Diary of a Deaf Filmmaker, Month Two: I’m starting to hunt for Deaf actors… but they’re not easy to find

Posted on August 15, 2014



Hello again! It’s been a busy ol’ month! There’s been production meetings, the Facebook page has been set up (everyone knows, Facebook pages make everything official) and I’ve started the great hunt for actors.

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I’ve had to be pretty specific in regards to some of the actor requirements, as certain character traits can have a huge impact on the script and plot.

Now, as you may already know, Deaf people come in all kinds of different “flavours.”

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And the film we’re making represents a specific and somewhat original type of “Deaf person”.

During my time as an actress, I’ve noticed that film and television tend to portray a stereotypical archetype of Deaf person.

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I noticed this because I was A) Deaf but B) nothing like those people.

I would regularly be called to castings for a Deaf character and be expected to know every element of BSL and how to use it correctly.

The interpreter that had been hired for the day would sit obsolete, while the director stared in awe/horror as I spoke in perfectly clear English.

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I’ve even been asked to put on a “deaf accent” before.

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And so for this project, I felt it necessary to portray a different type of Deaf character. Someone like…..

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Narcissism aside, it’s always best to write about what you know, and I know absolutely LOADS of Deaf people who talk (accents and voice clarity varies), sign (some better than others, but hey, they’re still signing), lip read or even talk, sign and lip read at the same time!

They can communicate with Deaf & Hearing people alike and they don’t always require an interpreter.

Some wear hearing aids, some don’t and some have cochlear implants. Deaf people, like any other human beings, are complex and we have lots of different layers…..like a deaf onion…

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So I’m going to need Deaf actors that can be very versatile, which is not an easy task. Don’t get me wrong, there are gifted Deaf actors out there but you’ve got to work pretty damn hard to find them.

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So that’s what July has been about mainly, contacting agents, posting on facebook, tweeting on twitter and just generally getting that casting brief out there!

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Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things.

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Posted in: teresa garratty