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Episode 44 – A Bucket of Blood part 2

As Walter becomes more famous, the pressure mounts for him to create more of his sculptures – which means hunting more prey to be his subjects.

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3 Responses to “Episode 44 – A Bucket of Blood part 2”

  1. BF Goodwill Says:

    This episode contains a scene in which a female character, Alice, poses nude for the “sculptor,” but, once again, the narration becomes rather vague and we have no idea how much or what part of the woman is shown. This kind of editorial silence constitutes the kind of censorship which has plagued the attempt of blind people to gain a modicum of grownup visual literacy.

  2. admin Says:

    In this case (the sequence about 12 minutes into the episode), I made the description of nudity vague not to hold anything back from the audience, but to be consistent with the film, in which Alice’s nudity is only implied. She is shown taking off her clothes in shadow and around corners (and in between dialogue that was more important), then sitting in the chair with her bare back to the camera. Perhaps I could have pointed out the bare back, and possibly other describers would have, but I try not to make obvious that I’m describing a director’s POV rather than what’s going on in the story, which to me is most important thing.

    While I haven’t dealt much with nudity in this podcast’s films yet, I have in other projects. My rule of thumb has been that when physical details are visible that fall under a commonly held definition of “nudity” (nipples on breasts, fully-exposed buttocks, groin areas), I’ll mention them – hopefully in a more graceful, integrated way than I just did now. :-) I hope to give them an amount of attention consistent with what the filmmaker gives. If a filmmaker only suggests nudity without those details, I’ll do the same, and not describe details that aren’t seen.

    I anticipate starting to describe films on the podcast with more nudity (and violence) from time to time, and perhaps these issues will be picked up again then. Thanks for your comment.

  3. BF Goodwill Says:

    I am familiar with the prevailing audio-description principle that narrators should only give just enough description to allow a blind person to follow the story, but I suggest that narrators should strive to provide enough description to give blind viewers as much of the cinematic experience that sighted viewers are experiencing as possible. The problem with the prevailing approach is that it results in rather scant and generic description. Blind people might understand the basic story, but they do not get a real flavor of the cinematic experience. Hence, according to this approach, there would be no difference between a cartoon version of a classic story and one directed by a world-famous director – because it’s the facts, not the flavors, that count. This approach deprives blind people of the real essence of a film qua film- so it’s like reading a synopsis of Hamlet instead of Hamlet. Description should include as much directorial POV as possible because this helps to differentiate this movie from other movies – e.g., there is a big difference between a scene in which a woman is seen nude from the back and from the waist-up and one in which she walks into a room full frontal – these differences are important directorial decisions that description should endeavor to capture. Additionally, narrators should not be afraid of using adjectives and adverbs; these are extremely economical and useful shorthand devices for conveying a lot of information and color. It is better to get the narrator’s aesthetic interpretation of a scene than to have no interpretation whatsoever. Hence, re your proposed description of body-parts, a well-placed adjective can add vividness and concreteness to a description – e.g., instead of saying just “nipple” one could say “dark erect nipple” or instead of just saying “breasts” one could say “small perky breasts” – the inclusion of “dark erect” or “small perky” takes fractions of seconds but can add much color to the generic anatomical descriptors. I discuss the description of sex/nudity because it is the topic at hand and because it is an aspect of audio-description that most establishment description providers shun and shy away from, but the principles I mention can be applied to the overall presentation of an audio-described movie. I realize that narrators are limited by time and the contextual interstices in which they can shoe-horn description, but I encourage narrators to interpolate as much description as possible. Blind people can filter or tune out description they don’t find useful, so narrators should not worry about over-describing.

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