Pierce sees magic in production company’s relaunch

Originally appeared in Silent News, November 2001.

Take a look at David H. Pierce’s vita, and you see a six-page list of his accomplishments and experience. His film and television credits alone span four pages in small print. Say David Pierce, and people respond, “Oh yeah, TV guy, good with cameras.”

Few people know that Pierce is a part-time magician as well as “film guy.”

He likes to have Sunday BBQs.

He’s an avid comic book collector.

Oh yes, he also has 2 dogs, 12 cats, 2 iguanas, 2 parakeets, 5 crested pigeons, and 30-plus white doves.

Say what?

“I’m a dove breeder and make many of the doves available for sale to professional magicians to use in their shows,” Pierce explains.

Pierce, who lives next door to a large-animal veterinarian in Texas country, has recently relaunched Davideo Productions, a broadcast television and film production and consulting firm. “When Kaleidoscope Network, Inc., closed its doors in November 2000, I decided to relaunch Davideo Productions as a sole proprietorship,” Pierce says. Originally established with David B. Strom in 1986 when the two were students at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, the company was dissolved in 1988 when Pierce moved to Los Angeles to work with a Davideo Productions client, Silent Network.

After two years, Silent Network was sold to Texas investors, who then founded the America’s Disability Channel, a completely accessible channel with open captions on every program. ADC then became Kaleidoscope Television Network, and expanded to a 24-hour accessible channel. “I was often referred to as a dinosaur,” Pierce says of his longevity with the highly stressful environment back then. He was responsible for a multitude of duties, including programming, production, satellite operations, captioning, traffic, library management, and equipment/facility management and design.

With his expertise, the relaunch of Davideo only seemed natural. And the firm is already off to a good start.

“Many of my projects over the past year were industry consultations. I’m producing short client videos and a 13-part television series, negotiating literary rights for a screenplay, and helping with a book to be published next year,” Pierce says.

Pierce was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and grew up near Buffalo. He attended a public school and then learned sign language at 19 as a student at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, though he knew some basic signs thanks to a fellow bus rider who attended the St. Mary’s School for the Deaf. “My experiences were good, but tough at times, as my profound deafness was a challenge in a speaking environment with no sign language,” Pierce remembers. “I survived it well, although I would recommend the use of sign language for future students in that setting as not everyone is a good lipreader.”

A recent showcase of Pierce’s work was seen at the Houston Deaf Film Festival (Silent News, October 2001). “Marine Escape to Port Aransas, Texas,” a nine-minute experimental film, is a humorous look at two friends’ fishing trips. “It was shot and edited ‘cinema verite’ style, and got a lot of good response to it.” He is working with the Chicago Institute for the Moving Image, which will be hosting the Cinema for the Deaf Festival in Chicago in March 2002.

Pierce is also credited with inventing an editing technique, known as the Pierce Method for Deaf Editors, for cutting video to audio by editors with hearing losses.

Over the years, Pierce has seen quite a few changes in his profession. “During the Silent Network’s heyday, seeing Deaf people on television was commonplace and now, today, it is almost non-existent. There is just a smattering of small roles played by Deaf/hard of hearing actors in mainstream television programming.”

With Davideo Productions, Pierce hopes to alleviate this lacking visibility. “There are many production companies operating successfully in today’s media centric market. However, there are only a few that have the ability to cater to our specialized population sector, namely the Deaf and hard of hearing community,” Pierce says. “Davideo maintains the necessary credibility and accuracy in its productions. So I consider this one of my niches, but my experience and resources are broad enough to service everyone.”

So, in between his self-proclaimed “mouth-watering” Sunday BBQs, part-time magician career, book reading, film collecting, and taking care of his animals, how will Pierce stay focused on the goals of Davideo?

“While Deaf cultural programming has significantly decreased, the amount of closed captioning has increased…the use of video over the Internet, especially video interpreting and conferencing, seems to be catching on very quickly,” Pierce explains. “In spite…I see an increasing desire to have the choice of being able to watch Deaf programming on television on a regular basis.. So, don’t worry, I’m not retiring anytime soon.”

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