Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Blind Centered Audio Description Chat: – Becoming Critical Part Two

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

In this part two episode we present the second half of a two part conversation from April 5, 2023.
We speak with John Stark, a Blind film critic who reviews films both with and without AD, in order to highlight the need for audio description.
And now, let’s jump into this latest Blind Centered Audio Description Chat!

Join Us Live

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

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


Transcript – Created By Cheryl Green

Show the transcript

Music begins
THOMAS: Welcome to the Blind-Centered Audio Description Chats. These are the edited recordings of the Blind-Centered Audio Description Live Chats!
CHERYL: The live is the most fun part! We get together, we start with a question, and then we invite up anybody from the audience who wants to come and chat with us, agree, disagree, shed light on something that we hadn’t thought about before, which is Nefertiti’s favorite. [electric whoosh]
NEFERTITI: I’m Nefertiti Matos Olivares, and I’m a bilingual professional voiceover artist who specializes in audio description narration! I’m also a fervent cultural access advocate and a community organizer.
CHERYL: I’m Cheryl Green, an access artist, audio describer and captioner.
THOMAS: And I’m Thomas Reid, host and producer Reid My Mind Radio, voice artist, audio description narrator, consultant, and advocate.
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.

THOMAS: The following is the second half of a two part conversation from April 5, 2023.
We’re calling it, Becoming Critical. In part two, we speak with John Stark, a Blind film critic who reviews films both with and without AD, in order to highlight the need for audio description.
And now, let’s jump into this latest Blind Centered Audio Description Chat!

[smartphone selection beeps]
CHERYL: Recording now!

