Audio Describer Criteria

Audio Description

Audio description is a method of converting visual content into speech. The audio describer picks necessary information and fills in the gaps in the story for someone who cannot see. Blind and visually impaired theater patrons listen by means of portable listening devices from their seats in the audience. The describer watches the show from a quiet location. A microphone picks up the description and a broadcast system sends the signal to the devices.

AVIA currently provides audio description at the Intiman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, and ACT Theatre. Audio Description is supported by participating theaters, Jack Straw Productions, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Shows are audio described all year 'round. Some months have only one or two, others more. The busiest season is the holiday season, with six or more descriptions in the month of December. The vast majority of audio described shows are weekend matinees, mostly Saturday.

Audio Describers are assigned in teams of two for each show. The main describer and the backup both are expected to see the show twice before the description date. The backup has specific duties that are different from the Main Describer. If for any reason the Main Describer cannot perform, the Backup is in place to deliver the audio description. Assignments will vary depending on describers' schedules and the timing of shows. Most of the time, assignments are made a couple of months in advance. For information on rates of pay, contact Jesse Minkert.

We need people with flexible schedules.

AVIA audio describes about 25 shows per year. If you have a lot of conflicts for time, or you are out of town a lot, or otherwise cannot fulfill your commitment, then audio description may not be right for you.

The Audition

Evaluation Sheet: 8 categories on which you will be evaluated:

  1. Concise, accurate choice of words
  2. Choice of what to describe (describes important action)
  3. Does not impose interpretations
  4. Does not talk during dialogue
  5. Clear, easy to understand voice
  6. Talks too much or too little (balanced presence)
  7. Identifies characters
  8. Emotionally appropriate voice

We are looking for potential, not perfection. We will train you if you pass.