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An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"

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  • Randy Thom
    Dear Sound Article List: Below is an email I m sending to people who work in film sound. My previous post on the list about Dialog As Sound Design is
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 15 8:35 AM
      Dear Sound Article List:

      Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
      previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
      my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
      creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
      people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.




      Hi, All, and Happy New Year!

      I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
      less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
      regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
      formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
      and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
      issues I want to say something about another historically
      controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
      is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
      of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
      because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.

      In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
      the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
      big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
      Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
      "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
      this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
      did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
      aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
      more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is
      this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.

      In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
      Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
      Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
      explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
      said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
      follows is something close to what I think we should have said...

      The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
      "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
      Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
      on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
      get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
      Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
      received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
      same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
      credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.

      Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
      is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
      herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
      "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
      The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
      Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
      so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.

      When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
      similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
      already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
      beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
      pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
      production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
      pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
      new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they
      used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
      model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
      somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
      beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
      decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
      could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
      the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.

      The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
      very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
      Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
      "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
      days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
      sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
      A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
      monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
      couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
      calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
      get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
      Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
      justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
      artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.

      In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
      sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
      existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
      using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
      Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
      with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
      design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
      consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
      design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
      "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
      The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
      should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
      creative collaborator in the storytelling process.

      The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
      making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
      distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
      extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
      the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
      creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
      as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
      until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
      be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
      screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
      Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
      disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
      nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
      becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
      the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound Designers?"

      Randy Thom
      January 13, 2009
    • Randy Thom
      I know that some of you, especially those who don t live in the USA, may not be aware of how controversial the term sound designer has been inside the US
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 15 10:03 AM
        I know that some of you, especially those who don't live in the USA,
        may not be aware of how controversial the term "sound designer" has
        been inside the US film sound community. Certain Supervising Sound
        Editors and Mixers automatically dislike and distrust anyone who calls
        himself or herself a sound designer. As I mention in the article,
        there has been some justification for this animosity...including
        people calling themselves sound designers who shouldn't have... but I
        believe some kind of reconciliation is past due, and I'm hoping that
        my article is a small step in that direction.

        Randy




        --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, "Randy Thom"
        <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Sound Article List:
        >
        > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
        > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
        > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
        > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
        > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
        >
        > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
        > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
        > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
        > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
        > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
        > issues I want to say something about another historically
        > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
        > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
        > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
        > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
        >
        > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
        > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
        > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
        > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
        > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
        > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
        > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
        > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
        > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is
        > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.
        >
        > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
        > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
        > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
        > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
        > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
        > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
        >
        > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
        > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
        > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
        > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
        > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
        > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
        > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
        > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
        > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.
        >
        > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
        > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
        > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
        > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
        > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
        > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
        > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
        >
        > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
        > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
        > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
        > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
        > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
        > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
        > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
        > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they
        > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
        > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
        > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
        > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
        > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
        > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
        > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.
        >
        > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
        > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
        > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
        > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
        > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
        > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
        > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
        > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
        > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
        > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
        > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
        > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
        > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
        > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.
        >
        > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
        > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
        > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
        > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
        > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
        > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
        > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
        > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
        > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
        > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
        > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
        > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
        > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.
        >
        > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
        > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
        > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
        > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
        > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
        > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
        > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
        > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
        > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
        > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
        > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
        > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
        > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
        > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
        > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
        Designers?"
        >
        > Randy Thom
        > January 13, 2009
        >
      • Csaba Wagner
        Hey there, I wanted to write a post that in a very similar topic. I never really understood why the Sound Editors are not called as Sound Designers , because
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 15 10:47 AM
          Hey there,

          I wanted to write a post that in a very similar topic.
          I never really understood why the Sound Editors are not called as "Sound Designers", because I do believe that you can be extremely creative even when you use unmodified sound effects from sound libraries.
          Actually, most of my "demo reels" are based on this method. I only use Foley, when I can't find the specific sound I need in a library.
          So, I think of the editors as designers. One of my friends told me that "If you want to be a good sound designer, you have to be an excellent sound editor first!" He was totally right when he said that.

