Would You Like to Become a Described Video
Professional for Television and Movies?
What is Described Video?
Described Video (DV) (also called Audio Description [AD] for live events, Visual Translation, Video Description, or Visual Description) makes recorded content more accessible for people who have differing needs when accessing TV or movies via sight, understanding and/ or attention. It is most often targeted to the Blind and partially sighted community, but the applications include people with a fixed or narrow visual field due to range of motion of the head, neck and/ or spine and has recently extended to assist people who are neurodiverse and/ or with sensory sensitivities such as Autism and Tourette.
Video Description involves creating a visual picture through words and fits in the natural pauses of the lines of the characters. It helps to clarify who is speaking, and what the visual elements are that are vital to understanding a show. The creativity in what we do presents itself solely through the art of balancing long-established Standards, Codes of Conduct and the requirements of our listeners -- with the need for sensitivity regarding our diverse cultural landscape and language surrounding identity. DV is not a play-by-play analysis and we do not base our comments on our own impressions. Instead, we pass on visual information and allow the listeners to develop their own opinions and conclusions. Our goal is to offer an unobtrusive experience, with vivid words, that is as close as possible to the non-AD listening audience’s experience.
Why take DV Training?
As you may or may not know, the CRTC has ruled, "...beginning in September 2019, certain broadcasters will be required to provide described video for all suitable programming [excluding newscasts, sports and advertising] broadcast between 7 PM and 11 PM (prime time) seven days a week" (source). We believe that this will result in a demand for DV practitioners. Some will be required to describe in-house. This description will be largely or entirely improvised within the broadcasters’ studios. Others will likely work from home, generating scripted descriptions. It remains to be seen whether the broadcasters will require describers to then record, edit and mix the DV scripts onto a track, or if they will want the script to be described using computer generated voice technology. We continue to monitor this closely and if there are opportunities for script writers to also voice and edit their work, we will offer additional courses to support this. In your application, you will be asked which (Live or Recorded DV) you feel most suited for, if you have a preference.
After successful completion of this course, you will be considered for inclusion in the newly formed Described Video arm of a Closed Captioning company that has been working with broadcasters since 1994. The next time a request for proposals is released, you will be first on the list for work. We expect the requests to be distributed in January.
To be eligible to take this course you must have professional experience as an actor/ voice over artist and/ or on-going/ substantial training with an established coach/ training facility. Freelance DV writers for recorded content can be located anywhere in the world. For a select few, we are looking into offering this course via video conference for this or future training sessions.
At this time we are actively seeking ACTRA or ACTRA eligible members however if you are non-union, please don’t be dissuaded. We believe there will be opportunities for everyone.
Arts workers, including improvisors, actors, voice over artists Translators, writers, editors, word lovers Someone who knows and/or works with Blind/low vision individuals Theatre patron, arts advocate, cultural worker, disability activist An enquiring mind who wants to learn and acquire a new or second vocation
If selected for training you are expected to:
● Complete mandatory online AODA training (or present previous certificate)
● Independently complete about 5 hours of pre-course, independent reading/ study
● Complete 3, full-day training sessions with 100% attendance on January 5, 6 and either 12 or 13
(depending on which stream you enter). All classes will be in 2019 from 10am - 6pm in Hamilton, ON
● Continue to meet with our Describers Circle for counsel and professional development
● Put your services forward for inclusion in the newly formed Described Video arm of the aforementioned Closed Captioning
$650 (regular $950 however Closed Caption Services Inc. is providing a $300 subsidy) Upon completion of the course, there will be a request to sign a First Right of Refusal for future work.
Attach a resume (compulsory) and headshot/ recent picture (optional).
Attend an information session: Thursday December 13th, 7pm, Infinity Forge, 430 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON L8R 3K8.
The Audition materials will be released on the evening of the information session. The audition will consist of two 30-second recordings, each based on a different photograph. One will be improvised, the other you may write a description and record it. You may do this at the Infinity Forge Studio, or at home.
An Auditions Committee will select 8 - 10 individuals to take Hamilton’s inaugural training with audio describer and trainer Kat Germain.
Deadlines & Timeline
Please note there will be no exceptions. Diligence, self-motivation, technical aptitude and punctuality is a huge part of this job.
Sunday December 9: Questionnaire (including resume) due
Thursday December 13: Information Session
Monday December 20: Successful and waitlisted applicants announced; $300 non-refundable deposit due.
Sunday December 30: AODA online training completion deadline; remaining payment due ($350)
Saturday January 5, 6: Live & Recorded Description Training sessions
January 7 - 11: Independent work
Saturday January 12: Live Description Training session
Saturday January 12: Recorded Description Training session
Kat Germain is a member of the Audio Description Association (ADA, UK), the Canadian Association of Theatre Research, ACTRA, the Ontario College of Teachers and recently joined the Canadian Described Video Best Practices Committee. Kat was trained to describe in 2010 by Deb Lewis of Arts Access Now (L.A.) and has described everything from Aerial Circus Arts to wheelchair basketball.
Kat has been teaching for nearly 25 years. In 2001 she started working for the Toronto District School Board and primarily works in intensive support classrooms with kids who are neurodiverse - on the Autism Spectrum, or with Global Developmental Delay. Kat has led or facilitated workshops including:
(upcoming) Deepening knowledge and broadening scope: Guiding Patrons who are Blind/ partially sighted (AGO)
Advocacy for Access (Canadian Council of the Blind, Toronto Visionaries Chapter)
Remember the Sandwich Board (Jumblies Theatre)
Welcoming your Blind and Partially Sighted Patrons (YPT)
Voice as Essential Instrument in Creation (Fides Krucker)
Intro to Baby Clown (Mike Kennard)
Kat is an advocate for increased inclusivity, autonomy and multiversal opportunities for people from historically marginalized communities, focusing on artists who have lived experience with disability. This includes art creation with other disability-identified artists.
Tangled Art + Disability
Propeller Dance (Ottawa)
U of Guelph
U of T
American Society of Theatre Researchers (Atlanta, GA)
Summit on Indigeneity and Disability
Credits include work with:
National Arts Centre
Paper Canoe Projects
Native Earth Performing Arts
Full Radius Dance (Atlanta, GA)
Power Productions (St. John’s, NL)