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Inspirations / Distractions – Will Stowell

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 | 0 comments

Will Stowell is a freelance sound designer & dialogue editor living around Seattle, WA.

“I’ve always had a work mentality of no goofing off when at work, but when working at home, it’s different.”

“I find that when working on a long, boring project, I will start to drift into my web browser and check up on stuff, look at gear I wish I could buy or end up Googling some random question / thing / issue.

To combat this, I:

Take a break when tired.

Coffee time! Get enough sleep! Even a quick break.

Inspirations / Distractions – Carlye Nyte

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 | 0 comments

Carlye Nyte is a sound designer and musician for games and virtual reality. She currently resides in Seattle, WA. Her favorite cartoon is Steven Universe.

“When I was in school I had a classmate friend whose love of cartoons and synths went so hand in hand that every patch she made was a burst of color and nostalgia.

I called her my muse.

“Whenever I was uninspired or overworked, a simple chat with her was like discovering a new flavor of sonic ice cream. I always had homework: artists to listen to, cartoons to watch, Kickstarters to fund, etc. When my MIDI controller broke, she gave me a new one. She helped me make it through school.

At the time, to me, she was pure inspiration. It’s not easy to find people like that. But I think it’s important to remember those people and experiences and carry them with you.

Sometimes, when I am worn out and find my feet dragging, I think about that friend. And usually end up watching a cartoon. I’ve gotten ideas from the interplay between color palette and sonic palette in some cartoons, how playful and comforting the sounds can be.

It’s been good for me to have a foundation of inspiration that I can always return to, whether it’s really relevant to my current project or not.

It’s all about those strange things that get you going.”

Remembering Jory Prum

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 | 5 comments


The game audio community would like to recognize the passing of a friend, innovator, and legend in Jory Prum who passed late last week.

From his parents:

We are deeply heartbroken that our son, Jory Kyle Prum, passed away last night, April 22, 2016. We placed him in God’s hands and he was taken around 9 PM. We were by his side as he took his last peaceful breath and completed a 41 year life that was full of passion, love, music, technology, humor, and generosity. As an international pioneer in video game audio, he touched thousands upon thousands of people around the world. Self-taught, he was a computer genius, as well as a consummate sound designer for film and video. He was unique–a one of a kind–free spirit and Renaissance man that will be missed and kept forever in our hearts.

Leslye & Sam Prum

It’s the most difficult to let go of those who have affected us the most. That we should live without, however loosely connected, makes life feel lesser for their passing. When left with only memories, it is through memories that we keep their spirit alive. Jory left many positive memories during his time and I expect these to continue to resonate for long into the future.
Please feel-free to contribute to the memory of Jory in your own way in response to this. (more…)

Sunday Sound Thought 17 – Sonic Zoom

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 | 0 comments

I struggled with the idea of posting one of these today. A friend of mine, and to much of the community as well, Jory Prum passed away Friday night. Ultimately, I think it’s important to keep moving forward in life. We’re working on collecting some thoughts about Jory to post later today/tomorrow. For now, here’s something I think he would have appreciated discussing.

Filmmakers love a good close up. The tight framing of an actor, prop or movement…in the right context…can really lend weight to a moment in the narrative. It’s a clear sign to the audience that “this” is important, “this” is something you have to pay attention to. There are two ways this is achieved in the crafting of a visual piece: the hard cut, and the zoom.

We have the same tools available to us in the auditory realm. If we want to highlight a particular sound element, we can strip the others away. If we want the hard cut, we simply cut the sounds out. To replicate a zoom, we can strip those surrounding elements away more slowly…deliberately…to draw the audience in to the experience of that one element.

What would really be interesting though, would be to explore the ways in which we might also replicate the “Dolly/Zoom” effect.

Inspirations / Distractions – Jerry Berlongieri

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 | 0 comments

Jerry Berlongieri is an audio director, composer and sound designer currently residing in Cambridge, MA.

“I’ve never really regarded inspiration and distraction as mutually exclusive. I tend to see distraction as a form of inspiration. “

“My advice would be: ‘Don’t avoid it, don’t push it away or see it as the enemy. Steer into the skid and see where it takes you.’

Distraction serves as a mental safeguard, protecting you from obsession. It also serves to remind that creativity is personally expressed through the synthesis of experiences around you.

