That’s a really big question in my mind, because I think the only people who should be judging audio description are the consumers really, I mean, are we the judges?

what is being judged, is it just that performance? We know that a big part of audio description also is The writing.

If we’re looking at just voice talent, well, it’s probably just going to be all the stuff that makes a good voice artist.

Roy:

The conversations that I’ve had with the leadership of SOVASS is that you can’t do this award without having blind judges, I’m assuming that the people who were invited who are blind have responded.
It is my understanding that that was specifically a part of this arrangement. That’s something that we made explicitly clear,
it’s like, because this whole Nothing about us, without us this entire audio description was created by blind people, for blind people, blind people need to be judging it that is absolutely essential.

In the same way that the ADNA started with voice talents, just to help people wrap their head around it, my understanding is that there’s going to be opportunities in the future for awards for writing, or for engineering that we can start to separate this.

When it comes to the attention being placed on the narrator. Yeah, there are narration skills that go into it. But I agree with you, it’s the writing that makes a ton of difference. And the example I like to use is let’s say, a Shakespeare play and you go through the first act, and it’s the intermission, and you’re just moved to tears by the performances that had happened in it, there’s something that really connected viscerally with the engagement of the different characters and how they were interacting with each other. And whatever thing that that story was, was telling you could be just moved to tears and almost be stuck. The same thing can happen at the end of the first act where you’re in tears, because you just want to get out of the theater. It’s the worst performance you’ve ever seen. You’re trying to figure out how to get out of seeing the second act, because it sucks so much. In both examples, the writing was equal. But there was something that happened. And it was most likely the performance.

It could have been the audio glitches that may have been happening if it for example, was in a big auditorium that had the microphones cutting out It could have been all sorts of other things that got in the way of the performance, but the writing was the same.

Audio description has so many different roles that the weakest link can make the whole audio description suck. That’s where everything has to be lifted up. And again, it is for the audience’s experience that by celebrating each of these different roles, we can celebrate audio description, excellence and quality.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

I’m also concerned with the idea that when a lot of attention is placed on to who the narrator is, does that end up becoming something where again, we’re focusing on the narrator. And then we start to bring in, like, for example, celebrities to narrate. And I’ve heard that idea, floating around as though it would be of benefit. again, just taking all of that attention away from the consumer. I’m always thinking that the consumer, Blind folks should be centered in audio description. So anything that moves away from that, yeah, my Spidey senses are going up.

Roy:

I have to use my experience as a voice talent that
, celebrities never used to do commercials. Now that’s very common. Celebrities didn’t used to do animated features. And, you know, we look at Toy Story, which is now what 20 years old and there’s still a voice talents that are still voicing of animation that by having a celebrity involved in this work…

— DJ Scratch leads into “So What the Fuss” Stevie Wonder with AD Narration by Busta Rhymes

Roy:

I mean, as early as Busta Rhymes back in, what, 1520 years ago for the Stevie Wonder video with the fuss and that was the that was exquisite. The first time I heard that I’m like, Oh, this is so good. I can’t help but smile and nod my head. It’s so beautiful. It’s like, there was something that Busta Rhymes the celebrity brought to that, that brought that piece alive. Not every celebrity can do this. And if there are celebrities that do it, I would hope that the focus still remains on the audio description. But you’re right, there’s no way to control that. I don’t know how to address that.

But I do see that the possibility of that kind of exposure can only grow the quality of this.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

No shots to Busta.

— Sample: “Aight, here’s how it going down.” Busta Rhymes from So What the Fuss
— Music begins a countdown like intro to a driving slow ominous Hip Hop beat

TR in Conversation with Roy:

I think the celebrity might make a difference in terms of marketing, audio description. And again, that leads me to the place where it kind of who is this for? Hmm, this is for the blind community. This is not for others, to just come in and check out all Busta Rhymes is doing this. Oh, whoever is doing this? This is cool. Let me check this out.

That’s fine if it happens, but that’s not what audio description is for.

