Sound Design 2012-2019

       Sound Design is the process of acquiring, manipulating or generating audio. It is employed in filmmaking, television production, theatre, live performance, and video game software development.
       Sound Design most commonly involves the manipulation of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue, to create a desired effect or mood.


I took a trip to the East Coast to the Virginia Stage Company's theatre in Norfolk, VA for this design. Technically a musical, but the score has open sections without scoring and the director, music director and I had the challenge to fill the play and add to the mysticism of the world we were creating. The women were more than women at church on Sunday. They called back to the deities of Africa, to the queens and archetypes they had been. And it was magical to take part in such a journey. I don't believe I have ever sat in an audience for a preview and been more taken with the audience's experience of this work, and I greatly hope to work with these people again. 

The Green Duck Lounge 

This was a great privilege to work on. My favorite thing is creating locations and moods by wielding music and sounds like a chisel, sculpting an experience for the listeners. Green duck tongue starts with a wonder opportunity to bring an old building to life on stage through the sound of the glasses clinking and the pool table balls cracking and a lighter's flicker.. Later on in the show, we utilized the same technique to create a rhythm of the black experience in America, waking up, if you will, the journey that black lives have taken through the centuries to where they are now. 

I love working on plays that have significant impact and meaning. Plays that allow me to tell a story worth telling over and over again. Theatre is a place that we can really captivate and challenge people and their worldview.

It's a Wonderful Life: Radio Play 

Road trip! This was a quite the mix up from my usual design, more like setting up an extended recording studio session! This play has foley on nearly every page and it was an adventure to get the right sounds from the mics. In a real recording studio; the speakers aren't in the space with the action so feedback is rarely a concern, but when the theatre is your studio, and you have nine microphones scattered around the stage, it becomes a much more involved process, and a bit of a new one to me. I hadn't worked on a Behringer x32 before, but I can say with confidence that that board and I became friends over the course of my time down in Arkansas. 

If I had to do it again, I would have wanted to be in the rehearsal room for the whole process. Coming for just a couple days and then coming back for tech meant that much of the sounds being used either had to be altered drastically in the tech process with live mics. I think the actors would have had more fun with it if they had a person whose sole focus were the sounds created at the foley tables. 

Even so, it was such a delight to work on a show with an all female design team as well as a theatre I hadn't worked with before. 

Here Lies Joyland 

This was a very different process for me; I had about two weeks from the first meeting to the handing off the show, and so it was imperative that everyone be on the same page. Oh course, it was a blast to work on with creepy music, calliope midi files and all sorts of spooky sounds sprinkled in. Being prepared meant I was able to watch the design run with my headphones on, listening to the cues that I had already made and only having to tweak them afterward, which meant that tech was much more about getting the actors comfortable with the loud sudden sounds and finessing the transitions and volumes for Westport Coffee House, which is a little creepy in and of itself. We won Best of Venue in at KC  Fringe, so that was a great feeling. People liked the creepiness, and hopefully my housemate will forgive me for all the late night calliope editing. 

Broadway at Baker 

State Fair and All Shook Up were two shows that I was the sound designer and mixer. 20 mics, 50 kids. Five days for each show, and one of the most echoey rooms I've worked in to-date. Still it gave me particular need to have the speakers as tuned as I could make them, as well as have a distinct plan on action, paperwork and show files so that I could focus on the acoustics. Having a raucous pit is an awesome thing for a rock and roll show, but it did mean that communications had to be especially important so that the band was happy with monitor, I could manage their output, and the actors could be heard over the pit without feeding back. 

So in some ways, it was back to the basics, but of course, the basics become complicated when the room is a strange shape and you only have four days before you strike. I had some great assistants who were on top of mic switches and trouble shooting and so that was great that I didn't have to worry about that. Instead, I had the chance to keep my head in the script and mix the show.

Side note: During the last performance apparently I had a woman behind me watching me mix. I didn't realize this at the time, but apparently I air conduct and keep time while I'm mixing. She said it was a great show, but it was a little embarrassing. 

Hamlet: Summer Tech 

This was my first outdoor theatre experience and it was a wild ride. Putting actors in wool layers in outdoor Missouri doesn't give microphones much of a chance to survive, but against all the elements against us, including flash storms, wigs, and metal clasps, this show was a universal success in Kansas City. I was able to apply a lot of the knowledge I had gained on my shows this semester to this production because if it could go wrong, it definitely did go wrong, but the show went on! I also learned about the intricacies of working with a team, especially when the other members of my team are men and sometimes communicate in a...different fashion than I find productive. There was an article that came out this last week pointing out that sound designers are overwhelmingly male, nearly 90% of sound designers are male. It means it falls to me to learn a way to communicate and interact with my (mostly male) peers, 


Getting stuck in the Indianapolis airport was the best thing that happened to this show. Not because it went poorly or anything like that, but because I had a solid couple of hours to do nothing but sit with my script and my paperwork and cement all of that long before I made it into the space. This was also the first time I was able to plug my settings into the LS9 and everything booted up and I could focus on everything else immediately. This show is fun and catchy and so I got more time in this blitz week to focus on effects and other 'fun' parts of design, rather than starting behind. Loading in, rehearsing, and closing in a week is a whirlwind and I have found I really enjoy the process 

Avenue Q 

Sometimes your work and your life blend together. What are we here for? What is our purpose? Graduating wasn't some sort of magical pill that showed me what I needed to do with my life. I don't have all the answers yet. This was a smaller musical than I have worked on in the past and I was glad to have the time to work on minutia. The tech was fast and furious as usual, but it felt simpler and more productive. The downside of the space however, is that it is very hard to hear where my tech is set up, and so I am not mixing for what I hear, but what I know the audience can hear. That is a weird process.

Tempest Design Concept 

What a whirlwind! (Pun intended) This was the first Shakespeare play I've done sound design for and my first design working with a composer. Both were quite awesome. I loved to have music that was meant for the production and meant for each moment of the play. It was amazing to focus on carving and shaping the sounds: to be a part of the team. With no set and limited costumes, the focus was on projections, lights, and sound.. And of course, this show is all about magic and sound took up the mantle of magic. And being magical is always awsome. 
The only caveat is that the whole production was one week from design run to closing. We had less than twelve hours of tech, which is quite crazy especially with so much soft tech. Still, the whole process was exciting and interesting and different than what I've worked on before. 
And Magic! 

Little Mermaid 

Buckle up! Another fast pace show, one week open to close. My second musical, the first that I got all the paperwork done weeks before and so was able to talk with the director and music director prior so that we had a chance to truly troubleshoot. And, to make things new and complicated, we had student orchestra on stage. It was quite an experience. We ended up micing some of the instruments because they were overwhelmed by the others and the drums needed to be more prominent for the dances. But slowly, I am developing a list of questions and solutions to each problem that pop up.