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.
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!
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.
DesigningSound.org is on the lookout for capable News Editors and Contributing Editors for our site.
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.”
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?
Akash Thakkar is a sound designer, composer and TEDx speaker living in Seattle, WA.
“When I was studying at the Berklee College of Music, I was consistently on the edge of failing most of my classes.
Not because of lack of understanding, or even of passion, but simply because I was distracted.”
And that distraction meant I wasn’t creating anything worthwhile.
I Simply Couldn’t Get Anything Done
I had gotten to the point where it was impossible for me to work with any degree of focus. I would have to have something in the background, whether it be music, Netflix, or Youtube. As a result, I would pull all-nighters for assignments that should have just taken me a couple hours.
Many of us work in the exact same way every single day. We play music in the background, we keep a tab with Facebook open, and our phones are always within arms reach. Ironically, we sometimes even tell ourselves that this distraction helps us focus.
Jacob Burgess is a voice actor currently residing in Seattle, WA.
“When [you] get a whole lot of auditions and they’ve got to get out really quickly? Sometimes, it’s no big deal.”
You ask a voiceover artist for a submission, you get a voice over. Our transcript below.
“It’s a weird thing, because distraction happens a lot. Say [you] get a whole lot of auditions: usually, you get a whole lot of auditions, and they’ve got to get out really quickly. Sometimes, it’s no big deal.
Sometimes you’ll get auditions at three [in the afternoon] and they’re due at eight in the morning, and if you’ve already got plans for the evening, there’s a sense of urgency there; there’s no time to get distracted. You’ve just got to find a place to fit it in, to get it done, to get them the best that they can be and get them out the door.
Jabari Alii is a composer and the mind behind Cinematic Score, a music and sound design company based in Oakland, CA.
“For me, inspiration has always been this ever-elusive superpower. When I could harness it, there was no stopping me.
But it was sporadic, I had no control. I was like a mutant before I got to Professor Xavier’s mansion.”
“As artists, we have the power to transport our audiences to other worlds, and we are often required to command this power at will. Deadlines don’t give a shit about your writer’s block.
Over time, I realized that this superpower arose from tapping into the very thing I was trying to produce: emotion.
Crystal Chan is a freelance sound designer and student of UC San Diego’s Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts program, specializing in music. She currently resides in San Diego, CA.
“In my experience, it’s not so much ‘Inspiration and Distraction,’ but ‘Inspiration IN Distraction.’“
… especially when I feel like I’ve exhausted all of my ideas on a project, or just don’t find the project itself to be particularly interesting. Skill and effort are essential parts of the process, but sometimes the best ideas come when my mind isn’t actively focusing on what I need to do.
Attention is rather tricky for me. I either can’t focus at all and get distracted by everything possible or I focus so intensely that I completely lose track of time and before I know it, the entire day is gone and I’ve spent 12 hours working and forgot to eat. So, one skill that I’ve picked up is to pay attention to my thoughts during the times that I stray from productivity.