Diary of a Deaf Filmmaker, Month 5: How well will Deaf and hearing people work together on my film?

Posted on November 24, 2014



As the shoot dates draw ever closer, I’m starting to think/panic about how well everybody is going to work together.

In my quest (that I’ve started, just now) to save the planet one film at a time, I want this shoot to represent how things could be for Deaf and hearing people working in the industry, TOGETHER.

As a Deaf film maker, I’ve found that I’ve had to work twice as hard to get the same mainstream jobs as my hearing counter parts. For reasons that may or may not be accurate or entirely fair, some people think that working with a Deaf person can be more of a hindrance, than a help…

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So I wanted to make sure that lots of Deaf people could take the opportunity to work on this film, regardless of how much they could or couldn’t hear. That’s not to say that we’d take on just anybody, but I wanted to give talented Deaf film cast and crew the chances they deserved.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some crazy Deaf Supremacist.

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We’re also working with a bunch of very skilled hearing people too, so I’m probably more like some crazy Deaf Hippy.

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So, in our lil cocktail of film cast and crew we’ve got just about a little bit of everything, ranging from born profoundly Deaf BSL users to never met a Deaf person in their life “Hearies”.

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But what if our cocktail ends up more like….a pub drip tray…?

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What if everyone hates each other?

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What if no one can tell each other, that they hate each other?!

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What if everyone hates me for making them hate each other?!?!

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But what if something great happens…what if we all work splendidly together?

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We could learn from each other, change our perspective on things and push each other to reach our true potential. We can prove that Deaf people are more than capable of working on mainstream films and are also great team players.

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In all lines of work, buzz words like “team work” are usually followed closely by “great communication skills” and this can be the downfall of many Deaf people.

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But with this project, we can prove the exact opposite. After all, if people from different backgrounds (including and especially languages) can find a way to work together effectively, how can their “communication skills” be anything but “great”?

This project will show that Deaf and hearing film-makers are equals. That we can all adapt, be patient and understanding of each other to reach a common goal.

Then one day, this might happen….

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And who knows, maybe one tiny Deaf drop in the film industry’s ocean might make waves somewhere down the line…..

But that’s my crazy Deaf Hippie talking again.

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I’d love to see more Deaf and hearing people working together positively, especially in the film industry, we are all just people after all! So let’s hope that everyone working on this project has a great experience and continues the trend!

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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