OWC RADiO Host, Cirina Catania has lots of Father’s Day specials, some tech tips, and a couple of workflow secrets to share on this show. The highlight, however, is Mandy David, a sign language interpreter and President at JFD Communications as well as the YouTube channel, A Moment in Sign, a library of concise videos for learning American Sign Language.

What Mandy has done most of her life for the Deaf community is extraordinary and in this episode, you she gives us tips on how to better communicate and empower our relationships with the deaf community.

Opening the show, however, is a rundown of the latest tech solutions on sale for Father’s Day at OWC’s MacSales.com, some peeks into what is being covered over on the RocketYard Blog and a few workflow secrets that help manage a busy work day!

Some tips that Mandy shares:

1 ) Deaf people want you to talk directly to them even when you are using the interpreter.

2 ) Eye contact is very important to a Deaf person.

3 ) Treat each other with respect.

4 ) Take the time to learn how to comunicate with people from the Deaf community. You will love it!

5 ) Be patient with each other.

6 ) Make sure you explain what you are saying clearly, as you will be taken literally. This is best done with an American Sign Language Interpreter and the best way to make sure you understand each other.

Mandy also directs and co produces the YouTube channel, “A Moment in Sign,” teaching vocabulary, situational , and conversational skills to help us be able to have a basic conversation with someone you might meet who is Deaf or hard of hearing that uses ASL.

More info: www.jfdcommunications.com

Youtube channel:


For more information about our amazing sponsor, Other World Computing, go to MacSales.com or OWCDigital.com, where you’ll find hardware and software solutions and tutorial videos that will get you up and running in no time.

For more about our host, filmmaker, tech maven and co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Cirina Catania, visit cirinacatania.com.

If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe and tell all your friends about us! We love our listeners. And, if you have ideas for segments, write to OWCRadio@catania.us. Cirina is always up for new ideas!

In This Episode

  • 00:11 – Cirina introduces Mandy David, a sign language interpreter and President at JFD Communications as well as the YouTube channel, A Moment in Sign, a library of concise videos for learning American Sign Language.
  • 04:16 – Mandy tells the interesting story of how she started doing sign language.
  • 08:53 – A Moment in Sign is Mandy’s YouTube channel. She creates videos for people who want to learn how to do conversational signs.
  • 12:23 – What are some tips you need to know when interacting with a deaf person or an interpreter?
  • 16:00 – Mandy points out the importance of putting an interpreter for on-screen media announcements specifically during this time of pandemic.
  • 20:50 – Mandy explains how communication breaks are frustrating from a deaf person’s point of view.
  • 24:26 – Mandy recalls one of her clients refusing to put deaf on their job applications because companies find it a burden to her working effectively.
  • 30:07 – How helpful and big of a difference you can make when you put captions in your on-screen media for the deaf population.
  • 33:44 – Cirina encourages video producers and all others in the industry to learn how to caption their videos.
  • 36:10 – Visit Mandy David’s website, jfdcommunications.com, and check out her YouTube channel, A Moment in Sign, to learn more about American sign language.

Jump to Links and Resources


This working from home, I keep blowing fuses. This is the Cirina Catania with OWC Radio. Mandy David is going to be online with us in just a few minutes. She’s the president of JFD Communications and A Moment In Sign, which is a YouTube channel. We’ll be chatting with her about how hearing producers can work with and empower the deaf community. I’m really excited about this one. I learned a lot from Mandy when I worked with her just a short while ago on a project, but in the meantime, OWC is having a huge sale for Father’s Day. So I promised them I would let you know about it. If you go to macsales.com or blog.macsales.com, you’re going to see a whole list of things that are on sale. Now, as promised, you want me to share some thoughts about production and workflow with you, so I would just give you one quick thought you may need duplicates of some of your peripherals or some of the hardware. I keep duplicates in my laptop bag in my Pelican cases and in my staging area so that I can just grab and go. 

