TADA! Reflections | The Audio Description Awareness Challenge

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Beauty Buzz/Blog Biz

Contents

Editor’s Note:

So yesterday kicked off the two-week challenge designed to increase awareness of the importance of audio description. #TADAChallenge short for “The Audio Description Awareness Challenge” is a simple 2-step process.

  1. Invite a friend to watch a movie or television show with audio description.
  2. By the end of the month share your experience on social media using the hashtag #TADAChallenge. That’s it!

Reflecting on yesterday’s event, the 2nd Annual Audio Description Awareness Day, I was thrilled to see so many people participate. Today I wanted to share a few personal perspectives and thoughts from others.

TADA! The Magic Of New Eyeglasses

As a child, prior to acquiring my first pair of eyeglasses, I had no idea my world was dim and fuzzy, it was my normal. However, when I put on those eyeglasses the feeling of seeing clearly for the first time was magical and nearly took my breath away. My normal world was suddenly transformed into a bright, colorful, almost enchanted place. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, everything was clear and focused.

Looking back now, I recognized the precious gift of sight and I think this is why I wanted to share this realization. In my neighborhood, was a girl named Karen who was blind. While all the other kids were playing outside Karen would sit all alone on her porch. At some point, I joined her and we became fast friends. We would have so much fun talking, laughing, and playing.

I remember Karen being very curious, always wanting to learn, and most importantly she wanted to be accepted. My first exposure to braille was watching her read her books which I found fascinating. Her curiosity quite naturally spurred me to describe everything in our environment. Going to the movies was no different as I’d fill in what was happening on screen so that she could enjoy the film.

My First Time With Audio Description

Back in the day when Karen and I were friends we didn’t have Audio Description nor did we have digital technology. Since I wanted Karen to have an enjoyable movie theater experience it was not a problem for me to describe for her what was happening. We didn’t know what we didn’t know so we adapted as best we could.

Text reads: Take the challenge #TADAChallenge April 16 - April 30. An illustration is on a TV screen and tablet of Bold Blind Beauty’s fashion icon Abby wearing teal-colored headphones and a friend at the theater watching a movie. On the movie screen is a sunset with the audio description symbol (a square image with black letters AD followed by a few end parentheses, suggesting a sound wave, are framed by a black television set shape) in the lower right corner. 

When you go through a gut-wrenching loss (in my case sight) and you find ways to adapt, sometimes you just learn to let things go. Before I was introduced to audio description, I thought if I ever went to the movies I’d ask my friends to describe the films for me.

The first time I used an audio description headset at the movies was a few years ago. The experience reminded me of the first time I wore eyeglasses. It seems so silly now because I got all emotional being able to enjoy a movie without having to ask someone what was happening. Thankfully, once again, my world expanded to reveal a beautiful new way to watch movies and do so independently.

Something To Think About

While the exact number isn’t known, it’s estimated that there are over 500,000 movies in the world today and only a very tiny fraction of them have audio description. When we add in live entertainment, television shows, and the multitudes of streaming leisure activities at our disposal the numbers are mind-boggling.

There is a disparity in the amount of content containing audio descriptions that could enhance the lives of people with disabilities. My friend Roy Samuelson is fond of reminding us of the “curb effect” referring to curb cut-outs created for wheelchair users. In addition to wheelchair users, many people, including those using baby strollers, workers with rolling briefcases, travelers with rolling baggage, delivery services, etc use this innovation. This is one of many examples of how breaking barriers by providing access to individuals with disabilities will make the world a better place for all of us.

What Others Are Saying

I discovered Descriptive Video Service (DVS) which would later become universally known as Audio Description (AD). AD exists for many genres of entertainment and I have been advocating for it for over twenty years now.

~Everette Bacon

It’s 2021 All videos, tv shoes & movies should have audio descriptions.

Perkins School For The Blind

Audio description provides extra verbal narration of visual elements happening in a TV program or film. It could be hand gestures, facial expressions, physical movements or a description of clothing and action. It describes things that a person with vision loss might not notice or realize.

~Empish Thomas
Award-winning Voice Talent Barbara Faison

#TADAChallenge

#TADAChallenge short for “The Audio Description Awareness Challenge” is a simple 2-step process.

  1. Invite a friend to watch a movie or television show with audio description.
  2. By the end of the month share your experience on social media using the hashtag #TADAChallenge. That’s it!

Resources:

Image Descriptions:

  • In the header, the text reads: Take the challenge #TADAChallenge April 16 – April 30. An illustration is on a TV screen and tablet of Bold Blind Beauty’s fashion icon Abby wearing teal-colored headphones and a friend at the theater watching a movie. On the movie screen is a sunset with the audio description symbol (a square image with black letters AD followed by a few end parentheses, suggesting a sound wave, are framed by a black television set shape) in the lower right corner. 
  • Abby and friend at the movies (identical to the image in the header).

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