Descriptive Audio

Jon Five years ago, descriptive audio (aka descriptive video services, or audio description) started showing up as an option at movie theatres for the movies I was seeing. My eyes can’t always see what’s on the movie screen very well. My parents used to have to whisper to describe some scenes or action to me as the movie played. Now descriptive audio tells me what is happening on the screen. Descriptive audio is an extra audio channel with someone describing what’s happening in each scene. At the theatre, it’s provided on a headset that you ask for when you buy your ticket. It is for visually-impaired audiences, the way closed captioning is for hearing impaired audience members.

For example, the current Disney animated production logo is described this way:

In a logo, stars twinkle in the sky, our view drifts down through clouds to a river that winds past hillsides, a train crosses a bridge, as a flag waves on a castle’s tallest spire, a bright display of fireworks explodes in the sky, a glowing pinpoint of light arks over the castle, leaving a trail of sparkling dust. Words appear, Walt Disney Pictures.” 

It helps me know what’s going on on screen when I can’t see it, or when the action is too fast. Descriptive audio is being used more and more—it’s now being added to DVDs and Blu-rays and streaming services, starting with Netflix and now Disney+. 

Different movies use different people describing. Myles Neff did the first six movies in the Star Wars saga in a slightly comic book-y way, while friendly-toned Darrin Revitz did Crazy Rich Asians and Toy Story 4 and Forky Asks A Question. Disney was the first studio to commit to descriptive audio and doing a lot of its back catalogue, while it took a while for the others, especially Warner Brothers to add it regularly. Aardman Animations has descriptive audio in the theatres but whoever is distributing their movies in Canada isn’t including the descriptive audio track on discs or digitally. The animation studio Laika hasn’t started doing descriptive audio yet. Their movies could really use it. (Sigh.)

With my limited vision, descriptive audio adds so much. It is carefully written so that it doesn’t interrupt the characters speaking. Descriptions are added between lines of dialogue. For example, here’s a scene from the first Toy Story movie:

Woody: Hold still buzz.

Describer: The fuse lights.

Woody: Ha ha, ha ha.

Buzz: You did it! Next stop, Andy!

Woody: I just lit a rocket! Rockets explode!

Describer: Buzz and Woody hang on tight as RC streaks down two lanes of traffic.

I really enjoyed that part. Descriptive audio makes movies so much better for me.



Halloween 2019

This year to give out candy, I was a cyborg. We used gray and silver face paint, and some silver foam and an LED light on the side of my head.


Halloween 2018

I gave out candy in costume as a zombie. We used green and gray face make-up to make it look like rotten skin, and red acrylic paint and tissue paper to make fake cuts in the skin.


Merrywood 2018 (again!)

Jon This summer I had a great second session at Camp Merrywood! On Day 2 my cabin, Moose, was cabin of the day. The theme was music. I was a country star. I went for a mermaid swim in the pool. I also did archery and crafts.

We played “Merrywood Jeopardy” on Day 3. The clues were valued from $100 to $500. I had fun! I quoted Alex Trebek’s line which was “and now the last clue.”

On Day 4 I had Spa Club. I painted my nails purple. They were pretty. I went sailing in a sailboat. There was a zodiac boat which I pretended to defy gravity by having it pull me through the water. I told my camp counsellors about the song.

We continued Spa Club on Day 5 where I got a massage on my shoulders from camp counsellor Zoe. It was very cool. At juice break, I talked about a video of Joy and Sadness from Inside Out at Disney World.

I enjoyed evening meditation on Day 6. It was awesome. I imagined there was a bubble of light in my head. At the end of that program, I talked about the song “Feel The Light” by Jennifer Lopez.

The theme for Day 6 campfire was Disney Pixar. We sang two of my favourite songs “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King and “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” from Mulan.

On Day 8, it was beach day. I talked about the Maui scene in the movie Moana, where he sings the song “You’re Welcome”.

At the talent show on Day 9 I preformed the song “Popular” from the musical Wicked by imitating Glinda. I liked that.

The banquet theme on Day 10 was “Kids Choice Awards”. I had roast beef for dinner before the slideshow. It was fun. We went over to the pool deck for the dance. The session was great. I can’t wait till next year!




Jon On Tuesday July 17, we went to the stage production of Wicked. It was great. I liked the quote “Toss Toss” from Glinda and Elphaba. That was hilarious. I enjoyed the songs, especially “Popular” and “Defying Gravity.” There were bright lights shining as she flew away. That was so cool.

After both acts were done, I got a Wicked T-shirt. We left the theatre and went around to the stage door, and I met the stars of the show. That was amazing!

Jon with Ginna Claire Mason (Glinda)
A beaming Jon with Ginna Claire Mason (Glinda)

Jon with Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba)
Jon with Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba)

I had a Wicked time, thank goodness!


The touring cast of Wicked Performs “For Good”


Merrywood 2018

Jon This summer I had a great first session at Camp Merrywood.

Jon and other Moose cabin guys
Moose cabin guys

Day 1 was Canada Day, so I watched the fireworks with my camp counsellors at night time. I liked the bright lights.

Day 3 was fun. We were cabin of the day. The theme was military. We did a chant to the song, We Are The Champions by Queen. I did yoga with Sarah and Mattie. Mano joined in. I liked the pose Downward Dog. I also liked the breathing: that was the part I focused on.

I also did Music & Drama with Susan. She helped me do a jungle-themed charades, where I had to pick out a paper with a word on it then I acted out the animal. It was great. I pretended that I was in pain. I sang the 2017 holiday Local Forecast track from TWN.

Jon on drums at Camp Merrywood 2018

On Day 4 we did a Indiana Jones theme. I enjoyed it.

I also liked the Batman theme on Day 5. The song of the day was the Batman theme.

Day 8 was amazing, The theme was Looney Tunes. The joke was “What do you get when you cross a rabbit with an insect? Bugs Bunny.” The song was the Merry Melodies opening and closing themes.

On day 9 I had a talent show. I was the third actor singing “Try Everything” from the movie Zootopia. I had fun. I survived the clapping noise. I wasn’t afraid.

Day 10 was the banquet. It was Willy Wonka themed. There was a golden ticket on the tables in the dining hall. Sam read it to me. They showed a slideshow in Merrywood Hall of the whole session. Then we had a dance. There was a memory song called “Firework” that everyone liked. I enjoyed my song “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks. I told the camp counsellors it was also used in the game show Beat Shazam as song 4 in season 2 episode 5 with Jamie Fox in the end round and one of the teams got to sing it.

I had lots of fun.


Jon at camp


Halloween 2017

I gave out candy as a skeleton. It was face painted by dad.

Older posts «

» Newer posts