That’s signature.

I don’t mean to over-romanticize distraction, either. When a deadline is looming you can’t let distraction morph into avoidance. The trick is convergence, allowing creativity the freedom of promiscuity, but directing these dalliances back toward some commonality. Recognize a playful distraction as a potential contribution to the present course.

All are windows peering in to the problem you’re trying to solve. You may not see the connection right away, between salads and sound design, but there is one. Connect the dots.

An intelligent mind recognizes patterns, a creative mind invents them.”

Inspirations / Distractions – Isabella Ness

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 | 0 comments

Isabella Ness is a composer and sound designer from Washington, D.C. dedicated to top-notch storytelling through any type of sonic medium. She brews hot tea and cool assets.

“When I’m in a creative rut, I seek out the work of creators I look up to…”


“… I often draw energy from visual artists, poets, and other musicians. Giving myself even just a few minutes’ break to explore the reasons why I find art enjoyable (turn of phrase, textural choices, color palettes, etc.) is extremely beneficial. It’s easy for me to lose the forest through the trees if I get too caught up in the grind!

Loneliness in composing or creating assets is an unavoidable risk, even if I’m working with a dev team. I’ve found that staying active in group-related things outside of development, like singing with my church choir or spending a lunch hour away from my rig around other people, help to recharge my batteries and free up my brain-space for more motivated work.”


“If I find myself getting distracted, it means I’m not 100% committed to whatever I’m creating. Forcing it only leads to half-hearted sounds, so I give my mind the break it needs. Stepping away from the workstation for 5 minutes to meditate, refill the tea/water, or just talk myself through the stages of the project all help re-jog my productivity by setting it back on the right track.”

Inspirations / Distractions – Gwen Guo

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 | 0 comments

Gwen Guo is a sound designer, composer and co-founder of IMBA Interactive, a full-service game audio developer headquartered in Singapore.

“I think for creative work, it’s very important to never feel like you’re an asset-producing factory.”

“The moment you feel that way, it kills the joy of working on a game you initially enjoyed doing audio for. This often happens with games on a tight deadline.

Inspirations / Distractions – Andrew Rohrmann

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 | 0 comments

Andrew “SCNTFC” Rohrmann is a sound designer and composer based in Seattle, WA.

“If you want to make sounds/music inspired by nature? Go hang out in the woods.

But when I’m looking for inspiration beyond that first degree of separation, I’ll look laterally towards other creative fields.

“By going one step further and deciphering how other artists interpret their own inspirations, you can then turn around and apply those ideas to your own work.

‘What drives Andy Goldsworthy to disassemble/reassemble rocks and trees?’

‘How does Do Ho Suh go about reinterpreting physical spaces?’

Hell, even the inspiration behind the plating and presentation of a nice sushi dish can spark an idea somewhere else.

There’s music in the way a painting is structured (see Kandinsky, W.); identifying what/how/why that is and applying it–however abstractly–to your own work is an endless gold mine of ideas.

But yeah: nature is still badass. Simply listening to the world go by can be the greatest inspiration of all.”

Sunday Sound Thought 16 – Pushing for Physical Representation

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 | 2 comments

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

I’ve talked about how sound is a physical event. This week, I was scanning through a little notebook I’ve kept of these types of ideas over the past 5-7 years, and I came across another little idea that sparked a thought for this week’s post.

“Sound has mass.”

Sound requires a medium to travel through. Most of the time, that’s air…though it can obviously be water, metal pipes, etc. While sound is in these mediums, it has mass…sort of. The feel of that kick drum when piped through a concert’s sound system is a great example. You feel that pressure wave hit you, rattle your chest. Air has mass, and it moves you. Sound is what moves the air. This isn’t really what I wanted to focus on this week. It’s just a necessary tangent for me.

The question that was bouncing around in my head this week, is how can we represent that physicality of sound in a film or game? There’s the clichéd bleeding ears shot, and there’s also this idea of “contact hearing” that I posted about only a few weeks ago. Those are two, and I’m sure there are plenty of others. The realization came that it’s necessary to have appropriate imagery to support the representation of a sound’s physical nature. This means buy in from the director.

Is there a moment in your project where the story could be bolstered by the display of the physical effects of sound? Have you spoken to your director or game designer about how it could, and what sort of visual would be needed to convey it?