The Latest on Captioned Movies in Kansas City

The Kansas City HLAA Chapter is advocating for captioned movies at local theaters. Our first effort was a meeting today with Dan Glennon, manager at the AMC Studio 30 theater in Olathe, KS. Representing the KC HLAA Chapter were Terri Shirley and Shanna Groves.

It appears Studio 30 theater will likely be the first AMC location to provide captioned films in Kansas City that supports all-digital movies. Formerly, captioned movies were on 35-milimeter film. The new digital technology vendors are now playing catch-up with making sure these films are rearview captioned (reflective screen technology, known as “RW”) and open captioned (subtitles, known as “OC”).

Glennon said he is on board with providing captioned film choices. However, the delay in providing the captioning service is coming from other sources: movie studios producing and delivering OC films, outside vendors providing necessary technology for RW-captioned digital films, and corporate support.

During the meeting, Glennon was presented with hearing loss and Deaf community statistics, compiled by HLAA Supporter Sandra Kelly, executive director of the Deaf Cultural Center in Olathe. This info included the following:

* Though no one maintains the statistics on hearing loss of adults in the area, because the school for the Deaf is located in Olathe [and has been since 1866], there is a significantly larger population of individuals with hearing loss that live in the area.

* It has been estimated that there may be several thousand Deaf individuals in the Greater Kansas City area. This does not include individuals who are considered hard of hearing.

* There is an estimated 34-37 millions individuals in the US with hearing loss significant enough that it affects their daily lives.

* Of these individuals, 2/3 of them are under the age of 65.
Hearing loss within a family affects everyone, not just the person with the loss. Family members [without the hearing loss] are very aware of businesses and organizations that are supportive of this challenge. It is not only the person unable to hear that is considered the consumer. It includes his family, co-workers and others aware of the support from businesses.

* Visitors to the Deaf Cultural Center have come from every state in the Union, as well as, many countries from around the world. Our numbers have more than tripled from three years ago. It would be difficult to estimate how many of these people have hearing loss, but I would estimate at least 50%. Again, it is the family and friends of Deaf / Hard-of-Hearing individuals who often accompany these folks.
90% of Deaf children are born into Hearing families. Parents of these children are looking for equal access to entertainment.

* Last year Olathe was identified in an online survey [Deaf411.com] as one of the most Deaf Friendly communities in the Midwest. This is a ‘draw’ to people around the country.

~*~*~*~*~*

The KC HLAA Chapter will follow up with AMC and other local theaters’ progress in provided captioned movies and will post updates here.

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Vocational Rehab Explored at Sept. 18th Meeting


Cathee Wolford, a Counselor with Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation, spoke about ways her office helps people with hearing loss find employment opportunities. Cathee, who has a hearing loss, joined the Missouri VR staff earlier this year.

More than a dozen people attended Saturday’s Kansas City HLAA Chapter meeting at the Kansas City Library-Plaza Branch. James Ankrom and Cathee Wolford with Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) shared employment and education resources for individuals with hearing loss.

Wolford, who has a hearing loss, explained how VR services allowed her to thrive in college and in the workforce. “When I got interpreting help, my grades went up,” she said. “Maybe I would have done better in (elementary and high school) if I’d had an interpreter.”

The purpose of VR in Missouri, which has 27 district offices and six offices in Kansas City, is to help persons with disabilities find good-paying employment opportunities. This includes people with hearing loss or deafness, as well as the learning disabled, visually impaired, persons with brain injury, and other special needs. “We want everyone who comes to us working,” Ankrom said about his department’s purpose.

Someone who is hard of hearing and desires Missouri VR services will first be sent to an audiologist for an audiogram, or hearing test, to determine the level of hearing loss. The person would need to have a minumum 38-decibel loss to qualify for services.

Any person with hearing loss who needs special equipment to function well on the job can request it through VR referrals. For instance, Wolford uses a video phone at work to be able to make phone calls despite her hearing loss.

VR’s job skills training includes how to write resumes, how to interview, and what to wear to the interview.

Missouri VR can also monitor high school seniors who have disabilities, then work with them in finding jobs once they graduate.

