One of the gals I worked at Deaf West with asked me if I’d like to help out on a Deaf film last weekend. Of course I got really excited and said yes!! I didn’t know the director or anything before-hand but the two lead actors on the film were also in My Sister In This House, and I knew that several of the people I worked with at Deaf West would be helping on the film. It’s only been a month since the show has been over and I already miss the girls at Deaf West soooo much. Plus, an afternoon to practice signing is the BEST thing ever. I met everyone at GLAD in Eagle Rock for the shoot. I had never been there before, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it is. The building is a 1920’s spanish style that’s been modernized to be state of the art. They have the most beautiful garden with a fountain, and there are trees just surrounding the building. Inside, everything is extra nice. It seemed as home-like as an office can seem, to me. They had plush sofas, dark wooden desks, pictures on the walls, and an air of calm importance. I’ve often thought about working for GLAD once I become certified, and visiting just solidified my wish.
We had a great time. Jules Dameron is a Deaf girl doing her best to make it as a film-maker. She wrote and directed Beyond Essays, an all ASL film with Deaf actresses. It speaks to many hot-button issues in the Deaf community, like the ASL vs English debate, and includes a protest of AB2072. I checked out a few of her other short films on line this week and she’s brilliant. She’s made some very cool films.
I would say we were about 1/2 deaf and 1/2 hearing on the set. Many of the production people didn’t know sign at all, but about 1/2 of the Production Assistant helpers were deaf, and all of the actors were deaf. They had about three interpreters at a time on set, and they were a big help. A couple of the production people started mistaking me for an interpreter when they realized how much sign I knew, oops!! I pointed them in the right direction immediately: signing is one skill, interpretation is a totally different ball of wax. I’m better than nothing, but everyone’s going to get much more accurate information from someone who’s been trained properly. I guess that’s what I get for wearing a black shirt.
Mostly I ran errands around the set, and off the set… someone had to go get lunch. I also did a lot of chatting with folks in the Green Room during down times. I felt like my ASL held up pretty well to everything, and I was WAY less nervous about communicating than I have been in the past. It was great getting tons of practice. I noticed again how much better my receptive skills are than my expressive. I need to get back into the swing of going to events around town and improve the signing that I’m doing a little more.
The day wound up with Jules asking many of the production folks to step in and be protesters for the film. I didn’t expect to be on screen at all, but I may be in the movie!! It was so much fun to stand in front of the camera yelling “Preserve ASL” at the top of my lungs while signing the words madly and vehemently in the beautiful courtyard. It was the perfect ending to my day.
I’ll be excited to see what Beyond Essays turns out to be in it’s finished form. If the stuff I saw this weekend is any indication, it’s going to be an amazing film. Right now, the estimated run time is around 10-minutes. I’ll let everyone know when it comes out.