Some of these smaller peripherals that you use all the time, and you also need on location. I think it’s kind of nice to have an extra copy; they’re in the go-bag inventoried and ready to be with you when you shoot. That might mean you need to get duplicates, but it’s worth it. Alright, one quick note Logic Pro updated, check that out, make sure you’ve got the latest version. Rocket Yard blog has some advice for you and some explanations of how to work more efficiently with OBS, which is the open broadcast software. There’s a little drag and drop app on the internet at loudnesspenalty.com. It will make sure that your audio levels are legal. And that’s really important, and you don’t want to go all the way through your edit, output, and go to distribution and then find out that your media is either too loud or too quiet. You don’t want that. Alright, so we’re gonna start our interview soon, but I want to ask you to let me know by emailing to owcradio@catania.us. And let me know what questions you have and what workflow solutions you’re looking for, I love to hear from you. And please remember to subscribe, share this with your friends, we would really appreciate it.

Now here’s Mandy David, listen in, as she tells us how we as creative producers can work better, more efficiently, and more respectfully with the deaf community.

I run an interpreting sign language agency which is called JFD Communications, which actually stands for Just For Deaf, named purposely. And I get to meet so many different clients and get to interpret for them. I do doctor’s appointments, job interviews, presentations, just one on one meetings, churches, I go and interpret at a church as well. And of course, my audience is deaf clients who can’t hear or not necessarily fully deaf. Some just are partially deaf but still lean on sign language for communication.

I think I first saw you actually working on a big stage at NAB where you were interpreting.

Yes. I think that’s the first time we met. 

It was wonderful to see you at work, what you were doing there. And also, on the videos that you and I were doing together, you were talking tech. So I’m thinking this woman is really good at this because I can’t imagine that there are a lot of standard sign language words for the kind of technology we were talking about. And you’re just in the frame just like signing as fast as you could go. It was wonderful. But how did you get started with all of this? Tell us that story.

Oh, well, I’m a little unique from a lot of interpreters. My dad is deaf, so I’m called a CODA, a child of deaf adult. And so I’ve been signing probably before I ever started talking. He very much instilled in all of us kids, I’m the oldest of seven and we all sign. A few of us are interpreters, but we all can communicate with dad. So he instilled it to us at a very small age that we were going to communicate with him. And so that’s how I got started. Interpreting professionally though, I interpreted for my dad, I did some church services, and I do one on one meetings with whoever. But interpreting professionally, I didn’t get started until about 18 years ago. And I fell in love with it. I just love doing it. I think it’s just my passion because of my dad, and so I just fell in love with it and kept doing it.

You know what I loved about working with you? Is that your inflection in the voice when you were signing and speaking for me, you were signing for Storm and speaking for me, but you were reflecting the emotion of what she was saying with sign language? For me, as a hearing person, it meant a lot. But a lot of people, when they’re interpreting, they’re not as animated as you are or as emotional. It’s almost like you are translating, not just the actual words but the emotion behind the words, which I think is probably very important for your clients, and that’s probably why you work so much, in addition to being good at it, right?

I think so. I really tried to do that. I think it’s very important because, on the other end, the deaf person wants to know the inflection of the hearing person. So if the hearing person is acting like they’re mad, that should inflict on my face and how my signs are more abrupt because the speaker’s mad. When the same token, the deaf person wants their voice to be heard the way they’re inflicting it. And so if I just sit here monotone, and they’re animated, and I just sit here and say, “Yes, and that’s the way I want it to go, and this is how,” it’s boring. And so I very much so try to make sure I stay within the spirit of how they’re saying it.

The deaf person wants to know the inflection of the hearing person. That’s why it’s important to sign with emotions and facial expressions. Click To Tweet

I think that comes with being comfortable and knowing you’re really good at it and just being comfortable with knowing how to do it too. Some people are probably especially at the beginning of their interpreter, and they’re also struggling a little bit. It’s not easy to do. How did you learn? You learned at home, or did you go to school for it?

I did actually. Most people do go to school for it. Being with my dad all the time and having to interpret for him and then other deaf people that were friends of his would say, “Hey, maybe come interpret for me,” And so I get pulled into situations at a very young age, and I started about 10. With a lot of my dad’s deaf friends and stuff, and they would pull me saying, “Hey, can you come do this real quick,” and I’m like, “I’m not qualified for this.” But I just fell in love with it. And then, I actually started working with deaf children, which I loved doing. And that I think got me more into where I could voice their intonation very well. Because deaf children are very animated, in their faces, everything and I think that was the best thing I could have ever done.

Well, you’re a mom that comes into it. They probably love the nurturing that you give to them emotionally as well as the sign language, I would think.

I think so.

