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ACB's Audio Description Project--Third Annual Conference Invitation


American Council of the Blind's
Audio Description Project



announces its third

An Initiative of the American Council of the Blind (ACB)

Riviera Casino and Hotel - July 13-15, 2014 - Las Vegas, NV
- Schedule and Speakers subject to change  (* confirmed speaker)

Day I - Sunday, July 13, 2014 

1:00 pm-1:30 pm   Welcome/Introduction to the ADP --
*Kim Charlson, President, American Council of the Blind
*Dan Spoone, Chair, ADP Committee
*Joel Snyder, Director, ADP
*Jo-Lynn Bailey Page, Chair, ADP Conference Sub-Committee

1:30 pm-2:30 pm   Getting the Most Out of the ADP Website: How to Access Audio Described TV, Movies, and Videos -- *Fred Brack, ADP Webmaster, and *Kathy Brack, AD Consumer

2:30 pm-3:30 pm   Description and Literacy -- Programs like the Described and Captioned Media Program and several published papers have demonstrated how description can build literacy.  *Joel Snyder will chair this discussion with panelists including *Jason Stark of the DCMP, *Judy Dixon of the National Library Service, Hillary Kleck, mother of a blind 9-year-old and *Mary Ann Siller, Dallas-based educator working with blind children.

3:30 pm-4:00 pm   break

4:00 pm-4:30 pm   Legislative Update -- A review of the current status of the mandate for broadcast description; broadcast description in the digital era and the FCC; and the end of Department of Education funding for broadcast description.  *Eric Bridges, Director of External Relations and Policy, ACB; *Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission - Ms. Strauss will appear on video.

4:30 pm-5:30 pm   Advocacy for Audio Description /Boosting Description for Media - How can description become more "visible"?  How can we most effectively advocate for description, particularly in various media formats, e.g., television, film, the web, DVDs and smartphones.  *Dr. Josh Miele of the Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center will discuss developments with *Simon Padro, Compass Interactive, developer of Parlamo; *Chelsea Pancho, Deluxe Digital Media; *Robert Kingett, audio description critic and advocate, and Hillary Kleck, passionate advocate for description and educational media.

5:30 pm-6:30 pm   Mentoring Meet-Up / reception -- Chaired by *Susan Glass.  This year, the ACB Audio Description Project is offering  its inaugural "mentorship" program: sighted attendees of the Audio Description Project Conference will be paired with a blind or visually impaired mentor.  The best describers develop an understanding of  the audience for whom they are providing a critical service.  What better opportunity for such interaction than at the ACB Conference and Convention, where some 1500 blind people will likely be present?  (Mornings on Monday and Tuesday, July 14  and 15 are kept open for attendance at ACB Convention plenary sessions.)

At this brief meet-and-greet session, ADP Conference attendees will have the opportunity to meet and be mentored by an ACB member/description enthusiast and join him/her for the opening plenary session of the ACB Conference and Convention AND at least two other activities during the sessions over the next two mornings-e.g., touring the exhibit hall together, attending an affiliate meeting or an additional ACB general session, taking a walk, eating a meal together, or watching an audio described film.  We hope that these interactions will give you lots of practical experience interacting with a blind person-and you may forge a new friendship and increase understanding between the sighted and the blind communities.

Dinner On Your Own

Day II - Monday, July 14, 2014

1:30 pm-2:30 pm   Broadcast Description -Who creates description for broadcast television?  Are there quality standards?  Can description producers work with cable and satellite companies to make it easier for consumers to access description?  *Rick Boggs of Audio Eyes will chair this session with *Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast; *Jeremy Fisher of Caption Max; and special guest *Bernd Benecke of Bayerischer Rundfunk (German television), author of Audio Description As Partial Translation - Model and Method.

2:30 pm-3:30 pm   The Description Profession - How and where do audio describers become employed, especially for film and TV, but also for museums or performing arts?  What about opportunities for AD consumers to contribute to the process?  *Joyce Adams, long-time describer and supervisor of description for broadcast television and feature films, with panelists *Rick Jacobson and *Teri Grossman, freelance describers, and *Chris Snyder, audio editor.

3:30 pm-4:00 pm   break

4:00 pm-4:45 pm   Audio Description in Spanish - 53 million people of Hispanic descent constitute 17% of the population of the United States.  How is audio description serving Hispanics who are blind or have low vision?  *Maria Diaz of DiCapta (formerly Closed Caption Latina) will present an overview of Spanish audio description availability in the United States.

