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The Audio Description Project

The 2010 Audio Description Project Conference

July 12-14, 2010 in Phoenix, AZ

Now that the Conference is over, we are sharing much of the information presented and discussed in Phoenix.  The Conference was attended by people with a large variety of interests and experiences with audio description.  We had both on-site attendees (the majority) and online ("virtual") attendees for a total of nearly 50 participants!

The ADP Conference was followed by the ADP Institute, a training session for audio describers, on July 15-17.

Here is the Conference Agenda, annotated with comments and presentations.  LAST UPDATED:  August 10th, 2010 with more photos and the presentations from Japan.  You can also visit last year's conference page.

2010 Second Annual Audio Description Project (ADP) Conference
An Initiative of the American Council of the Blind (ACB)

Phoenix Downtown Sheraton Hotel - July 12-14, 2010 - Phoenix, AZ

Note: -Mornings are kept open for attendance at ACB Convention plenary sessions

Welcome ScreenDay I - Monday, July 12, 2010

1:00 pm-1:30 pm Welcome/Introduction to the ADP
Mitch Pomerantz, President, American Council of the Blind
Kim Charlson, 1st Vice President, American Council of the Blind;
Chair, Audio Description Project Committee, ACB
Joel Snyder, Director, ADP

+ Audio recording of the Welcome

COMMENTS from Mitch and Kim

1:30 pm-2:30 pm Audio Description - What Works?
ADP Webmaster and long-time describer Fred Brack will moderate a panel discussion with two description users and two describers on "what works" in the development of description in various formats/genres (performing arts, museums, media, etc.)

+ Fred's Presentation (PowerPoint Show)


2:30 pm-3:30 pm Legislative Update - mandate for broadcast description; broadcast description in the digital era and the FCC; Department of Education funding; news regarding 508 updates and U.S. Access Board activities
Eric Bridges, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, ACB;
Timothy P. Creagan, Senior Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board;
Karen Peltz Strauss, long-time access advocate, Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

+ Audio recording of the Legislative Update


3:30 pm-4:00 pm break

4:00 pm-4:45 pm The Harkins Movie Theater Chain Discrimination Case
Special guests-Arizona Assistant Attorneys General Rose Daly-Rooney and Cathleen Dooley -- Attorneys General Daly-Rooney's and Dooley's work on behalf of access to the arts was a critical factor in the recent victory regarding captions and description for presentations at an Arizona chain of movie theaters.

+ Audio recording of the Harkins Case


4:45 pm-5:30 pm Certification for Arts Describers: The Future-and the Past (Learning From Our Sign Interpretation Colleagues) -
Julie Gebron of Portland, OR (a certified* sign interpreter and seasoned audio describer!) and Victor Brown of Phoenix, AX (certified* sign interpreter) will review the well- established procedures of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf for the inclusion of sign interpreters in this nationally-respected certification process. Julie is the author the landmark publication Sign The Speech: An Introduction to Theatrical Interpreting.
* Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and National Association of the Deaf

+ Audio recording of the Certification Discussion


5:30 pm-6:30 pm People with Disabilities in the Production of Description - PART TWO
Last year's attendees enjoyed "Part One" of this session, a live audio presentation by Rick Boggs, President, Audio Eyes and The Accessible Planet; Former Director of Described Media, VITAC. This year, Rick joins us along with top audio editor, Phoenix-based Chris Snyder (totally blind) to demonstrate important description techniques and illustrate the ways in which description production benefits by collaboration with description users


Dinner on your own

8:00 pm Screening of "It's Complicated" with description provided by WGBH!

Day II - Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1:30 pm-3:50 pm Audio Description Around the World - Chaired by Bernd Benecke

+ Audio recording of Description Around the World part 1
+ Audio recording of Description Around the World part 2 (starting near end of Australia presentation)

Bernd Beneke1:30-1:35 pm Introductions - Bernd Benecke of Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich

1:35-1:55 pm Audio Description in Germany
Bernd Benecke, long-time description trainer and producer of description for Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich will demonstrate his work and share his informed perspective.


1:55-2:10 pm Audio Description in Spain and Throughout Academia
Dr. Pilar Orero, worldwide leader in "audiovisual translation" academic programs and the Director of the AV Translation Program at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, will review how audio description is taught on the graduate level and how AD users access description in Spain.


Dr Braun2:10-2:25 pm Audio Description in the U.K.
Dr. Sabine Braun leads the audiovisual translation and audio description studies at the University of Surrey in the U.K. Sabine will outline the widespread availability of description in a wide range of formats throughout the U.K. We'll get some hints on how other nations can "catch up" with the level of AD available in the U.K and the state of audio description in academia.


Peter Lilliecrona2:25-2:40 pm Audio Description in Sweden
Peter Lilliecrona will report from Sweden. Peter is a leader of the audio description interest group "Audio Description NOW". He will present the unique Swedish perspective on audio description.

COMMENT:  The big problem in Sweden is getting money to pay for description

2:40-3:00 pm Special Report from Japan
Dr. Chieko Asakawa and Dr. Hironobu Takagi, IBM, Tokyo, present ground-breaking research by IBM on speech synthesis and its potential application to description. They will also share information on current description activity in Japan.

Dr Asakawa and Dr TakagiCOMMENTS:


3:00-3:15 pm Audio Description in Argentina
Pablo Perez of Antarctica Films in Buenos Aires will tell us about description activity in Argentina and his own interest in incorporating description within Antarctica Films' productions.


Dr Francisco Lima3:15-3:30 pm Audio Description in Brazil
Dr. Francisco Lima, Associate Professor at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. Dr. Lima supervises students studying audio description and will report on his students' research and audio description work throughout Brazil.


3:30 pm-3:50 pm Audio Description in Australia
AD is alive and thriving down under! John Simpson of Vision Australia will provide an overview.


