Guest Contribution by Karrie Keyes
SoundGirls.Org was formed in 2013 by veteran live sound engineers: Karrie Keyes and Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato. In 2012, Karrie and Michelle participated in the “Women of Professional Concert Sound” panel at the AES Conference in San Francisco. The panel was hosted by the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) and moderated by WAM founder Terri Winston. [ed: We’ve interviewed Terri about WAM in the past.] Terri brought together five women working in live and broadcast audio. The groundbreaking panel which also included Jeri Palumbo, Claudia Engelhart and Deanne Franklin, provided young women and men a glimpse into life on the road, tips and advice, and a Q & A with the panelists.
More importantly though, was how incredibly powerful the experience was for the panelists. We had all been in the business for 20 years or more, yet most of us had never met before that day and within minutes we bonded like long lost sisters. We were struck by how similar our experiences, work ethics, and passions were and wondered why our paths had never crossed and how our careers would have been different had we been there to support each other through the years. Each of us are strong on our own, but together we were even stronger and a powerful force. We were empowered. Each of us had been asked hundreds of times in our careers: Are there other women doing sound? How did you get into sound? How would a young woman go about getting into sound?
This is not specifically sound focused, but I thought this would be a relevant post considering so many within our community are freelancers. The Freelancers Union just recently came onto my radar. It is an advocacy group here within the U.S. to support all of those people who don’t have a staff job. In my mind, the most interesting thing about this organization is that they are organizing group health and retirement plans. If you’re a freelancer, this really is something you should check out. Membership is free; the only fees you can incur come with signing up for any of the benefits packages. They even have this handy tool to help you identify what benefit packages are available in your area. If fit one of these descriptions (and I’m quoting here), “freelancers, consultants, independent contractors, temps, part-timers, contingent employees and the self-employed,” I encourage you to check this out to see if it fills any of your needs.
Image by Mike Licht, used under Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.
At first glance, you may not think of this site as one where we would care about reactions to critical analysis of media. We care very much, in fact, and feel it is necessary to take a moment to discuss the recent reactions to the latest in Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games” series.
I’m sure you’ve seen commentary about it on other sites already, but we feel that it is important to point out that we are a part of the community she is speaking to. She has seen a similar reaction every time she has released a video…the idiots come out of the woodwork to attack her. It has also seemed to escalate with each new round. Case in point:
Guest Contribution from Randy Thom
It was announced that the people who run the Tony Awards have decided to cut two of their awards categories….the two sound design categories.
This is a sad piece of news for all of us in sound. It’s yet another slap in the face for an important art form that struggles for recognition. The people who run awards shows feel constant pressure to populate those shows with pretty people, famous people, and people who are highly entertaining when a camera and microphone are pointed at them. Advertisers pound their fists on tables in anger when their ad follows an unglamorous and unknown statuette recipient’s earnest “thank you.” One year when I attended the Oscar telecast, and left the building at the end of the show in my tux, a guy ran up to me in the middle of the street with a pen and paper in his hands screaming to me “Are You Anybody? Are You Anybody?” I said “Sure!” and he smiled big as I handed him my illegible signature. Though the Tony Awards have promised that they may, in the future, occasionally give an award to an especially noteworthy job of sound design, the message we should get loud and clear from their announcement today is that as far as they are concerned we, sound designers, are not ‘anybody.’ How sad, how dumb.
The fine gentlemen over at The Tonebenders Podcast have a new offering. “Soundbytes” are shorter, self contained, stories that they’ll be releasing in addition to the regular podcast. They saw our theme this month, and realized they had the perfect interview to go with it. So, give a listen to this interview about “circuit bending” with Moth Robot! [...and make sure you subscribe to their podcast, on the off chance you haven't already]