THOMAS: Tell me about your first experience with movies in general, not audio description, movies in general.
JOHN: I mean, I’ve been watching movies my entire life. I’ve always loved movies in sort of like an obsessive way. I remember as a little kid, I actually used to cut, back in the day when they used to put the ads in the papers and they had little posters of the movies, I used to actually cut those out. I was like five or six, and I collected them. [laughing] So, just like obsessed with movies! But I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to watch movies. I think Jurassic Park was kind of maybe the big turning point for me. I’ve never really wanted to make movies. I started reviewing as a critic. I used to live in a small town, and our small-town newspaper didn’t have a critic, so I actually convinced them to let me write for them in middle school. So, that was kind of cool. I got to write for a couple years until they ended up picking up a movie critic out of syndication and decided they didn’t want a, you know, 13-year-old writing reviews for them anymore. I guess they didn’t like the fact that I gave Power Rangers four stars.
But yeah, I used to be able to see, so I enjoyed a lot of films that way. And I eventually grew and started doing stuff online. And I’ve tried to bounce around on sites, trying to review wherever I can, eventually getting, you know, getting it all together to have my own site and post my own reviews and then my own YouTube channel. But I do have a degree in Cinema Studies; it’s what I went to school for. And then around 2017, I found out that I was losing my vision, and it went pretty fast. So, I kinda stopped for a little while ‘cause nobody told me right away about an audio description! And as soon as I found out about it, I dove like head first. And I was like, “Oh, what is this amazing thing?!”
THOMAS: How did you find out about it? How did you find out about AD?
JOHN: To be totally honest, when I went blind, when I started joining all these Facebook groups, at first, nobody was talking about it. I would try to talk about movies and television shows, like, “Hey, what do you guys watch?” And pretty much everybody was watching reruns, you know, of stuff that they were familiar with. But eventually one day, I don’t know, somebody just mentioned audio description. They were like, “Hey, do you know about this?” And I was like, “What?! Tell me how do I turn this on? Where is this amazing feature?!”
THOMAS: [chuckles]
JOHN: And I really, I mean, I knew it existed ‘cause I had worked in movie theaters, but I didn’t know that it existed in the, at least in the proliferation and like, how to turn it on and that it was on all these apps, and I could have it on my phone, and I could have it on my Roku. I just, I just didn’t know. And as soon as I did, I haven’t stopped.
THOMAS: So, what was your—
JOHN: I felt like I had to catch up on everything.
JOHN: So, I feel like I’ve just been watching non-stop.
THOMAS: Do you remember your first experience with AD?
JOHN: Oh. I don’t. I wanna say it might’ve been when, like, a new season of Stranger Things was coming out.
THOMAS: Oh, really?
JOHN: Probably like, around when Season Three of Stranger Things, I think, hit.
JOHN: ‘Cause I think I went back ‘cause I didn’t get a chance to watch Season Two. And I remember I had to watch Season Two before Season Three. That’s about the time that I remember hearing about it.
JOHN: Yeah, and that’s probably the best memory I have because Stranger Things is such a visual show that I was so happy to have that audio description and feel like I, you know, I knew this world, and I knew the crazy special effects and everything that were going on, and it was great. And, yeah, I just, I would get disappointed after that every time a film didn’t have audio description. And when new things came out, and I couldn’t understand them, I was like, “Why? How do I tell somebody that this is unacceptable? You know, why doesn’t this film have audio description?” So, I joined the community, this audio description community, and just started listening, paying attention and calling and arguing with streaming services to try to get audio description on titles and fighting with them. And I just wanted to sort of help those out there who don’t know about audio description to try to help other blind people find titles that work for them, to talk about titles that don’t have audio description. And is it sort of watchable if you have to watch it? Is it not watchable? Like, what level of it is it, and why is it that way? Why can’t we follow this?
THOMAS: With the audio description specifically, how long did it take you to sort of get your own determination of what is good audio description and what is bad audio description?
JOHN: A lot of different things for a lot of different companies. And ‘cause everybody kinda does things differently.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: And for me watching, you have to watch every genre, too, because it’s different for genres. I think there’s, there are different expectations with everything. I notice with a lot of TV sitcoms that really just kind of nobody stops talking, the audio description is very light. Whereas there are other programs where almost nobody’s talking, so the audio description narration fills in a lot. I mean, you get everything. You get costumes, you get hair, you get people’s facial reactions because there’s nothing there to, you know, to talk over, to accidentally. I understand you don’t trample the dialogue. It’s comparing them. It’s seeing who does it differently. It’s hearing conversations.
I remember when I started reviewing, I went pretty hard on how I felt about Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers and that audio description because I thought it was pointless. It didn’t do what it was supposed to do, which is bridge the gap for blind and visually impaired users because it didn’t include basically every single cameo that they had in the film. There’s YouTube videos going over like 300+ cameos in that film of other animated characters. And it was like the audio description went out of its way, even on characters where it did reference, it described what they looked like instead of saying what characters they were. So, you had to guess based on the description. And meanwhile, if I was able to see, I would’ve instantly recognized all these characters as all the sighted people did! So, come to find out that was actually Disney requested that. So, I don’t understand why Disney requested that. I don’t know why they wanted us to have half the experience, but that was definitely a moment for me where I was learning from the community as I was reviewing.
JOHN: And I try to pay attention. I try to come to meetings like this and learn as much as I can so that that way, I know what it is I’m criticizing, like, what the parameters are, what’s possible for audio description, and so that I’m not demanding something that is impossible or cannot be done. And I think I’m doing that? But I don’t really know.
THOMAS: It takes a while for folks to get used to listening to films with audio description and get their own bearings on what is good and what is bad. Take us through your process in critiquing a film. How do you do that with the AD? ‘Cause you do with and without AD, is that correct?
JOHN: Yeah, I do with and without. ‘Cause I tried to call out a film. I actually had that really interesting experience where I worked with a producer—we can talk about that later—of an Oscar-nominated short where her film didn’t have AD, and she saw my review. And then we ended up getting the film AD.
JOHN: So, that was a cool experience for me. But in general, first of all, the question is, can I understand it?
JOHN: Did the audio description, was I lost? Could I not follow the film? Most of the time, the answer to that question is yes. Most of the time I am able to follow. It gets a little bit trickier the more you get into like, action, sci-fi, and horror, because there’s a lot of things happening. And I think especially with horror films I’ve seen, that’s probably where the audio description gets the most tricky because I’ve seen audio description that leans away from horror and gore and doesn’t describe it. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the genre.
THOMAS: [chuckles]
JOHN: But then again, I go back to the thing about contracts, and I don’t know whether or not the studio is saying, “Please don’t describe this.” So, and sometimes things are described sort of generically, and you don’t really get the scare of the scene. It’s really hard to be scared anyway. I mean, I used to be kind of a baby about horror movies. Now I find myself watching anything because it’s like, well, if I don’t, if I can’t see it, good luck scaring me. And so far, that’s proven to be largely true. I can be grossed out a little bit, definitely. But jump scares and everything have a completely [laughing] different effect when you can’t see the thing that’s lunging out at you on screen, and it’s just like sound or something. Just, I don’t know, for some reason it’s not as scary. But yeah, it’s stuff like that. Is it effective for the genre? Did I understand? Did a character die, and they forgot to tell me about it? [laughing] You know, did I miss something?
JOHN: Was somebody referred to as the wrong thing? When I get to review a film that I did see visually, and then now I’m watching it again as a blind person, that’s when it gets really interesting. ‘Cause then I’m like, okay, I actually got to see this, and now I’m blind. What’s my experience like now?
JOHN: Those are interesting comparisons for me because I do know what I’m missing. With audio description, I have to guess what I’m missing. And sometimes I don’t even know. Like recently with Tetris, there’s a scene that’s like an 8-bit car chase scene that just is kind of described as a regular car chase scene. But when I heard another critic describe it, it sounds like I totally did not get that scene described to me the way that at least they’re describing it in their review. So, that happens a lot. I don’t actually know what I’m missing, so it’s hard sometimes to grade it. And then I come back around. I’m like, I, you know, I don’t know. Did I miss something that I didn’t know that I missed?! So, it’s very tricky. And I hope to continue to get better at it and continue to pick up and just further the audio description discussion, so.
THOMAS: So, how do you do that on a film that doesn’t have AD?
JOHN: By pointing out why the film doesn’t work and why it’s unintelligible and why someone would need audio description. Sometimes it’s led to somebody pointing out to me that there is audio description available. It’s just nobody’s using it.
JOHN: I know William Michael Redman reached out to me because I reviewed Crimes of the Future, which I rented when iTunes had it 99 cents on sale. And then later on, Hulu had, it still didn’t have audio description! So, I saw two different versions of it. And he’s like, “I recorded audio description for this. I don’t know why nobody’s using it!”
JOHN: But it’s a body horror film, and there’s almost no, there’s almost no dialogue in it. So, it’s pointless, and it’s impossible to watch. It’s a waste of time for blind people. But I did sit through the whole thing to let people know, like, “Yeah, I sat through this, and this is what you’re gonna get. You’re gonna get about three scenes of dialogue and just kind of some sound effects.” Skinamarink was an experience. I mean, that film by law should be required [laughs] to have audio— It’s impossible. It has almost no spoken words in the entire film. It’s all just sounds. So, it’s a very weird experience, and there’s no score. [laughing] It’s a very weird experience.
THOMAS: Oh, my gosh.
JOHN: And so, a lotta times I stopped. At first, I was using, I was using the lack of audio description in my grading, which I didn’t feel like actually represented the film. So, I just started grading those films as being unwatchable.
JOHN: Like, it doesn’t get a letter grade anymore. It just, I just say it’s unwatchable, and I move on.
THOMAS: Oh, I think that’s an F. That’s should be an F. [laughs]
JOHN: I mean, basically it equates to an F. But I also am acknowledging that this might be the best film ever made.
JOHN: I just have no idea because this film is not accessible to me.
THOMAS: Wow. And so, talk about describe watching a film like that with no AD. I’m like, “Dude, what are you doing?! [laughs] Why are you, why are you, why are you doing that to yourself? Why are you?” You know. So, why? Why are you doing that to yourself?
JOHN: To show people. I actually, on my YouTube channel, I filmed myself watching RRR, which Netflix had decided to offer only with English dubbing and no audio description.
JOHN: And so, I basically filmed myself watching it and then uploaded it, just talking about like, can I understand anything what’s going on? And I would talk about, like, as things are happening, I’m like, “This is what I think is happening. I’ve got no idea because there’s no audio description here. Oh, this song sounds really cool. I don’t know what they’re doing on screen, but…” you know, stuff like that. If somebody’s not doing it and pointing it out, then everybody will think that everything’s okay, that we’re just okay, that because nobody’s complaining, nobody’s saying anything. You know, these streaming services, they hire customer service agents to just kind of placate us and move along. I mean, I’ve complained to Paramount+ about some things. I complained about Showtime audio description on their service when it launched, and it still doesn’t have audio description for known, for titles that have audio description. And it’s owned by the same parent company.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: So, I’m trying to bring attention and focus in whatever way I possibly can. And if it’s me suffering through things to be able to point out like, “Yes, I tried it your way. Your way doesn’t work, you know. You have to do it this way. You have to get the audio description because I’m paying the same amount as everybody else for all my subscriptions. But I’m actually, like, a bunch of these titles are not accessible to me. They’re completely unintelligible without audio description.” So, I’m fighting complacency within the streaming service, so I will watch anything if I think it might stir the pot. But like I said, I don’t know. I don’t have a huge following. Everything nowadays is based on your social just footprint. And if I had a million followers, I feel like there would be audio description on Showtime! Because there would be a series of videos of me calling out Paramount+ until they actually did it, so.
THOMAS: Are you on Twitter?
JOHN: I am on Twitter. I’m MacTheMovieGuy, yeah. I don’t use Twitter as much as I do YouTube, but I have the ability to tweet. It’s, I feel like people are leaving Twitter, so I don’t really know what to do [laughing] with Twitter!
THOMAS: No, but the reason I ask about Twitter is because I think, like, I’ve personally had some really good experiences with HBO, Amazon, I think Paramount also, when you get at them, right there on Twitter, right in public. Because you could just @ them. You could, if I were you, I would be @-ing them every single video, you know. But even when you just have your customer request stuff, like, put it out there in the open for the world to see. It doesn’t mean that the world is going to see that, but it means that the world can see that.
JOHN: Oh, I’ve done that a couple of times.
JOHN: I just don’t do it all the time. Because I, again, I don’t know how effective Twitter is anymore, and I was just worried. I just don’t know if anybody is—
THOMAS: Yeah, I don’t know either. But I would still put it out there.
JOHN: —listening on Twitter anymore.
THOMAS: I would still put it out there.
JOHN: Yeah, I will.
THOMAS: Yeah, yeah. Especially all your videos because, What’s interesting is that there are people doing the same work, right, but doing it differently, whether that be, you know, making those phone calls, whether that be advocating the governmental environment, you know, the whole CVAA, all of that type of thing. But to show your experience is pretty good. People write about their experiences, all of that. But yeah, that’s an interesting, it’s another level, and that’s fantastic. I like that.
How do you choose the movies that you decide to film yourself watching?
JOHN: Every once in a while, it’s just totally random, but I usually try to review new titles. I need to allow myself the grace to not review literally every new title because I, last year I reviewed, I reviewed 295 titles that were released in 2022.
JOHN: And there were some titles I wasn’t even interested in, and they were poorly made, and there were these like, crappy things that are thrown together that had audio description, you know. [laughs] And so, I reviewed them. I was like, “Oh, well, you put audio description on this film with nobody in the cast I’ve ever heard of. I’ll watch your random freebie rom-com. Sure!”
THOMAS: [chuckles]
JOHN: So, and a lot of them ended up being predictably bad. So, I’m trying not to review these films that I don’t think anybody cares about.
JOHN: But yeah, I wanna review things as soon as they at least hit streaming and they’re accessible to everybody. I could go to theaters. As somebody who worked for four major movie theater chains when I could see, I know that they do not train those managers very well in actually figuring out how to fix AD. And the whole thing about paying for the Uber to go out there to find out the audio description doesn’t work. I just know too many times when I was working in movie theaters, our audio description wasn’t working, and I never knew any of the projectionists who knew anything to do other than turn it off and turn it back on, unplug it and plug back it in!
JOHN: So, it’s gotta be incredibly frustrating. I had no idea how frustrating it was until I’m now on the other side of it. But nobody ever trained us. So, I see people all the time posting how frustrating it is to go to theaters. And it’s like, I can’t. I just don’t have that kind of time and money in my life to spend that money to Uber out to a theater to find out that the movie doesn’t even have audio description, so I can’t even review it.
THOMAS: Again, that’s an example of, you know, yeah, choose your fight, right? Because that literally, I know for me, it took about three years for this one theater that my wife and I would constantly go to, to actually start to get it right. It took about three years. Now, we were always comped, [laughs] you know? But still, it took about three years. So, it’s, yeah, it’s crazy. Tell me about—
JOHN: You always get passes, yeah.
THOMAS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had lots of passes.
JOHN: Yeah.
NEFERTITI: And may I just say, passes are great except that when you came back, I’m sure it still wasn’t fixed. So, what good, really, are those passes?
JOHN: Well, the theater’s not giving you passes for the Uber either.
NEFERTITI: Right. Right.
JOHN: So, if you’re having transportation issues, it doesn’t compensate you for that.
NEFERTITI: Or gas money, you know?
JOHN: Exactly. Whatever it is.
NEFERTITI: Yeah. I’ve never been a fan of like, “Oh, we got comp tickets!” What good are they, really, ultimately?
THOMAS: Well, it could be good. It could be good. For me, it was good. [chuckles] Family of four? Yeah, I was able to go with just my wife. We’ll get a, they’ll end up giving us four passes, and then we go to watch something with the kids, you know. But it was, it was also, part of that was—and I’m not saying this works for everybody—but it’s just like again, you choose your battles, but that takes them seeing you there in a relationship because we started to talk to the manager. And again, this is just one of those things where once they know you, once it’s not a, “Oh, there goes that, here comes somebody,” you know. But now they know you. You know what I mean? They start to make a change. I’m not saying that everybody needs to do that, but that is one way is to go. When you go in there, ask for a manager, introduce yourself to that person. Because they’re probably gonna be there the next time. And so, that’s who you should be talking to. You bypass the little, you know, the college, the high school kid who’s working behind the counter. Bypass that guy. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: You build the relationship. And that is something that I am a fan of.
THOMAS: Yes. Yes.
NEFERTITI: I do like relationship building, and like, look, put this, put this human being who this lack of access is affecting, like, this is a real-world example. This isn’t some abstract thing. So, I definitely like that part. Yeah.
THOMAS: I wanna hear about, John, your experience where calling out a film ended up doing something happened there. Tell us about that.
JOHN: Yeah. I reviewed, ‘cause definitely, when I’m saying I review things that I think people are interested in, I review, I try to review as many Oscar nominees as possible, and that included the shorts when they were available on streaming. So, when My Year of Dicks was available on Hulu, I reviewed it. It did not have audio description, predictably, because Hulu doesn’t, [chuckles] you know, Hulu be Hulu. And so, I had to do my review based on how I was able to understand it based on the lack of accessibility. And it wasn’t great. It wasn’t completely unintelligible ‘cause it has dialogue, but there was a lot in there that just didn’t make sense and didn’t come together.
And I actually had the writer of the film reach out to me on Instagram, and she immediately tried to fix it for me. They hadn’t even, they didn’t even really think about audio description or know what it was. And suddenly, I had educated them. And she actually sat down at her computer and tried to do what I would call homegrown audio description, just at a laptop, which kind of sounded a little bit like director’s commentary, [laughs] almost.
JOHN: But because she didn’t know the ins and outs of audio description. So, it was essentially what she gave me, which wasn’t even complete, it was just like the first 10 minutes of the thing, talked over dialogue. And so, I explained to her, I was like, “This isn’t really audio description. This is why. Plus, I can’t really use this because no one else can use this. This is just in a Dropbox you sent to me. So, it’s not, I mean, I appreciate it. You’re going out of your way to do this, but it’s not like I could rereview the film based on [laughs] homegrown audio description you put in a Dropbox.”
JOHN: And so, she was really interested in trying to fix the problem permanently. And I was posting about this at the same time in that Facebook audio description group. And I had a producer on there that reached out to me and said, “Hey, can you connect me with the person that you’ve been talking to from My Year of Dicks? We would like to provide the audio description for that film free of charge.” Which I’m assuming they were doing so because they were a company I hadn’t really heard of, and they figured, hey, it’s an Oscar-nominated short. Maybe more people will know who we are, and it’s great publicity for us, so—
THOMAS: Can you name the company? What company was it?
JOHN: Oh! Off the top of my head? No, I can’t.
JOHN: And I would have to go look up the producer’s name because I did not remember. I haven’t talked to her since she provided audio description.
JOHN: But it’s on Vimeo, and it was uploaded onto Vimeo. There’s a, it’s, you didn’t have to turn the audio description on. It’s just a static, it’s like open audio description is what they ended up creating and uploading for the film. And they managed to get that out a little bit before the Oscars. They sent it to me. I shared it with the group. I’ve tried to share it out with other people, and I did do a second-look YouTube review of the film with audio description where I did give it a higher grade the second time around because it had audio description. I predictably was missing some things that the audio description made more clear for me. So, it was, yeah, all in all, it was, it was great. And it was nice to hear something from a content creator that said, “Hey, we should, we need to fix this. You know, how do we fix this? How do we make our title accessible?”
For something as small as an Oscar-nominated short, because honestly, I mean, I know film and shorts do not, they have a half-life of about five seconds. Once the Oscars are passed, nobody looks these things up again. Nobody’s gonna go back and try to find the Oscar-nominated short from 2004 that didn’t win the Oscar. They’re used, often, for those directors to get feature gigs, to get hired by bigger companies, generally, is where those directors come from. I don’t know that anybody is, in a couple years, is even gonna look up My Year of Dicks, but hopefully, until there’s another Oscars and it gets moved out of the limelight, people will go over to Vimeo and watch the audio description track, so.
THOMAS: But do you think something came of that interaction with the writer? ‘Cause you said it was the writer. It wasn’t the director. It was the writer of the film, right? Correct?
JOHN: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
JOHN: I think it’s somebody who now is aware.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: And I think she made her team aware.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: I don’t think, I don’t think this was a conversation that she had, like, just by herself, you know, without anybody else. I think she likely contacted, I don’t know, like, the producer, director, whatever of the team and said, “Hey, I wanna, I wanna do this. I wanna get audio description on our film. Can we allow this to happen?” ‘Cause somebody had to okay it being uploaded to Vimeo, so it wasn’t, you know, there wasn’t a copyright claim. So, yeah, I think a couple more people are aware. And if more people can be aware, you know, I mean, that’s what I did with just, I have 118 subscribers on YouTube, and I did that. So, if I have, you know, 118,000 someday, I don’t know who’s gonna see my YouTube video and who I’ll be able to reach. So, start small, and I’m just gonna keep doing this until I make effective change, so.
THOMAS: Why is this so important to you?
JOHN: Because film is. Because it’s what it—
JOHN: Because it’s, it’s everything that I do. I mean, I have, I…. I have, [chuckles], I’ve, everything I’ve done has been around movies. I’ve reviewed movies online on various websites. Even when I was a kid, I reviewed movies for a newspaper. I have been watching movies. I had a huge, massive VHS collection. I even did like the illegal thing where I dubbed movies that I rented so that I could try to increase my VHS collection back in the day. I have a massive DVD collection. I used to even play some of the games. There’s a whole bunch of games for people who love movies. There’s like Hollywood Stock Exchange existed for a long time. I used to play a game called Hollywood The Game where you kind of wrote a screenplay and produced like a fake version of your movie and released it into the box office to see how it did, stuff like that. Box office challenges, the stuff to predict box office. I’ve talked to people who run other websites or their movie websites. I worked for Movie Gallery while they still existed, and people still rented movies, actually, in a store. I was a store manager for them in addition to the fact that I worked for four different movie theater chains where I was also a theater manager, so. Then I went to film school!
THOMAS: So, John, let me ask you—
JOHN: I haven’t done anything else!
THOMAS: So, let me ask you the question a little differently then. Why should anybody else care?
JOHN: What do you mean by anybody else? Like, anybody but me?
THOMAS: Anybody. Yeah, I mean, you telling me why—
JOHN: It’s like anybody care about me or anybody care about film or audio description? Anybody else care about film?
THOMAS: Why should anybody else care about audio description? You’re telling me, because of you and your background—and I respect that. I get that—but, you know, a lot of people would be like, “Okay, that’s you. That’s your problem.”
JOHN: The weird thing is that I think a lot of people don’t know about it. I’ve had personal interactions with people where since then, I’ve told them about audio description and turned it on, and it’s like their mind is blown. Actually, I work in a school, and I had a student that came in who was also visually impaired. And I was like, “Dude, do you watch movies with audio description?” He was like, “No, what is that?” And I explained it to him. And I had him, I turned it on, on one of my apps that I just had. Like, I pulled up Netflix, just pulled up a movie and just played it. And he was like, “Wow, that’s really cool that you can actually follow the action.” It was like an action thing that I pulled up to get the most effect out of the audio description.
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: Yeah, you can actually hear it. And I think if people realize what it is that they’re getting, that they’ll use it to watch those films that they consider unwatchable and the TV shows that they consider unwatchable. Because I saw so many conversations from people who believe that action movies and horror movies and sci-fi movies are unwatchable and they just, like, they won’t watch them anymore. They only watch things or listen to things that they’ve seen. They won’t watch anything new. But it’s like they want to. If you go blind right now, and you’re halfway through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you know, you wanna keep watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there’s a lot of visual stuff that happens in that. So, if nobody tells you about audio description, then maybe you just stop watch-, you stop doing the thing that you love. And I think blind people give up enough things when they transition that this, if there’s something here that can help you do the thing that you were already enjoying, that can help you to continue to watch the TV show you were already watching, why not, you know?
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: I think, I think it’s just a matter of introducing people to it and getting them, and normalizing it. If you normalize it, then I think people will accept it. I know people who use audio description who aren’t even blind. I had a guy tell me that he uses audio description when he goes jogging so he can catch up [chuckling] on his TV series! You know, like, instead of listening to music or audio books, he jogs to Abbott Elementary with audio description!
THOMAS: Mmhmm.
JOHN: It’s like, okay, you do you.
NEFERTITI: I love that. I love that. Yeah.
JOHN: Yeah. I had another friend tell me he uses audio description because he likes to multi-task, and so he doesn’t have to pay attention to his TV. He can turn on the audio description, and it runs in the background, and he doesn’t actually have to look at the TV. He can catch up on whatever while doing other things. So, it’s interesting that sighted people I know use it too, so.
THOMAS: That exchange you had with the student, that would’ve been a fantastic video. That would be a really good video.
JOHN: I gotta ask the student if that’s okay.
THOMAS: No, yeah. I know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But if that’s something you could, if you could show somebody else, another kid, a young person like that, an older person, somebody who hasn’t been exposed to it, capturing that, that could be pretty interesting. Not to say that what you’re doing is not because it is. I’m just saying I would just add that. But something to think about.
NEFERTITI: I think so, too. Yeah.
JOHN: I would say I almost had that opportunity in a weird way. And I have to very, I have to tread very lightly on this because I signed an NDA, but I think if I never say the company, I think I’ll be fine on this. But I would say that somebody caught me and offered me a contract to do just what you’re talking about. But I think it fell through. I was contacted to do essentially instructional videos because they saw me doing what I was doing, and they realized I was blind, and they wanted me to show how to use their product for other blind people. They thought a blind person doing the blind thing would be. Unfortunately, I think that ended up not happening. Which is unfortunate because I would’ve loved to do that. But I came really close to doing exactly what you’re saying, basically, and teaching people how to turn this stuff on and use it, so.
NEFERTITI: Yeah, I think examples like that are really impactful when other people come across like, wow, that person seemed really effected, you know, in a positive way. I think that can be hugely influential for those out there watching. But John, what would you say to people who, and I’ve heard from a number of folks interested in this conversation tonight because they’re interested in getting into this. So, my question is, I guess, a two-parter. One, do you think that there could be impact if the number of critics, blind critics specifically, critiquing audio description in particular, would that be helpful for raising awareness? Is that something you would like to see? And then how could they get started? What would you recommend? How do you recommend they begin?
JOHN: I would say absolutely. Actually, I’ve had this conversation with Alex Howard, who’s, he’s in that group. He’s doing The Dark Room podcast.
JOHN: And we talked about trying to figure out, we’re trying to figure out a way how to start essentially what is the equivalent of a critics guild, but a critics guild for either, you know, some kind of like disabled critics guild or blind and visually impaired, like, or maybe d/Deaf and blind, some kind of combination, so that that way it brings attention to all of that, so that we can all connect and be stronger together and show people how many of us there are. I think they think we’re some sort of weird minority, you know, like, I don’t know, albinoism or something. Just like, “Oh, I’ve never met anybody who’s like that before!” So, they, we need to provide this service.
JOHN: Like it’s just some weird unicorn thing, like, “Oh, there’s a blind person that watches TV?!”
NEFERTITI: [laughs] Yeah.
JOHN: I guess. I don’t know. So, yeah. I mean, if we’re all out there talking about it and posting about it and getting on the socials and, you know, if you wanna, if you wanna do a YouTube, do YouTube. If you wanna do a TikTok, do a TikTok. If you wanna do Instagrams, do Instagrams. There’s a website called Letterbox. You can post stuff there. I don’t do Letterbox because there’s only just so many social media [laughing] things I can possibly handle!
NEFERTITI: [laughs]
JOHN: But yeah, there are plenty of places to post and share your reviews and your content, and you just have to start somewhere. Start maybe with a film that you like. Don’t put yourself with the challenge of reviewing something you’ve never seen before. Pick something that you like, that you know you like, that has audio description, and convince people why you like that thing. And then start about, and then start there and explain why the audio description matters to you with that film, why it’s helped you. And then just grow from there and just keep it going and keep talking. And don’t let anybody tell you to stop talking. Because the more noise we make, the louder we are, the more audio description we’ll get, so.
NEFERTITI: [applauds] Yes. Yes. I’m clapping. I love this answer. As someone who is part of a collective, right, of professionals, we’re all professionals in our own right, and we come together and we’re doing and making audio description, creating audio description and spreading the word about it, and, you know, just maintaining this quality of excellence, commitment to the audio description we create. I’m a big believer in people coming together, and like you said, you know, collect our voices. The louder we are, the more we’ll be heard, the further the message. So, if people would like to get in touch with you, how can they do that? If they want to explore this idea with you and join, you know, whatever ends up coming of your collaboration with others?
JOHN: Oh. Well, like I said, I’m on Instagram. It’s @MacTheMovieGuy. I’m on Twitter @MacTheMovieGuy. I am on Facebook as John Stark. If you send me a request, and you let me know why, like, send me a message also on Messenger and say, “Hey, I’m in the audio description community,” then I’ll know you’re not like a weird spambot.
NEFERTITI: Mmhmm, mmhmm.
JOHN: So, don’t just send me a weird friend request out of nowhere! But I’ll accept it if it’s for audio description. And I mean, I’m on YouTube. My website is Any one of those ways, just reach out if you wanna talk about audio description in movies or anything.
NEFERTITI: Excellent. So, you have a number, a number of ways of getting in touch with John so that you can add your voice to what I personally think, and I think we all agree, is a pretty critical thing that you’re doing.
JOHN: I think I’m here because right now, I’m a unicorn, and I, as awesome as it would be to continue to be recognized for what it is that I’m doing, I would much, you know, I would also be okay with being a horse. You know what I’m saying? Something that you see a lot more common.
JOHN: So, if there were more blind film critics that were talking about audio description, I don’t mind that. It’s there are a lot of people out there on the Internet talking about movies, and there need to be more of us that are blind and that are talking about the accessibility. So, I know why I’m here. It’s because I’m a unicorn! And if I’m not, then that’s fine too. So, it means that more, that I started a fire and it caught on, so.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely. Yeah. Cheryl?
CHERYL: Well, I want to give Unicorn John Stark such huge thanks. We’re so appreciative. So, everybody, Mac the Movie Guy. 732 videos on your YouTube!
CHERYL: If somebody wants to see how it is that you critique a film, and it’s not just like, “I liked this.” It is so detailed. You go into so much about character, acting, directing, plot, audio description. That’s the place to go on YouTube to watch 732 reviews.
JOHN: They’re not all reviews. Some of them are talking about the Oscars. I did try to bring people in with Oscar talk, so.
CHERYL: Excellent.
JOHN: Most of them are reviews, though.
NEFERTITI: So, about that, what did you think about the Oscars audio description?
THOMAS: [chuckles]
JOHN: I liked the Oscar Audio Description. I feel like there was something weird about the red carpet, but I can’t remember what it was. But the actual show was great. And I know [laughs] you did it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, the Oscars was, the show was great. I can’t remember what it was about the audio description for the red carpet though.
NEFERTITI: Maybe that there was hardly any because it was just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. So, maybe like?
JOHN: That might’ve been it. I don’t know. You know, I don’t care about red carpet! I just was on it because I didn’t have anything else to do. So, it doesn’t really stick out in my memory. All I remember was was Hugh Grant just had that weird walk-off moment. But that’s it. Yeah. If you’d asked me a couple weeks ago, I might’ve remembered. I don’t know.
NEFERTITI: Well, you know what? You don’t have to remember because we can all go to and check out your review there.
JOHN: [laughs] Yeah.
NEFERTITI: So, do that, people. And, you know, full disclosure, I was one of the people narrating that, so that was a shameless question on my part. But thank you.
JOHN: Yeah, I knew. That’s why I said ‘cause I knew you did it.
NEFERTITI: [laughs] Yes! I appreciate that we got a good review from you. That means a lot.
JOHN: Yeah.
THOMAS: Cool. Cool. Well, thank you, John. This was good.
JOHN: Thanks, guys. Thank you so much for having me.
NEFERTITI: This was fantastic. Yeah.
JOHN: Yeah. If you don’t wanna set up your own thing, just throw me some follows or something and likes or something. Increasing my social media presence will end up increasing my voice in the long run.
NEFERTITI: Absolutely. Not everybody has to be advocate. Not everybody has to be a critic. But I do think it’s important that we support each other and we promote one another, right? Uplift. So, yeah.
JOHN: Absolutely.
NEFERTITI: Follow John everywhere. I certainly will. I’m really happy to get to know you a little better during this event. So, everybody, thank you for listening, whether live or on the replay through the Reid My Mind Radio podcast. We really appreciate you being here. And yeah, how do we close? I don’t even remember anymore. I’m so enthused by this conversation.
THOMAS: So am I. [laughs]
NEFERTITI: All right! See ya!
THOMAS: Peace, y’all.
NEFERTITI: Except not really, ‘cause I’m blind.
THOMAS: [chuckles]

