Let’s go see a movie. Yes, I said “see” a movie. In previous posts, I have pointed out the usage of some common words, such as see, watch, and look, so I’m not going to talk about that today.
Last night, my friend Anna and I went to see Gone Girl. Many theaters these days are equipped to provide audio description through a special device for patrons who can’t actually see the screen. Audio description, also called video description or descriptive video, works like this. When you buy your ticket, you pick up a receiver that is about the size of a deck of cards, with a headset or ear pods. While the movie is playing, you hear a trained describer tell you what is happening in the scene that you can’t tell just by listening. You hear the dialog, but you also hear what the other people in the audience are seeing. For some movies, you can kind of get by without the audio description, but for this one, I would have been completely lost. Even if Anna had been able to lean over and whisper what that spooky music was about, or what that crash was, or what happened in that gruesome scene near the end, she would have had to have been talking the whole time.
Last night’s experience was good, from the moment we stepped in the door. There was no line, because we saw the 4:05 movie, with about 8 other people, and the guy behind the counter knew what I was talking about when I asked him for the descriptive video device. Actually, he didn’t even wait for me to ask. He asked me if I wanted it, although he didn’t know what to call it. In just a few minutes, he appeared back with it, and he assured me it worked, because someone had called yesterday and wanted to make sure it was working, because they were coming today. Hee hee. That was me. The system works well, but often, you have to be proactive and think ahead about what can go wrong. Several times, I’ve gone to this theater, and the equipment did not work. So there I sat, through the whole movie, without the benefit of any description. When this happens, my friend either has to whisper to me throughout the whole thing, or he or she has to run back to the office to get a manager to fix it. By that time, my friend has missed the first 15 minutes of the movie. But last night, it was perfect.
We chose a seat in the top row, where nobody would step on Dora, and she could sprawl out in comfort. I laughed at the humorous parts and gasped at the horrifying parts, just like everybody else. At the end of this intense film, Anna said, “I’m exhausted.” I knew exactly what she meant. I experienced it all, just like she did. There are still a few kinks to work out in the system, like not having to call ahead and speak to 3 different people to make sure it will really work, and to make sure that they don’t give you the headset for hearing impaired people, but we’re finally on our way. To read more about descriptive video, visit