Just Add Words First Place Winner 2015 Laura Lynch in North Berwick
Here at CaptionMax, we always keep the end-user of our closed captions and video description in mind as we create them, which is why we were positively beaming when the first place winner of our second annual Just Add Words video description contest had this to say about writing her entry:
I actually had a friend of mine from college in mind when I wrote it. I was just at her wedding a month ago, and in spite of being blind, she’s also earned her Masters in Linguistics (from an English-speaking university when her native language is Polish) and runs marathons for charity (arm-in-arm with her marathon-running friends). “Inspirational” just seems to fall a little short when talking about her. I was trying to remember how I used to try to describe things to her when we were together, and how difficult it was not to rely on color words, or to forget details that seemed obvious to me because I could see them. So I’m really proud to have done a good job, and I hope competitions like this help people to try to think of the world from the perspective of the blind and visually disabled.
Laura seemed so incredibly rad that we wanted everyone to get to know her a little better, so here she is in her own words:
How old are you?
What is your occupation?
Varied. I work in the Communications field as an independent contractor and am trying to build up a business as a freelance copywriter. In the past month I’ve helped organize a live event hosting over 800 guests, worked as a production assistant on a video shoot, tried my hand at video editing, proofread several indexes, and picked up some basic web administration skills via WordPress. And I’ve written some copy.
Do you have a writing background?
I’ve been an irregular blogger since 2007, and I currently get to do some copywriting on occasion for work. I also finished the first draft of a science fiction novel a year ago, and have spent my time since trying to decide what to do about draft two. I had a really good method to get through the first draft, but I’ve found I can’t apply it to editing. I’ve worked on the “science” part of the story a little, and have tried picking up a few other writing projects, but nothing’s stuck yet. I’ve heard it said that if you write every day, you’re a writer. For the time being, I’m trying to live up to that.
What are your hobbies/interests?
I draw, I read, I inwardly critique all the media I consume. Someday I would like to write/draw a graphic novel. Also, I sew a lot of my own clothes and am big into languages. I speak Russian (well enough to hold a conversation indefinitely, albeit with errors) and German (at about the level of a 4-year-old). Linguistics is a major area of interest. I love hearing the different ways in which people experiment with language, whether they know that’s what they’re doing or not.
Do you have any fun plans for your prize money?
Definitely: I’m getting a new computer! My current machine barely functions. I’ve had its replacement picked out for months, but haven’t been able to afford it. Meanwhile, I have a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud that I’ve been dying to explore, but haven’t been able to make good use of yet. So I see a new laptop as fixing a very practical problem I have, but also expanding my creative possibilities. So, yeah, I’m super excited!
How did you find out about the contest?
I subscribe to Brian Scott’s “Morning Coffee” freelance writing newsletter, and saw the contest listed there. I liked the idea and thought it would be a challenge. I found it hard to take myself out of my usual framework of, “what do I want to say?” and move into, “what do they need to know?”
My mom is hearing impaired, so I grew up watching captions on everything. For a while in high school as well I watched a lot of anime in Japanese with subtitles, because I was used to them being there, and I think it helped fuel my interest in language. My mom’s hearing deteriorated to the point that she was nearly deaf, but a few years ago she was able to have an operation which improved her hearing to an incredible extent. As in, afterwards she could hear the tap water running for the first time in a decade. So what drew me to this contest wasn’t just the connection I had to my blind friend, but a value for captions and subtitles more generally and the great gift they can be to all sorts of people.