This video is an interview that an award-winning director Hilary Scarl gives to the program Bring Your Own Doc (BYOD). Hilary Scarl tells about the video she has recently shot that is called See What I’m Saying. This video is about 4 deaf artists, actors who perform on stage and gather crowds of fans. They are loved and respected in the deaf community.
The first actor that viewers of Hilary Scarl’s film can see is Robert DeMayo from Philadelphia, PA. I have to say that Hilary was absolutely right when she said how incredible Robert was. Indeed, he is a very funny man with a very expressive face. I am sure he is a very good actor. In addition, he is easygoing and friendly. Although, from the very beginning, his story did not show what had caused his loss of hearing, it was quite interesting to see how he perceived the world with its various sounds.
I do not know any deaf people, so I liked the technique used by Scarl and her sound designer John Milner to show how exactly the deaf people hear the outside world. It turned out that they could hear some sounds, but they are very muffled like underwater. It is amazing to learn this information. The dedication of the director of this film is incredible. She and her crew filmed hundreds of hours of footage and spent the whole year following these artists and filming their lives.
C.J, another deaf actor, was not born deaf. Actually, he lost his hearing when he was seven because of spinal meningitis. C.J.’s portrayal of his parents’ reaction to the news cracked me up. I would not expect a reaction like that. However, his parents were just happy that their son was alive. They also were happy that they could share their culture and their language with him, because they were deaf as well. I liked the friendly and warm relationships within the deaf community shown at the ASL Expo in Long Beach, Ca.
Throughout this whole interview, Hilary Scarl talks about her work with a great passion. It is obvious that she likes what she is doing and the people she works with. She has many projects in development including those that involve deaf actors. Hilary Scarl wrote a play that she plans to produce; therefore, she is doing a kick-starter campaign to raise funds for this production. Indeed, the interview is rather educating since there is a lot of information regarding deaf people or those who have trouble hearing.
As for the main subjects of the video, I was shocked to find out that Robert had intentionally infected himself with HIV, because he wanted to die after his friend’s death. He had nobody to turn to when he was the most vulnerable, but now, he teaches other deaf people what HIV is and how they can protect themselves. Surprisingly, not many of them have the correct information about AIDS/HIS; that is why, what Robert is doing is very noble and admirable.
Actually, I believe all heroes of Hilary Scarl’s video are very strong people. They never give up despite problems and obstacles they face. For instance, C.J. did not give up when his participation in a festival did not turn out as he expected. That failure made him realize that, perhaps, being a performer was not his true calling and that he would help more people by educating them or being a producer.
Tanya Lynn, or TL, a nice singer who can speak but has problems with hearing, was another extraordinary subject of the video. By showing TL in the video, Hilary Scarl tried to get the audience understand that there are people who live between the world of deaf and hearing people. These people need attention and recognition, as well.
I believe that Hilary Scarl has made a video that cannot be missed by anyone who wants to understand what deaf people have to go through every day.