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A sign language interpreter, who makes phone calls for deaf people, is emotionally and physically sucked into her callers lives. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on August 16, 2014.

A sign language interpreter, who makes phone calls for deaf people, is emotionally and physically sucked into her callers lives.

About this project


During a typical day of work at Deafinity, Inc., in sunny Tampa, Florida, Sylvia has her heart broken, tries to find her lost son, wins the lottery, has phone sex, and schedules her next round of chemo. Except none of this is actually happening to her. As a Sign Language interpreter, or as the company calls her, a DialTone™, Sylvia interprets phone calls in her tec’d-out pod. She loves becoming the voice for the deaf caller and the ears for the hearing caller. But she isn't so great at following the rules. Particularly the one that says: Don't Get Sucked In To Your Callers Lives. When her company gives her a new monitoring device, in the form of an ear-shaped headset, Sylvia must decide to follow the rules and not get sucked in, or rebel and defiantly be herself. 


Over the past nine years I have worked as a sign language interpreter. Many of those years I interpreted phone calls like Sylvia does. In 2007, when I started the job, being the voice for strangers, often saying things I didn’t agree with or didn’t understand, was difficult and lonely. I would jump in and out of people’s lives and commit to their emotions as if they were my own. Then the calls would end and it would be just me, sitting alone in my cube. I often left that job feeling drained and unsure of who I was, having to remind myself that I was not just a Dial Tone. This film is a comedic, fictional and sci-fi take on some of those struggles.


Making It Happen

We are building the world of Deafinity, inc. from scratch in a studio. We have an amazing ensemble of hearing and deaf actors. We are working with a great group of FX and video artists to create the inner workings of the computer Sylvia flies through. We are working with a props designer to create the monitoring device, the Earfinity 3k. 

We are working, working, working.


Lauren Kinsler, Writer/Director

Lauren grew up in Tampa, Florida and has lived in Austin, Texas on and off since 2001. She made her first movie when she was 15, about a girl who falls in love with a computer. Her shorts have played SXSW, Sarasota Film Festival, Hot Springs Doc Fest, Florida Film Festival, among others. Her last short, KING BLING, was the recipient of an Austin Film Society Grant. She has had a feature script in a final round of the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab and was invited to participate in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2009. Lauren is currently getting her MFA at the University of Texas at Austin and is in development on a feature, based on this short. She has an amazing wiener dog named Gus.

You can see her other work at

Sophia Yu, Molly Routt, Justin Wiemer, Producers

Sophia is a native Austinite. She is currently an undergrad here at the University of Texas at Austin. Her main focus is producing and in the last year, has produced a handful of graduate thesis films. She will be moving to LA in the fall to pursue her career as a producer. 

Molly hails from Arlington,TX, though currently calls Austin home. She holds a BA from the University of Oklahoma and has produced two festival-selected shorts in the last two years. Throughout her film-making career, Molly has gained experience in both television and feature production by serving as a coordinating producer on A&E's Shipping Wars and working in the production offices of Terrence Malick, Michael Winterbottom, and Rodrigo García.

Justin Wiemer is a recent graduate of Boston University with degrees in Film & Television and Business Administration. He moved to Austin, TX from Milwaukee to join the city’s growing independent film community. He has interned at Buckeye Pictures and is currently the Business Development Coordinator at (Ask him about independent film distribution!) Justin loves all aspects of production and has been a producer, cinematographer, editor, and production designer – often at the same time. To date, he has seen over 1250 films.

Paul Slocum, Video Artist

Paul is an artist, software developer, curator, and musician. He previously directed a new media art gallery in Dallas called And/Or Gallery and is now operating an iOS software company in Brooklyn called SOFTOFT TECHECH that creates music and art apps. He has performed music and exhibited artwork internationally at numerous venues including The New Museum of Contemporary Art and Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York, The National Center for the Arts in Mexico City, README Software Art Conference in Denmark, The Liverpool Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, The Dallas Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Jim Hickcox, Cinematographer

Jim grew up in New Hampshire where there isn't a whole lot to do except play with the things your dad keeps in the basement. In Jim's case this was old photography equipment and a small audio production setup. He fell in love with the technologies involved: speakers, xlr cables, lenses, shutters, and most of all, film itself. A kind of chemical magic adhered to a thin strip of plastic that can recreate the world in a more beautiful way. He spent a lot of time learning to use those tools separately, and then as an undergrad discovered film, particularly the American avant-garde of the 60s and 70s, and realized that he could put all of his wonderful terrible impulses to use in the same venue. He has since learned to enjoy stories, shot a wide assortment of things using a wide assortment of tools, and maintained his love of the magic, joy, and techniques involved with creating beautiful images. He still does not know how to talk to girls.

