Behind the Scenes On MTV’s True Life: I’m Deaf

After seeing how many challenges Chris faces in his everyday life, it’s hard to imagine how producers were even able to set up this True Life shoot. Turns out, it wasn’t easy. Below, the show’s producers explain how they worked with Chris on-set to make sure his voice was heard.

When we initially decided to do this show, we knew that there would be some unique challenges to face both in the production and in the edit. First, and foremost, how would we communicate with a subject who couldn’t hear or speak?

After casting Chris, who communicates through sign language, we started working with interpreters whenever possible. The interpreter stood off-camera and spoke into a microphone which recorded what Chris was signing in real time. The producer would hear the interpreter and be able to ask Chris questions, but this also gave us a guide when we went in to edit the show. At certain points, there was no interpreter available and the producers would resort to old-fashioned pen and paper communication with Chris. It was a slow process, but it worked!

+ What do you all think? Were you able to get a real sense of what Chris is going through? What, if anything, do you think producers should have done differently?