I want to communicate to people listening, the proper way to refer to a person who is deaf because when we first started working together, I actually had a couple of people say you can’t call someone deaf. You have to call them “hearing challenged.” Can you clarify that for us because we want to be respectful?

Most of the time, I would say 99.9% of the time, they want to be called deaf. They do not want to be called hearing challenged, hearing impaired, because that means there’s something wrong with them. And to them, they’re normal. They just can’t hear, they just need an extra piece of help with communication. That’s it. So they don’t see themselves as disabled or impaired, they see themselves as I just can’t hear. “Deaf” is the best way.

Thanks for clarifying that because I think it’s very important. You have a YouTube channel now teaching people how to do some simple communications. And I’m learning how to say hello to people. Can you talk about that?

Yes, that’s my new baby that I’ve been working on since actually just about February is when I started, the inspiration came from blog university. I have been wanting to do something, and just kind of wasn’t ready to take that risk yet. And we got back, and I told my husband, I said, “I’m ready to go.” Because I’ve had so many requests for just conversational signs and situational signs, and so I started a YouTube channel called A Moment In Sign, and it just kind of walks you through some basic signs, and then eventually. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get what we can get out of this pandemic. Get to where I could do some situational videos as well. But it’s more for people who want to learn who may have a deaf friend, a deaf family member, or they’ve run into people in the coffee shop or at the grocery store standing in line and thought, “Jeez, I wish I could say hello,” or simple, little conversational skills.

So that’s YouTube A Moment In Sign. That’s awesome. I visited it, and I really love what you’re doing there. I think people should go and check it out and learn a little bit. It’s like learning a new language. It wasn’t easy for me. I had to rewind your videos a few times to get it.

Okay, I’m quick too, and I try to slow down and try to show from different angles because I think that’s important. Because a lot of the signs are not 2D, obviously, they’re 3D, and they move. So, if you show it just from the front end, you can’t always tell what direction she is going with what hand. So I like to do it from the side, so you’ll see me turn a little bit sometimes to show a sign. To make sure you’re getting a good angle.

Oh, that’s good, because I know there was the number nine that was similar to another word in sign.

The letter “S.”

That’s pretty subtle. 

The difference is I take my right hand dominant, and I tried to make my pointer finger just kind of tip over the thumb a little bit, so it looks like an F. Because nine is just your pointer touching your thumb, but it’s also F. So I like to make just that little pointy things that they can tell this is an F and that this is a nine.

Give us some advice about us as business people, if we’re in an environment where we’re working with someone who is deaf. How do we interact with the interpreter and the deaf person? Can you give us some tips?

Absolutely. The one thing is my biggest pet peeve. A lot of people do it, and what they don’t know is they always confront the deaf person in a third person when they have an interpreter, and they act like they’re talking to the interpreter. And then they’ll say, “She needs to do this,” no, you’re talking directly to her. So “You need to go, do fill this out,” and so that’s one of my top things. They’re not a third person, and you are actually talking to them.

It’s important to instill inclusivity at a young age. We need to include everybody and the only way to include everybody is to keep spreading awareness.

Yeah, you told me that, and that really helped. And I remember when I was interviewing on the internet, and you had told me that I was actually just looking at her and I heard you out of the side of my head, right? It helped me to communicate, and really to feel what she was saying in addition to the words.

It does. Yes. And the other thing is just eye contact. Because a lot of people will look at the interpreter, and I’ll just be signing away, and it’ll annoy the deaf person, it will annoy me, and once in a while, I’ll step out of my role, and I’ll say, “You need to look at her, you’re talking to her. You’re not talking to me.” So basically, those two things are my top two that I just wish that hearing people understood that they’re talking to the deaf person, I’m just there as a means of communication.

You know, I’ve been wondering how deaf people are going to fare with everyone wearing masks out. I think you mentioned that there’s a solution coming for that.

There is. I’ve seen a couple of people on Facebook who’ve been posting masks where they have the clear vinyl above the material like in between the material, and that is fantastic because deaf people really rely on your lips, even though they’re watching your hands, they still need that facial expression, and they need to know, they need to see that. That’s an important part of the language, and it’s not just what comes out of your hands. So I love the idea that they were making masks with the clear part around the mouth. And then you can still see the eyes enough to know if somebody is happy if they’re sad or so I really love that. But yes, I have a deaf friend who was in the hospital with COVID. And she said it was just so hard for communication because they all came in with the mask, and they would just ride on board. That was her only way to communicate. So yes, the mask has presented a really tough way for communication for the deaf.