Music begins…
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

Black Art White Voices: A Flipping the Script Prequel

Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

A row of yellow light bulbs against a red horizontal border above and below the white movie screen. You are invited to REID MY MIND RADIO ENTERTAINMENT under the red frame. Black Art/White Voices: Flipping the script prequel on the following line in Bold Black capital letters. The picture is of a theater with red velvet chairs facing a white screen with movie images of Black panther, Insecure, Judas, and the black Messiah showing an all-black cast. There are two pictures of a blurry white man and a blurry white woman underneath the movie images.

Ever since producing the episode on Black Panther where among several critiques about the audio description, I voiced my complaint about using white narrators to voice what are obviously Black films. In general, AD narrators that are not from the culture of the film, where it’s obviously culturally specific, feels extremely disruptive and insensitive.

There’s been a significant amount of discussion on this topic here and elsewhere. It’s something I was hoping to see the Audio Description industry improve. To some extent that is the case, but when I finally sat down to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, a film about the FBI’s murder of Fred Hampton – Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, I couldn’t believe what I heard.

Black Panther? It’s starting to feel like a conspiracy… Here we go again!

* Hear how you can help make a change
* Here about the next season; Flipping the Script on Audio Description.
* PodAccess Survey – If you’re a Deaf/Disabled Podcaster or content creator or a consumer of Deaf/Disabled content, you’re going to want to know about this.



Show the transcript


Music begins, a pulsating ominous synth that opens up to a dramatic mid-tempo beat.


What’s up Reid My Mind Radio?

We’re in between seasons but I wanted to share some thoughts with the family.

Truth is, I wish I didn’t feel obligated to share these thoughts on this particular subject.
I’m hoping one day it won’t be necessary.

Several years ago now, I produced this episode that has really sort of attached itself to me.
It’s the Black Panther episode.
The episode I almost threw away. I didn’t think anyone would care.
I published it anyway.

People cared!

I think.

I’m just ready to move past it.
Meaning, I would love to see those who say they understand and support the need for Audio description to be more culturally aware and competent, put it into practice.

but, it’s like…
Audio sample: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” From The Godfather.

— Reid My Mind Radio Intro Music

Sounds of a thunder and rain storm.


I don’t believe in conspiracy theories.

— Thunder clap

At least that’s how I felt before the phone call.

A day, I’ll never forget.
It was a Thursday.
Damn, it could’ve been Friday.
Either way… I don’t normally answer calls from unknown numbers.
Yet, this one evening, my cell phone rang and Voice Over told me to answer the phone.
Yo! That freaked me out.

Then, I realized after answering the phone that I heard it wrong.
The caller id really said Ann Sur Fonne. I think it’s French.