3:50 pm-4:15 pm break

Dana WalkerDavidErrington4:15 pm-5:00 pm Description for Media-Film and DVD (and AD in Canada!)
Entertainment lawyer Dana Walker (formerly Vice President, Business Development and now consultant to DVD distributor Shout Factory; founder of New Media Resources and and David Errington, CEO of Canada's Accessible Media, Inc. and "The Accessible Channel", will brief us on their efforts and offer the latest news on description on DVDs and downloads, and share the latest in description throughout Canada.

+ David's Accessible Media Presentation (PowerPoint Show)


5:00pm-5:45 pm Wikiscribe It!
Will Grignon, lawyer, professor, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur, is founder and president of Wikiscribe It! (, an online repository of detailed descriptions of images in accessible text format-- and its affiliated charitable organization Descriptions For The Blind Inc. ( Sighted until the age of 31, Will completed his MFA from UCLA and his JD from Pepperdine University.

+ Visit
+ Visit

Dinner on your own

8:00 pm Screening of described educational video and discussion
Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and Update on Listening Is Learning - a joint initiative of the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and the Audio Description Project -
Bill Stark, Director and Wanda Shipman, librarian specialist for children who are blind or have low vision

+ Audio recording of DCMP Presentation
+ Visit Described and Captioned Media Program

Day III - Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lynn Manning1:30 pm-3:00 pm Luncheon with guest speaker - Lynn Manning

+ Audio recording of Lynn Manning

Audio description enthusiast Lynn Manning is an award winning poet, playwright, actor, Paralympic Silver-medalist, and former World Champion of blind judo. Based in Los Angeles, he's co-founder and President of Watts Village Theater Company; president of FireHouse Theater Company; a member of The Actors' Studio Playwright/Directors Unit West, and associate artist with Cornerstone Theatre Company. The Center Theatre Group's world premiere production of Lynn's autobiographical, one man stage play, Weights (One Blind Man's Journey), received three NAACP Theater awards in 2001, including Best actor for Lynn. He has since performed Weights (One Blind Man's Journey) from London to Off Broadway, from Croatia to Toronto, and from Edinburgh to The Adelaide Fringe. Lynn's award winning play, Shoot, is included in the ground breaking collection, Beyond Victims and Villians (Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights). His poetry is featured in the 2006 anthology, Voices From Leimert Park. .An audio CD of Weights (One Blind Man's Journey) was released by Bridge Multimedia in 2005.

+ Visit


3:00 pm-3:30 pm break

3:30 pm-4:30 pm ACB/ADP Awards
Presented by Chris Gray, Immediate Past President, ACB; Chair, ADP Awards Committee

- "Young Described Film Critic of the Year" Awards Presentations


Junior Category, ages 11-14:

Michael A. Taylor, NY, reviewed "Field of Dreams" - 1st Place

Nick Zehner, IL, reviewed "Notorious" - 2nd Place

Leo Sandoval, IL, reviewed "Goodfellas" - 3rd Place

Senior Catgeory, ages15-18:

Analis Dannen, SD, reviewed "Spiderman" - 1st Place

Deanna Whitehouse, FL, reviewed "Nova: The Mummy Who Would Be King-The Saga of Pharaoh Ramses" - 2nd Place

Margaret Hardy- Achievement in Audio Description - Media
+ WINNER:  WGBH and the Media Access Group, Boston, MA

- Achievement in Audio Description - Performing Arts
+ WINNER:  Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, NJ

- Achievement in Audio Description - Museums
+ WINNER:  Smithsonian Institution and Beth Ziebarth, Washington, DC

- Achievement in Audio Description - International
+ WINNER:  Bernd Benecke and Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany (press release, in German)

- Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description - Research and Development
+ WINNER:  American Foundation for the Blind, New York, NY

- Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description
+ WINNER:  Gregory Frazier and Audio Vision, San Francisco, CA (awarded posthumously to Gregory Frazier and accepted by Margaret Hardy, pictured right)

4:30 pm-5:15 pm Arizona-Description Abounds!
Eileen Bagnall of ARTAbility Arizona and VSAarts of Arizona will detail how Arizona describers provide access to the visual image at performances, events and exhibitions throughout the state. During the ACB Convention and Conference, VSAarts of Arizona will provide an audio described tour for ACB members of Phoenix's Heard Museum and a performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater.

+ Audio recording of Arizona Description Abounds


5:15 pm-5:45 pm ADP Website
ADP Webmaster and long-time describer Fred Brack will update attendees on the ADP Website features ( developed over the past year.

+ Audio recording of ADP Website, followed by Guidelines-Best Practices Discussion


5:45 pm-6:30 pm ACB/ADP Guidelines-Best Practices - review/discussion

6:30 pm Adjourn

Photos from Phoenix

Celia ask a question
Attendees such as Celia Hughes were given the opportunity to question each speaker

Dinner at Thai Restaurant
Some of the attendees at Dinner at Elephant Thai after the final day of the Conference
Left front-to-back:  Ellen LaVan (Ft Lauderdale), Bernd Benecke (Germany), Wanda Palmer Shipman (DCMP)
Right front-to-back:  Victor Brown (Interpreter, Phoenix), Fred Brack (ADP Webmaster), Mary Lou Fisher (Kennedy Center)

Describer Class
Graduates from the 2010 ADP Describer Training in Phoenix
Ellen LaVan (Fort Lauderdale), Francisco Lima (Brazil), Linda Bard (Portland),Joel Snyder (Instructor), Jo Lynn Bailey-Page (Falls Church, VA), Lee Brown (Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix), Melody Basham (graduate student Phoenix), on floor Cindy Boyle (Actors Shakespeare Co, Jersey City) and Opra (Francisco's dog)