One of Lipreading Mom’s favorite organizations is CCAC—Collaboration for Communication Access via Captioning. Founder Lauren Storck leads volunteers worldwide on a variety of captioning advocacy projects. One of them—Show Me the Captions—promoted going to see captioned cinema films and encouraged everyone to ask for theaters to “Show me the captions!”
I recently asked Lauren a few questions about CCAC, how to get involved in captioning advocacy, and a new CCAC project called CaptionMatch.
What position does CCAC take on the issue of cinema captioning when it comes to open captions versus closed captions on personal devices (captioning glasses, CaptiView, rear window captioning)?
CCAC distributes as much information on this as possible, and encourages inclusion of quality captioning where none exists now. Therefore, we don’t “take a position” or frame it as one “versus” any other. As the founder and president of the CCAC, now an official non-profit organization, we focus on the mission and identify about ten major “categories of life” that require captioning inclusion, and one is entertainment within which cinema falls. Movies, as everyone knows are hugely enjoyable, not only for relaxation and entertainment, but also as the social activity that so many people in all countries deserve to participate in. Equal access is vital.
In terms of Open Captioning compared to Closed Captioning—there are various views among CCAC members, friends, and followers, up to about 4000 of us. In general and in brief, we believe that many members of the CCAC would select OC these days (though we have not conducted a poll about this; we have active discussions online for all members).
Having said that, many support CC using the devices because they allow many more opportunities to go to the movies (not restricted to certain showings only). With the devices, it seems very important to have enough devices (not always available yet), and that all are in good working order, before being distributed to customers. Some find the eye movements required to be cumbersome, yet many report satisfaction.
How did CaptionMatch start?
CCAC itself developed with some good planning, and to tell you the truth, rapidly grew from ground up. We love the energy of so many members now, and we want to keep membership free to encourage everyone with an interest in equal access to join, and to facilitate projects with good established groups (that charge for membership). We always seek ways to support annual CCAC expenses, kept to a minimum so far, yet they add up. CCAC is all volunteers, has no paid staff, pays no rent, and we’d also like to plan some meetings, do some needed web development, and carry forward some new advocacy needed.
By “popular demand” primarily, CCAC applied for official non-profit organizational status in 2012 (with added costs). We asked ourselves (myself with family and friends), “How can we support this project and have it become even more effective for the unique CCAC mission?” The idea of CaptionMatch hatched!
CaptionMatch is a clearinghouse, the only one of its kind we know about. The aim is to extend CCAC advocacy new ways, make it easier for anyone (any consumer, company, or organization) to ask for any kind of captioning, and offer providers a new way to find extra work if they were interested. It’s international also, and there’s a lot of basic “education” involved too – for consumers asking for the first time, and for some providers who seem to like our suggestions. Providers pay a small fee to participate. In brief, it makes captioning happen.
What are the benefits of CaptionMatch for the deaf/hard of hearing/hearing?
CaptionMatch is already used well, as we continue to develop the system online and hope may more register soon and use it to support the CCAC. CaptionMatch has a double bonus—you find the CART or captioning you need, and you show your support for the CCAC organization. The revenue from CaptionMatch will contribute to CCAC ongoing advocacy and annual costs (yet a lot of fundraising is going to be needed also, to keep the CCAC going).
Specifically for us (I am deafened for 12 years), for “consumers,” CaptionMatch offers a simple way to learn more about access for yourself and others. A consumer places a “request” online (it’s anonymous until a “match” is made). Providers who are interested send in replies which are sent to the consumer (also anonymously). The consumer gets a lot of good information about costs and systems needed, and can ask all the questions they want to ask of the providers. After the consumer selects a provider to work with, we send contact details to both and they do the planning needed for inclusion of captioning or CART.
A lot of people don’t know they can ask for CART for example, if needed for full communications; or that they can request captioning online for a webinar. A lot of producers of media, theater managers, or even some teachers and others, don’t yet understand our need for real time captioning for so many everyday things. CaptionMatch offers a lot of good examples on its website. In summary, CaptionMatch addresses some of the “hassles” we have published about (see http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/Fulltext/2013/04000/Advocacy_in_Audiology___The_Case_for_Captioning.11.aspx for 12 reasons why people may not “just ask,”).
As for cinema captioning, which country has been most responsive to CCAC’s efforts to promote it—the USA or U.K.—and how so?
Many advocated for cinema captioning long before the CCAC was born, in both countries (USA and UK) and indeed in other countries. Each region has its own local groups, often groups for the deaf, deafened or people with hearing loss, and also to note, many countries show “foreign films” for many years with subtitles for local audiences. Subtitles (captions) indeed help people learn new languages sometimes also.
CCAC shares and invites information from many recent cinema captioning advocacy groups, e.g. individual advocates such as you Shanna (a.k.a. Lipreading Mom), and others, as well as fantastic group efforts such as the one CCAC co-sponsored in 2012 with ALDA groups and HLAA groups (“Show Us the Captions”). There’s a summary of that on the CCAC website.
We also communicate with cinema captioning advocates and groups regularly all the time. To name a few, active groups in Utah where they show OC every month, a new group in Michigan; other USA locations, in addition to France and the UK where open captioning is enjoyed. Anyone from any location is welcome to join the CCAC and suggest a new cinema advocacy project to meet his or her local needs.
Any other information about cinema captioning and CCAC?
The only thing to add here perhaps is the “extension” of cinema viewing to Internet entertainments. As many reading know, seeing movies online, not to mention all the other videos, television, and new entertainments (e.g. web series that are completely new, never having been distributed anyplace else earlier) are a major CCAC captioning advocacy interest now. Read more on the CCAC website at http://ccacaptioning.org.
Read More in the Lipreading Mom Captioning Series
Readers—Lend Your Support to Captioning Advocacy
Contact the CCAC through its web link above, or comment below to share your ideas or questions about promoting worldwide captioning.