Wherever she’s from, she called to tell me a bit about the AD Illuminati.

— Thunder clap!

Well, sort of…

This mysterious phone call came on the same day my daughter Riana and I finally had the chance to sit together and watch Judas and the Black Messiah.

It’s a film that explores the FBI’s murder of Fred Hampton. The 21 year old Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party who was in the midst of uniting black and other organizations focusing on advancing rights and opportunities for Black, brown and other marginalized people.

The movie was first released in February 21 both in theaters and on HBOMax. I’m not certain about the theater release, but I do know that HBO Max did not yet provide audio description. My daughter refused to watch the film until it had AD and she could watch with her Dad. That’s me y’all!

It wasn’t until sometime during the summer of 2021 that the film received an audio description track on HBO.

Almost a year since its release, January 1, 2022, Riana and I sat down to watch the film.

As far as the movie goes, the two stars, Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, playing Chairman Fred Hampton and the sell out under cover Bill O’Neil respectively, were both amazing.

It’s never easy to just watch a movie like this as if it were just a story. It’s not. It’s a reminder of a not so distant history a sobering acknowledgment that those in power won’t hesitate to kill when their way of life is threatened.

History shows, that’s often, when Black people are seeking their freedom, standing up for their rights and when there’s a hint of creating a unified front that challenges the establishment.

In 2018, I published an episode that focused on my response to the audio description in Marvel’s Black panther. If you never heard that, I’ll provide a link and hope you’ll take a listen. In summary, I discuss my reaction to the selected narrator. The episode actually goes into much more, but that’s often what’s recalled. I refer to the narrator as the voice of the colonizer – a British white man.

Unlike Marvel’s Black Panther, Judas and the Black Messiah doesn’t originate or belong to the MCU or the Marvel Comic Universe. This story is real. It belongs to us, this is the Black People’s Black Panthers.

I found it pretty ironic that , once again a film featuring a Black Panther is described by a British sounding white man.

— A mix of movie scenes with a dramatic “No” Including “Back to the Future” and “Independence Day”.

I always feel obligated to say, I have nothing against this person as an individual, he’s probably a nice guy.

Truth is, I really don’t have to. This isn’t about one person. It’s about an entire community of people being overlooked.

Anyone choosing to focus on individuals should really ask themselves if they’re really trying to deflect and avoid the real conversation.

— Cell Phone ringing

Not long after my daughter and I finished our post film review and conversation, my cell phone rang.

Yeah, that’s really the ring tone I use. I guess I’m nostalgic for telephones with actual bells on them.

Voice Over saying Ann Sur Fonne!

So I just had to pick it up.

TR in Conversation Flashback::
Hello? (Says hesitantly)

What did you think of the AD?

TR in Conversation Flashback:
Excuse me?

What did you think of the AD?

TR in Conversation Flashback:
Who’s this?

I’m sorry Thomas, this is Ann Sur Fonne, you don’t know me… (Continues talking but fades down to an unintelligible murmur, with narration taking over)


She went on to explain she’s been listening, watching and reading the things that I and others have been talking about audio description and the need for more inclusion and proper representation of voices in all films especially those that are culturally specific.

She wouldn’t say exactly what power she had but she said she’s on the inside and wants to see change.

Have you heard of the AD Illuminati?

TR in Conversation Flashback:
I have but always just thought that was a joke. I thought it referred to [beep]

Thomas, whatever you do you can’t say those names out loud or use on your podcast. Your life is in danger if you do.

TR in Conversation Flashback:
What the heck! It’s audio description.

Thomas, you said it before and made a damn t-shirt, it’s about more than entertainment.

Ann talked a bit more. Each time I tried to get more information or even some hint of why using Black voices in films about Black people is an issue, she’d just talk about how much she likes the podcast.

I really like your podcast.

TR in Conversation Flashback:
Oh, thank you! Continues talking but fades out and narration over takes it.


I really need to work on not being easily distracted.

I did get to ask her if there’s any specific connection to Black Panther? I mean

I can’t tell you is all she’d say. Continue to be aware, pay attention and look beyond what you see. I reminded her I’m Blind. We laughed.

But seriously, continue to be observant. There are things happening and people claiming they care and want to see change. But as you know now, the AD Illuminati is real and right now, their goals don’t align with yours.

TR in Conversation Flashback:
What exactly are their goals?

Nice try Tomas, but I’m already risking my life calling you. I’ll be in touch when I can. Whenever you hear your phone say Ann Sur Fonne make sure you answer. No matter the time of day or night.


And that was it, she was gone.

I didn’t mention this to anyone for a day or so because I was just shook.
I finally decided to tell my wife. She just stared at me. I took my phone out to show her my call history.

There was no record of the call.

“I didn’t dream it! I didn’t dream it!” I muttered to myself as I walked off to be alone.

Classic Radio Announcer:
“We interrupt this program for a special news announcement”

Hi, I’m Cheryl Green
And I’m Thomas Reid

Cheryl: That… wait, you don’t look like Cheryl Green.

Thomas: What do you mean?

Cheryl: Well, I mean Cheryl she’s got hair on her head, kinda curly medium length brown hair and she’s got black framed glasses and olive skin.

Thomas: Ok, now that you say that, you don’t sound like Thomas Reid. I think he’s a brown skin Black man with a shaven head and where’s shades and has a full beard and might be wearing like a Wu Tang Clan t-shirt or something like that.

Cheryl: But, we’re both disabled podcasters.

Thomas: Do you think we should say podcasters with disabilities?
Cheryl: – Oh oh, you know, let’s do a podcast about that.
Thomas: Mm! Good idea!

Cheryl: Actually, Thomas and I are working on a project that’s all about disabled podcasts…
It’s called… Oh wait, well, we don’t actually have a name just yet so we’re calling it… oh wait, we don’t actually have the name yet. What should we call it?

Thomas: We should call it, project, project!

Cheryl: Yeh, I love it! Project, Project or like I don’t know, PODAccess.

Thomas: Ok, we’ll go with PodAccess, for now.
With funding from the Disability Visibility Project we’re creating a space for disabled podcasters or
content creators to
Connect with each other, maybe be discovered by audiences interested in your content or share skills and resources

Cheryl: So we want to hear from you…
Current or former Deaf or Disabled podcasters, Deaf or Disabled people interested in starting a podcast or consumers of content about disability or Deafness.

Thomas: We’ve created a survey, that should only take about 20 minutes to complete and we’d really love your feedback.

Cheryl: You can find the survey at
On that survey you can sign up to receive more information about
Project Project as it develops.

Thomas: Again, fill out the survey at

Cheryl: Ah, nice job Cheryl!
Thomas: Ah, , you too Thomas! (Laughs)

Classic Radio Announcer: Now back to our show.

I needed something light to take my mind off this for a while.

I decided to watch the final season of Insecure also on HBO Max.

— Music begins, an anxious melody that continues of a mid-tempo Hip Hop beat. Hip hop

HBO did not provide description for their shows until 2021.

prior to this final season, Blind folks interested in watching Insecure with audio description would need to find an alternative way of accessing the series. Allegedly available somewhere.

If you’re not familiar with issa rae’s Insecure, according to her the show “examines “the complexities of ‘Blackness’ and the reality that you can’t escape being Black.”

While the show is a “black show” it’s characters and subject is universal and relatable.

Sort of like what people with disabilities like to think about disabled content. But you know many non-disabled hear that word and are like oh, that’s not for me!

Similarly, white disabled can hear black and disabled and say, oh boy that’s not for me.

Anyway! Humanity, right?

Insecure is a well done series. Young black people just living their lives searching and figuring out who they are and where they want to go. From Black law firms to the streets , all sorts of Black.

Well, guess what wasn’t Black?
That’s right! The audio description narrator.

And here’s where it gets tricky for me personally. I like and know the narrator. She’s been on the podcast y’all. That makes her Reid My Mind Radio Family!

Let’s be clear, I’m not trying to put people on blast or shame someone for their decisions. To return to the Godfather for a second…
“It’s not personal Sonny, It’s strictly business.”

That being the case, I won’t drop manes, but feel free to look it up. In fact, go ahead and watch the show, it’s entertaining and I support Black content creators.

I really wanted to call Ann Sur Fonne. I wanted to ask her what could be done about this. Does this at all relate to the AD Illuminati?

No need. I’m sure she’d be vague or even worse tell me how much she likes the podcast to distract me.

I really do need to stop falling for that one.

She did encourage me to continue to speak on it and suggested I do the same for others.

So that’s what I’m doing.

Is there really an AD Illuminati?

Is all of this part of some conspiracy?

I believe that those in charge are doing what they know. I recognize that it’s not malicious or done with bad intentions. Folks have jobs to do and deadlines to meet and all sorts of limited resources.

This has been the way it’s been done for years. It goes back to the early decision makers in audio description. They did great things, but they also bear responsibility for where we are today. They chose to not see color. They chose not to seek out culturally appropriate voices. They taught and some still teach the newbies. Has the curriculum been updated or is it the same ol’ thing. You know, that good Ol’ AD!?

I know for many, this isn’t a big deal, in comparison to other issues of injustice or representation. But I disagree! I think it’s just another one. One that will never grab the attention of the mainstream.
It’s black and disabled.

What they don’t see are the core elements that make up the other injustices;
White supremacy
Systemic racism
Ableism, It’s for the Blind so they’ll be happy with whatever we give them.


Yes, hard to hear? Well, it’s not easy to say.

Music begins, an optimistic, bouncy Hip Hop groove.

I offered some possible solutions in the Black Panther episode from 2018.

One worth repeating is seeing the selection of narrator as a casting choice and therefore a responsibility of the director and production team.

If content creators were more aware and involved in the audio description process, I don’t believe we’d have as many of these issues.

I don’t think Issa Rae is aware of the voice providing audio description narration for her show.

, when asked on the red carpet of an award show who she was rooting for, famously and unapologetically proclaimed;

Issa Rae: “Everybody Black. I am. Betting on Black tonight!”

Here’s another consideration for addressing this issue. Individual responsibility.

It’s not just the narrator, audio description is a team sport. No matter where you fall within the audio description life cycle, you play a role.

As I am aware of the process today, broadcasters who commission the AD track have the majority of the power. They are the true shot callers. They dictate what they want the script to look like and the type of voice they want to hear.

AD Directors, Managers, decision makers in general, it’s time to retire the excuses;
“we don’t have anyone on our team.”
“We had such a tight deadline to produce this track”
“We don’t know where to find qualified talent”
All of these excuses just represent the problem. It’s time for you to expand your network, recruit talent and be aware and prepared.

I’ve seen people find qualified voice talent … open your networks, they’re out here.

AD professionals, you have a choice.
If you’re aware of the inequity and say you want to see the change, well, recognize your power.


I find it really hard to believe that you don’t recognize when you’re not right for the project. Rather than finding a way to personally justify that with yourself, why not use your influence to suggest that someone else is hired for the position? Perhaps it’s someone you know and recommend, but in general, speaking up about the subject, being an ally, well that’s powerful.

— “You will not replace us” Chants of Alt Right Mob.

Is this call for equitable representation threatening?

When it comes to the voice of the narrator on films that are culturally specific, we’re talking about a small piece of the pie. The total number of films and television shows that are focused on BIPOC stories is still a fraction of the total films made today.

White narrators get plenty of work. I don’t see any reason for them to feel threatened by these comments.

This issue is just one part of a much bigger problem.
It goes beyond films like Black Panther or In the Heights. Shows like Insecure. It goes beyond the voice. It’s about the visibility of Black and other people of color

That’s seeing and acknowledging color on screen and stage. It’s recognizing that Blind and Low Vision includes people of color.


If you’re assigned to a project, recognize your limitations and ask for help, seek the proper input or suggest that you’re not right for the job.

We don’t need color blind writers.

No silly, I’m not talking about those who can’t see red green or blue, but rather black and brown.

It’s one thing to see Black and brown people when we’re in the majority. At that point, I guess you can’t help it, right?

What about the other films that have a so called diverse cast and include BIPOC characters. The lack of audio description erases them from the Blind consumers screen; rendering people of color invisible.

For Black people and others of color, striving to be seen, heard and in general represented takes place in all aspects of life. What we experience in audio description isn’t unique, it’s a part of that systemic problem that persists throughout society. We can’t wait for it to be resolved outside of audio description and then trickle down. Why not do what we can to address these underlying issues that we’ve all inherited. At the very least acknowledge their existence and commit to doing better.

