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Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 | 6 comments

Make Yourself a Valuable Sound Designer

Jason Cushing

Guest Contribution by Jason Cushing

My name is Jason Cushing and I’m one of the co-founders of SoundMorph. Recently, I was chatting with the hard-working and talented Shaun Farley of Designing Sound about the site’s latest monthly topic: the business of sound. There are many aspects to this vast subject, but one topic that might be helpful for those of you just starting out in sound—or even (gasp) experienced sound designers—was the topic of turning yourself into a valuable asset.

This is simply an opinion piece and I don’t claim to be a guru with all the answers. As someone who started a successful online sound company, perhaps I can instill some helpful maxims that will make you re-examine your approach and take your “personal brand” to the next level!

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Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 | 6 comments

The Mindset of Business

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Image sourced on Wikimedia Commons. Click image to view source

Guest Contribution by April Tucker

Early in my career, I watched a couple studios crumble first hand. One was a music studio that went bankrupt because the owner made some poor choices. The other was a post studio that laid off most of the staff in one day; “Black Wednesday,” we called it. I had mixed feelings knowing I’d own a business someday. Learning business skills didn’t seem like a choice – in our field, the odds are that you will be freelance (or take contract work) at some point. What I’ve since learned (through business classes and being in business) is that business isn’t just a skill set; it’s also a philosophy or way of thinking.

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Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 | 3 comments

The Neglected Topic

Photo by Edward Webb. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Photo by Edward Webb. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

This is going to be an odd month, because we’re not going to talk about sound. Not directly anyways.

There’s a broad range of topics that are often neglected in discussions of our craft, and that’s the business side of things. Media production programs in Colleges and Universities are practically a dime a dozen now…though they certainly don’t cost a little more than a dime. How many of them bother to teach anything relating to the business skills one might need to survive in such a competitive industry? I know mine didn’t, and that was a Master’s program.

It’s probably obvious, but we can’t teach even a tenth of what one might need to know with regards to this topic. None of us studied business. You do pick up a few things along the way though, and maybe we can help a few of you avoid some hard lessons. And maybe a few of you can help us avoid some we haven’t encountered yet.

Care to share?

If you haven’t seen this usual blurb in italics before, we ALWAYS encourage contributions from the community. It doesn’t matter to us who you are, or where you’re at in your career. If you’re interested in contributing to this month’s theme, next month’s (…will be “restriction” by the way), or going completely off-topic…contact shaun {at} this website.

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Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 | 2 comments

Failure…

Photo by Gustavo Veríssimo, used under a Creative Commons license. Click to view source.

Photo by Gustavo Veríssimo, used under a Creative Commons license. Click to view source.

…and the fear of it. Some worry about it more than others, but we all face it sooner or later. There are varying degrees of failure, and then there’s the old line that helps to put things in a relevant light:

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” [Stephen McCranie…according to Google]

Failure is a part of development and growth. It’s unavoidable, and not necessarily something to fear. So this month, we’re going to try to bring a little perspective to this idea of failure.

For instance, it’s also not necessarily career related. After all, the sound Ben Burtt used to bring a little character to the Millenium Falcon failing to to go into light speed was an inertia starter failing to turn over. Failing devices can sound amazing! So we’re not necessarily going to be all philosophical this month.

It should be an interesting exploration…or maybe we’ll screw it all up. As Adam Savage always says on Mythbusters, “Failure is always an option.” ;)

We here at Designing Sound ALWAYS encourage contributions from the community. If you have a story, thought or technique you’d like to share, let us know. Contribute to this month’s theme if suits you, maybe next month’s topic (when we’re going to focus on the business side of sound design), or go completely off-topic. Anything is fair game! Contact shaun [@] this website to get the ball rolling!

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Posted by on May 29, 2015 | 1 comment

Comedy…”It’s an Interesting Thing to Try and Nail Down” – Interview with Chris Scarabosio

Chris Scarabosio is a sound designer and re-recording mixer who works at Skywalker Sound. This interview was originally intended to be part of our comedy theme in April. Schedules didn’t quite work out, so we’re bringing it to you now…

SCARABOSIO_ChrisDS: So our theme for April was comedy, and I thought yours would be an interesting brain to pick on the subject.

CS: I was thinking about it, “What makes a sound funny?” And it’s kind of hard to figure out. Some sounds are funny, like pops…just suction pops, for whatever reason. What makes that funny? I don’t know. The things I learned funny from are: Looney Tunes, Three Stooges, Flintstones… Kind of dissecting it, and even now doing Minions, it’s just “absurdity.” I think something so absurd makes you laugh, like anvil hits. Something hits that’s nowhere near the weight of an anvil, and it makes this ridiculous, “DONK!” It’s funny, I guess, because it’s absurd.

DS: The exaggeration of it maybe?

CS: Exaggeration, yeah. Something so over the top, that it couldn’t possibly make that sound. That makes it funny.

DS: Those are the first things that I go to as well. For sound in comedy, you think about the slapstick and musical stuff in Looney Tunes, a lot of times they do something that’s completely unrelated. Like if a feather has an anvil sound when it hits. It’s a different type of absurd, not necessarily an exaggeration…

CS: It’s the opposite, right. It’s an odd thing to talk about, because it’s hard to explain. There are no hard and fast rules, other than kind of what we learned growing up and watching cartoons. In doing it, you try different things. I’m trying to think of something…

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