A crosshatched line drawing of an older man in oranges, reds, and pinks. He gazes at us warmly, sporting a faint mustache beneath a prominent nose. His loose, wavy hair brushes the tops of his ears, highlighted in places with a bright green. He is wearing a long sleeve shirt.
Kenneth Mars

Sing, sing-a-song

Above I’m sharing another crosshatch drawing by Meadow, my mentee from Family of Friends. Meadow’s art is essential to our animated short documentary, Mourning Has Broken. The Alt ID beneath it is for blind and low-vision folks. Innovative audio description and closed captions will be created for our final film. It will be ready for screening in the Spring of 2023. Remembering dad, I’ll be featured in the podcast, Rarified Heir in January. Josh Mills, son of Edie Adams, hosts a podcast about kids of the humans born into the entertainment industry. I look forward to sharing the jewels from my life with my special dad. Walking through the new Academy of Motion Pictures Museum earlier this month, I missed holding his hand and those eyes. He would have had OPINIONS!

Description deep dive…cluck, cluck?

Working on Mourning Has Broken has brought me into a treasured working friendship with Cheryl Green. Cheryl brings her lived experience with multiple invisible disabilities to our work. She has mentored me as an audio describer for over a year. Her dedication to challenging misconceptions and stereotypes of disability inspires me on the regular. I asked her to share some of her favorite AD to inspire our Mourning Has Broken team, and this is one of my favorites: Brunch. If you’re a chicken lover, don’t miss this. Brunch is a micro short film documenting life and work at Sunflower Farms. Sunflower Farms currently donates all its organic produce to local food pantries.

Nothing about us without us

“Nothing about us without us” is becoming a part of our lexicon. Last month I mentioned that Rick Hammond has done quality-control work for me in the past. When fellow describer Terri Thomas and I had an opportunity to dive into some innovative description last month for Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord — which, if you haven’t seen, RUN to Portland Center Stage — Rick provided quality control. No spoiler, but Kristina has a visual art piece that accompanies the show, and Terri had the inspiration to describe it. She wrote it, I voiced it, and Rick QC’d it. Take a listen here.

Get around, get around, I get around

This month I coached with the brilliant voiceover actress Tina Morasco. I can’t give away the secrets, but Tina unlocked in me a wry, conversational, improvisational voiceover that was yearning to breathe free! After coaching, I booked two gigs, one for Audible and one for Amazon. Riding on that high, I asked Tina to write a testimonial. I blushed when I read it! “Susannah is a JOY to coach. Her fertile imagination and commitment to story allow her to bring every script to life in a truly unique and personal way. On top of that, she takes direction like a dream and always leads with authenticity.” I also booked my first audiobook with Macmillan Publishing which records this month. The title is under wraps, and I can’t wait to share it when it’s complete.

Living Your Dying

I received the book Living Your Dying recently. While I have yet to dive deep, the title resonates with a favorite quote from Michael A. Singer, “Every experience I have makes me a greater being.” That quote melts directly into my gratitude for working with Randy Porter and the joy of making music. For those who came to Wilfs, your presence was deeply felt! If you haven’t heard of this sensitive and brilliant pianist, get on it! Check out his December Calendar; there are lots of gigs with my friend Becky Kilgore. I don’t know what a “loose wig” concert is, but meet me there on January 7th? One more thing, I’ll be back at Wilfs with two of my favorite humans, Merideth Kaye Clark and Stephanie Lynne Smith. We’ll be celebrating Stephen Sondheim on February 25th. If I don’t say so myself, tickets to that show, Hey Old Friends, would be a great gift if you’re searching for ideas this holiday season!

Full circle

I am delighted to begin volunteer service at The Washington State School for the Blind in January. I’ve met a few students there through my audio description work, and I was awed by the myriad ways one can volunteer. If this seems like something you’d enjoy, here’s a link to connect. Adrienne is a wonder woman at connecting folks to the types of volunteering opportunities for events they’d enjoy. And lastly, my colleague, Edwina Kane, shared this article with me about Community-Centric Fundraising. This conversation is especially juicy as I participate as a performing artist in our community and as a board member at Portland Center Stage. You are probably keenly aware that your favorite artists and organizations need you, deeply, in any way that you can support. Attend events, donate, whatever feels right for you.