“We don’t want people with disabilities to be hidden,” Ankrom said. “We want them in mainstream society, working alongside able-bodied individuals.”

For information about Missouri VR, visit www.vr.dese.mo.gov.

For information about the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, visit http://www.srs.ks.gov/Pages/Default.aspx.

Bring Captioned Movies Back to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY STAR – LETTER TO THE EDITOR (Submitted 9/16/10)

How come the largest movie theater chain in Kansas City stopped showing captioned movies?

I have a hearing loss and need captions in order to understand film dialogue. Local AMC theaters used to show rear-window captioned movies, which required the viewer to place a reflective-mirror device inside the seat’s cup holder and captions from the theater’s back walls reflected onto the glass. A few years ago, I watched an open-captioned version of Mama Mia!, in which the words displayed directly on the film in front of me.

Those days are gone.

Why? “Rear window captioning that functions with our new digital platform will be installed by the end of the month,” responded AMC Representative Dan Glennon on July 27. “Studio 30 will actually be the first theatre among our entire chain to have this upgrade completed. Once the device is installed and functioning as expected you will see the ‘CC’ indicators next to the film titles on the internet as well as in the newspaper.”

Still, no captioned movies.

Request that local theaters bring back captions so every Kansas Citian can enjoy films. Updates will be posted at http://hlaakc.blogspot.com.

Shanna Groves
Kansas City Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America

**********

KANSAS CITY HLAA CORRESPONDENCE WITH AMC THEATERS

8/02/10 Update

I went a bit further with the person (Dan Glennon) from AMC and explained how CC was misleading to the public and RWC for Rear-window captioning was more suitable. I explained how CC mislead me. If you have time you can read through previous email messages. I suppose if we ever wanted to take it any further, he is happy to set up a meeting.

Terri Shirley
Kansas City HLAA Member

**********

Dan Glennon wrote:

Hi Teri –

I am not sure what you are referring to. I read and responded to your letter this weekend, you will notice the date stamp on the letter’s response as Saturday at 950pm.

I will re-forward following my sending this.

At this time if you would like to further communicate regarding the RWC or CC I would be happy to set up a meeting at the theatre.

Sincerely-

DAN GLENNON

**********

From: Terri Shirley
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 8:34 AM
To: Dan Glennon
Subject: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: Rear Window Captioning]]

Hi Glen,

You just deleted a message without reading it. I would like you to look at this again and consider changing your listings to RWC from CC.

I would appreciate a response as lots of people are interested in this subject. I know the whole captioning is a lot of extra work and we appreciate it.

Terri

**********

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: Rear Window Captioning]
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2010 15:51:26 -0500
From: Terri Shirley
To: Dan Glennon

Hi Glen,

I have another issue I would like to ask you about. The “CC” is misleading. “CC” stands for closed captioned. This misrepresentation caused a lot of confusion on my part. If you had RWC and not CC, that would be the correct definition for rear-window captioning.

I would like to tell you what happened to me, then you may understand how “CC” is misleading the public.

My 1st attempt at rear-window captioned movie – First time I went to a “CC” AMC movie, I left wondering why it was not closed captioned. “CC” means closed captioned and no device is needed. Afterwards, I went to the desk to ask why it was not closed captioned. They showed me what the rear-window caption device was.

My 2nd attempt at rear-window captioned movie – Next time I went, I got the device to put in the cup holder, yet it would not show up in the screen. After going back to the customer service desk, they told me I sat too far back for it to be able to reflect off the device. It was too late to move as movie had started and it was dark, plus I was with other people. It was not going to work to move the group of us to someplace closer to the front.

My 3rd attempt at read-window captioned movie – Next time I went I sat up closer to screen. Still no captioning would show up on the device. I was really frustrated with the stupid cup device. I went up to the customer service and asked why it did not work this time. They had a problem. They did not describe it but said she would come in the theater to tell me when it was fixed. Next, they actually stopped the movie and AMC employee came in theater and said they were sorry for disrupting the movie, but the DVD with the captioning was cracked! Can you believe that? Then they started up the movie again with no rear-captions available. It was sort of embarrassing. Customer service gave me two free passes for another movie.

