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Sound design is not easy

It’s probably not a new discovery for most of you, but as I see, there’s really lot of misunderstanding about this whole thing. Right now, I’m in the middle of a really exhausting, impossibly short deadline project. As many would think, I’m cutting and making hundreds of sounds, sync them, then mix them, and in their view, it is so much fun that it’s a sin that I get payed for this.

Well, the reality is somewhat different. I mean I love my job, but this whole process is not a glorious fun activity packed with unbelievable moments and endless fun. Actually sound design is hard. Technically, aesthetically. Of course it’s not hard to search for a simple door close in the library and sync it up with the picture. But we are not talking about one or two effects here. We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands altogether.

While some hard effects are easy to record or find in libraries, there might be many things which is whether not in any library, or not suitable for the situation, for the story, so we have to create a new one. A new one, which is technically good (high quality), believable, and supports the story.

The hardest part of this job is to be able to objectively judge our own work. It is very, I mean very hard! There are many pitfalls throughout the road.

1

One can actually fall in love with his/her own work, so consider each and every fx perfect. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes of all. We need perspective, need to revisit our own work, and if necessary, change direction or start over from scratch. Big ego is really not what we need at this point. Anyone who acts like the know-it-all man is suspicious. Red flag up, ego problem detected…

2

Stuck in the mud, as I call it. That is not accepting anything what we’ve done. This is typical, and I think most of us going through this stage almost every time. At least I know I almost always do. This is everything but not good. It’s not good to feel that all my work simply a huge failure. Probably this is the point where we need a little break.

Not necessarily sleep, but something which can inspire us, or just simply entertain us. This could be anything from listening to music, shoot some photos, play some game, etc. Really, anything.

3

Struggling is necessary. Falling into deep depression is not good, and not necessary. But we have to realize that struggling can actually be a good thing. It force us to work harder, to try different directions, to experiment. And do all these things with amazing focus. This is how we eventually succeed.

I’m not saying that all effect will be this hard to create or select, but the process might have these hard times. I have never met anyone who do this for a living and never struggled. Accept it, it is the part of this lifetime vocation.

4

The fear from failure. I guess everyone know what I’m talking about. This is so embedded into our society. We must not fail… at least this is what we’ve been taught in schools, in work places, everywhere. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake. Instead, we must fail! We must fail to eventually succeed.

There’s no other way. The fear from failure is a huge burden. It kills creativity, experimentation and boldness to try the unseen methods to achieve something.

So, is failure shouldn’t bother you? No, it absolutely should! And this energy is going to push you further, help you make things even better.

Conclusion

Sound design is hard! I know I’m not the first who tells you this, but this is the truth. Lots of struggling, doubt, failure. And lots of fun, experiment, and the real ultimate pleasure when something is born in front of our ears and eyes. Now, back to work.