I really love discussions of process and technique. Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge tech-head, but I’m always a little disappointed when I read an article about a big-time sound designer and all they talk about is where the speakers were placed and how many channels the mixing board had. It’s not that speaker placement and delay tower settings aren’t important. I’d just much rather read about how they built that ambience cue, or why they chose eBow guitars instead of cellos for the underscore. Even if I haven’t seen the show, this stirs my creative juices in a way that knowing where the monitors were hung does not. Sadly, the theatre publications I read rarely look at this side of the design job.

That said, this made me happy:

A couple of weeks ago I posted about designers attending rehearsals for shows they’re working on. Today over at Sound Design Concepts there’s a fantastic excerpt from an interview with sound designer Marty Desjardins wherein Desjardins talks about this as well.

“…for example, I don’t really refine the ideas until I start to see them in rehearsal with the cast. So it’s not just the text that’s informing me; it’s also the performances that are informing me and in order for me to have that information I’m gonna have to wait until I see it.”

He also talks about drawing inspiration from the other design departments. That’s something I’ve definitely enjoyed on past shows, and it’s really happening in a strong way on my current project, Measure For Measure with Promethean Theatre Company. One of the most fun things about that process so far is how the set designer and I are developing our design ideas in reaction to each other.

“…the timbres that I use in the design are oftentimes heavily influenced by the set design, although I don’t know that I can say exactly how or why. I can’t really put my finger on what it is in each design, but there are usually implications for me about what is going to sound right, what is going to sound like it belongs with that set. I mean, if a set has a lot of metal in it then that tells me something about the sound and also the nature of the way we’re telling the story compared to if it has a lot of wood in it. And it’s more nuanced than metal equals metallic sounds, but there is definitely a relationship there for me.”

The interview is being posted in segments; I highly suggest checking back for the next segment.


About toxicbag

Toxic Bag Productions, Inc. provides sound effects and music for independent films, animated shorts, theatrical productions, dance performances, podcasts and video games. They work out of their studio on the north side of Chicago.

Posted on April 9, 2009, in Theatah and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Like this post! It’s kinda like painting a portrait..yeah, I can paint a likeness of anyone — a stranger, sure. But when I know the subject, and am in the process of painting him/her, I think about them: see them doing things, hear their voice, know what they feel/smell/taste like (maybe) and just immerse myself in who they ARE – while touching brush to canvas.

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