Inclusion at the Big Screen
I wrote this article a few years ago. It is amazing to see the evolution of this act. Since I wrote this, I have enjoyed several described movies at the theatre and at home. It is amazing to see the actions of some, influence many.
July 10, 2013
A recent legislative decision is not known by many or one that impacts the lives of the majority. However, for those few who know and those the law relates to it is profoundly important. It allows a certain minority to feel included in a society that has seemed exclusive. It has opened numerous doors to allow an understanding of a world that is hard to interpret at times. A wash of emotions have been provoked to this small minority. A feeling of joy, a feeling of anger and frustration, a feeling of excitement and hope have, all been felt. This legislation that has made such an impact relates to descriptive audio service for television shows and movies for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
As a blind individual I have felt left out of many scenarios’ based on my inability to track a movie or television show by auditory and dialog cues only. The entertainment industry is a key component of our culture and society. Without this legislation’s passage the hope of being able to participate and fully understand the true experience did not appear obtainable.
As a child television and movies did not appeal to me as they did for my sighted counterparts. I often remember in school a teacher announcing with great excitement that it would be a movie day. However, I did not share this excitement. I would sit in my chair and day dream or become very bored; as I was not able to track the movie. In the comfort of my own home however, I was able to get very close to the television in order to see the content. Unfortunately, for those also viewing the show or movie with me was unable to see the entire screen as my head blocked part of it. Going to the theatre had its own challenges as well. I often had someone who would verbally describe the scenes and this seemed to disrupt those around us. We often chose seats away from the other moviegoers to lessen the disruption. However, in tightly packed theatres there wasn’t much of an option to avoid sitting close to others. I am very excited to be able to enter a theatre and not have to rely on others to describe the content. I have elected on many occasions to opt out of going to the movies based on these factors. I thoroughly enjoy attendingg a movie with my husband and kids, so this situation of not having descriptive audio has greatly impacted my movie-going experience.
I recently rented some movies that I was interested in seeing. After confirming that the movies were DVS capable (as it states on the back of the box, and that my husband had to confirm). We sat down and began to watch the movie. The experience was indescribable. I felt great joy, included, frustration at how long this technology took to reach the blind community and hopeful at the future possibilities for technology to include the blind. It appears such a simple thing but to those who have essentially been ostracized from participating in pastimes that are regarded as crucial to the true cultural experience; it is a monumental decision.