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The Audio Description Project

Audio Description Training and Education Resources

This page is divided into the following sections:

Audio Describer/Narrator Training

There are very limited opportunities to get trained as an audio describer and fewer as an audio narrator. Training is often held in conjunction with conferences. Here we list the opportunities that we know about, and we solicit information from anyone who is offering training opportunities for audio describers anywhere in the world! Our "flagship" training program is the ADP's Audio Description Institute, but the following programs are listed in the order of next-scheduled training after any upcoming ACB/ADP class. Last Update:  Feb 21, 2024.

Audio Description Institute (ADI)

Audio Description Institute Logo ADP Logo ACB Audio Description Logo

The ACB's Audio Description Institute (ADI) is held virtually twice a year. The class is taught by Dr. Joel Snyder and a team of sighted and blind audio description professionals. The 2024 sessions are scheduled for April 8-12 and September 9-13, 1:00-5:00PM Eastern.

Click here to access complete details on the course material, scholarship opportunities, and faculty biographies.

Click here to register for the April Audio Description Institute!

Topics covered include:

  • audio description history and theory 
  • the Four Fundamentals of Audio Description©
  • active seeing/visual literacy; developing skills in concentration and observation
  • the art of editing what you see
  • vivid language: The Visual Made Verbal™
  • Speak the speech, I pray you – using the spoken word to make meaning

The ADI can benefit anyone interested in:

  • working as freelance description writer for film, series, advertising, etc.
  • working as a describer in a local performing arts program
  • working as a describer for visual art images and exhibitions
  • refreshing existing AD skills
  • adding value to their own or employer’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives

ADI Graduate Displays Certificate

NOTE!  The ADI is taught by the founder of the Audio Description Project, Dr. Joel Snyder, who has taught audio description all over the world and obtained his doctorate degree in the subject. His book based on his work with audio description, The Visual Made Verbal, is available for under $20 by clicking the link. The book is given to each workshop participant.

B-Creative Audio Describer Training

Bonnie's business card, including phone number of 720-440-3893 and email address bonniejbarlowdescription@gmail.com

TRAINING - THE BASICS OF AUDIO DESCRIPTION New Feb 2, '24
Learn Audio Description basic rules and principles in
one-on-one lessons or in small groups with online training. 

LEARN HOW TO WRITE AUDIO DESCRIPTION FOR:

  • Streaming content
  • Broadcast television
  • Feature films/documentaries
  • Corporate/educational videos
  • Images
  • Museums
  • Live events/plays

The course lasts four weeks with a 90-minute lesson per week.   $275.  Contact me for more information and scheduling. Bonniejbarlowdescription@gmail.com

Note: This training is not sponsored by the ACB or the Audio Description Project.

Audio Description Training Retreats

AD Training Retreats

Audio Description Training Retreats provides affordable, unique, and high-quality virtual training experiences in the art of Audio Description, with blind and sighted professionals.

Classes are held via Zoom over 3-4 days, and class size is limited to 6-8 students to ensure adequate practice time and feedback for each participant. Whether you want to start a new career or hone your skills in Audio Description, our trainings offer a comprehensive base for all avenues of the industry.

Upcoming Classes

Fundamentals of Audio Description with Liz Gutman and Colleen Connor
Friday, April 5th - Sunday, April 7th, 2024
Tuition: $770 for participants, $570 for observers
SORRY, SOLD OUT.

Advanced AD: Writing for the Screen with Melissa Hope and Colleen Connor
Jan 28th, Feb 4th, Feb 11th, & Feb 18th, 2024 (4 consecutive Sundays)
Pre-requisite: ADTR Fundamentals or equivalent training/experience
Tuition: $770 per person
SORRY, SOLD OUT.

Fundamentals of Audio Description with Liz Gutman and Colleen Connor New Feb 5, '24
Thursday, June 27th - Saturday, June 29th, 2024
Tuition: $770 for participants, $570 for observers

Advanced AD: Writing for the Screen with Melissa Hope and Colleen Connor New Feb 5, '24
Next class dates TBD

Pre-requisite: ADTR Fundamentals or equivalent training/experience
Tuition: $770 per person

Visit the Audio Description Training Retreats website for more information and testimonials from past students. Click here for upcoming class dates, curriculum details, and the link to apply. To see if there are spots available, ask questions, get on their mailing list, or be notified of future classes, email them at info@adtrainingretreats.com. Listen to a podcast which includes a discussion of how the company came into being, and opportunities for blind consumers to help create and record audio description; or read this article on the director of ADTR, Colleen Connor.

Note: ADTR is not sponsored by the ACB or the Audio Description Project.

Access Virginia

Access Virginia Logo

Access Virginia in Newport News periodically provides training for audio describers. 

The last class was October 20-22, 2023, at Access Virginia, Newport News, VA.  Here is the class announcement for reference. 