          Some people do call themselves "sound designers" way too early.
          I know that I'm not a professional sound designer....at least not yet. There are still billions of things that I have to learn. So I'm just an amateur sound editor.
          So what's the difference between a sound designer and a sound editor? Good question...maybe I'll be able to answer this question after my first few years in the sound department. :)
          But, if I can guess, then I'd say that they are pretty much the same, but the Sound Designer is the guy who rather concentrates on the very new things in a feature film. I mean, if there is a futuristic city, a never before heard atmosphere, or never before seen equipments that must have some kind of a unique and kick ass sound effect, they have to figure out what those things should sound like.
          The Editors can take care of the "smaller things".
          For example, there is the Transofrmers movie. I think the Sound designers figured out the sound of the robots, their transformation, movements and all that stuff. Once it was done, the editors could follow their leads and use similar sounds for the other robots and atmospheres.
          But this is just a guess. :)

          By the way, this might sound stupid, but I'd give one academy award in the sound category. Let's call it as "BEST SOUND". This award would include every single person who worked in the audio production, post production (and sometimes pre-production).
          Is this a stupid idea?? :)

          I'm just a newbie, so if I said something extremely stupid, please forgive me.

          Cheers,
          Csaba

          19:45 
          January 15, 2009




          ________________________________
          From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
          To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 7:03:43 PM
          Subject: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"


          I know that some of you, especially those who don't live in the USA,
          may not be aware of how controversial the term "sound designer" has
          been inside the US film sound community. Certain Supervising Sound
          Editors and Mixers automatically dislike and distrust anyone who calls
          himself or herself a sound designer. As I mention in the article,
          there has been some justification for this animosity.... including
          people calling themselves sound designers who shouldn't have... but I
          believe some kind of reconciliation is past due, and I'm hoping that
          my article is a small step in that direction.

          Randy

          --- In sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com, "Randy Thom"
          <davidrandallthom@ ....> wrote:
          >
          > Dear Sound Article List:
          >
          > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
          > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
          > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
          > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
          > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
          >
          > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
          > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
          > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
          > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
          > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
          > issues I want to say something about another historically
          > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
          > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
          > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
          > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
          >
          > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
          > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
          > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
          > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
          > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
          > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
          > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
          > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
          > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words.... Is
          > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.
          >
          > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
          > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
          > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
          > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
          > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
          > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
          >
          > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
          > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
          > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
          > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
          > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
          > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
          > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
          > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
          > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.
          >
          > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
          > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
          > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
          > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
          > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
          > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
          > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
          >
          > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
          > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
          > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
          > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
          > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
          > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
          > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
          > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate.. Among others, they
          > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
          > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
          > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
          > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
          > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
          > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
          > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.
          >
          > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
          > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
          > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
          > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
          > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
          > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
          > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
          > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
          > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
          > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
          > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
          > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
          > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
          > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.
          >
          > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
          > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
          > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
          > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
          > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
          > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
          > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
          > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
          > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
          > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
          > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
          > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
          > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.
          >
          > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
          > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
          > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
          > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
          > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
          > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
          > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
          > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
          > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
          > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
          > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
          > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
          > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
          > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
          > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
          Designers?"
          >
          > Randy Thom
          > January 13, 2009
          >






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Anna K.
          When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound designer and those who
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 15 10:54 AM
            When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound designer and those who preferred the credit supervising sound editor. The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern California, while the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.

            Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark Mangini who back in 1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed somewhat pretentious to him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.

            But still sound designers were not given an opening credit in the titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this changed in the meantime?

            To your actual question: For me -- at least ideally -- the sound designer is actually the central creative agency who is responsible for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the music, doing exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term supervising sound designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound designer is by his very function the one who supervises. But you are right in stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who knows how to handle a workstation has adopted the term.

            However first of all the current American practice of giving the credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is every geek who considers himself to be a sound designer really given this credit or what are the guidelines nowadays?

            Best,

            Barbara Flueckiger

            http://www.zauberklang.ch/sounddesign.engl.html



            --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
            From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
            Subject: [sound-article-list] An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
            To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM











            Dear Sound Article List:



            Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My

            previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to

            my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all

            creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change

            people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.



            Hi, All, and Happy New Year!



            I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or

            less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,

            regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a

            formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial

            and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the

            issues I want to say something about another historically

            controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it

            is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor

            of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply

            because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.



            In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive

            the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather

            big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art

            Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the

            "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is

            this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he

            did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to

            aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,

            more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is

            this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.



            In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and

            Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the

            Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could

            explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we

            said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What

            follows is something close to what I think we should have said...



            The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On

            "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and

            Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit

            on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to

            get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.

            Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had

            received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the

            same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that

            credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.



            Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do

            is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or

            herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what

            "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."

            The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound

            Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,

            so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.



            When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very

            similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed

            already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film

            beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even

            pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post

            production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from

            pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a

            new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they

            used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a

            model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator

            somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the

            beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative

            decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound

            could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was

            the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.



            The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a

            very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow

            Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things

            "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early

            days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a

            sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."

            A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease

            monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you

            couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started

            calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to

            get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.

            Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,

            justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con

            artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.



            In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in

            sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing

            existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done

            using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.

            Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done

            with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also

            design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it

            consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is

            design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by

            "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.

            The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We

            should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full

            creative collaborator in the storytelling process.



            The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is

            making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to

            distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is

            extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in

            the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final

            creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted

            as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production

            until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should

            be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's

            screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound

            Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly

            disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with

            nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are

            becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising

            the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound Designers?"



            Randy Thom

            January 13, 2009





























            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Randy Thom
            Hi, Barbara! The thing that prevents sound people other than the Composer from getting Head Credits, or Main Title Credits on big US films is that in the
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 15 11:11 AM
              Hi, Barbara!

              The thing that prevents sound people other than the Composer from
              getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title Credits" on big US films is
              that in the contract between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and
              the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) it
              states that only certain job descriptions are allowed to precede that
              of the "Unit Production Manager" and "First Assistant Director" in the
              credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far as the DGA is
              concerned, sound people are "technicians" and don't deserve main title
              credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share this opinion, but that
              is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you ask the DGA for
              a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title credit on a
              specific film their response, after heavy resistance, is to suggest
              that it would be acceptable if the Producer would agree to also give
              the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this point the
              Producer of the film usually mutters a few obscenities, hangs up the
              phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title credit for the sound
              geek.

              We can sometimes get main title credit on animated films because they
              are usually not "DGA signatories." Low budget live action films are
              also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit opportunities
              there. A few of us have received main title credits on big budget
              live actions films because of relentless pressure on the DGA from our
              Directors and Producers.