Yeah, I think that they’re trying to fix that, though. I hope that they do fairly quickly. I also hope all of this is over. You’re quarantined at home right now, right?

Yes. I’ve been working from home through video and with all my clients. So that’s been an interesting aspect of it because I’m used to going there in person. So it’s been quite interesting.

I’m quarantined at home too; I’m Sleepless in San Diego. So in terms of what you have done with your skills, what’s been the hardest? What’s the most challenging for you?

Believe it or not, I wasn’t used to stage presentations, and if I’m going to be candid, I don’t have a problem being candid prior, I have done church services for a deaf pastor. I had voiced that. I voiced for little small presentations in a college setting and a college classroom and stuff like that, but not anything that big. So for me, that was challenging just because that was so different and new, but it was fun and exciting at the same time. 

You know, watching you talk about this, I’m thinking about how to see an interpreter picture in picture, and I’m wondering, you still need captions for that, right? But that seems like a really good alternative for both sides.

It is actually, but yes, you still want to have captions. But yeah, the little picture or better yet if you can have the interpreter on screen with you. A lot of times, with this COVID stuff going on, I don’t know about your state, but our state sometimes, depending on who’s talking, you don’t see the interpreter. And I think of what about the deaf audience? Because they’re live, they’re not always accurate because they’re not embedded in, so they haven’t been transcribed and actually typed out correctly. So they’re missing a lot of the stuff that we hear on a daily basis, even though it’s a press conference because the interpreter is not on screen. So even if they could do a picture and picture, at least, yes, they would be standing right by the mayor or the governor or whoever speaking, the health director or anything like that. But at least if they’re down here in the corner, off being taped, live stream as they’re speaking, then at least the deaf community is getting what we all are getting, on top of the captions.

Right, I think for video producers out there who might be listening, it would be important to ISO the interpreter audio and video, just in case. Yeah, that’s really a good thought. I want to ask you another question, what ad agencies might be doing in the area of advertising and promotion, save a lot of money, but I don’t see a lot of advertising that has captioning in it. And I know that there are people going out there in the field, and they’re helping to teach deaf children how to code and make a video. What’s happening with all of that? Can you talk about that?

Yes, there’s a lot going on. Deaf complains all the time that they don’t get the access that everybody else does. And if they can’t get the access that they need for your product, or for your website, or whatever it is, they’ll leave, and they won’t go back to it. And my dad’s the same way, and he would always say, “What are they saying? What are they saying?” on the commercials because a lot of the commercials would not be captioned. And so it was frustrating to him because he’s also blind in one eye from his retinas detaching, and he can’t read the captions as well. So I’d have to explain to them because he could see it was an interesting commercial, but he didn’t know what was being said. So that’s very frustrating. They need to think about that, and they need to think about going to their clients and say, “Look, we have this market out here, this marginalized population that is not getting your message, they just don’t know.” And so it’s important that if you’re not going to have the captions, then have it accessible somehow, have it be an accessible commercial then if you’re not going to have the captions there. We do have people out there trying to push it in the industry, and it’s still going.

I first became aware of Storm. I believe and correct me if I’m wrong when she was working, either teaching coding to deaf children.

Yes, it was Deaf Film Camp, and she was helping children edit and encode as well in their film at their film camp, and that’s up in New York.

But I remember she was with children and thinking about how wonderful it is that she was giving a voice to children who couldn’t hear. And the videos that came out of that were really interesting. She had done some videos, I believe, before she ever even went to BBDO.

She did. She did some at Gallaudet as well, and actually, she’s back doing stuff at Gallaudet. She’s also a mentor for many young people who want to go into the film industry and advertising. I think it’s really cool that she’s giving back. It was given to her, and she’s giving back, and I think that’s great.

Let’s bridge the gap. Hearing people, let’s not look at deaf people as disabled. Or that they can’t do what we do, because they can.

Well, you are too, though. Doesn’t it feel good to be doing this?

