This is probably evident to a lot of people, but your boss has a huge impact on how good your project sounds. I’m talking about the director, or the game designer. If you want to get any of your ideas into the project, you have to get them to buy off on it. This is probably an obvious statement, but how often do we remind ourselves of it? MPSE does an awesome job of honoring those directors who appreciate what good sound brings to their films. Kudos to them! Without the support of the boss, even the most skilled sound professionals will have a hard time contributing their best work. It goes deeper than that though.
I can clearly remember the first time I realized how important that top level boss is to making an awesome sounding design or mix. I remember hating that specific idea my boss wanted me to do…not try, do! It was an order. I remember the first time I realized that the problem wasn’t the request, but my approach to that request. That moment changed the way I did everything ever since. If we want our ideas entertained, we need to entertain the ideas of others.
Of course, that’s not to say that every idea that comes down (or goes up, mind you) is a good one, but there at least might be the kernel of a good one buried somewhere underneath.
In a recent post on the blog over at A Sound Effect, Asbjoern Andersen interviews long-time animation sound pro Jeff Shiffman of Boom Box Post. They discuss Jeff’s workflow and approach to sound design, as well as the specific challenges and successes he had working on numerous animated shows. Take a look at the interview here.
Cities and Memory: Oblique Strategies, a recent collaboration between sound artists, musicians, and field recordists from across the world, was released earlier today. The project brought these sound artists together to create new musical remixes of field recordings from around the world, using Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies cards as guideposts for their creations. It features recordings from locations across 19 countries, and involved 63 contributors, including Designing Sound’s own Berrak Nil Boya. Some of the pieces can be heard currently at the website, and an album of highlights will be released later this month on the Cities and Memory bandcamp.
Image by The Presler Project, used under a Creative Commons license. CLick image to view source.
Guest Contribution by April Tucker
Last year, I got one of the weirdest compliments I’ve ever heard: “You’re a real unicorn!” I was working with a mixer who I had recently met (but was an established mixer), and he looked at me in amazement as I asked questions about his workflow. “I’ve heard of Lora Hirschberg and Anna Behlmer, but I’ve never met a female mixer. I’m sorry I’m so taken aback, but I really didn’t think someone like you existed,” he said.
When I heard that the Designing Sound guys were stepping aside this month for women contributors, I thought it was a great chance to say, “Hey look! There’s actually a lot of real unicorns!” Except… it’s been pretty silent. I asked a few women who I thought might be interested, and one woman (who I highly respect) said, “I would rather not address our industry when my invitation is based on my gender. I look forward to writing based on the knowledge and expertise that I can offer as an equal member of the industry.”
Guest Contribution by Scott Kramer
With Haunting Melissa, we sought to bring feature film quality sound to an iOS app. It was an incredible experience, so when Neal Edelstein asked me to join the Hooked Digital Media team for Haunting Melissa: Dark Hearts, I jumped at the chance. Like many of us, my “day job” is designing sound for feature films and television. Hooked is breaking new ground by delivering filmed content via an app, and we thought the sound should be high-quality but also pioneering.
With that in mind, I entered an R&D phase to develop new standards and technologies for this medium. I’m a firm believer in mixing a project in the format and monitoring environment where it will most commonly be heard. We decided to mix these stories on headphones in the hopes that the audience would prefer that experience over the apple device’s built-in speaker, and we’ve found that they often do. Next, I began to research ways to deliver a truly immersive experience using an ordinary pair of headphones.