Confession time: I’ve a ‘secret’ job for over 20 years in voice work. The job is narrating the visual details in a film/tv show. I first heard about it while I was volunteering with VoicePrint at NBRS (National Broadcast Reading Service) back in the previous century, when they first offered VHS movies with description added. Since then I have done many hours of TV and movie descriptions. I love being in the studio and helping to make programs more accessible with the addition of voice. I love using my voice to bring stories into a fuller picture. Action sequences are my favourite. I narrated the description for Matrix Reloaded for The Movie Network in 2018. Trying to see how long I could talk before I tripped up was a great joy for me!
Why was it a secret? Well, no one knew what it was. There wasn’t enough time for credits, so I never got named. In the voice world, it wasn’t recognized as being a transferrable skill to ‘real’ voice work. Thankfully that’s changing. It’s becoming more and more prevalent now as we are recognizing the importance of making things accessible to everyone.
Of course trying to describe more material brings new challenges – enter AI voice and ‘text to speech’. There is still an overall lack of funding for DV/AD, and although governing bodies have mandated that all prime time shows need description, it’s up to the broadcasters to foot the bill. The attitude “it’s better than nothing” is rearing it’s ugly head, and many broadcasters are choosing the cheaper route to description. I’m going to look for some new companies to work with that still value the human voice. In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the work I have done that is still available to view online! (for now). Let me know what you think!
The AD is found by adjusting the settings. CBC TV:Big Block Sing Song: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/big-block-singsong/s01(I did all the episodes)
TVO: (various episodes of several programs- There is a toggle switch for DV)
Hope for Wildlife https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/hope-for-wildlife-episode-13
Paw Patrol https://www.tvokids.com/preschool/videos/paw-patrol-season-2/pups-save-elephant-family
Political Blind Date:https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/ep-1-hallway-medicine-0