If you had put “RWC” next to movie listing, I would have had to ask what it stood for and then would have been shown the cup device the first time. Then I would perhaps seen the captions the 1st time, instead I left with no idea why Closed Captioned did not show up on the screen.

Out of all this time, I have only seen one rear-window captioned movie. It is better than nothing.

I agree with other hearing-impaired people, putting the rear-window device in my cup holder is the least preferred out of closed captioned, open captions and subtitles. RWC is taking up a cup space, it is bulky and an attention grabber. It does not bother the hearing population, therefore it will most likely continue. Yes, it is better than nothing. I wonder if other theaters across the US have anything else better to offer.

Let me know that you have gotten this and understand how RWC would be better than CC next to the movie listing.

Thank you,
Terri Shirley

7/27/10

Dan Glennon wrote:

My apologies Terri –

To jump straight to the question you posed, rear window captioning that functions with our new digital platform will be installed by the end of the month. Studio 30 will actually be the first theatre among our entire chain to have this upgrade completed. Once the device is installed and functioning as expected you will see the ‘CC’ indicators next to the film titles on the internet as well as in the newspaper.

Thanks again for your patience/ look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks!

DG

913.393.2262
dglennon@amctheatres.com

**********

From: Terri Shirley
Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2010 10:21 PM
To: Dan Glennon
Subject: [Fwd: Re: Rear Window Captioning]

Hello Glen,

I did not get a response to this. I would appreciate hearing from you.

Thank you,
Terri

——– Original Message ——–

Subject:
Re: Rear Window Captioning

Date:
Thu, 08 Jul 2010 00:42:26 -0500

From:
Terri Shirley

To:
Dan Glennon

Well, my only thoughts are that since 3D is taking up showtime slots, I figured the time slot for rear window captions were pushed off to the back burner since 3D probably brings in more money for the theater. When you speak of all digital projection format, is that 3D? How long will it be before rear window captioned movies are going to be back on the schedule? Used to be it was only one, maybe two movies to choose from each week at AMC30 and AMC20. Now, neither are offering any movies captioned, so do you have projected date? Again, clear me up on what “all digital projection format” is.

Thank you,
Terri Shirley

Dan Glennon wrote:

Hi Terri –

I am glad to answer your question via email. As our industry transitions to an all digital projection format, some systems have not been updated to interact with this new technology –one of which is Rear Window Captioning.

Being that Studio 30 is one of the premier locations for AMC, when this technology comes available you can be certain we will be one of the first to install it.

In the interim if you have any questions whatsoever, please do drop me a note.

Best –

DG

**********

From: Terri Shirley
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 3:37 PM
To: Dan Glennon
Subject: Re: Rear Window Captioning

Hello Dan,

Since I cannot hear over the phone very well, which is sort of obvious since I need rear window captioning, could you send your reply by email? It is so much easier than me having to call through a relay operator who can’t type what you are saying as fast as you can speak. Plus I will not have to play telephone tag or have employees chase you down to get to the phone for a long drawn out phone call with a relay operator on the other end..

Thank you,
Terri Shirley

Dan Glennon wrote:

Terri-

I recently received your questions regarding Rear Window Captioning and would like the opportunity to answer them for you.

Please contact me via the information below at your soonest convenience.

Sincerely –

________________________________________
Dan Glennon| AMC Studio – KC 30 With IMAX #0610 | General Manager |
12075 S. Strang Line Road | Olathe, KS 66062 | (:913.393.3030 | 7: 913.393.2368 | *: dglennon@amctheatres.com

September message from HLAA

Some items of note emailed from our national HLAA President Brenda Battat…. her message isn’t posted online, but you can find out more on hearingloss.org.