It really does. That was kind of why I did my YouTube channel, and I told my husband, I’m not in this for the money, I’m just in this because I know people want to learn because they keep asking me, and I think I could bring a unique perspective being a child of a deaf adult. And I presented a different way of learning sign language versus just teaching it as vocabulary. My next video that’s coming out is on the signs for springtime. Different things happen in spring. And so it’s just kind of fun to just talk about that subject and just the signs related to that. And I’m sure there’s some that I left out, but this way, a hearing child and a deaf child live in the same neighborhood or the same block, and the kid goes, “I could go ask them if the Easter Bunny visited their house,” that kind of thing that you wouldn’t ever have if they didn’t know sign language at all. So I just want to bring a little bit of spark to somebody who’s been wanting to learn. It’s just easy, and I never have more than about 15 vocab in each video, I try to keep it not too many so that it’s not overwhelming, but keep it situational with that talk.

That’s the best way to learn. Basically, it’s just a new language. And that’s the best way to learn. You have to teach me how to say my roses are blooming. So from a deaf person’s point of view, if you can flip it around, we’ve talked about from the interpreter and the business point of view from the deaf person’s point of view. What do you think the hardest is for them in a world that is, for the most part, hearing?

The communication break. They’ll get frustrated because they misunderstand things because people won’t communicate things very clearly with them. They won’t get them an interpreter so they can understand. They’ll just pull them, and they’ll talk to them, and they’ll kind of yell at them thinking that they can hear, and it’s like, “Well, yelling at me doesn’t make me hear you any clearer. I can’t hear.” But I know in talking and going to different meetings with deaf people, their biggest frustration in the workplace is that there’s a lack of communication, “management’s not willing to learn how to just text to me or they won’t write.” “They made me read their lips.” And depending on if the person has a beard or mustache, it’s hard to read their lips because you think about that if you have a thick mustache, and then you got a beard on top of it, you can’t see very well. And sometimes people just don’t read lips, just because they’re deaf doesn’t mean they can. Just that communication barrier for them, and that’s where an interpreter comes in. But honestly, you don’t always have to have an interpreter. There are apps on your phone that you can text back and forth with. It’s like just texting, but it’s a certain app that just goes within the company. But there’s a lot of deaf people who aren’t and so, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to have an interpreter. If it’s just a one on one thing, writing stuff down is helpful, just have a pad and pencil with you and just jot stuff down and just have them read it. They understand, have them write back, or they could do thumbs up I got it. That’s their biggest struggle in the workplace is just the lack of communication and the lack of knowledge.

Yeah, and I think there are some people who, automatically with anyone who is challenged in any way or different from them, they question their ability, they question their intelligence. And you can’t do that. That’s so unfair, and you have to acknowledge them as a person and see them as a person and understand that they’re just communicating differently from you. So who’s smarter in that instance, you or them?

Exactly. I had a client who was looking for jobs, and she refused to put deaf on the application or that she needed help with communication because as soon as they saw that, they wouldn’t even call her back.

That’s terrible.

When she would get a callback, she would say, I need an interpreter because I’m deaf. And nine times out of 10 they would give her one and then that one time, they would say they wouldn’t even call her back. So as long as she didn’t tell them upfront, she would get a callback or at least get an in-person interview, but then usually after that, they wouldn’t call her back. And I’m sure they see it as a burden. But it really isn’t because a lot of companies don’t understand that you could write it off on your taxes, at the end of the year, you can write off interpreting services off your taxes, and it’s a return on investment because if they’re a good qualified employee, and the only barrier is that they just can’t hear if you provide them that access of communication, they’re going to perform really well. And in the long run, bring in business for you versus the opposite.

I would be willing to bet that someone who is deaf and who has grown up deaf like Storm, for instance, I would be willing to bet they get an A+ interpreting body language.

Oh, yes, they know.

And that’s really helpful in a business situation. A lot of people are just oblivious to what the other person is feeling or doing, and they hear the words, or they’re doing written communication. But if you have somebody on your team that can really understand the whole person on the other side of the bargaining table. I think that’s a real plus. Because sometimes the body language doesn’t match what people are saying. And I would bet you a deaf person could pick that up immediately.

Immediately, because they depend on that as a part of their communication, so they can tell, they really were interested because of their body language. And I’ll say, “How do you know it?” “How they were standing. Arms crossed or sulks in the chair. They’re very helpful in a lot of that.

