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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Of Description and Stratford

I am still among the living!

Work has been getting more interesting lately-- for those of you who don't know what my 'day job' is, I actually *write* for money. Most folks know about closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing (something else I used to write), but another film and television accessibility service for the blind and visually impaired is described video or audio description. That's me. Well not *just* me. I have a theatre background and tons of experience in voice over and narration, so I have recorded a few shows and films. I also live-described the Royal Wedding in 2011 as part of a two-person describer team for the CBC.

In a pouffy big CBC sweater after the ultimate royal all-nighter!

But most of the time... I write scripts.

I don't write in the normal script format, as they are rather technical: I include time codes and cues leading in and out of whatever narration I have added into the story. By way of simple explanation, I end up with something that sounds a bit like a radio play. I am meant to avoid stepping on existing dialogue or soundtrack as much as possible: I describe visuals as they unfold so that the blind can enjoy the same storytelling experience as the sighted audience. I paint pictures with words.

TV and film work is volatile. I know that from my acting days. It's feast or famine... and when it's time to feast, everything else has to go by the wayside. Work isn't as busy as I'd like it to be, but there's enough going on for me to have to set aside the WIP ('In The Bag') for a break... let things simmer on the back-burner while I earn my living.

The magical Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre

A fun addition to my work schedule this year is helping to launch a live theatre description service at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. I live an easy stroll along the Avon from the main stage, and this season I am describing a couple of performances of  '42nd Street' and 'Much Ado About Nothing'. This entails my sitting in the director's booth on headset and microphone and describing the show as it runs to the sight-impaired audience members on their personal headsets. It is a very cool little gig. Not many other jobs start with a trumpet fanfare... ! I am chuffed to little mint-balls to be involved with a theatre company I have loved and admired for over 30 years, and to be providing this service.

The iconic main stage

So this explains my lack of posts... but it does not excuse it. I am sorry. I really am a bad blogger sometimes. I *do* have a guest post coming up in the next week or so (I promise!) so I hope you'll check that out... and some of the past posts are worth a peek-- have a boo at the archives in the right hand column and see what grabs you.


  1. I feel your pain about being a poor blogger. I just posted a story and it had been at least a month since the last. I really love blogging just wish there was more time in the day so I can get my work done. Haha

    1. It's hard to make time-- but we really must keep on posting or no one will remember us!