• With the approach of the fall Walk4Hearing™ events, successful kickoffs have been held in several cities including Boston, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Salt Lake City.
Many more parents are joining and participating in the Walk4Hearing™. We want to be responsive to them and also provide more parent resources. While this was not part of our program framework for 2010, we are very pleased that it is happening. When opportunities arise we must be flexible to enough to seize the opportunities and challenges. The resources we have for parents to date include:
> A Wiki for parents developed by Marcia Finisdore, former President of the HLAA Board of Trustees and a parent of children with hearing loss. This is a place where parents can find unbiased information to empower them to make decisions for their children. To see the Wiki and to refer parents to it go to http://www.kidsandhearingloss.org . This is an ongoing project so if anyone has articles, pictures, or profiles of families that to add to the Wiki, please send it to Marcia at marcia@kidsandhearingloss.org. We welcome your feedback.
> The November issue of Hearing Loss Magazine is for parents. Their stories will tug at your heart strings and the pictures of the children are beautiful.
> A flyer to hand out to parents at the walks designed by our wonderful volunteer Hollace Goodman. See it at http://kidsandhearingloss.org/
> The keynote speaker during the Opening Session of HLAA Convention 2011, June 16 -19 will be Christopher J. Artinian, Chief Executive Officer and President of Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc. The Artinian family is the subject of the Oscar-nominated film Sound and Fury, which tells the story of brothers: Chris, who was born with hearing, and his older brother Peter, who was born deaf. Both brothers married and both had children who were born with hearing loss.
• Planning for the HLAA Convention 2011, June 16-19 at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City is going very well. Many of our convention materials refer to the location of Convention 2011 as Washington, D.C., yet in the same breath we say that it will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. That can be confusing! To take the mystery out of Crystal City and see the convention highlights to date go to http://www.hearingloss.org/convention/.
• HLAA has notified the chairman of the board and president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that they have been selected to receive the HLAA National Access Award for 2011. They have already responded positively and are looking into our request to present the award on stage at the Kennedy Center before a captioned performance of “Wicked” to have more exposure for captioning and to use the occasion as an educational opportunity about communication accessibility for the general audience.
• Above is the new logo for the “Get in the Hearing Loop” project…a joint educational effort of HLAA and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). A brochure on telecoils is complete and now in the design and printing phase. The brochure will be on the HLAA website and downloadable. It will be made available to members in states and chapters to distribute at places such as health fairs, and throughout their communities. A September webinar on telecoils is planned.
• The HLAA webinar held on August 19, 2010 was brought to viewers by Clear Sounds Communication Inc. The topic was technology for use in the workplace and 60 people attended. This is an example of presentations by companies that are promoted as “infomercials”. Hearing Loss Association of America does not endorse products or services. HLAA infomercial webinars are designed to provide consumers with up-to-date information on products and services. To view the webinar go to http://www.hearingloss.org/Community/transcripts.asp.
PLEASE NOTE: Beginning with the September webinar, the HLAA webinars will require preregistration. Once a registrant is registered they will receive the link to join the webinar and will also automatically get a reminder the day before the webinar with the link. If the registrant does not attend the webinar, the next day they will receive a link for the playback. There is no charge to attend HLAA’s online seminars but registration is now required.
Register today for the HLAA Webinar for September 15, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The Guest speaker will be Brad Ingrao, Au.D., and his topic is “Getting the Most from Your Hearing Aids with Real Ear Measurement.” Detailed information about this webinar and guest speaker can be found at http://www.hearingloss.org.
• We continue to work on several Federal proceedings: the Access Board on Acoustics, the Department of Justice on movie captioning, the Department of Labor on affirmative action for federal contractors, and the FCC on hearing aid compatible cell phones,
• Barbara Kelley, HLAA deputy director represented HLAA at a reception for the initiation of a capital campaign for a new School for the Deaf in Lexington, Kentucky. Former President Bill Clinton was the guest of honor and Starkey was the presenting sponsor. The HLAA Kentucky state chapter coordinator and other HLAA chapter members were in attendance. We plan to follow up with a request that President Clinton become involved in helping us fight stigma of hearing loss.

September 18, 2010 meeting details

Hey, everyone, I know you’re all looking forward to the next HLAA meeting here in September! Details below:

Saturday, September 18, 2010
HLAA Kansas City Chapter meeting
Kansas City Public Library – Plaza Library Branch
Large meeting room
Address:
4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64112
Meeting topic: Vocational Rehabilitation and resources
Presenter: James Ankrom, District Supervisor
See you all there!