Yeah. I think we need more programming, specifically targeted towards deaf people, and I don’t see a lot of it. I know that there are people out there who are doing their best to tell video producers that they need to be doing this, but is that a viable marketplace? And is there anything out there for deaf people specifically?

You know, there’s not a whole lot there. There is a camp for children called Deaf Film Camp. And I know a couple of deaf people who go and help during the summer, and they teach them how to film and edit from like beginning to end. They teach them the whole process, which I think is fantastic. There is a company that’s trying to form a deaf company, not necessarily just deaf but with disabilities if you mind that can do editing, do the post-production, do the filming, and do the whole pitching, and going to market doing stuff like that. So they are trying to form something like that because they want the training for them. Rochester School for the Deaf has a program that teaches film in 3D and 2D, but they get down with school, and then there’s nowhere for them to go because the industry won’t hire them. And so I think there’s a lot of things that are trying to develop that I think you’ll see coming shortly that will give the deaf and other people the opportunity to be able to work in this industry.

The deaf community wants us to acknowledge and see them as people, not just someone with a disability. They just communicate differently and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. Click To Tweet

I think that’s wonderful. That warms my heart. There’s a school for the deaf right here in San Diego that’s very active in the community. And I think it’d be great if you could come to visit and spend some time here. 

I would love to.

Yeah. One quick question back to the deaf camp for children. Were the facilitators at that camp deaf as well, or did they have hearing people who knew how to sign? How did that work?

It’s all mostly deaf. I think the people who run the camp might actually be hearing, but it was deaf teachers, the producers, the editors, all of them who came in, they were deaf. The children were deaf, and it’s not a camp for hearing at all. They’re all just deaf students from all around. And it’s based in New York, and it’s a wonderful thing. I’ve never been able to go. My husband has gotten to go. I want to go one summer for sure, it’s a two-week-long camp, and it’s hard to get away for two weeks. But then I hate to be able to just go for one week and not go for both. But I’m going to try to get up there at one point because it’s awesome what they’re doing and I hear a lot of good things about it. And I know the deaf kids enjoy it.

I want to ask you about captioning on videos. Is that something you want to talk about? When do you do it? Do you do it all the time? A lot of people don’t know that on YouTube, you can click that little CC button, and you can get very badly written captions. They are misspelled, and they’re pretty bad, but it sometimes gives you the gist of what’s saying, but can you talk about captioning and whether or not you feel it’s important and why?

Absolutely, I believe it’s very important because it’s an extra way to communicate for the deaf population. Because a lot of deaf are not necessarily Big D deaf, and when I say Big D deaf, they were born raised, did sign language growing up, Big D deaf. Little D Deaf may mean they lost their hearing at an older age, or in the middle of their childhood when they had already developed their language, and so they don’t necessarily totally rely on sign language, but they can’t read your lips on screen, they can’t hear all the door slamming and all that kind of stuff. So they rely on the captions, as well as a little bit of the audio that they have or if they have none at all. All my sign language tutorials are all captioned, happened to be in Final Cut Pro. But you don’t have to go that way, YouTube Audio generated, they just don’t always, you need to do something. There’s a company called Rev, which will transcribe for I think it’s $1 a minute, not that hard. And I believe Builder does some captioning as well.

Yeah, I love the builder solution for captioning actually because what Builder does is I work in Final Cut too, and I’ll put the XML and import it into Builder, and I’ll make my cut in Builder. The radio cut, I call it, and then it’ll bring it back in with captions. And then I just have to convert them and make them look good. And that’s always a pain, and there are some ways of doing that. And that’s a whole other video which I’m going to want to do fairly soon. Because captioning, I really believe that we should make captioning available to everyone, and even the hearing needs it because a lot of times you’re watching these videos, and there’s ambient noise, or you can’t hear the dialogue very well, so I think it’s a skill.

I watch TV all the time with my husband, and I’m like, “Why aren’t the captions on?” he goes, “Oh, I don’t know.” And so we’ll go turn them on, because I can’t hear what they’re saying, and I have good hearing. And he doesn’t necessarily want to turn it all the way up. So we rely even though there’s nobody deaf in our household, we have captions on all the time in the house because I just like it. I want my kids to get used to it. I want them to see it because I want them to be instilled to do that. Our daughter is doing some editing at school, and she puts captions in, and she makes sure it’s okay with the person’s project and says, “This is just part of it because of my mom and the deaf community and my grandpa.” And nine times out of 10, they don’t ask her to take them out. But it’s just important to instill at a young age that we need to include everybody and the only way to include everybody is to always have captions. And I would even say audio descriptions, but I’m not good at that. So I don’t know how to do that part, but audio descriptions and captions, but especially captions.