Image of Brochure - Call 757-276-1761 for class details and registration.
(Printable copy of brochure above)

You can contact them at accessvirginia@gmail.com.

Note:  This training program is not sponsored by the ACB or the Audio Description Project.

Audio Describer Training in Raleigh/Durham/RTP Area of NC

Arts Access AD Training

Arts Access Inc. of Raleigh, NC, holds audio describer training annually and will conduct special classes for groups, including traveling to their location, if requested.  Participants will learn:

  • The Basics of Audio Description:  Guidelines for communicating visual details effectively and in the moment
  • Who Uses Audio Description?:  Understanding Blind and low vision culture, disability language and etiquette
  • AD in Different Settings:  How AD works in visual art, performing arts, film, and online events
  • Practice Sessions:  Practice your new skills with experienced describers and Blind listeners
  • Case Studies:  Hear from previous participants in Arts Access AD Training who took the skill back to their organizations and communities to start new programs

The last class was June 13-16, 2022, via Zoom, with tuition starting at $450.  There is no date set for the next class at this time.  Scholarships are sometimes available if needed for NC residents.  FOR REFERENCE, visit the Arts Access Audio Describer Training description, or email Arts Access, or call 919-833-9919.  Arts Access has been providing audio description since the early 1990s.

Note:  This training program is not sponsored by the ACB or the Audio Description Project.

Roy Samulson Head-and-Shoulders PhotoNuances of Audio Description Narration

One-on-one coaching and workouts with blind professional advisors.  Focus is on film and television.

Blind and sighted talents who have experience in performance, or being directed, are welcomed.

Email roy@roysamuelson.com for more details.

Please note that Roy also hosts a podcast (TheADNA.org "Know Your Narrator" and "Beyond the Narrator" Interviews).  A summary of those podcasts, focusing on voice talents in AD, is available on Amazon as a Kindle book:  The ADNA Presents: Volume I: Know Your Narrator

Note:  This training session is not sponsored by the ACB or the Audio Description Project.

Inclusive Media: Real-time Closed Captioning and Audio Description/Described Video
A Course at Ryerson University in Canada

Learn how to use the latest live closed captioning (CC) and audio description/described video (AD/DV) techniques and technologies to create inclusive and accessible broadcast content for a variety of audiences. Through hands-on training and theoretical learning, explore CC and AD/DV software tools, script writing and re-speaking techniques, and relevant industry regulations and legislation. Industry experts will help you develop both fundamental and advanced skills for this growing field.

View the Course Description.

Note:  This training session is not sponsored by the ACB or the Audio Description Project.

Audio Description Training Materials

The following are AD Training materials that we know about.  Authors are encouraged to submit others to the webmaster for inclusion here.

Educational Description

Here we list pointers to information about audio description in education, both for training and for acquisition of the end product.  DCMP refers to the Described and Captioned Media Program.

Best Practices for the Digital Environment

Academic Articles

The History of Audio Description - Seminal Document Now Available

We are pleased to make available a copy of the May 1975 Master's thesis on audio description by Gregory Frazier, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: An All-Audio Adaptation of the Teleplay for the Blind and Visually Handicapped.

Joel Snyder discusses the document in his book, The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description, published by the American Council of the Blind in 2014. In the book, Dr. Snyder notes that:

"On the U.S.'s west coast: Gregory Frazier, a professor at San Francisco State University, formally developed the concepts behind audio description and general guidelines for its use. In its 1996 obituary of Gregory T. Frazier, the New York Times called Frazier 'a San Francisco visionary who hit on the idea of providing simultaneous electronic audio descriptions for the blind so they could enjoy more than the dialogue of movies, television and theater performances.'

"In the early 1970s, Frazier was relaxing at his home with a friend who happened to be blind. The evening's entertainment? High Noon with Gary Cooper, playing on television. The NY Times article relates that 'At the friend's request, Frazier, speaking rapidly between the lines of dialogue, provided terse descriptions of the scenes and actions. The friend was so appreciative that by the time Gary Cooper had shot Frank Miller dead, ripped the star off his own chest and thrown it to the ground before climbing into a carriage and driving off with Grace Kelly, Mr. Frazier … was a changed man.'

"Frazier realized that the concise descriptions he provided for his friend extemporaneously could be thought-through, edited, recorded and played through FM radio receivers at movies - or carried over secondary audio channels on television. Frazier, a graduate of San Francisco State University, returned to college to obtain a Master's degree in broadcast journalism, developing a thesis -- 'television for the blind' -- that explored the use of description to enhance the 1974 television production of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

"In 1991, Mr. Frazier founded the non-profit corporation AudioVision SF to provide description for the performing arts in San Francisco-area venues. AudioVision SF still exists, providing description on a regular basis for theater performances throughout the Bay Area. In 2010, Audio Vision SF and Gregory Frazier posthumously received the Barry Levine Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award in Audio Description, presented by the American Council of the Blind's Audio Description Project."

Other Academic Articles


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