Old-timers, gather for some reminiscing! Remember those captioned movie listings on DeafDC.com? They were updated every Thursday (or was it Tuesday?) and showed RWC, DTS, open-captioned, and subtitled movies playing in D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia. By 2004 standards, it was a slick setup, programmed from scratch by Tayler Mayer, but it was also all manually entered.
That’s right, part of my job description included typing out every single captioned movie, showtime, and location, every single Thursday. At first it took me about two hours, but after several months, I cut down entry time to about a hour, maybe a little less.
Imagine my relief when Tayler later released Fomdi, the internet’s first automatic captioned movie listings. Just enter a zip code, click “Find” and, well, there’s no Step 3. All brought to you by a skinny robot with green lips.
Fast-forward a few years, when DeafCode released Captionfish in mid-2009 and we were introduced to a cute goldfish (or is it a yellow tang?) with a CC logo in place of eyes. Captionfish’s search engine is incredibly robust, gathering all types of captioned movies within a 60-mile radius of any specified location. Each movie listing has links to a captioned trailer (if available) and showtimes in other theaters nationwide. They even have a text-only, mobile version at captionfish.com/mobile. Naturally, this website works well and looks fantastic, since it’s created by Brendan Gramer, an user experience designer at Amazon.com, and Chris Sano, a software engineer at Microsoft.
When asked why they started Captionfish, Chris wrote:
The Captionfish effort is all about promoting equal access in theaters. We want all movies to be captioned everywhere, and in order for that to happen, theaters need to see that the demand is there. We believe the best way to create this demand is for people to go to the showings that theaters make available today. The biggest issue is that often people aren’t aware of those showings for a variety of reasons, primarily because show times are difficult to find if you don’t know where to look.
And now it’s even easier to find captioned movies nearby. Yesterday, DeafCode released the CaptionFish iPhone app, which joins the growing field of mobile apps for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The interface is slick, and I love the CC eyes peeking out from the app icon. “Hello!” it cries. “Let me help you find a captioned movie!” The app can find captioned movies based on your current location, and you can even watch captioned movie trailers right there on your iPhone.