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Being a part of a small group can foster a flow of creativity.

I was recently in a week-long, online class learning about Audio Description. The first two days were offered in a lecture format. The instructor presented slides and lead discussions by allowing questions and comments from those of us in attendance, along with various faculty members. He kept it light and fun, while at the same time maintaining a very informative and thought-provoking atmosphere. A lot of information was imparted, but it was by-and-large a mostly one-sided interaction.

Hands of seven people with different skin tones create a pile, one on top of the other.

All input and backgrounds are welcome.

The next two days were spent broken up into small groups. My group ended up with seven of us, hailing from all across the country. Our task was to describe two very short pieces of film. One was a 60 second TV commercial and one was a 90 second clip from a movie. Based on my past experience from the Fall in an Audio Description class, I came with a timeline already written out, just to get us started. It proved to be very helpful, as we then were able to just dive right in to the actual writing of the description.

We worked together for three hours each day for the two days. Each group was visited three times by teams of two faculty and advisors. It was a non-stop, give-and-take of ideas, explanations, and viewpoints, along with a lot of laughs and ah-ha moments. One of our members has low vision, and she added so much to the way we were describing what was happening visually on the screen. Everyone took part, bringing their background, strengths, experience and expertise to the mix, which made for very lively discussions and great success with the final products that were presented to the more than 50 participants from over five countries, who were a part of our week-long study together.

Support from the larger group is invaluable.

From what I learned in this course, writing Audio Description is largely a solo endeavor. The writer is at their computer watching a clip of a commercial, television episode, documentary, feature film or corporate presentation, and then writing what they see, with a thesaurus at hand. There isn't much interaction during this process with anyone else. Which is something that was brought up by participants when we got back together in our large group for the end-of-the-week sharing of our clips, and asking questions.

While I look forward to the next steps of practicing what I learned over the week and actually writing as either a volunteer or as an independent contractor, I will certainly miss the interaction and back-and-forth sharing of ideas and perceptions from all of the participants who gave input on the projects we were working on.

As someone who thrives in a small group setting where ideas can flow without censoring or judgment from others, I will miss working together with this group as writing partners, but at the same time am grateful to know that we are all on the larger 'team' known as Audio Description writers.

And we all have a certificate to prove it!

Image by Hannah Busing @ Unsplash

Debra Elaine is a California-based Voice Actor and Medical Narrator delivering professional voice over from her home studio via ipDTL & Source Connect. Learn more >>


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