Roy:

What is the cost to the wide audience in the context that you’re talking about? Or maybe it’s the blind talent? I’m not sure.

TR in Conversation with Roy:
Well, there’s both right. So there is the blind talent, because we’re already competing with non-celebrity talent. That’s fine. But there’s also like I said, just the quality, I’m not sure if the quality is naturally going to go up , right? Because folks can make that determination. That’s what happens with celebrity you let folks in there just to draw the name.

Roy:
Hmm.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

And it doesn’t make a difference. It may not make a difference. In some cases,

How often do celebrities want to get attached to something that just feels good, and then use it in their promo of themselves? It just gives me a really bad taste. And I don’t want to see audio description suffer because of that.

Audio description needs to stay about blind people now. You can create something else, right? So for example, when we talk about there are ways that other folks are using audio description, whether they be truck drivers, whether they be kids with autism, for example, and there may be some modifications that are needed. Absolutely. There should be that. But I don’t think it needs to come at the expense of blind people. So there’s room for all of this.

Sometimes I feel like there’s these fake choices that we’re given; Do you want more? If you do, then you’ll take this.

Why do we have to have that choice? That’s not the choice.

— Transitional sound

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That’s R, to the E I D
— Sample: “D! And that’s me in the place to be” Slick Rick

Like my last name

— Transition sound returns to the episode

TR in Conversation with Roy:

We want to see audio description expand. We both agree that we want to see more, and we want to see better quality. Like we’re in total agreement around that. And I think these questions and all of these things as to how do we get there, you know, are great, that they’re absolutely great. Yes. Because we have the same goal, you know, but I just think that we need to kind of think through these things. And even when we try, whatever we try, always come back to the idea of asking that question. Does this center Blind people? are we adding value for our audience? And if we’re not scrap it,

And, what about the Emmys? (Laughs)

Roy:
What about the EMMY’s Thomas? This is great.

(Thomas and Roy’s laughs fade out)

I’ve been a part of the television Academy for maybe 10 or so years. So relatively new and part of my contribution has been as performers, peer group, executive committee member, it’s basically a fancy term for all the different peer groups that represent different roles of television.

So letting them know about audio description, and how that has such an impact on television and how it can have an even greater impact.

And so those conversations have really evolved from the first time that I was approached by my mentor and saying, hey, you should really reach out here and being able to do it in a way that went from almost a dismissive Well,

you know, there’s really nothing that we can do about this, but Roy has a real passion for it. So, you know, keep in mind that whatever Roy talks about, it’s it, it’s probably not gonna happen, take it away Roy, to most recently. This is such a valuable performance, and it’s a skill and it’s an access that brings so much to so many people beyond blind and sighted people. Let’s hear about audio description. And that was the introduction, it was basically 180 degree turnaround time, simply because the culture has changed, as well as the awareness of what audio description is, and through some real advocacy within the television Academy.

The television Academy now recognizes audio description narrators as qualifying television credits to become full-fledged members to be able to vote for the Primetime Emmy Awards. And I think the implications of that are, are few First of all, again, representation, making sure that people understand about audio description, but also, as many blind people work in audio description as voice talents, this is yet another way for them to be included in this television Academy, whereas normally the opportunities might not be there as much. So that feels really huge.

TR:

Whether we’re talking about the SOVASS, the Emmys, in each case it seems to come back to increasing the awareness of Audio Description.

Roy:

Is there an audio description effect that you and I could both agree on when it comes to making sure the value is what it is. In the approach that I’m exploring, the strategy of awareness is an essential part because right now things have been so hidden, that people aren’t even aware of it. And I think as awareness grows, that that can create that very healthy competition of how great the audio description can be.

TR in Conversation with Roy:
Yeah, so I think you’re right with the awareness. But when I look at awareness, I’m looking at awareness from the perspective of blind people, because I know a lot of blind folks who do not know about audio description. I know a lot of blind folks who think that audio description and television and movies are not for them because that’s the way it’s been all their lives. And then so steadily, and hopefully they’re starting to learn More about that. I think that audio description for students and looking at the results of how their learning and their sort of their involvement in the quote unquote mainstream, and their ability to relate to their peers, and those relationships that that happen.

