AMC Theatres: Provide Open Captioning In All Theaters
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My name is Drue Polkey, and I am an 18 year-old film student at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. It is a university with 6,366 total students enrolled with a growing student population.
Obviously, I love movies. I love watching movies, I love analyzing movies, I love critiquing movies, but most of all, I love going to the movies.
I am a first-year student at my university, and I am part of my university's Gamma Phi Beta Sorority chapter. I am an introvert, but that has not stopped me from making many new friends during my college career. Some of these friends are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Thibodaux is a small, rural area. There isn't a lot to do, so when my friends and I want to have fun, we often have to go out of town to the surrounding, more urban areas. What do we do for fun? Well, we go out for food, go shopping, and go to the movies. There are 6 AMC Theaters within a 50-mile radius of my university.
Seeing a movie with a group of friends can be so much fun, but only when we can all understand what's going on. When a deaf or hard-of-hearing friend comes to the movies with me, they have to use CaptiView devices that often don't work or Sony Entertainment Access Glasses that are distracting. You can read more about CaptiView devices here or about Access Glasses here. These devices turn our fun activity into a search for a solution.
My proposed solution is that AMC Theaters implement open captioning in their theaters. Open captioning is a text display of all of the words and sounds heard during a production onscreen. This is similar to the closed captions that you can turn on and off on your television, blu-rays and DVDs, or on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
My deaf and hard-of-hearing friends and family members rely on visual communication. This includes sign language, lip reading, and, yes, captions. Open captioning could be the most helpful auxiliary aid, but it is avoided by theaters in favor of other aids that are often broken, distracting, and unhelpful.
Think of your deaf and hard-of-hearing friends, family members, neighbors, students, co-workers, colleagues, and fellow citizens. Think of the ways they accommodate us and change their lives to match the standard of ours daily. Why shouldn’t we think of ways to better help and accommodate them? In addition to helping them, it is my firm belief that watching a movie with captions is a way to understand the movie you are watching much better. You may think it is distracting, but give it a try at home. Test it out for a while. You may grow to love captions and understand the things you watch in a whole new way.
If you want to join me in taking action to urge AMC Theaters to provide an option for open captioning, sign my petition. If AMC makes a change, it may encourage other theaters to do the same.
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