That’s what this episode is all about today. Doing better…

Music begins, a dramatic piano riff leads into a strong steady beat.

I reached out to some people who I know feel strongly about this issue. Audio description providers who already commit to this idea fully. The Social Audio Description Team who I featured here on the podcast last year.

Together, we’re drafting a pledge that we will invite everyone to sign. That is, everyone who believes in making audio description a representative, equitable and fair space. Those who want to truly see the world in all of its beautiful identities, shapes, sizes, abilities, ….

Do I think a pledge will resolve this? Not necessarily. Right now, I’m interested in eliminating the excuses. We’re in 2022, if you’re not interested in the proper representation of people of color then be firm in your stance and say that.

Don’t tell the community you’re for something while your actions say otherwise.

If you’re in support, raise your volume. I’m talking to consumers as well as AD professionals.

— From Judas and the Black Messiah:
“The whole neighborhood came out. Pushers, grannies, Crowns”
Fred Hampton:
Anywhere there’s people, there’s power”


I’m hoping to have this pledge published shortly and plan to report back to you. I’ll definitely link to the pledge from ReidMyMind .com and share on my social media pages; Facebook and Instagram @ReidMyMindRadio and
Twitter that’s @tsreid.

Join me in pledging to make audio description or our little microcosm of the world into an example of what we want this place to be. We can’t wait for the rest of them.

In the meantime, according to Ann Sur Fonne, she’s been putting me in position to meet people who want to see audio description recognized for the art it is. People ready and willing to help make AD better for all. People you’re going to meet in this upcoming season of Flipping the Script on Audio Description.
We’re talking:
AD in the lab; Creative approach or Compliance – do we have to choose?
Blind AD professionals, stand up, ya better recognize!
Get some AD to describe this outfit… Blind people are fly too!
And get ready, I’m bringing you La Professora…

The Flipping the Script on Audio Description season kicks-off Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Come rock with Reid My Mind Radio wherever you get podcasts.
We have transcripts and more at
Just remember, that’s R to the E I D!
(“D! And that’s me in the place to be.” Slick Rick)
Ann Sur Fonne:
“Oh, like your last name Thomas!”

— Reid My Mind Radio outro

Hide the transcript

Flipping the Script on Audio Description

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

When it comes to Audio Description, are we listening between the lines? There’s so much more to AD than what we hear. So, today on the podcast, we’re going to expand who we actually hear from on the topic. There are the “experts” but there are plenty more with something really valuable to contribute. Like, Alejandra Ospina, Liz Thomson & Chanelle Carson who share their expertise on the subject.
Sometimes you just have to Flip the Script to hear what’s on the other side!

Plus I’ll introduce you to someone from the other side who I’ve been turning to when I need a bit of help! Or maybe I really do just need some help!



Alejandra Ospina
Disability Visibility: First Person Stories From the 21st Century


Show the transcript

Sound of Vocal booth closing.


Geez, this idea of trying to open the podcast with something different or catchy is just starting to get to be too much.

If only I had help. If only I had help, If only I …

Sound of Dream Harp!

The Great Kazoo:

(Yawning!) You called?

TR in dream sequence:

Yes, oh great Kazoo. Didn’t you hear me calling you?

The Great Kazoo:

When? Of course not I’ve been sleeping.


Bruh! Isn’t that your job. To be there to look out for a brother.

The Great Kazoo:

My dear fellow, I’m not only undependable, but I’m a bit of a Kook… That’s why I’m hear remember I’m being punished.


Really, punished? You act like I call you that often. It’s been a minute since I actually needed your help Bruh. Plus I looked out for you that last time. I sent a very nice email to your supervisor.

The Great Kazoo:

Why don’t you try counting on yourself.


Oh, it’s like that son? Aight, forget you. I’ll just do the regular intro myself with you, nahmean!

Drop the beat!

Music begins with a Hip Hop Kick drum & bass.

What’s up Reid My Mind Radio Family! My name is Thomas Reid. I’m the host and producer of this podcast featuring compelling people impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability. I should clarify that a bit because I think it may get lost. People impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability? This includes all those experiencing disability directly. A person new to blindness for example. But it also includes their family members and friends. The teachers of the visually impaired, O&M & Rehab instructors who teach the white cane for example or other daily living skills. There are also those in supporting industries from technology, accessibility & of course Audio Description. I consider all of this to be summarized by impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability. For the record, I think our entire society is all impacted by disability, but we don’t all happen to realize that or even feel that way. But don’t worry y’all eventually they’ll catch up with us. That’s on them. So let us just keep doing our thing!

The Great Kazoo:

(Yawning) Oh look, I don’t wish to stay here forever. And since I am supposed to serve you I will try. But take heed, don’t ask for more than you can handle, you may get it.

Sound of reversing Dream Harp…


Maybe I don’t need help. I think I have an idea after all.

The Great Kazoo:

(Yawning…) Well, see you tomorrow. Maybe. Laughs. Sound effects signaling his disappearance.)

Audio: Reid My Mind Theme Music


Today I’m bringing you excerpts of some conversations I had over the past few months with multiple Audio Describers. Specifically writers and narrators, each bringing their own perspective and background.

AD is still new. There’s no one “right” way. With there being so much more to Audio Description than what we hear, it’s past time we hear from a more inclusive set of people involved in the process.

So, this is the first in a series I’m calling Flipping the Script on Audio Description. You know, sometimes you just need to hear from another side.

Now let me introduce you to my guests.

My name is Alejandra (American English accented) or Alejandra Ospina depending on your audience.


That’s what I’m saying! The Reid My Mind Radio Family like our world is diverse. And that’s how we roll!

(Music begins)


My business cards have a long list of things, but I like to consolidate it into what I’m calling a Media Accessibility Provider. I do Close Captioning and I do transcription and I do translation and Audio Description and so I like to imagine the things I’m doing all sort of promote access to content. I don’t consider myself as often a content creator but I like to facilitate people getting to see or hear or know what they’re watching.


That makes me think Alejandra’s introduction to media access is personal.


Having close friends and chosen family members that are visually impaired and I’ve spent a lot of time describing things for them so it sort of was a natural progression.

Related sort of anecdotally growing up as the primary English speaker in a Spanish speaking family I spent a lot of time explaining things to so the concept of explaining comes naturally to me.


That sort of hits home for me. My mom played that role for much of her family. One thing I know is that can be a great way to develop an advocate’s spirit.


I was one of those folks that got on my high horse which isn’t very high, about having people on social media describe images and photos that they post. So I spent a lot of time in the last five years gently shaming or encouraging people to describe the things they post on social media and over time that has caught the attention of folks in disability community and communities of people that are doing this kind of work. And it was sort of a natural progression.


Next, one of the first Describers to provide a visual description of themselves. This prompted me to not only begin asking other describers to do the same but really to think about incorporating that going forward with all interviews.

Here’s Liz Thomson, who is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Disability Studies.


(Spelling her name)
Liz Thomson. I would visually describe myself as a dark skin 5 foot 2 person with black eyes and black rimmed glasses. Currently I have a mostly shaved head with a band of 2 inch short black hair. I identify as someone who is disabled, also bisexual and queer. A Vietnamese adoptee. Mostly grown up and worked in the mid-west. I use they, them they’re pronouns.


you can say Liz had a fast tracked introduction to AD. Learning of it and experience it all in the same evening.


One of my good friends who is Low Vision, he invited me to go to a Disability Cultural Program. At the very beginning of the program they ask if anyone needed headsets for Audio Description. He’s used to that and I think he typically takes advantage of that accommodation, but I had never heard of that. And so I was like hey you know I’ll try it out. So I got my headset. I believe this was kind of like an open mic performance.


It included things like poetry, dance or movement and other artistic expression. probably not the most traditional first experience with Audio Description.


So that really got me hooked!


My name is Chanelle Carson. I am a Freelance Audio Describer out of Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m also the Senior Audio Describer at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas.

I’ve been working with the Smith Center for actually 8 years now. About 4, 5 years ago actually, during one of our pre shifts they just asked if anyone was interested in learning how to do Audio Description.

At the time I was 22 just out of college. I had been studying film with a focus on screen writing, I was thinking oh, this sounds like it’s right up my alley. I’m a writer and at the time I was very interested in learning how to do voice acting.

Didn’t hear anything for a few months then they sent me and another woman off to get trained at Joel Snyder’s Audio Description seminar.

[TR in conversation with Chanelle:]

Was it kind of hard to take what you learned and go right into the live stuff?


Oh yeh! It was extremely difficult going from the training to doing live theater because the training was so heavily focused on TV and film that sure the basic stuff like;
Don’t talk over the dialog, Blind people aren’t idiots – don’t worry about being too tender or politically correct with your description. What you see you describe.

Of course with TV and film when you’re doing description for that you have the lovely pause button. You don’t necessarily have that for live theater.

(Music ends!)

You can’t go hey guys I screwed up can we go back. (Laughs along with TR) So it’s very much having to learn how to do things on the fly.


Like Chanelle, Liz too completed the ACB AD Training. Similarly, the application was less about TV and film.


I’ve done photography ever since I was in middle school. I did photo journalism at my high school newspaper, in college. As a photo journalist I was realizing I wasn’t adding Alt Text. I wasn’t adding description in my captions to make it kind of more integrated. I would add a caption but I wouldn’t add that photo description.

Today, Liz can take up to 25 minutes crafting an image description when preparing to upload.


Sometimes people are like how can you do that? Do the in their eyes the extra time and labor to do the Audio Description. My response now is how can you afford to not.


Even if you put aside making the world a more accessible place for all (boring!) there are some real benefits:


It makes me look at my images more closely. It makes me reflect a lot more on images that I shot.


That reflection could lead to a better understanding beyond the pixels. Photography biases for example.

Not taking images of people with disabilities. Taking more images of cisgender men.


It’s not just about description – Liz is thoughtful about phrasing.


Language is also fluid and socially constructed and also has different meanings over generations and time. Like modern and traditional. Well that means something very different now than it did in 1940.

My first draft will be one way and then I’ll look at it later on in the day and then I’ll change it. If I say something like traditional, then I have to ask myself well what do I mean and also what did I really see.

It’s about writing and saying what you saw.

(Music begins)


In addition to learning the sort of standard ways that one is meant to do Audio Description for video for things like Netflix and Amazon, I’ve also been thrown into the world of how do you break that open and describe differently in ways that are actually respecting the culture, respecting the art. becoming part of the art and not just being tacked on after the fact because somebody does not want to get in trouble for not providing access.


I find it very empowering to see a lot of that pushing of the boundaries around Audio Description coming from the disability community.

It’s no surprise that Alejandra has worked with Alice Sheppard and laurel Lawson who we featured here on the podcast. All sharing this way of looking at Audio Description as more than an access accommodation.


I don’t have a specific background in writing, but I have a specific background in wanting to be right!
[TR in conversation with Alejandra:]

Hmm , hmmm! I like that. (Laughs)



Given that I have a personal investment with my community and the people that I care about


That’s the Disability community. When you’re connected like that it’s more than a job.

For the record, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it being a job that you perform professionally.


I have AD on for almost everything that I watch as well as captions. And there have been so many times where I’m like you know that’s not right, I don’t like that.


Word selection, maybe failure to fully describe what was on screen…


We both know that a lot of it is in the timing. And again it’s because AD is added on after the fact. There’s some really interesting things that I’ve been able to consult with

I did a live Audio Description for a panel sponsored by the New York University Center for Disability Studies. it featured the short films of a film maker named Jordan Lord. They create autobiographical films but the AD is baked into the narration. It’s written in sort of a prose style and the shots sort of follow as it’s written. So it’s not something that you have to add on after the fact. The filming is informed by what the film maker has written. And it’s very interesting. I think more films should be made that way.

(Music slowly fades to silence.)

[TR in conversation with Liz:]

have you always identified as disabled?


No, I haven’t. Four or five years ago I was in the Disability Studies program, another student was talking about her letter of accommodation and her relationship to disability and her own disability identity. She also had mental health issues and mental health things and I was like oh my God like I’m also part of this community and I didn’t even know.

[TR in conversation with Liz:]

How do those identities impact how you write description.


I don’t think people are talking about this, the identity of the describer or the person who does the voice, who writes it. They’ve made a huge impact on how I think about Audio Description and describe.


While working on an art gallery project, Liz and a colleague each drafted what they refer to as positionality statements. This included their bio’s and a statement about how they became involved in description.


If you’re going to read a book, you might want to know a little bit about the author. You don’t have to.