I want to measure it by the relationships that employers and employees begin to have, because there’s more of that conversation. And then blind people are making more advancements, because we know that when you’re in a corporate environment, for example, you learn about new things, because you’re just friendlier with people, you start to trust someone else, and you just like to be around that person. You feel comfortable with that person. And so much of that happens from conversations about Game of Thrones, right? On Monday morning after Sunday.

I want to see blind people who are working as movie critics. Where it’s not just about the audio description, they’re really analyzing this stuff.

Blind people who are doing the work of audio description, blind people who are commissioning others to do that work.

Again, I’m centering Blind people in this.

I still consider myself relatively new to disability. But as far as I know, I have never heard of wheelchair users promoting wheelchairs in malls, because folks can just go ahead and walk there, you know, you get tired, so why not take a load off, just so we can increase the amount of wheelchairs, we can get better wheelchairs because more are using it.

I don’t think when captioning came out, and all the advocacy that they put into it, I don’t think they were talking about the curb cut effect before it happened. It just happened. I’m learning to trust the process, and we see it all the time, it will happen, right? We already know that. Yes, truck drivers are using it. And folks will find a purpose for it. But let it be that it doesn’t have to take away from our community, and it will happen. But let’s just build it up based on our needs. And then when we find something that will Oh, this would work for someone else. Absolutely cool. Bring it in, go do it. Go create it. Because we need to bring everybody in not just some people, we need to bring everybody in.

The technology that is available, and that is growing means we have more options, not less. So let’s not take away. Don’t try to take away my options. Nah, don’t do that! We just need to be included.

Roy:

And with that inclusion, is there a place at the table for blind people to be able to influence those decision makers.

When it comes to that, the impact of inclusion of society that is there not a case to be made, that the existing leaders when it comes specifically to television are a part of the television Academy that access to those decision makers right now specifically blind people to be included in that seems worthwhile.

Forget the awards.

TR in Conversation with Roy:
Okay, I like your kung fu there. (Laughs… fade out)

Yes, we need influence. And I get that. So if a way to get that influence is to be in the room. And if a way to get in the room is through being a part of an award show.

Roy:
I can hear your voice. I can hear the way you said awards talk about intention. You go on. That was great.

(Thomas & Roy Laugh)

TR in Conversation with Roy:

I mean, that part of it absolutely makes sense.

Advocacy takes place in the room. Advocacy takes place on the streets.

Roy:
Hm.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

So there’s room for all of that. And if we’re working together in the suites and the streets (laughs…) if we’re working together, and we’re coordinated and we’re all sort of, again, centering blind people.

That could be really powerful.

— Music begins, a somber piano ballad

Roy:
Thomas, if we could go back to what you said earlier about generosity in the context that you were speaking of generosity was a negative connotation in my mind, in the sense that it’s almost a condescending talking down. It’s it. generosity, and you’re caught in the context of what we were speaking about. It’s an it’s not good. It just it smells bad. I’m not sure how else to put it. What’s the opposite of that? What’s the opposite of that? Negative generosity, that almost looking down and I’m going to be generous to blind people. What’s the opposite of that? I’ve got my own opinion. I’m just curious.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

Yeah. I mean, the first word that comes to my mind when you were saying that is disrespect.

I think about it in the real world, in real life. Think about it when walking into a store. And, or wherever, and just the difference in treatment, what you know, being in a restaurant, and someone asking the person that a blind person is with if they’re sighted, what does he or she want.

As though I can’t communicate to them.