Let’s bridge the gap. Hearing people, let’s not look at deaf people as disabled. Or that they can’t do what we do, because they can.

Yeah, like soft music, fast-paced music, suspenseful music, big bang. It’s important.

That’s important because a deaf person all of a sudden just sees, they leave, but they don’t necessarily hear that they left mad, and the door slammed, and you can hear them punch the wall on the way out. They don’t know any of that if it’s not in the captions.

Well, I’m going to encourage every video producer, anyone who is involved in a video to caption their work, make it available, learn how to do it, make it available whatever NLE you’re using. There are captioning solutions out there. And I know the Builder does transcripts for I think we’re at 38 cents a minute now, and that includes all your captioning. So that’s pretty good. And Final Cut is getting much better at handling the captions; they’ve been working on it for a while now. So I know that that has improved. Other than that, I think another thing that people could keep in mind is keeping this whole big segment of the audience in the back of your mind and maybe producing some programming just for them.

Exactly. The only thing I’ve ever seen that has just been geared toward deaf is a little group, and I think they’re based out of Ohio, it’s a little Christian group. And they put on what’s called Dr. Wonder Workshop. Actually, it is a little corny a little bit, but it’s cute because they’re all deaf.

I like corny. I could go with corny.

And it’s like this scientist’s workshop, and the people who work there are all deaf, and some wore pink and blue wigs, and it’s really cute. But Dr. Wonder is the scientist, and they just had these little cute little shows that it’s geared toward kids. And then they’ll throw in deaf children in there to do a song here and there. So it’s really cute, but it’s the only thing I’ve seen that is totally geared toward deaf or deaf children. And I really think that we need more content out there. I love that Walking Dead brought in Lauren, she’s a deaf actress in there, I love that. I wish they would do more. I wish they would incorporate more sign language and maybe even just have shown for the deaf, get some deaf actors involved, or some people who really are skilled. I have to say skilled signers because if it’s a deaf show, they want it to be a deaf actor or actress. But sometimes there’s not enough, but if you can get enough talent out there that are deaf and that are willing to be involved, they need to make some shows for that.

Yeah, I think we need to start being even more vocal about that. Absolutely. So tell us again where do we go for your YouTube channel, and where else do we go to find out more about what Mandy David is doing?

Now my company JFD Communications you can go to my website, which is www.jfdcommunications.com, and that’s all about my company. I also have a Facebook page called JFD Communications. A Moment in Sign, you can go to the YouTube channel, look that up. I have an Instagram. I have Twitter, but right now, for some odd reason, I’m locked out of it. So we’re trying to figure that part out.

Uh-oh, what did you do?

I don’t know. I posted one picture on Instagram, and Twitter locked me out. I don’t know if I logged in wrong or something. They logged me out. But I do have a Twitter. I also have a Facebook page A Moment in Sign. So any of those ways you can leave a comment and I’ll get back with you. I have an email address; it’s mandy@justfordeaf.com. And that’s a good way to reach me as well. Any of those ways, but definitely go check out A Moment in Sign if you’re interested in learning sign language. Hopefully, it’s gonna be very fun and entertaining down the road.

Oh, I know it will be, and I’m just so proud of you for taking the time to do all of this and everything that you do for the deaf community. I know that your dad is proud too.

I think he is. 

So leave us with some parting words. What do you have to say to both sides of this community about how we can work better together?

Really, let’s bridge the gap. Hearing people don’t look at deaf as disabled and that they can’t because they can. A deaf person looking at a hearing person going, “Okay, how can I help you help me?” I think that’s a lot of times as the deaf person just steps away and just says I give up, I’m just not going to try. And I think if both sides can see the bigger picture, they’re not disabled, they just can’t hear. And let me help you how to communicate with me. And I think if we did that if we could bridge that gap, it would make the world a better place from both sides.