We are not in a post racial world. I think it’s very important and necessary to know if you’re in an art gallery or theater you definitely need to know who’s writing that book or that script or who’s doing the painting, where they’re coming from.


Liz who completed the ACB Audio Description project training, refers to one of the lessons taught.


In Snyder’s training even in his book, I don’t know about other people’s training and workshops but there’s about two sentences about race and that’s about it.

Basically, just to kind of paraphrase it says to describe race if it’s important.


The guideline refers to importance in regards to the movie’s plot. But like Liz says:

I would offer that it’s always important.


It’s especially important to those who are marginalized . those who have been under or misrepresented on and behind the camera. Important to those who care about equity & justice. Important to those who want to see the real world which includes so much more than just white men. (My words, not Liz)

Important is subjective. So who should make the determination when it comes to consuming content?

I propose the consumer. In order to do that, Blind consumers need that information.


If you are describing race you need to do it for all the people or all the characters not just the people of color because otherwise it centers whiteness. So I agree with that. What I’ve experienced though, race is not described. Even in for example, Black Panther or in some movies or TV shows that is predominantly people of color.


Traveling Broadway shows, they are so white. (Laughs) I’ll be the first to admit and I am about as white as you can get. Thank God more recently we have had a lot more diversity in shows.

(DJ Scratch… Music begins)

Hamilton is like the perfect example of this. Also Hades Town more recently.

I will absolutely go out of my way to make sure to point out that there are Black actors, Hispanic actors, Asian actors in a show just because I really want to celebrate the diversity of these shows going forward. I’ll do the same thing when I’m doing Circe Sol as well. The audience will always be very diverse as well so it’s great for someone who may not be sighted or may be Low Vision to be able to imagine themselves within that person in the show.


And if we’re going to change the way we think about race & privilege it’s just as important that non people of color also see and acknowledge & respect this diversity.

Like the saying goes, things are rarely black and white. There’s lots of shade in between. Those shades are important and often reveal other stories.


If I do distinguish between someone who might be light or medium or dark skin, is that perpetuating colorism? I don’t want to perpetuate colorism. On the other side, probably when people in TV or film make casting decisions they are making decisions like that. Unfortunately!


Colorism or the practice of favoritism towards those with lighter skin has its roots in slavery and white supremacy. It’s not exclusive to the US or to African Americans but rather throughout communities of color.

Acknowledging a person’s color as description does not perpetuate colorism. A Blind viewer Wanting descriptive information about a person doesn’t make them a racist. Including editorial such as the prettier or menacing followed by color or racial identification, well that’s another story. It’s going beyond what’s required for Audio Description and providing opinion or analysis – which is the responsibility of the consumer alone.

Alejandra brings up an interesting point around identity.


I’m Hispanic, but I have a lot of experience code switching and ultimately being very white passing, both in my physical appearance and in my voice. And whether or not I realize it or admit it in different situations that’s opened different doors for me.


And yet…


The two things are very separate, AD script writing and AD Voicing, but I’ve done some AD script writing for some Netflix shows as a contractor. Not particularly things that I found super exciting but they needed somebody to write a script and then I didn’t get to voice those things because AD Voice work is like any kind of performance and acting work, they sort of have to want you for the part.

I think it’s important for the voicing of Audio Description to match the tone and the content and the intention of the work. And I don’t see that happening. Not very often anyway.


And then, there’s physical access for the creation of accessible digital content

(Music ends)

At a practical level, places that are doing audio production, voice recording and audio books, even our local library that handles recording for the NLS, booths are tight. Wheel chairs are not. This is not an experience that these places generally have. They’re not generally expecting a wheelchair user to come in to record and it’s unfortunately like everywhere else I’ve had to have this discussion. Yes, I use a wheelchair, yes we’re going to have to make adjustments to booths so I can get inside, you can just barely squeeze into the booth and you need space to do these things.

And I’m also very interested in Spanish language content AD as well because there’s not as much of it.


This raises the question of non-English access in general. Something I fail to personally remember on my own when thinking about access.

Each studio sometimes has their own rules of stuff that you can or cannot say. You can’t say that they point a weapon at someone. You can’t refer to anatomy in certain cases like you can’t say chest you can’t say butt!


I’ve heard this about Disney. At first, you may think well, Disney produces a lot of content for children. So they’re being sensitive to the viewer. But remember, it’s on screen. And it’s not just Disney.

It’s not just the censorship that annoys me, but even in terms of researching this, we’d need sighted help.


If we as describers similar to people who do interpretation with like ASL, if someone swears, the interpreter should interpret that. I think the captioner should caption that. Because that’s what the person said. So similar to Audio Description, I think we also have that obligation.


Whatever the medium, television & film, live theater, video games, museums, art galleries and yes, you too right now uploading your images and videos to social media – getting all of these content creators to know and think about Audio Description needs to be a goal.

The benefits of AD extend further than the consumer. We all win!


Regardless of what I’m watching now if it’s a TV show if it’s a movie if it’s another stage show, I find myself kind of mentally describing it like I would do it for an actual performance. So it’s very much changed my view point of media in general.


I know I’ve heard some conversation around what qualifies someone as an AD professional. A specific number of training hours? Certification perhaps?

(Music begins)


Here’s the thing.

There are many folks who do this work because they have particular kinds of voices. Because they can crank it out because they’re smooth and more power to them.

I just am not that kind of describer because I have a very particular investment in my community and in the work that I am producing and that doesn’t mean that other folks aren’t doing high quality work. It’s just that what is informing their work is very different.


For an example of what’s informing her work, you can hear Alejandra narrating Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility: First Person Stories From the 21st Century right now on Audible. The book is available on Amazon and other outlets and it’s Alice y’all so it’s in a variety of formats because Access is love!

Alejandra does a great job narrating and I highly recommend the audio book.

Shout out to all of my guests for taking the time to speak with me;
Alejandra Ospina (Spanish accented pronunciation)
Available at that’s S U P E R A L E J A. O R G
The site Includes links to all social media.

Liz Thomson and Chanelle Carson.

You can find both on Facebook especially in the Audio description discussion group

Sound of News Breaking Segment…

This just in, it’s official! You are all a part of the Reid My Mind Radio Family!

I have a couple more episodes that I’m including in this Flipping the Script on Audio Description series. I’m not publishing them back to back so if you’re interested in the subject and want to make sure you don’t miss the next installment, please allow me to make a suggestion.

Subscribe wherever you get podcasts!
Transcripts & more are over at And yes, that’s R to the E I D
(Audio: “D and that’s me in the place to be” Slick Rick)

Like my last name.

Audio from The Flintstones:

Barney Rubble:

Do you think he’ll be back?

Fred Flintstone:

I don’t know Barn. Might be better if he wasn’t. Look at all the trouble he caused us.

Audio: Reid My Mind Outro


Flintstones continues…
Barney Rubble:

He caused us or we’ve caused us? I wonder which it really is. Augh, I think he’ll be back.

Fred Flintstone:

Ah, looks that way. Goodnight, Barn.

Barney Rubble:

Goodnight Fred.

Hide the transcript

Superfest Disability Film festival: Going Above & Beyond

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Superfest Disability Film Festival Logo

When the Covid 19 Pandemic forced a shutdown, some people and organizations were in the position to really step up in different ways. Cathy Kudlick & Emily Beitiks from the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability home to The Superfest Film Festival are among this group.

In this episode we’re discussing the history of Superfest and more including:
* Providing online content for an underserved community during the Pandemic
* Defining 101 vs. 201 Disability Films
* Creating a template for Accessible Film Festivals
And of course More on what you can expect from Superfest 2020 on October 17 & 18, 2020. Plus, join me on a quick journey “Back in the Day “through my own movie experience over the years.




Show the transcript

Audio: Record player static… “Back in the Day” Instrumental, Ahmad


Every now and then I like to tell my kids about my experience growing up. It puts things into a perspective. At least that’s my intent. They usually just make fun of me.

I tell them how as a young child growing up in the 70’s we used to get dressed up to go to the movies. I mean actually put on our good clothes. For me that meant dress pants which more than likely was polyester. Hard bottom shoes and dress shirts or sweaters.


Movies were an experience.

Over the years that experience changed. By the early 80’s, I didn’t get dressed up and go downtown with my family, we now had a local theater. I could go with my friends, choose my own clothes. At first that was during the day time, but then as I got a bit older and a new multiplex theater was built in the borough, we all traveled there on Friday and Saturday nights.

Audio: Krush Groove Movie Trailer…

RIP, to the Whitestone Theater in the Bronx!

The experience continued to change. I changed as well. I began to prefer going to the movies during the day again. Eventually with my own family.

For a few years, I stopped going to the movies altogether. That was when I could no longer see the screen. I didn’t return until a theater about 30 minutes away from my home began offering Audio Description. That process wasn’t very smooth at first, but it did get better.

Now I’m back to my family trying to tell me what to wear.

Today, Covid 19 has obviously made adaptation a requirement for just about everything in our society. As we’ve seen, these adaptations paired with accessibility can equal opportunity. It’s not permanent, we know experiences evolve. When it’s inclusive, well I think that’s a good thing!

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with my sweat-shirts!

I’m Thomas Reid, your host and producer!
You’re rockin’ with Reid My Mind Radio!

Audio: Reid My Mind Theme Music


My name is Cathy kudlick and I’m Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. I should spell out Longmore because so many people here it as lawn mower, but it’s Longmore. It’s a disability cultural center. We try to kind of get people to think about disability in new and creative and innovative ways.

I’m a History professor in addition to my role as Director at the Longmore Institute and I teach Disability History among other things and I come at this largely as somebody who grew up with a serious vision impairment and was in complete denial through much of my life trying to pass and pretend and all of those things and then a random encounter with somebody and then started to read more about blindness tuff and disability stuff and all of that led to kind of start to say hey there’s nothing to be ashamed of here so why not embrace what’s really cool about this and think about it in new ways.


Thinking about disability in new ways. We’re going to come back to that.

If you’ve been riding with Reid My Mind Radio, you’re probably thinking we’re about to dive into Cathy’s journey. It’s obvious, Cathy’s story falls in line with this podcast’s mission. Well, for now that’s not the case. She has however, agreed to come back to share her story on a future episode.

Today’s episode is all about the…

(Audio: “Super, Super Super, from Super Rhymes by Jimmy Spicer)

Superfest Disability Film Festival.

Also here to take us through the festival is Emily Beitiks the Associate Director at the Longmore Institute on Disability.


I’m the Coordinator of Superfest. I work with the film makers each year to help them audio describe their films and work with the audience each year as we kind of learn from them what works what doesn’t work and bring Superfest into other arenas to kind of broaden the reach of where our films are seen and introducing people to audio description for the first time when I do school assemblies or go to libraries or not your traditional Superfest audience. I’m a non-Disabled accomplice in this world. My mom had a disability since before I was born so I’ve been really passionate about bringing my own experiences kind of straddling both worlds experiencing disability discrimination and also participating in it as being a non-disabled person.


Let’s start with a bit of history.


Superfest was started in Southern California in Los Angeles in 1970. It switched hands to various organizations over the years and migrated up to the Bay area where it was run for many years by Culture Disability Talent. It was a really well loved grass roots effort volunteer lead.

Running an event like this solely with volunteers can be a challenge. In 2012, Superfest found a new home with The Paul K Longmore Institute on Disabilities and The San Francisco Lighthouse.


It was just kind of a very exciting match because the Longmore Institute was just getting started in a new sort of way as our founder Paul Longmore had passed away and Cathy had come on as Director and Lighthouse was a really established organization but focusing more on direct services and was interested to kind of push their boundaries by doing some more cultural programming.

We partnered up and ran Superfest for the past seven years.


The festival, which originally was not an annual event, is now headed into its 34th year. This will be the first time it’s solely run by the Longmore Institute, as the Lighthouse leadership decided to focus on other programming.


We were really lucky to have that partnership with Lighthouse for many years because they just had a sort of organizational structure for like getting the bills paid and the reservations booked that moved a lot faster than we were capable of when we were just getting started. We’re really lucky that they waited and gave us a lot of warning because now we’ve been up and running for some time and we’re ready to run the ship by ourselves.


The other thing that kind of got thrown into this that makes it less hard to measure what the big change is you know with Covid how much of this is ultimately going to be online anyway. We’re still trying to decide. We don’t quite know if the venues we want to have it at in mid-October are going to be open and ready and all that. So it’s hard to measure exactly what a new Superfest without Lighthouse is going to be like.


Fortunately, Superfest in October won’t be their first go at managing events online.