              Randy



              --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, "Anna K." <h1lmann@...> wrote:
              >
              > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there
              was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound
              designer and those who preferred the credit supervising sound editor.
              The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern California, while
              the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.
              >
              > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark Mangini who back in
              1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed somewhat pretentious to
              him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.
              >
              > But still sound designers were not given an opening credit in the
              titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this changed in the
              meantime?
              >
              > To your actual question: For me -- at least ideally -- the sound
              designer is actually the central creative agency who is responsible
              for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the music, doing
              exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term supervising sound
              designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound designer is by
              his very function the one who supervises. But you are right in
              stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who knows how to
              handle a workstation has adopted the term.
              >
              > However first of all the current American practice of giving the
              credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is every geek who
              considers himself to be a sound designer really given this credit or
              what are the guidelines nowadays?
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > Barbara Flueckiger
              >
              > http://www.zauberklang.ch/sounddesign.engl.html
              >
              >
              >
              > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
              > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
              > Subject: [sound-article-list] An Argument For Reinventing The Term
              "Sound Design"
              > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
              > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Dear Sound Article List:
              >
              >
              >
              > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
              >
              > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
              >
              > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
              >
              > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
              >
              > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.
              >
              >
              >
              > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
              >
              >
              >
              > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
              >
              > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
              >
              > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
              >
              > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
              >
              > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
              >
              > issues I want to say something about another historically
              >
              > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
              >
              > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
              >
              > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
              >
              > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
              >
              >
              >
              > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
              >
              > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
              >
              > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
              >
              > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
              >
              > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
              >
              > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
              >
              > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
              >
              > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
              >
              > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is
              >
              > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.
              >
              >
              >
              > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
              >
              > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
              >
              > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
              >
              > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
              >
              > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
              >
              > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
              >
              >
              >
              > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
              >
              > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
              >
              > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
              >
              > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
              >
              > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
              >
              > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
              >
              > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
              >
              > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
              >
              > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.
              >
              >
              >
              > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
              >
              > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
              >
              > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
              >
              > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
              >
              > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
              >
              > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
              >
              > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
              >
              >
              >
              > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
              >
              > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
              >
              > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
              >
              > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
              >
              > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
              >
              > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
              >
              > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
              >
              > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they
              >
              > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
              >
              > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
              >
              > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
              >
              > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
              >
              > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
              >
              > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
              >
              > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.
              >
              >
              >
              > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
              >
              > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
              >
              > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
              >
              > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
              >
              > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
              >
              > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
              >
              > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
              >
              > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
              >
              > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
              >
              > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
              >
              > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
              >
              > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
              >
              > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
              >
              > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.
              >
              >
              >
              > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
              >
              > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
              >
              > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
              >
              > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
              >
              > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
              >
              > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
              >
              > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
              >
              > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
              >
              > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
              >
              > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
              >
              > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
              >
              > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
              >
              > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.
              >
              >
              >
              > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
              >
              > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
              >
              > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
              >
              > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
              >
              > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
              >
              > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
              >
              > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
              >
              > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
              >
              > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
              >
              > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
              >
              > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
              >
              > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
              >
              > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
              >
              > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
              >
              > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
              Designers?"
              >
              >
              >
              > Randy Thom
              >
              > January 13, 2009
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Britton Ortize
              Hi Randy, I agree. I think that because a single person often wears so many different hats throughout the process (with varying degrees of involvement), it
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 15 11:14 AM
                Hi Randy,
                I agree. I think that because a single person often wears so many
                different 'hats' throughout the process (with varying degrees of
                involvement), it becomes difficult to classify (for others) what we
                do. Add to that, the fact that the creative aspect is missed by
                some, only serves to further complicate this issue.
                I'm a big proponent of using the term "Supervising Sound Designers".
                And possibly a new title for somebody that primarily is a facilitator
                of the process, overseeing the general workflow and scheduling ADR,
                Foley, etc., who is not the Post Supervisor, but the Audio Post
                Supervisor. Which, I know, usually is handled by the Supervising
                Sound Editor. But what if that person is not actually doing any of
                the editing or design of the sound? Then I also have those who will
                cut sound to the scene, but will have little, to no, creative
                input... sounds in which I have already built or selected. To me,
                this would be a "sound editor". Then finally, the title of Sound Re-
                Recording Mixer. I think some people (in their minds) see this as
                just 'pushing up faders so you can hear everything'. But it's a
                title deserving much more recognition (when done well, anyway). But
                it also seems like so many of the big mix decisions (not including
                score, necessarily) are being done by the sound design team before it
                ever hits the stage... but get no mix credit.
                Thankfully, in my current situation, I have much input on how the
                titles will be listed in the credits... so I've been giving this
                issue a lot more thought lately. And in my opinion, I think that
                many of us should be getting multiple and more clearly defined
                credits... and, yes, shared awards.
                Those are my ramblings anyway,
                Britt

                On Jan 15, 2009, at 8:35 AM, Randy Thom wrote:

                > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
                > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
                > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
                > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
                > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
                > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
                > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
                > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
                > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
                > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
                > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
                > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
                > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
                > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
                > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
                > Designers?"
                >
                > Randy Thom
                > January 13, 2009



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Gustavo Costantini
                Hi Randy, Barbara, and everyone, Thank you Randy for explaining that complicated issue. I guess that s why just you on Ratatouille and Wild at Heart, Skip
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 15 11:57 AM
                  Hi Randy, Barbara, and everyone,



                  Thank you Randy for explaining that complicated issue. I guess that's why
                  just you on Ratatouille and Wild at Heart, Skip Lievsay on the Coens films,
                  and Ben Burtt on Wall-E have received the Sound Design credit or -in Skip's
                  case- the Supervising Sound Editor on the main credits.

                  That's why too, I guess, someone like Walter Murch looks so happy and
                  relaxed when working in an independent Coppola production like the upcoming
                  "Tetro". He is the editor, though he told me he is fond of the French term
                  Montage (and he would like to be credited like that), but despite that, I
                  saw him work freely in the whole post-production of the film. Instead of
                  interfering the work of his colleagues, he transformed all the process in a
                  sort of exchange of ideas, crossing borders -so to speak- all the time, but
                  without conflicts. Coppola also -I couldn't see him at work, though, and I
                  would love doing it for sure- seems to receive input for many people,
                  although he still is the boss, and even Walter sometimes referred to him
                  like "The Boss", not implying authority but having in mind that he was
                  participating in his project not his own.

                  I wonder what happens if a big name such as Spielberg or Scorsese decides to
                  put the Sound "geek" on the main credits.



