Diary of a Deaf Filmmaker, Month 6: Do Deaf filmmakers have an advantage over hearing filmmakers?

Posted on January 5, 2015

During the build up to the shoot I was thinking the other day about what the final quality of the film will be like.


Hopefully, it should be of quite a high standard as not only myself, but a ton of wonderful people have been working very hard on it, which I am HUGLEY grateful for of course!


But do Deaf film-makers technically have a slight advantage over hearing ones when it comes to making films?

In this industry, the term “less is more” pops up a lot when it comes to dialogue and this is because it’s usually better to communicate to your audience through the images and not the spoken words.


Deaf people are visual communicators and by that I mean no matter what your level of deafness, you’re going to be looking for visual clues and cues even if you don’t use sign language (lip reading, body language, facial expressions, gestures etc…).

There’s a lot of scholarly articles online about this if you want to look into it further, but be warned, it’s pretty heavy stuff.


So, technically, Deaf film-makers should be able to transfer that element of communicating visually into their films, right?

Well, I guess that depends on how much sign language you use in films because that’s dialogue too and can probably drag out in a scene as much as spoken English.


The key thing to hone in on is giving information with images. Let’s say for instance you want a character to get a cup of tea. You could do this…


Or this…


The same information is conveyed but the second one is viewed as more naturalist and therefore “better” from a film making point of view.

Of course, this is just a thought and could be utter nonsense, but it would be great if there was some truth to it. Deaf film-makers talents are usually lost within the mainstream and we could do with a little “ leg up” as it were

And if we do have an advantage when it come to film-making then we’re almost definitely awesome at Pictionary too!


Teresa Garratty 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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