It’s all about giving back. Whatever gift you’ve been given, the world becomes better when you share it with others. Click To Tweet

We’re gonna make some magic, Mandy David, JFD Communications, and A Moment in Sign. You are awesome. Thank you for spending time with us today. And everybody listening remember what I always tell you, get up off your chair and go do something wonderful today, even though in this time of quarantine it’s probably in your own home, but I’m sure there’s something wonderful you can still do for yourself, or for other people. Have a great day, and thank you for tuning in. I want to thank the loyal listeners who tune in with us every week and ask you if you don’t mind, go to wherever you listen to this podcast, iHeart, Apple, Google, Spotify, and like the show, and subscribe. Please subscribe, that would be awesome. And before we go, let’s thank all the wonderful people that make this podcast possible. Larry O’Connor and the folks that OWC for sponsoring and the team behind the scenes and marketing at OWC Chris, Mark, Jennifer, and Teddy and to our associate producer who is quarantined in Lithuania at the moment Simona you go have a wonderful week, and we will talk with you again soon. This is Cirina Catania signing out.


  1. Be inclusive. It’s important to make everyone feel they are part of a supportive community regardless of their personal background.
  2. Refer to people who have a hard time hearing as “deaf” and not hearing challenged or hearing impaired. It’s important to not consider their condition as a disability and accept that it’s just a normal part of their life.
  3. Don’t treat the deaf as a third person when communicating with them with an interpreter. Remember, you’re not talking to the interpreter. They’re an instrument to help you understand who you’re trying to communicate with in the first place.
  4. Maintain eye contact with the deaf person you’re talking to just how you would normally communicate with a hearing person. Treat them with respect and don’t make them feel uncomfortable because of their unique condition.
  5. When hiring an interpreter, make sure their skills abide by ISO’s standards. It’s important that they’re certified so you’re sure they know what they are doing and you’re protecting your deaf audience’s best interests.
  6. Caption your videos so your deaf audience can enjoy your content as well. It’s surprising how convenient it is to add captions to videos nowadays, but not a lot of content creators think to do it.
  7. Utilize resources for the deaf. There’s a bunch of apps, workshops, communities, etc. that support the deaf community. 
  8. If you’re adept in sign language, teach others during your extra time. Create educational videos or offer tutorial sessions to those interested.
  9. Carry a pen and paper wherever you go. This may help you communicate better with a deaf person whenever the opportunity arises.
  10. Check out Mandy David’s YouTube Channel to learn more about ASL in a fun and informative format.


If you work in tech and haven’t heard about Other World Computing (OWC),  you may have had your head in the sand. OWC, under the leadership of Larry O’Connor since he was 15 years old, has expanded to all corners of the world and works every day to create hardware that makes the lives of creatives and business-oriented companies faster, more efficient and more stable.  Go to OWCDigital.com for more information.

Here’s the company’s official mission statement:

At OWC, we’re committed to constant innovation, exemplary customer service, and American design. 

For more than 25 Years, OWC has had a simple goal. To create innovative DIY solutions to give you the most from your technology.  

Beginning with 100% compatible memory upgrades, reliably exceeding Apple’s maximum RAM specs, OWC’s product offering has grown to encompass the entire spectrum of upgrade and expansion possibilities, all with a focus on easy, DIY setup and installation. 

Our dedication to excellence and sustainable innovation extends beyond our day-to-day business and into the community. We strive for zero waste, both environmentally and strategically. Our outlook is to the long term, and in everything we do, we look for simplicity in action and sustainability in practice.

For us, it’s as much about building exceptional relationships, as it is about building exceptional products.

About Cirina Catania, Host of OWC RADiO and Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group

Filmmaker Cirina Catania, the Founder and Lead Creative at The Catania Group, has been involved as a writer, director, producer, cinematographer or marketing exec on over 130 film, television and new media projects for the big screen as well as for networks such as National Geographic, Discovery, etc. She is one of the co-founders and former director of the Sundance Film Festival and former senior executive at MGM-UA and United Artists. Cirina lives in San Diego, D.C. and Berlin when she is not on the road filming for her projects or for clients, or speaking as a tech evangelist for companies such as Blackmagic Design and Lumberjack System. For nine years, she was the original “BuZZ Babe” showrunner on the weekly tech podcast, Digital Production BuZZ heard in 195 countries.  Cirina is a member of Local 600 (IATSE), the PGA and the WGA. Best way to know more about her is to type her name into your favorite search engine! There you will find all the good stuff. 🙂

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