                  Gustavo



                  De: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                  [mailto:sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com] En nombre de Randy Thom
                  Enviado el: jueves, 15 de enero de 2009 17:12
                  Para: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                  Asunto: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound
                  Design"



                  Hi, Barbara!

                  The thing that prevents sound people other than the Composer from
                  getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title Credits" on big US films is
                  that in the contract between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and
                  the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) it
                  states that only certain job descriptions are allowed to precede that
                  of the "Unit Production Manager" and "First Assistant Director" in the
                  credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far as the DGA is
                  concerned, sound people are "technicians" and don't deserve main title
                  credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share this opinion, but that
                  is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you ask the DGA for
                  a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title credit on a
                  specific film their response, after heavy resistance, is to suggest
                  that it would be acceptable if the Producer would agree to also give
                  the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this point the
                  Producer of the film usually mutters a few obscenities, hangs up the
                  phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title credit for the sound
                  geek.

                  We can sometimes get main title credit on animated films because they
                  are usually not "DGA signatories." Low budget live action films are
                  also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit opportunities
                  there. A few of us have received main title credits on big budget
                  live actions films because of relentless pressure on the DGA from our
                  Directors and Producers.

                  Randy

                  --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                  <mailto:sound-article-list%40yahoogroups.com> , "Anna K." <h1lmann@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there
                  was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound
                  designer and those who preferred the credit supervising sound editor.
                  The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern California, while
                  the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.
                  >
                  > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark Mangini who back in
                  1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed somewhat pretentious to
                  him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.
                  >
                  > But still sound designers were not given an opening credit in the
                  titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this changed in the
                  meantime?
                  >
                  > To your actual question: For me -- at least ideally -- the sound
                  designer is actually the central creative agency who is responsible
                  for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the music, doing
                  exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term supervising sound
                  designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound designer is by
                  his very function the one who supervises. But you are right in
                  stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who knows how to
                  handle a workstation has adopted the term.
                  >
                  > However first of all the current American practice of giving the
                  credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is every geek who
                  considers himself to be a sound designer really given this credit or
                  what are the guidelines nowadays?
                  >
                  > Best,
                  >
                  > Barbara Flueckiger
                  >
                  > http://www.zauberklang.ch/sounddesign.engl.html
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
                  > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
                  > Subject: [sound-article-list] An Argument For Reinventing The Term
                  "Sound Design"
                  > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                  <mailto:sound-article-list%40yahoogroups.com>
                  > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Dear Sound Article List:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
                  >
                  > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
                  >
                  > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
                  >
                  > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
                  >
                  > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
                  >
                  > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
                  >
                  > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
                  >
                  > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
                  >
                  > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
                  >
                  > issues I want to say something about another historically
                  >
                  > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
                  >
                  > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
                  >
                  > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
                  >
                  > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
                  >
                  > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
                  >
                  > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
                  >
                  > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
                  >
                  > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
                  >
                  > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
                  >
                  > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
                  >
                  > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
                  >
                  > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is
                  >
                  > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
                  >
                  > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
                  >
                  > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
                  >
                  > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
                  >
                  > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
                  >
                  > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
                  >
                  > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
                  >
                  > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
                  >
                  > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
                  >
                  > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
                  >
                  > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
                  >
                  > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
                  >
                  > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
                  >
                  > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
                  >
                  > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
                  >
                  > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
                  >
                  > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
                  >
                  > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
                  >
                  > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
                  >
                  > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
                  >
                  > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
                  >
                  > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
                  >
                  > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
                  >
                  > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
                  >
                  > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
                  >
                  > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
                  >
                  > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they
                  >
                  > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
                  >
                  > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
                  >
                  > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
                  >
                  > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
                  >
                  > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
                  >
                  > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
                  >
                  > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
                  >
                  > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
                  >
                  > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
                  >
                  > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
                  >
                  > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
                  >
                  > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
                  >
                  > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
                  >
                  > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
                  >
                  > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
                  >
                  > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
                  >
                  > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
                  >
                  > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
                  >
                  > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
                  >
                  > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
                  >
                  > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
                  >
                  > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
                  >
                  > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
                  >
                  > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
                  >
                  > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
                  >
                  > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
                  >
                  > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
                  >
                  > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
                  >
                  > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
                  >
                  > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
                  >
                  > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
                  >
                  > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
                  >
                  > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
                  >
                  > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
                  >
                  > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
                  >
                  > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
                  >
                  > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
                  >
                  > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
                  >
                  > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
                  >
                  > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
                  >
                  > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
                  >
                  > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
                  >
                  > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
                  >
                  > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
                  >
                  > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
                  >
                  > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
                  Designers?"
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Randy Thom
                  >
                  > January 13, 2009
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Anna K.
                  Hi Randy, Thank you very much for your accurate reply. Still, there remains the question of the intellectual property rights. Is it true that sound designers
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 15 11:57 AM
                    Hi Randy,

                    Thank you very much for your accurate reply.