For the last few years, we do an annual event called the Longmore Lecture in Disability Studies and we had started to experiment with using Zoom to live stream that event to be able to bring it to people that by nature of their disabilities they couldn’t come or geographically they couldn’t come in person. When shelter in place hit and we’re here in San Francisco which is one of the first places in the country that got the official lockdown, we kind of saw it as a real opportunity, we’re like oh, we can do online programming. We’ve had experience with this and we could figure out how to bring it to a festival environment.

The challenge in presenting films online is the threat of pirating.

Audio: Scene from Pirates of the Caribbean”

“You are without doubt, the worse Pirate I’ve ever heard of.”

Jack Sparrow: “But you have heard of me”


But I knew I’d worked with enough film makers over the years who I could reach out to that their primary mission was just for people to see their films. So the risk of possibly somebody making an illegal recording was just not as big of a concern. The more people that see this film the better.


Some of the films included work from Reid My Mind Radio family members Cheryl Green & Day Al-Mohammed.


People really need this right now. People are cut off from their community and at the same moment that there’s so much hurtful and ablest rhetoric circulating around disability. And so to be able to spend an evening or an afternoon watching some disability films it also really brings people together and celebrate disability and get at the nuances of life with a disability that certainly the mainstream media doesn’t always get, just felt like a really important possibility.


My initial interest in featuring Superfest here on the podcast began with access. I was really impressed with the way they just for me at least, appeared to come out of nowhere and start providing content for the disability community. The way they do access; not only did I feel included, but knowing others were also able to participate just felt like something I should share with the Reid My Mind Radio family.

I wasn’t the only one reacting.


One person was like I’ve never been able to participate in any sort of film festival in my life because I spend most of my time in the bed. They said this was just incredible to get to be part of this. Another one that stood out was a guy who stayed up super late to watch in Kenya with a group of friends and was like that was absolutely worth staying up for. Now I have a group of friends and we’re going to watch all your programs. And he certainly has.

So just being able to bring this program to people that don’t have what we have in the Bay area has been really exciting.


Emily thought to do another really cool one which was Superfest Kids which was kind of a nice home schooling moment I guess, with disability awareness and it was all geared towards kids. How many people did we have on that one? Do you remember?


We had about 150. A number of people were like my kids are supposed to be on a Zoom call with their class right now but this is a more important lesson.


A lesson that more of us need no matter our age.

For the unfamiliar, the idea of a disability film is something like;


Oh Disabled people are people too and isn’t it great that they’re there and this is a positive happy uplifting story. It’s not a depressing one whatever. Those are fine, but we highlight what we think is disability 201 – films that share the creativity and the ingenuity or the unexpectedness or the intersections of disability with other kinds of identities.


Identities like race, gender, sexuality

Considering the idea of Disability 101 versus 201, you may think those new to disability should begin sequentially. Cathy however doesn’t see it that way.


I would say go to Superfest right away because if you’ve even thought about disability for five seconds or anybody around you has thought about it, chances are they’ve seen some version. It’s usually some films by a family member or friend that just thinks wow you know it’s really great that so and so with fill in the disability and then fill in what they did. They either traveled somewhere or they climbed a mountain or they went to school.


The 101 or 201 classification isn’t about good or bad. The distinguishing factor between the two is 101 films aren’t often made with disabled people in mind.


We want people to sort of think about disability as experimental and as interesting and as passionate and not just as yet another feel good story about somebody climbing a mountain because they started to be more comfortable with their disability or they needed to prove themselves. We want to ask them to think about well what happens when that person comes down from the mountain. What’s their life like after that?


That’s another difference. The 101 films feature a single disability experience.

But the 201 version would have them speaking to other disabled people and kind of bonding. There would be some sort of connection and some sort of excitement and engagement. It’s not just like one person being show cased all by themselves.

It might be that they have a quirky view on things and they change the thinking of other disabled people or they changed the thinking of people around them to give an unexpected perspective on the world around them.


The 201 films like Superfest, really center disabled people. And at the end of the day, as Emily explains, the goal is pretty simple.


We’re just trying to not have them be bored. Even if you are new to finding your disability identity, typically a 201 film can just go a lot farther with pushing people’s buttons and thinking like wow, there’s this whole world of thinking about disability that I haven’t seen before.

A few years back we came up with a list that we kind of think of 10 things that define disability 201 and what Superfest is all about. Things you’re going to find at Superfest that you’re not going to find anywhere else.


These are things like;
People with disabilities as the main characters
Intersectionality – people with disabilities aren’t just white men as often portrayed in movies. So at Superfest, you’ll see representation from Black, Latinex, and LGBT people with disabilities.

I’ll include a link to these ten categories on this episodes blog post at

At Superfest, all screenings include open Audio Description. So unlike when you attend a film at your local theater and you request the headset and receiver to privately stream the audio description, these films have the description streaming with the main audio. As Cathy notes, this does require some introduction for an audience unfamiliar with AD.


You’re going to hear this and you’re not used to it. Think about it as a new way of watching films. I’ve often thought of it as in that context of when they introduced talking to silent films. It’s another layer that people weren’t ready for and then suddenly like woh this is very new. The problem with that though is it can be sensory overload for people that have processing or cognitive stuff going on


A challenge of producing a film festival like Superfest is the idea that creating access for one group of people may unintentionally exclude another group.

For example, Emily talked about a film called To Be or not To Be. It featured a young man with Cerebral Palsy in Kazakhstan. The film which was in Russian, required translation. For sighted users, printed sub titles along the bottom portion of the screen will do the trick. Blind viewers require over dubbing.


The focus of the film is really his incredible acting abilities. In making it accessible to the Blind we were then losing hearing this actor with CP and his own voice telling his own life story. So it was a really tough example of like a competing accommodation of wanting to bring access to the Blind but not wanting to lose this man’s voice.


This particular film worked out because it had enough quiet space that the description and dubbing was staggered to allow the actors voice to be heard. For this very reason, Superfest now determines which films are better suited for open description but offers closed description for others.


So much of our work is working with these film makers to teach them, think about the problem and have tough conversations as we do it so that hopefully people are thinking about it in advance of making their films.
[TR in conversation with Emily:]

So what is that process like, of teaching the film makers?


Well, when they apply to participate in Superfest, there’s a requirement box that they have to check that says that they’ll get their films captioned and audio described.


Most of those who apply are in agreement with this philosophy. In some cases especially for independent film makers, the cost of captioning and describing, while small in comparison to other production costs, can present a challenge.


A lot of our film makers are able to get it done. Other times we have to work and get creative about finding funds ourselves to be able to cover those expenses or find funders that are willing to do it for them. With each film kind of think it through with the film makers and sort of talk through the strategies.


Funding is just one of the challenges. Some films may just be packed with dialog and visuals leaving little space or no space for description. Emily and Cathy explain how one such instance was managed and how the result can be a win for all involved.


And so we were like we’re going to just have to add pauses to the film to do this right and get some of that Audio Description in. There were going to be visuals that like everyone in the crowd who was sighted was going to laugh at that and we didn’t want to risk that people would not get to experience those jokes. And so we built in those pauses and I think this film maker was super up for it.


You know when audio description’s done badly it’s horrible, it’s like suffocating on something that’s beautiful and something that’s not. But when it’s done well it kind of coaxes out some great stuff that’s already in there and enhances it. So she got somebody to audio describe the film that had the same snarky tone that the images did. So it totally enhanced the images for everybody.


We’re introducing it to them for the first time but we’re also really trying to empower them to be advocates for what the final product is and be like you know your film best. You know if that visual right there matters or if that was just some B roll you needed to fill the shot. The more active that they can be in the audio description process if they do outsource, the better the results have been.


To me that’s the dream of a Superfest audio description experience where the film maker says woh this made my film better!


Currently, English and American Sign Language (ASL) are the only supported languages. However, an online festival offering multiple links for various languages would simplify the process in comparison to a live physical audience.

Getting that audience whether in person or not takes work.


Shout out to our wonderful student assistants. Every time we have an event they get an email from me like okay, here’s the audience for this one, think of everybody you can and send them this email. We have like a big list of disability organizations all across the country, but then with each one we’re like who can we reach that would not have any interest in attending a disability film festival but because of this new sort of twist on it right, might be interested.


Selecting the students, or Longmore fellows, as Cathy refers to them is not about finding interns to get the job done.


We try to hire as many students with disabilities and put them in the majority as our kind of student workers but also we’re educating them and bringing them into community with each other about new ideas around disability.


The students are experiencing the mission of Superfest, advocacy, education and community building. All done through the phase one judging of the films.


It’s almost like a class but we get paid internships for students with disabilities to come and basically watch like 190 – 200 films and have to Weddle it down to like 10 or 15. And we teach them and they teach each other and they become advocates and learn about representation of disability and all these things by working together.


Both Cathy and Emily lead the interns in discussions about the films. With each of the students coming to disability from different angles as you can imagine, the conversations are rich and engaging.

For more on Superfest jurors, check out episode 76 of Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility Podcast. I’ll hook you up with that link on

While much of the world got caught flat footed during the pandemic, we see how the team at Superfest was in a position to quickly respond.


We have always evolved with new twists and turns each year.

Emily & Cathy:
There’s always something!


The BART Station right by the venue was down. We created a bus bridge to another BART station. We found out like that morning at the festival.


One year we arrived at one of our venues and the night before they had painted a wall like right outside the entrance to our auditorium. So the fumes were going to be a serious problem for anyone with chemical sensitivity. We’re like, alright great let’s figure it out. We’re going to get some fans in here. We’re going to reroute and everyone’s going to enter through the back.

We’ve been giving advice to some of the other film festivals not just disability film festivals but film festivals period with how to do online programming. I think that’s a great example of like when you’re in the disability community you’re used to things not being made for you because of ableism. That gives you this adaptability and flexibility and like our festival has that spirit.


The Superfest Film Festival will take place on October 17 & 18, 2020.

With 15 films all falling within the range that Superfest aims to include.


Different disabilities featured, a mixture of documentaries that look at some of the honest hardships of life with a disability and others that are light and hilarious and really get at some of the funniest moments insider humor inside the disability community. A lot of really incredible artistic films that explore the beauty that comes with disabled bodies and disabled dance movement.


This year’s set of films consist of 14 short and 1 feature film.


Called God Given Talent that explores a local Oakland based artist who’s Black and Blind. Really looking forward to sharing that more local story.


And yes, you are going to hear more about that particular artist in an upcoming episode right here on the podcast.

For more on the films included in this year’s Superfest lineup visit
You can learn more about the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at
They’re on Twitter @LongmoreInst and Facebook
Or, just check out this episodes blog post at for all the links.

Superfest sounds like much more than a film festival. In fact, I see it as a resource for those adjusting to blindness.

Chances are those new to blindness or disability in general haven’t spent much time critically thinking about disability. Being new to the experience is an opportunity to examine all that’s been accumulating in the sub conscious over the years. The films featured in Superfest encourage us to move our thinking about disability to a conscious level.

Take a look at the list of 10 things defining the 201 films and Superfest. They resemble some of what I’ve been learning along this journey of adjusting to blindness. Like;
* Recognizing the various ways disability intersects with other identities
* Exploring disability as a political and social issue, not just medical
* Seeing ourselves throughout all aspects of society and finding friendships within the community.

In fact, now that I think about it, Superfest sort of reminds me of how I feel about this podcast.


People need to know about this. it’s just such a great opportunity and it’s kind of great that it’s gone under the radar for so many people for so many years but on the other hand it just would be so great to have it be really, really well known. It’s so beloved and people are so excited about it and every year people come and they’re just like woh, we never thought of this. This is so amazing.


I’m just sayin’!

While I’m looking forward to Superfest being online this year because I personally get to attend, I know there’s no replacement for that in person experience. I look forward to one day being able to participate in person. I get the sense that it could be a similar experience to my first blindness conference. That sense of belonging or community.

Audio: It’s Official…

Cathy Kudlick…
Emily Beitiks…
And Superfest…

Its official! You know you’re part of the Reid My Mind Radio family!

Come hang out with yours truly and the rest of the cool kids watching some fun, interesting and thought provoking films. Head over to to check out the lineup and grab your ticket. Don’t forget the snacks and drinks. (You gotta have the snacks and drinks.)

Subscribe wherever you get podcasts!
Transcripts & more are over at And yes, that’s R to the E I D
(Audio: “D and that’s me in the place to be” Slick Rick)

Like my last name.

