Chalk another failure for network television executives.
Since receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1986 at the age of 21 — marking her film and TV debut — Marlee’s been featured in numerous stage and screen performances. I’m sure you’ve seen her somewhere.
Despite her credentials and expertise on deaf issues, an internalization she can relate, Marlee’s reality show was rejected by television broadcasters because of an assumption that primetime audiences wouldn’t appreciate watching closed captioning. That’s you. Would you appreciate it? Keep reading…
To their credit, Marlee says the executives “loved” her concept. “The reaction couldn’t have been more positive” about the Firl family of Fremont, California: mother Bridgetta and father Leslie with their four children: Jared, 15; Gideon, 12; Sabrina, 6; and Elijah, 3. Jared narrates the show, and only he and Elijah can hear.
But they still hesitated because they had no idea how an audience would react to characters signing with voice-overs and occasional subtitles.
Anyone who watches reality television will tell you that they employ subtitles a lot for dialogue that’s difficult to catch on the fly.
Marlee is familiar with resistance from mainstream media broadcasting companies who routinely fail to offer closed captioning of TV special events. She frequently speaks on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf, such as this testimony to the FCC and a newer presentation to Google.
Google owns YouTube, and that’s where she opted to make the 10-minute pilot episode available to the world. The video sharing site enables anyone to create subtitles on uploaded videos or utilize an automatic captioning process. Internet developers recognize the importance of online closed captioning and numerous alternatives to YouTube are gaining popularity.
Please take a look at the pilot of “My Deaf Family” either here or by playing the below video.
Future episodes (if they are produced) will be up at http://www.youtube.com/mydeaffamily and I encourage you to share your thoughts about the video either by adding a comment below or tweeting Marlee here.