Portfolio Note

A note before you begin perusing my portfolio;

The little blurbs on the side are additional context for the specific moments in the show, as well as some insight into my process under the cut. For example!

Because of the nature of portfolios a lot of the audio has been remastered in stereo, and while it's not ideal or fully exemplary of my proudest work as a designer, its better than nothing. Soap box BELOW!  Artistically, a lot of the work I am most proud of is not translatable to a two channel stereo file. Carefully imaging sound effects to realistically and creatively immerse an audience in a story is something that can only happen with precision with a multi- speaker set up. Similarly, most casual listening speakers do not have the low end that subs in a theatre give to many sounds. To somewhat account for this I have remastered these sequences for Stereo and for time (as some sequences are too frankly too long for a portfolio). I have done my best to adapt to this flawed yet necessary medium as well as give context for when those changes were made as well as for the show in general. I also have tried to give some insight into my design process and how I've made the sound so you may get a sense of how I approach different projects. This does, however, make a lot of the descriptions verbose so I've hidden my ramblings that are beyond what is minimally necessary underneath a read more. But if you've clicked on this then maybe you don't mind!

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Peerless

This show is a modern retelling of Macbeth where in two girls (L and M) aspire to make it into the college of their dreams, and are willing to go to any lengths to do so.

Circling Spider - This is the drone/leitmotif I associated with the character Dirty Girl, the show's analog for the three prophetic witches in Macbeth. Taking inspiration from the character's interaction with the schools rats I wanted her leitmotif to have a sense of something skittering throughout the space and constantly surrounding the audience. In the actual show it circled in the surrounds infinitely (and much more subtly) thrusting the audience into a world where there was something just out of sight skittering away into the shadows. I made the skittering much more prominent in the remaster for clarity.

Vest to Car Transition - This is the transition out of the murder scene as the sound of the basement (including the sound of the victim's brother's cystic fibrosis vest and an old episode of Cheers) bleeds into the sounds of the city night, mirroring the fluid and dream-like direction of the production. M and L are told by Dirty Girl that if they kill D, their classmate who got into their dream college supposedly because of his brothers cystic fibrosis, that his spot will open up and they will be next in line. They hatch a plan to take him to the Hoopcoming dance and poison him, although that doesn’t go as planned they do end up returning to his house where his brother spends the evening in his cystic fibrosis vest in the other room while M, L and D watch Cheers. Eventually, M and L feed D a cookie with nuts and he dies due to his nut allergy when they take away his Epipen. This is the transition out of that scene as they run into the city in the middle of the night. I was really interested in how similar the sound of the a car passing was to the sound of the vest that I built (because there aren't many libraries with the sound of a Cystic Fibrosis Vest just lying around). The direction of the show was that it’s a comedy until its a nightmare which lent itself to such a disorienting transition that kind of bleeds from location to location and in the actual production the sound of the vest had more room to rise and grow into the sound of the car passing.

Nightmare Sequence - The guilt begins to catch up to them and M is haunted by the spirit of D, the boy they killed. The script calls for the sound of cracking which I interpreted as the cracking of nuts calling back to D's death. So I started with that and because sometimes realistic fx don’t have the same impact as we want them to, I transitioned to wood cracking. I was also really interested in distorting the Cheers theme song for this moment and putting drones underneath. I also found myself interested in the artifacting that naturally arose from slowing the theme down and preserving the pitch. In the production this sequence goes on for quite some time but I've elided it for the sake of this portfolio.

Explosion Sequence - D's Brother, having blamed M and L for D's death, comes to kill them by emptying a propane tank and lighting a match. The Director was really interested in a non-literal sound for this moment and I agreed and after wracking my brain for a while what I came to was to reuse on of the cracking sounds with a different reverb. This ties back into the show thematically and references the inciting incident in a way that I felt satisfied with and I feel is emblematic of what I like to do with my designs.

Run The Beast Down

A one man show where Charlie, our protagonist, slowly descends into madness after losing his job and his girlfriend amidst the 2008 financial crisis. In it he recalls formative memories of his encounters with local foxes when he was young, these memories bleed into his present as he finds more empathy among the foxes in his neighborhood than he does with human beings, attributing his encounters as a child and now to one King Fox that pushes him to violent action.

King Fox Tone Pure - Early on in production I pitched the idea of a leitmotif for the King Fox, something that would represent his influence. I created this and thought it captured the fond nostalgia Charlie has for the King Fox as well as the regalness implied with the title "King"

King Fox Tone Distorted - Over the course of the show the King Fox goes from a force of nostalgia and protection to one of violence and corruption. I wanted that to reflect in the King tone some how and this was the progression.

King Fox Visitation - About midway through the play, Charlie is visited by the King Fox and his "court" has a nervous break down. This is an audio clip from the film where this happened. Its worth noting that we spent a lot of time trying to find satisfying Fox sounds as that's not a commonly stalked thing in libraries and the sounds we did find, despite being realistic, didn't read as foxes. What I proposed came out of the dramaturgical similarities between Charlie and the foxes. We ended up recording our actor Gage imitating the fox sounds we had found initially, and after playing around with them a little bit in logic we had our Fox sounds. So all of the sounds of Foxes throughout the show are actually the actor you're hearing speak!

King Fox Battle - By the end of the play Charlie's desperation has gotten the better of him and he ends up fighting the King Fox and killing him. The play begins without much audio support or additional sound effects but as Charlie gets more desperate and aggressive and we see more into his mind, we added more audio support for the narrative he shares with us. It all culminates in this moment where he has his final confrontation with the King Fox and I was able to take a lot of liberties with portraying the battle while still keeping it all grounded in the world of the play.

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The Vanishing Act

The Vanishing Act is a farcical comedy podcast with light Sci-Fi elements centered around a mysterious disappearance of an audience full of theatre goers in 1699 during a performance by the mysterious Jean Jacquline Lemarque. 

I was the Sound Designer and Engineer on this zany little Radio Drama and here are a few of my favorite moments

(You'll notice the descriptions here are much more succinct than the last few. If I had to give full context for these clips we'd be here all day! Such is the nature of farce)

The Vanishing Box - In this clip is the Vanishing in question wherein a trick that’s supposed to have Lemarque disappear does a whole lot more…

The Unvanishing -  This small clip lets us in on what the other end of the vanishing sounds like. In making this I had to ask myself the questions; when characters vanish, where do they vanish to? How do they reappear? And how can I represent that sonically?

-The Eyeball Scene - One of the trickiest things about farce in the medium of Radio Drama is you must sonically block chaotic scenes like this in a way a listener might still be able to follow the action.

With farce comes chaos and chaotic moments, not least of which is a moment in which a character has a meltdown and then subsequently gets attacked by a pet duck, the latter eating the eye of the former…