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Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 | 0 comments

Don’t knock Frozen

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There’s a lot of things to like about Frozen. The animation is beautiful, the script is tight, the performances are great, and it even features a catchy tune or two. It’s also got some great sound. Check out the opening ice cutting sequence. It probably had whole cinemas ducking for cover in 3D but even in plain old 2D it works. The effects are great and when you get out from under the ice into the open air there’s that indefinable ‘softness’ to the soundstage that only happens in a snowy environment. And the film has a lot of it; ice, snow, crunchy, soft, cracking, and exploding and it all sounds just right. But my favourite thing about Frozen are some door knocks from right at the start.

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Site Archives Updated!

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It’s been long overdue, but we’ve finally updated the archive links to include the featured topics we’ve been running over the last few years. Just hover over the “Archives” tab in the menu bar above, and click on “Featured Topics.” Don’t forget that there’s a bunch of other cool stuff in the site archives, including links to the site’s previous feature system, “Featured Sound Designers.”

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Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 | 3 comments

Interview with Steve Tibbo – Emmy Winning Production Sound Mixer for ABC’s “Modern Family”

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Steve Tibbo, CAS, with cart on set at “Modern Family”

GUEST CONTRIBUTION BY DALE CROWLEY

A few days after this interview with Steve Tibbo, he was nominated for the 6th time for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for his work on ABC’s “Modern Family”, where he has been the production sound mixer on every episode other than the pilot. The episode that was nominated is called “Connection Lost“. We discuss this episode in detail and talk about this complex undertaking as well as many other topics ranging from his work on Modern Family to the gear he uses to record on set and on location, and we also delve into his work in re-recording mixing, ADR, and sound design for film and TV.  This month’s theme is “Favorites” and “Modern Family” is my favorite TV Comedy and sound is my favorite subject.

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 | 1 comment

The Month of Favorites

Photo by Brad.K. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Photo by Brad.K. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

What is your favorite… sound design project? synthesizer? resource? application? story? piece of gear? technique?

This month’s theme is, to say the least, open to interpretation.

I am sure you know that feeling. The one you get when you come across something that is just too good to keep to yourself and you feel the need to share it with any colleague that will listen. We know that many times what inspires us may also inspire others, and there is nothing better than being able to share something that improves someone’s knowledge base, workflow, or creative process. That is why I know that when my colleagues want to tell me something, I am all ears.

Within our own (slightly insular) professional circles, we regularly share the best of what we currently use, read, and hear. This month, our goal is to broaden our circles and share some of the products, projects, and stories that are our current favorites, and also to hear about some of yours as well.

Care to share?

We here at Designing Sound ALWAYS encourage contributions from the community. If you have a favorite story, thought, or technique you’d like to share, let us know. Feel free to contribute to this month’s theme if you have a favorite to share, or maybe next month’s topic is of more interest to you (which will be “Restriction”), or go completely off-topic. Anything is fair game. Please contact doron [@] this website to get the ball rolling!

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 | 3 comments

The Business of Foley

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For the last 6 months or so I’ve been an avid reader of Stephen Follow’s blog. I stumbled across it when I was looking for some ideas for a class I was teaching and I’ve been hooked ever since. Amongst other things Stephen writes about the business of making films and offers a tantalising glimpse into the murky world of budgets and film finance.

Beyond some of the more eye-opening content on there (Iron Man 3’s 3,310 strong crew for one) I was drawn to a few sound related stats e.g. the average size of sound departments and also the proportion of a £1 million film budget which is allocated for sound (£16,882 in this particular case). Clearly there’s nothing like a good stat to confuse the issue and a figure like this presented on its own means very little but it did get me thinking about the economies of film sound and for this month, the specifics of the business of Foley.

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Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 | 0 comments

Tax Considerations When Hiring Freelancers

Image by flickr user reynermedia. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to veiw source.

Image by flickr user reynermedia. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

The path we take in our careers can be a fairly winding one. It’s hard to predict exactly where you’re going to wind up. For instance, last year I found myself in the position where, while working as an independent sound designer after years as a staffer, I needed a team of people to help me complete a project by deadline. It’s not a bad position to be in. I like working, and having the ability (and, admittedly, necessity) to spread some of that work out amongst my peers felt good. There are two ways you can handle that on the billing side.

  1. Have those people bill your client directly.
  2. Bill your client once and and have your team invoice you for their work.

I chose the latter, and it presented an interesting situation when taxes rolled around. This article is to offer some of the key information I learned in the process. I’ll apologize to those people outside of the U.S., because this is going to be specific to the tax system here. There’s a tiny bit in here that might be useful to folks outside of this country I live in, but I won’t be offended if you skip this article.

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 | 2 comments

Lessons of a Reckless Freelancer, or How I Learned to Love the Paperwork

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At least my cats were on top of things.

When I first started up as a freelance sound designer and re-recording mixer, I had never been responsible for running a business. Working for myself seemed to be the ultimate job; I could set my hours, pick my projects, and do things how I wanted to do them. Beyond this freedom, what else was there? As it turns out, I completely glossed over that whole “how to run my own business” thing, charging headlong into freelancing with no real understanding of what that entailed. Had I taken just a few moments to sit down and read a bit about being your own boss and business, I would have saved myself a whole lot of trouble down the road. Here are a few of the bigger things I learned along the way; hopefully, you can learn something from my mistakes.

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Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 | 20 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 | 7 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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