Audio: Reid My Mind Outro


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Ajani AJ Murray – Starting with Imagination

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

AJani AJ Murray , a Black male with short haircut & facial hair seated in a wheelchair. He wears black & white print baggie pants with a blue long sleeve hoodie with words printed in black: "Young, gifted, black and disabled."

Pursuing your passion can take you down a road filled with all sorts of obstacles. Ajani “AJ” Murray knew from an early age that he wanted to act. his first school was television which he studied intently.

His latest role is in Best Summer Ever, screening at SxSW later this month

Hear how television and movies provided much more than entertainment for him and his family. His methods for navigating the obstacles along his journey and how he’s making his own place in an industry that isn’t always welcoming. In each case, imagination was at the start.




Show the transcript

Ajani AJ Murray:

Our friend that we have in common, Cheryl green, told me about you and I’ve been listening to your podcast and I love it! It’s so dope and fresh. I’m kind of a Geek so I watch like a lot of PBS and I listen to NPR and so it reminds me of like radio documentaries. I particularly enjoyed when you were talking to Leroy about the Black History especially from the disabled perspective. I did something like that on my Insta Gram and some of my friends were like keep it coming AJ. So now you’re a resource.

Ajani Jerard Murray, a lot of people call me AJ.


And me, I’m Thomas Reid
producer and host of this podcast.

I usually reserve the opening of the episode for me to
tell you a bit about what this podcast is all about,
but as you’ll see in a minute, AJ is a media connoisseur,
so I was like man, everyone needs to hear his review.

I like to let new listeners know that here,
we bring you compelling people impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability,
told in a way that sounds

Audio: AJ “Dope” “Fresh”

And I do always hope Reid My Mind Radio can be a

Audio: AJ, “Resource”

For anyone especially those adjusting to vision loss.

And with that said, let’s do this!

Audio: Reid My Mind Radio Theme

Audio: Tom Joyner show…

I became a big fan of radio because of Tom Joyner. We went to one of his Sky shows in Atlanta and it was at Greenbrier Mall. It was the whole cast and we listened to the S.O.S Ban. From that point for about 2 or 3 years I did a mock radio show.


A youngster at the time, AJ study the format of the now retired
Tom Joyner, host of the number 1 nationally syndicated urban
(that’s code for Black) morning radio Show.
AJ created his own show which he put on for his family.


To make a long story short as I told you earlier I can really talk and go on long.

[TR in conversation with AJ:]


I kind of sort of gave up on going into radio because I realized that in mainstream FM radio you don’t really program your own shows. You’re basically playing the same music and also to get to where I really wanted to be and the kind of radio that I would do is something that you have to be in the game for years and years for, like a Tom Joyner.


AJ knew his true passion.


I’m a huge, huge fan of the screen big and small. From the time I was a very little kid I was always just enamored by the screen . I grew up on three camera sitcoms; Cosby Show, A Different World, Facts of Life, Different Strokes. As I got older there was the Fresh Prince era, the TGIF era, the Martin era, the WB era. My love for television in the very beginning was the sitcom.


Of course, there’s the big screen.


My mom loves film. When it came to film she wasn’t really restrictive on what we could watch. Now we couldn’t watch everything, there were certain films I couldn’t watch but like it was 1989 I remember actually going to see Do the Right Thing. I had to of course cover up my eyes during the Mookie ice scene.

[TR in conversation with AJ:]



Shout out to Rosie Perez!
If you don’t know the scene let’s just say Ice cubes are for more than chilling your lemonade on a hot summer day.


I appreciated that several years later.


Now, I’m from the era where parents let you ride in the front seat with no seatbelts,
where you were encouraged to leave the house and explore so
I cannot judge.
[TR in conversation with AJ:]

You know the movie Death Wish? Charles Bronson. I saw that at 6 and nobody cared (laughs) and nobody cared.

Audio: Scene from Death Wish: Knock at door and unsuspecting woman says she’ll anser it. She asks who is at the door and the intruder replies he’s delivering her groceries…


Don’t open it! He’s lying!


Fortunately, there’s a lot of good that can come from family movie outings.


That’s one of the ways we connected as a family.

[TR in conversation with AJ:]
Very cool. So it was the whole family going?

My mom and my two sisters. In my house it’s three women and me.

We’re all very very close. That’s one of the ways we bonded. Sometimes we’d listen to classical music or something really peaceful because I grew up in a very peaceful household.


Television & movies can also initiate conversations about all sorts of topics and
even ways to explore culture.

Just be careful about that last one there, we know Hollywood doesn’t always get culture right. (Ahem!)


I always had this dream of being an actor. It was something that was always looming in the back of my mind. It was always in my spirit, but I didn’t know how to physically make the connection. I couldn’t necessarily afford acting classes at the time and I wasn’t in high school at the time to be a part of an acting club.


Financial accessibility, we don’t often talk about that in our conversations around access.

AJ, made use of what was in his reach.


The screen was my classroom! Anything I could get my hands on or watch or any old interview s. I really appreciate actors that do interviews like I stay stuck on the Biography channel, on Actor’s Studio. Any time there was a documentary series about behind the scenes I’m all over it!


Screens bring their own access challenges.


when I watched re-runs of television in the 50’s and 60’s even like 20 years ago, 30 years ago, they always had like a voice over guy read everything. One of the things I always laughed at is like watching re-runs of the old Andy Griffith show. the announcer says it’s the Andy Griffin Show, starring Andy Griffin and I always laughed because I’m like didn’t he just say it’s the Andy Griffin Show.

But I realize he said that because he was reading the opening credits. Everything was announced. it really helps me as a visually impaired person.

[TR in conversation with AJ:]

People think Blindness is an on or off, so you see everything or you don’t. I know that there are real specific challenges for people with low vision when it comes to that.


I’m glad you brought that up. There could be things that I can see one day and the very next day I won’t be able to see. I look like I can see and so people they start laughing or they think you’re lying or they think you’re not looking hard enough. I’m like I can’t see this.

Even when I’m in my power chair I would rather like walk behind someone so it could be like a human guide.


AJ’s vision loss is related to his Cerebral Palsy or CP.
It impacts all four limbs so as he described to me, he needs physical assistance with most things.

Most things physical that is…


If I was watching Happy Days or Laverne and Shirley or Three’s Company or All in the Family I would create a character, none of it is written down because I’m not able to physically write.

If I was watching Three’s Company, if Jack and Larry were going down to the Regal Beagle well I was too. If I was watching Law and order , no I couldn’t be a detective but I could help Jack McCoy as one of his assistant DA’s. I just made myself a part of the cast.


AJ’s imagination was open.

His opportunity to hit the stage came in high school.


I had such a ball in high school. It was such an atmosphere of like were going to support you and you’re a part of us. My favorite drama teacher his name was Dr. McMichen. I was thanking him for making sure the stages had ramps and I was included in on all the trips.
He let me know, you are a part of this club and a part of these plays and it’s because you are good not because you are in a chair. And that made me feel so good.


following high school he continued working on his craft by attending workshops and finding a community of other actors.


I would say over the last three and a half years I’ve gotten the opportunity to be on screen.

the first thing I booked when I got my agent was, we did an episode of Drunk History. And that comes on Comedy Central. That episode was actually about 504Act. That’s kind of the precursor to the ADA.

Then I was able to do an episode of ABC’s Speechless. I played a character named Charlie.

I was able to do an independent film called Bardo Blues. It’s an interesting very nonlinear artsy film that talks about depression and bipolar. I play the neighbor to the lead.

Audio clip from film…


His latest role is Best Summer Ever, A Musical.
It takes place in a high school.


It’s a romantic story and all kinds of teenage angst ensues. I play the older brother so I’m not involved in the teenage angst but I do sing in the film.


The film consists of a cast of over
60 disabled actors as well as those without disabilities.
It’s being screened at South by South West on March 14.

You can also see AJ in Becoming bulletproof.
Every year, actors with and without disabilities meet at
Zeno Mountain Farm to write, produce, and star in original short films.

Audio clip from film…

AJ is the focal point of the doc.


I also did a documentary, it’s called Take A Look At This heart. So I talk about my experience around my sexuality and dating. So it’s an ensemble so It’s not just me. I believe that’s now streaming on Amazon.


AJ’s getting some roles and definitely
making a name for himself by judging film festivals, hosting events yet
he found himself in a dark place.

Heavy dark! Like I was really, really down.

I was on a walk with my mom. I was in California at the time and it was a beautiful sunny day. It came to me, instead of being down about not getting auditions or you know nobody’s calling or you’re having a hard time with employment; why don’t you write what you want to see?


By now you can tell AJ puts a lot of thought into what is on the screen,
big or little. So of course he would do the same for his script.


A lot of characters that we see it’s either one person with a disability and I’m not saying you don’t ever see it, typically they don’t have any friends. To my experience I have a bunch of friends with disabilities. Not just CP, but all kinds of disabilities.

I just want to lend my voice to reflect that on screen.


Think Living Single, Friends or the Big Chill…


These group of friends, People with disabilities in a more adult context. All with different types of disabilities like CP, like me. He also works. Then you have another character who has CP they walk with a gate. Another character she has a traumatic brain injury and she’s very athletic…

[TR in conversation with AJ:]
And may I lobby for a Blind guy who likes audio and…


If we get picked up brother I’ll write you in a couple of episodes.
[TR in conversation with AJ:]
There you go man, there you go!


Alright, fine, it’s not about me.

In order to physically write his words, thoughts and ideas AJ has a very special writing partner.

My mom helps me a lot with a lot of stuff behind the scenes. We’re actually working on a book and that’s going to be out sometime soon and we do public speaking.


The latter is done under the name, I Push You Talk. What a powerful statement.

Pursuing your passion can really be hard.
There are always reasons to throw in the towel or change course.
Legitimate reasons that wouldn’t in anyway classify someone as a quitter.

For example…


Just because you perform in school, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to translate to the screen or you’re going to have this career.


There’s also the physical pain that comes with his CP.


I’ve been in pain since my early teens to pre-teens. As I’ve gotten older sciatic pain and nerve pain over the years have like sort of advanced to like more of a chronic level as far as nerve pain.

My love for everything that I experience and everything that I’m going to and want to experience has to be bigger than my pain.

[TR in conversation with AJ:]

You don’t probably see people with disabilities in many of these films that you are watching.


That’s a hundred percent accurate.

[TR in conversation with AJ:]

So it doesn’t sound like that dissuades you.


I didn’t necessarily have this as a child but with the combination of my mother speaking to me and my imagination, I just had this sense that it was put inside of me so I’m supposed to be doing what I’m doing.

There’s people of faith in my family so I do have spiritual background. With all those things combined because of my atmosphere, I’m the man you’re interviewing today.

Audio: AJ Scratch… Ladies singing “AJ” while beat rides under…


That’s Mr. Ajani Jerard Murray.
Actor, Writer, Speaker, Consultant and soon to be Author Producer &…

Things sort of have this way of coming back around full circle. I’ve gotten into podcasts and I want to start a podcast and I want to do it with a group of people like a morning radio show. Sometimes my dreams are very big and lofty, but I have a lot of faith and I believe it could happen.


It really does all start with imagination.
And it continues with that determination, persistence and faith.

AJ, brother, thank you for letting me share your story!
And you know what’s up, you are officially a member of the Reid My Mind Radio Family.

You can reach AJ via social media at:
Twitter – @GotNextAJ
Instagram: @AjaniAJMurray
Ajani Murray on Facebook

You can catch both
Becoming Bulletproof and Take a Look at this Heart
streaming on Amazon.
For those with that prime membership it’s included.
Unfortunately they don’t have Audio Description, however Becoming Bulletproof does at it included on the DVD.

Best Summer Ever is screening at South By South West so if you’re hanging out there go check it out.

I’ll have links over at Reid My to AJ’s social media and more including a web series on YouTube.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know AJ as much as I have. I look forward to continuing our conversations and I have a feeling based on his thoughtful insight that you’re going to hear from him again in this space.

If you agree that what we’re planting here on the podcast can provide some nourishment or maybe a sweet treat, please share it with others.

Ya dig!

If you want to help it grow a bit, you can even go on over to Apple podcast and leave a rating (5 stars, a review would be pretty cool too!

Please, , do not apply water to the podcast, that will not help it grow at all!

Reid My Mind Radio is available wherever you get your particular flavor of podcasts. Remember links and Transcripts are at
That’s R to the E I D
Audio: Slick Rick, “D, and that’s me in the place to be!”

Llike my last name.

Audio: Reid My Mind Radio Outro


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