For me, it always comes back to respect because if someone is not looking at me as an equal, wherever we are, then that problem is not necessarily with me. But I do feel it. Because I’m not getting the service, whatever that may be. I’m not getting that equitable treatment. Right. It’s just not happening because of the way they view me. And it’s that that perspective that they have around blindness around disability. That is what I think the awareness that I hope I do. That if I wanted to reach out to folks to non-disabled people, it’s really in hopes that that is the message that they get that and in fact, I mean, that happens with blind people, too. It’s ableism. It’s ableism. It’s, it’s looking at disability in a certain way, as if it is less than as it’s not normal. And it is normal. It’s absolutely normal. And there’s so much that we’re missing out. Because we don’t respect and appreciate the contributions of disabled folks. And specifically, we’re talking about blind and low vision. And so, you know, if we really want to do something about it, hopefully that’s what we’re doing.

Again, that concern comes to me when we say if others become aware of audio description, for example. It’s not really helpful if they’re just looking at it. Oh, isn’t that nice? That’s great. Oh, that’s great. That’s wonderful that they do that for the blind people. That doesn’t help. It doesn’t help at all.

Roy:

Yeah. Yeah. Neck Hmm, makes it worse. Because that respect is disrespect. I get it. Yeah, that’s really, really clear.

— Music ends to brief silence

— “I Dream of Jeanie” Intro Song

TR in Conversation with Roy:

Laughing…

I’m gonna give you a genie!

Roy:

Oh boy, oh boy!

TR in Conversation with Roy:

with one Audio description wish, something that can change something about AD whatever it is good, bad, whatever? What’s your What are you going to ask of that Genie

— Music begins, an uplifting, happy Hip Hop beat.
Roy:
Parity to sighted audiences that when it comes to audio description, the experience of a blind or low vision person is as equal to a sighted person as possible, that they’re laughing at the same time that they’re able to turn it on as easily, as a sighted person, that they’re able to watch it at the same time that it’s released as a sighted person, that they’re able to go from cinema to streaming in the same way that a sighted person does, that they’re able to get the quality and excellence of the performances of the writing of the mix of the quality control that sighted people get with their track. That parody, in the sense of as equal as possible, is a part of audio description that is done. And by the way, by blind experts being paid for their value and their service. That those two things are, in are, those two things are so linked in my head that you can’t have one without the other. You can’t have the other without the one that there is no way that audio description, quality and excellence to be in parody decided audiences can happen without blind professionals being paid for their value. Those.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

Yeah. And you see, what’s cool about that is that I could wish for what I just said about respect. And I think we end up in the same place, because I think if you got your wish, I feel like my wish was granted.

Roy:

Because I don’t think that could happen without respect.

Well, and again, look how that would filter outside of audio description. Because that’s what audio description does, right? It’s not just about the film in the movie, it always applies to something bigger.

Roy:

Yeah. And that’s the model that’s like this little microcosm of audio description and how that can have a ripple effect.

TR in Conversation with Roy:

Yeah, yeah. And it does. Like, we can look at audio description and touch on. Lots of things. Look at how race, gender, all of this stuff about identity come into play.

Roy:

Is it time to as your podcast limited series is called flip the script? Can I flip the script and ask you the same Genie question

TR in Conversation with Roy:

I would really ask the genie to, to solve this problem, this issue that happens also often. And it’s just like, I just want to be rid of it that when my family and I decide just at the spur of the moment, to sit down and watch a movie, that we don’t have to go through about a half an hour because there’s no audio description. It doesn’t fail, it does not fail. And the, the feeling that I get is the same even though I play it cool. You know, and so I’ll just go ahead and watch it. I do it all the time. And they tell me No. And now the girls are older. And so they’re more bold with the way they tell me No. (Laughs…)

I can’t do anything about it anymore. But it still feels the same. And it’s not just me because they get frustrated.

I want the genie to resolve that for us.

— Audience Applause… “America, here is your winner…

TR:

So when it comes down to it…

I’m not just talking about the Reid family or even the Reid My Mind Radio family

— Crowd applause continues “Good luck both of you” America has voted… crowd applause continues in anticipation.

TR:

I don’t know what’s going to happen y’all, but it just has to be us!

– Reid My Mind Radio Outro

Peace!
— Applause fades out.

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