Are you ready for some new family fare for Halloween? I had to be ready in the summer to write description for the début of "Ghost Patrol", the animated adventures of Gabi and Spence (and dog Spooky), small-town ghost hunters hoping for their first big find - and getting more than they bargained for. The fast-paced special is running throughout Disney Channel's "Monstober" in the U.S. and premieres in Canada on Family October 21 at 4pm eastern, returning just in time for trick-or-treat through the last weekend of October, ending with 4pm eastern on the 31st.
Billy Bretherton is a metalhead who dresses like a rocker, but works as an exterminator. Various series have followed Billy taking on all kinds of stubborn and dangerous pests around the U.S., but I've gotten to write and voice description of him battling some different breeds in Canada in "Billy Goes North". He gets in some sticky situations in my episode, number six of the current season, called "Sting Operation". It airs first October 14 at 9pm eastern on CMT Canada.
Back in July, I mentioned that while at AudioVision Canada, I was part of a team who described hundreds of films for the National Film Board of Canada, and that unfortunately just a small number of them are available on their streaming website. Fortunately, one of those films is the wonderful 2006 documentary Shameless: The ART of Disability. In what was her first film since a catastrophic stoke that at first left her paralyzed, well-known documentarian Bonnie Sherr Klein turned her cameras on herself, as well as a varied collection of fellow artists considered to be disabled. The results are often savagely funny, as the group talks about their challenges and triumphs, along with some choice words about common Hollywood tropes about disabled people.
You can enjoy the film with description and with closed captioning, but part of the problem with the NFB site is that turning on those features is not the most straightforward thing. To turn on the audio description, go to that streaming link, click "play" in the lower left of the screen, then click the "accessibility" button (a speech bubble) beside the volume button, and then turn on the description in the second pair of radio buttons. (Told you!)
I've had a bit of deja vu working on some recent videos. About a decade ago, I worked on a couple hundred films for perennial Oscar-winners The National Film Board of Canada (you'll have to ask them why only a small number of them can be found on their site). The DCMP has gotten hold of a few more recent films, with a wide variety of subjects and animation styles the NFB is known for. Here's a clip from "55 Socks," using simple paper cut-outs (a style described before the clip starts) to bring to life a poem based on the real experiences of people living through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.
Well, we've had two and a half years of angsty, sexy werewolves fighting and loving and hiding from the purely-human world, but the time has come to leave gloomy Stonehaven mansion. The final episode of Bitten with my description airs on Space in Canada this Friday at 10pm eastern. Although the final season has had its challenges (More complex fight scenes! Identical twin killers!), it's been the best, and the finale ties everything up with some shocks but also some happiness...which has often been in short supply for The Pack. Enjoy the action and the feels, and again my thanks to showrunner Daegan Fryklind for her tremendous support of the DV.
After two very fun years of sexy people growing fur and pouncing, I'm proud to say I'm describing the third and final season of Bitten, airing on Space on Canada. With the terrific support of creator and showrunner Daegan Fryklind, I've been following the travails of Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort) as she's gone from ordinary aspiring photographer to butt-kicking werewolf pack member. This season finds her making a shocking discovery about her family as she becomes a larger part of determining her new family's future. Tune in for the described video from Space Fridays at 10pm eastern, starting February 12!
It's been a special challenge producing description for the horror film Farhope Tower. The Canadian feature follows a team of ghost hunters going for their big break of a reality tv series by exploring a notorious abandoned building known for multiple suicides. Much of the threat can't be seen even by the sighted, except for unexplained movement in the building and some of the disturbing behaviour of the visitors. But boy, can it be heard. Some great sound design ups the creepiness factor and helped me translate the terror. Watch out for this movie turning up on cable and streaming channels in the future.
It was fun and more than a little challenging to work on the last few episodes of the sixth season of Survivorman for Outdoor Life Network (OLN). I've been describing Les Stroud's exploits for a while now - going back to his "10 Days" shows in Norway and Tiburon - so it was great to get back into the combination of explaining some of the clever tactics he uses to survive (like starting fires without matches and finding uses for simple things he can carry), trying to evoke the beauty and savagery of the nature around him, and just backing off and letting him describe things in his own inimitable way. Though, frankly, I could've done without a scene which involved him taking care of a bad fingernail injury. *shudder* :-) Catch his episodes in India, the Transylvanian Alps, Oregon and Tonga Wednesday nights in Canada on OLN.
I was proud to work on Described Video for the first two episodes of the English version of the new series Blood and Water for the Omni stations in Canada. It's a crime drama with some notable differences from the norm. Taking place in Vancouver, which has a huge Chinese population, the lead detective is a strong woman of Chinese descent, who must uncover the secrets of a powerful Chinese family when one of their own is found dead. At the same time, she must deal with a devastating cancer diagnosis. As if this wasn't enough to set the show apart, it's also done in three languages (English, Mandarin and Cantonese - so obviously I got to do a fair bit of reading subtitles) and each episode is a half-hour - which is great for anyone whose tv schedules may be straining with all the good stuff out there. It's a fascinating, challenging piece of work, and I really hope it finds an audience.
It's been great to work on a new series for CMT Canada which has definitely involved describing things I've never described before. How many different ways can you describe clouds? Fortunately, the stars of the show Tornado Hunters do a lot of the work for me. Three guys drive their cool truck around North America searching for spectacular tornados and other extreme weather events, and they don't hesitate to explain what there is about a set of clouds that gets their juices flowing. They have other adventures along the way (exploring swamps, parasailing. mudding, even getting married) with plenty of bickering and jokes. So ride along Sunday nights at 9pm eastern on CMT Canada.