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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Show Us the Captions - this November

During the month of November 2012, people with hearing loss and deafness, along with their friends and families, will be asking theaters to demonstrate accessibility, when they go to the movies as part of the “Show Us the Captions!” advocacy campaign.

Theaters can provide captioning either through showing open caption films where all seats in the theater have access or by distributing individual captioning devices with access limited to the number of devices available.

Sponsored by Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning, this campaign is intended to
  • Promote captioning to potential movie goers who don’t know their theater has it.
  • Demonstrate the real need for captioning to theater owners.
  • Raise awareness of inclusion and accessibility issues to the general public.
  • Show appreciation to the cinemas that provide access via captioning.

The Association for Late Deafened Adults, Chicago chapter, is spearheading the campaign and hosting their own event on November 17, 2012. All organizations and interested people are invited to join them in planning their own events. Talk to your local cinema now, rally friends and neighbors, select a date, and begin to get the word out soon.

Regular readers may recall that I wrote about this idea last month. Since that time, I've been busy working to make it a reality. First I created the graphic above and posted the idea on the CCAC members' forum. I'm happy to say the reaction there was very positive. Lauren Storck, the founder of CCAC, decided to take the campaign on as a Captioning Advocacy Project (CAP) for the organization. With their backing, I have been able to spread the idea even further.

To help other groups participate, I created a Facebook site and posted the following tips for event coordinators:
  1. Choose a theater near you that offers some form of captioning.
  2. Choose a date in November for your event.
  3. Ask friends, family, and coworkers NOW to save that date to join you and others with hearing loss at the movies.
  4. Contact the theater’s manager
    • to explain that your group will be coming on that day,
    • find out how far in advance the movie show times for that day will be available,
    • and if the theater uses a closed captioning system, check to make sure enough devices will be available.
  5. Announce the event to your local hearing loss support group so they can invite their family and friends, and coworkers and help you spread the word.
  6. Post the date and location of your event on Facebook at so we can promote it.
  7. Follow up with your group once the movie schedule is available to finalize your plans.
  8. Follow up with the theater manager when you have a good idea of how many will be coming and how many will be using the captioning.
  9. Let us know on Facebook if you have any questions.

Then I got started setting up Chicago's event. I've been in contact with two Marcus Theaters so far. One location has 10 CaptiView devices and the other has 6 plus the offer to get more if they are needed. I still need volunteers. Two of mine were unable to help after all, but another person has stepped up, thankfully. I will keep you informed as this project progresses. If any of you want to join in and arrange a Show Us the Captions event in your area, that would be great.