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News: Tonebenders Podcast Ep. 37 – Matthew Marteinsson

Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 | 0 comments

In the newest episode of the Tonebenders Podcast, two audio podcasts collide when Matthew Marteinsson of Beards, Cats, and Indie Game Audio joins Rene Coronado to delve into the unique challenges of audio for interactive media. Matthew brings his expertise on game audio to bear on workflow, session organization, and asset mixing and mastering, among other subjects. You can find the new Tonebenders episode on the page linked above, as well as on iTunes and Stitcher.

The Month of Favorites

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 | 1 comment

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!

The Business of Foley

Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 | 4 comments

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. (more…)

Tax Considerations When Hiring Freelancers

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 | 0 comments

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. (more…)

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

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 | 2 comments

Stella W2

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. (more…)

News: The Soundkeeper – Top 5 Sound Design Plugins

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 | 0 comments

Recently, game audio industry vet Jeremy Rogers launched a new SFX library store & blog at While the blog is still new, he’s already putting out some interesting articles, including his most recent “The Top 5 Must-Have Plugins for Sound Designers“. Check it out for Jeremy’s plugin recommendations, as well as some brief descriptions on how he uses them in his own work!

News: The Sound of Killer Instinct, Season 2

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 | 1 comment

In a recent video, some members of the Killer Instinct sound team, including Zachary Quarles, Adam Isgreen, Mick Gordon, Chase Ashbaker, and Jeff Dombkowski, discuss some of the unique approaches and techniques they used in creating the sounds for some of the new characters featured in the second season of the game, including how they created fire effects, scarab attacks, and raptor vocals.

And if that’s not enough enticement, you also get to hear Mick Gordon throat-sing!

Make Yourself a Valuable Sound Designer

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 | 20 comments

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! (more…)

The Mindset of Business

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 | 7 comments


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. (more…)

News: Tonebenders Ep. 36 – Marriage Equality Parade Recording

Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 | 0 comments

In a recent, abbreviated episode of the Tonebenders Podcast, Rene Coronado had the opportunity to capture some celebratory crowd sounds following the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. In the episode, he discusses his recording approach, along with some unexpected inclement weather. Check it out here. Also, Rene generously made the raw recordings available for use, but they won’t be up for long, so grab them while you can!