4:45 pm-5:45 pm   Knowing Your Audience-Performing Arts Description  It all began with the performing arts.  What are the most recent advances?  What can be done to entice more consumers of the service?  *Joel Snyder, ADP director, will chair this session with *Jesse Minkert, Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA) in Seattle; *Steph Kirkland of Vocal Eye in Canada; and *Bonnie Barlow, a Denver-based freelance describer with 22 years of experience describing productions at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

5:45 pm-6:30 pm   Seeing the Art-Visual Art/Museum Description  *Elisabeth Axel of Art Beyond Sight will present an overview of the top programs for visual art description in the United States; the perspective from abroad will be presented by *Dr. Joselia Neves a published author on museum description in Portugal, *Michele Hartley of the National Park Service, and *Martin Wilde, Chicago-based freelance describer with experience describing exhibits. 

Dinner on your own

7:00 pm                  ILLUSIONS with audio description--starring Jan Rouven! "Unbelievable Magic--
Undeniable Mystery" at the Riviera (Tickets are not included in the ADP Conference registration fee.)

8:30 pm                  SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY- Bernd Benecke of Bayerischer Rundfunk (German television), and author of Audio Description As Partial Translation - Model and Method, will speak on "Creating AD: How to Work with the Audio-Description-Evolution-Model (ADEM).  Before writing an AD script,  describers will normally analyze the source material. This should include the following aspects:  What is the anticipated audience? Is it for children with a smaller image memory than grown-ups?  What was the describer's personal experience when watching the material?  What does he or she want the blind and vision-impaired audience to experience when listening to the AD?  And what information is already given in the original soundtrack and thus can be left out in the AD?  Or is there anything in the soundtrack that causes difficulty for the describer, e.g., the sound in a scene does not match the image?  This presentation will take an example from daily media description work and demonstrate how ADEM can help in deciding what, how and when to describe.

Day III - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1:00 pm-2:30 pm   Luncheon with guest speaker - *Dr. Deborah Fels-Dr. Fels is an associate professor in the School of Information Technology Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. She has a special research interest in access to computing systems for people with disabilities.  One of her various project involving audio description includes the development of described episodes of Odd Job Jack, an animation series produced for the Comedy Network. The descriptions for this animation are unique in that they have first-person narrative descriptions synchronized with non-verbal sounds in addition to the silenced-only portions as well as user-controlled extended descriptions.  Dr. Fels was the 2013 recipient of the ADP's Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description, Research and Development.

2:30 pm-3:30 pm   ACB/ADP Awards - Presented by *Chris Gray, Chair, ADP Awards
Committee, former President, ACB

(Nominations still being accepted--go to:

- "Young Described Film Critic of the Year" Awards Presentation
- Achievement in Audio Description - Media
- Achievement in Audio Description - Performing Arts
- Achievement in Audio Description - Museums
- Achievement in Audio Description - International
- Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description -                                                
Research and Development
- Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description

3:30 pm-4:00 pm   break

4:00 pm-5:00 pm   The Audio Description Consumer -- Audio description is first and foremost in service to the needs of people who are blind or have low vision.  *Kim Charlson, ACB's President will chair this discussion with panelists and audio description enthusiasts *Dan Spoone, *Susan Glass, *Satauna Howery, and *Kathy Brack, as well as comment from the Conference's mentors and mentees (see the "Mentoring Meet-Up" session described above).

5:00 pm-6:00 pm   Open Sharing / Discussion

6:00 pm                 Adjourn

Evening                   *Joel Snyder, ADP Director and President of Audio Description Associates, LLC, will be available to discuss and sign copies of his new publication (with associated website) The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description (published by ACB). 


Registration Fee - $175.00   
- A Tuesday, July 15 luncheon will be provided.  Please contact
concerning any special dietary requirements.

- Registration for the ACB 2014 Conference and Convention is included.

NOTE:  Individuals who register for the ADP Conference (July 13-15) as well as the AD Institute training sessions (July 16-18-tuition: $450) qualify for a special discounted rate:  $550.00   For information regarding the AD Institute, visit


You can make reservations for your stay at the Riviera Hotel and Casino via phone or online.  Room rates are $87 plus tax per night (single or double). Make reservations by phone by calling (800) 634-6753, make sure to mention you are with the ACB convention. You can also make reservations online at:

To Register

On-line, visit
For questions or additional information, contact Joel Snyder at -- 
202 467-5083 or 301 920-0218.


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