Claire White, Production Designer

Claire White has been working as a production designer in the Austin film industry for over two years. Focusing primarily in narrative filmmaking, her credits include the design of over a dozen short films, as well as feature films "Two Step" which premiered at SXSW 2014, and "Found Footage 3D" produced by the creator of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and currently in post production. 

Claire Morrison, Actor

Claire is a Hangar Theatre Lab Company alumni and recently completed Shakespeare and Company’s Conservatory program, playing Gower and Pander in Pericles. Her recent NY Theater credits include: As You Like It (Rosalind, Secret Theatre), Comedie of Errors (Dromia, New Lions Productions/NYC Parks and Rec. Dept.), Henry V (Katherine/Montjoy/Boy, Shetler Studios), Hamlet (Cornelius, Secret Theatre), Faust (Margareta, Columbia University Workshop), Othello (Amelia, Columbia University Workshop), Waves of Mu (Thalamus, PS122), Mass/Person (Lead, Manhattan Theatre Source.)  She holds a BA in Acting from Emerson College.  Claire currently resides in Brooklyn, where she has completed Level 6 at the Sign Language Center and acted in workshops and staged readings of new bilingual plays with Senses Askew, The Women's Project and The Drama League.


Colors, movement, feelings, architecture... 


How to use light, projection and production design in a tunnel:

 More tunnel scene inspiration:

 Truffaut's approach on using interactive monitors in a sci-fi world...

 That early AOL steez!

 Lauren's Shorts:


Editors: Brittney Dufriend, Sophia Yu

Music: Sound Noodle

Risks and challenges

Although we are confident that we will make this film happen, we are taking risks creatively in the way we tell this unique story.

The film is about an ASL interpreter who becomes too close to the people she signs for. Accordingly, we've cast non-actors and native ASL speakers. We are hoping to tell a boldly heartfelt, funny, and futuristic story that people can relate to and enjoy. The film will fulfill Lauren's graduation requirements, so it will get made!

That being said, we have a couple risks with this production: 1) Production Design. Our primary location is the Deafinity office space. We've chosen to create this world from scratch in a studio, instead of shooting on location. Your contribution will help us fully realize this world. 2) Special Effects. Since this is a sci-fi story, we're imagining technology that does not exist yet. To achieve this, we're relying upon extensive green screen and rear-projection techniques. Even though we've tested these methods during pre-production, making these shots look perfect may require a longer post-production period than usual.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    5 backers

    INTERN: Welcome to the company! Now make me some coffee.

    You'll get your own unique digital Deafinity Employee ID card, recognition on our website, and our undying gratitude!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    33 backers

    TRAINEE: Keep your head down and ear to the ground.

    You'll get everything the intern gets, plus a digital download of the film!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    28 backers

    ASSISTANT: You're ready to start learning the ropes – and rules!

    You'll get everything the trainee gets, plus a personalized video greeting in American Sign Language (ASL)!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    9 backers

    EMPLOYEE: You now have break room privileges!

    You'll get everything the assistant gets, plus a Kickstarter exclusive digital poster, screenshots, and featurettes.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    1 backer

    DIAL TONE: Don't get sucked in...

    You'll get everything the employee gets, plus a 1:1 20 minute ASL or filmmaking Skype lesson with Lauren! You can choose whatever you want to learn! You'll be listed in the film's credits and we'll give you even more undying gratitude.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    9 backers

    MIDDLE MANAGEMENT: Dress for success.

    You'll get everything the Dial Tone gets, plus a Deafinity company t-shirt in your size!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    DA BOSS: Report anything suspicious.

    You'll get everything the middle management gets, plus a one-of-a-kind prop created for the film, the Earfinity 3000! (E3K, as the underlings call it.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    0 backers

    DA BOSS: You're so encouraging.

    You'll get everything the middle management gets, plus a one-of-a-kind prop used in the film, a framed Deafinity [De]Motivational Poster!

    "U R a Dial Tone!" "We HEAR u to HELP u." "Rule of the minute: Transparency!” “Don’t Get Sucked In!”

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer

    BIG BROTHER: Keep an eye on the place.

    You'll get everything da boss gets, plus Associate Producer credit (and IMDB page), Lauren and Gus cook you a meal, and a visit to the Deafinity set! You also get to choose between an E3K or framed poster. (Meal and set visit limited to Austin, TX residents.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    MASTERMIND: Marvel at your creation.

    You'll get everything Big Brother gets, plus Executive Producer credit (and IMDB page), a poster signed by the cast and crew, and tickets to any US film festival the short is accepted into. Travel not included. You also get to choose between an E3K or framed poster. (Meal and set visit limited to Austin, TX residents.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (22 days)