Friday 2 August 2019

Deaf Girly does Sky News

This time last week,  I had just experienced my first ever TV appearance. On Sky News. And I loved it.

So how did a deaf anonymous blogger end up on Sky News with her face in full view?

Well, it's because of subtitles and how important they are.

Since I first started my blog way back in 2008, I've been fighting for better subtitles. Back in the day when iPlayer didn't have good ones, and then the iPlayer app didn't have any at all. And cinemas had even less than they have now. And most museums had never considered adding words to their videos.

When there was an opportunity to ask for better accessibility, I have always done so. And I will continue to do so.

More recently this has meant I've been supporting Deafie Blogger with her subtitled cinema petition and campaign. As I wrote in my earlier blog here, we've had meetings and there have been developments but we are nowhere near where we'd like to be yet.

Which is why I put out that tweet, which went viral and had an amazing response from hearing people telling me why they used subtitles. And then The Guardian wrote about it and finally, I got a lovely DM asking me to be on Sky News.

My initial gut reaction response was 'No way! I can't possibly do that.' but then I thought about it for a day and realised that wasn't about whether I could or couldn't do it. I quite simply had to. Face those fears of putting my face out there. Of making an idiot of myself on live TV and just go for it.

So I said 'Yes!'

And so, a car came to collect me and took me to the Sky Studios in West London. I was whisked into make-up where I met Rosie Fletcher - a film critic - who was going to chat alongside me. And as we were saying hello, my phone buzzed. Sky News had tagged me in a tweet saying: "Should cinema subtitles be mandatory? More than 70,000 people have a liked a post by deaf campaigner @DeafGirly who says they change lives."

Tweet from Sky News saying 'Should cinema subtitles be mandatory?'

"Ermagerd, mandatory?! I never said cinema subtitles should be mandatory," I squeaked to FJM who was say beside me. But I guess, if you don't put out something like that, then there's no argument right? And sure enough the anti-subtitles tweets came in thick and fast.

But it gave me just enough time to make sure they I knew what I was going to say in my opening comment on the programme: "Cinema subtitles should not be mandatory - but we should have more."

Going into the Sunrise studio was amazing. We had our microphones clipped on, sat in our chairs and met the lovely presenters - Stephen and Gillian. They immediately put me at ease and before I knew it the cameras were rolling and Stephen had asked me a question.

If you watch my body language and can hear my voice in that opening sentence from me, you will notice how utterly terrified I was, but somehow I took a deep breath and kept going. And I hope I got my point across OK.

Here's the full interview recorded from my rents' TV with pretty shonky subtitles... I am working on getting a better version as well.

 I also hope that things like this continue to raise the importance of subtitles. Be it closed or open. Be it on devices or on screen. The more people we get thinking about subtitles, the more chance there is that we'll get more of them in more places.

If you want to support our quest for more subtitles at the cinema, there's Deafie Blogger's petition and more about it both on my blog... and on Deafie Blogger's website.

Want to know when there are subtitled film screenings on near you? Head over to Your Local Cinema to find out. Attend them, show the cinemas there is a demand for them. And next time you're at your local cinema, don't forget to tell them you'd like more subtitled showings. 

Happy Friday peeps and thanks as ever for all your support.


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