While I'm primarily a Sound Designer I graduated from Oklahoma City University in May of 2019 with a BFA in Acting and a Minor in Directing. We all end up in our place in the industry in a weird and often circuitous way and I mention it here because I think it informs my navigation through all of my professional endeavors in a meaningful way. I'm really excited about story telling of all kinds and incredibly grateful I get to do so any way I can.
Growing up in Dallas I found my first outlet for creative expression in dubbing over fan comics for my favorite webcomic (if you have one in mind already you are probably unfortunately right). The results were embarrassing and have been long since buried (hopefully) but I think back on that time with a lot of fondness. As platitudinous as it sounds, there's something about that unabashed drive to create that I value and strive to hold on to now that creation has the unfortunate complexity of being tied to my livelihood. A true double-edged sword theatre-artists often tend to wield as the thing we love becomes as financially necessary as it has always been spiritually necessary. Which I find, as I speak with other artists about their relationships with their art, adds an amount of pressure that distracts from the purity of creation I found in my Texas home so many years ago.
In these moments of doubt I try to return to what sparked that joy and inspiration in the first place; my un-abashed nerdiness. Although to some it may seem naive for a professional to pull inspiration from Cartoons, Anime, Manga, and the like I think it would be similarly naive to ignore its influence on my early creative life and artistic expression. That formative media gave me a basis for my artistic instincts and while I have grown past those being my ONLY creative instincts (and frankly my chief personality trait. Yikes) I continue to see the influence it has on me to this day.
One of the most obvious remnants is that I continue to be a Dungeon Master for me and my friends' D&D campaign. Telling stories outside of work and even flexing the old writing muscle is extraordinarily refreshing and reignites my creative spark between jobs. I am constantly looking for new ways to tell better stories.
A habit I've been nurturing for quite some time but perhaps is best exemplified by my time at Steppenwolf as their Sound Engineering Apprentice for their 2019/2020 season. And while my time was cut short by the on-going unpleasantness, I still think the most valuable thing I learned there was how to learn. The curiosity (and frankly humility from my MANY mistakes) I picked up there drives me to continuously learn more about the work I do. Even if I hadn't I am given CONSTANT reminders in my work that I am far from knowing all there is to know, a prospect that excites rather than terrifies me as I stare down the barrel of the rest of my career.
All of this to say, although I have learned a lot about being a working professional I am excited about the idea of leaning into the youth of my career and holding onto that naive creative spark and hunger to learn that got me to the professionalism in the first place. And I plan to keep those things, as well as a passion for storytelling in all its forms, as the center of my world as I navigate each new creative endeavor. And I hope you'll join me on that journey either as collaborator, audience member or both!