                    Still, there remains the question of the intellectual property rights. Is it true that sound designers aren't given IPR? And if this is true: Why not? What are the arguments?

                    Barbara Flueckiger



                    --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
                    From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
                    Subject: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
                    To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 8:11 PM











                    Hi, Barbara!



                    The thing that prevents sound people other than the Composer from

                    getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title Credits" on big US films is

                    that in the contract between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and

                    the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) it

                    states that only certain job descriptions are allowed to precede that

                    of the "Unit Production Manager" and "First Assistant Director" in the

                    credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far as the DGA is

                    concerned, sound people are "technicians" and don't deserve main title

                    credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share this opinion, but that

                    is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you ask the DGA for

                    a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title credit on a

                    specific film their response, after heavy resistance, is to suggest

                    that it would be acceptable if the Producer would agree to also give

                    the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this point the

                    Producer of the film usually mutters a few obscenities, hangs up the

                    phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title credit for the sound

                    geek.



                    We can sometimes get main title credit on animated films because they

                    are usually not "DGA signatories. " Low budget live action films are

                    also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit opportunities

                    there. A few of us have received main title credits on big budget

                    live actions films because of relentless pressure on the DGA from our

                    Directors and Producers.



                    Randy



                    --- In sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com, "Anna K." <h1lmann@... > wrote:

                    >

                    > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there

                    was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound

                    designer and those who preferred the credit supervising sound editor.

                    The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern California, while

                    the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.

                    >

                    > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark Mangini who back in

                    1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed somewhat pretentious to

                    him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.

                    >

                    > But still sound designers were not given an opening credit in the

                    titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this changed in the

                    meantime?

                    >

                    > To your actual question: For me -- at least ideally -- the sound

                    designer is actually the central creative agency who is responsible

                    for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the music, doing

                    exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term supervising sound

                    designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound designer is by

                    his very function the one who supervises. But you are right in

                    stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who knows how to

                    handle a workstation has adopted the term.

                    >

                    > However first of all the current American practice of giving the

                    credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is every geek who

                    considers himself to be a sound designer really given this credit or

                    what are the guidelines nowadays?

                    >

                    > Best,

                    >

                    > Barbara Flueckiger

                    >

                    > http://www.zauberkl ang.ch/sounddesi gn.engl.html

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...> wrote:

                    > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...>

                    > Subject: [sound-article- list] An Argument For Reinventing The Term

                    "Sound Design"

                    > To: sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com

                    > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > Dear Sound Article List:

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My

                    >

                    > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to

                    >

                    > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all

                    >

                    > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change

                    >

                    > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or

                    >

                    > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,

                    >

                    > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a

                    >

                    > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial

                    >

                    > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the

                    >

                    > issues I want to say something about another historically

                    >

                    > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it

                    >

                    > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor

                    >

                    > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply

                    >

                    > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive

                    >

                    > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather

                    >

                    > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art

                    >

                    > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the

                    >

                    > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is

                    >

                    > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he

                    >

                    > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to

                    >

                    > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,

                    >

                    > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is

                    >

                    > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and

                    >

                    > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the

                    >

                    > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could

                    >

                    > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we

                    >

                    > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What

                    >

                    > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On

                    >

                    > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and

                    >

                    > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit

                    >

                    > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to

                    >

                    > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.

                    >

                    > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had

                    >

                    > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the

                    >

                    > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that

                    >

                    > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do

                    >

                    > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or

                    >

                    > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what

                    >

                    > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."

                    >

                    > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound

                    >

                    > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,

                    >

                    > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very

                    >

                    > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed

                    >

                    > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film

                    >

                    > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even

                    >

                    > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post

                    >

                    > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from

                    >

                    > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a

                    >

                    > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they

                    >

                    > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a

                    >

                    > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator

                    >

                    > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the

                    >

                    > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative

                    >

                    > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound

                    >

                    > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was

                    >

                    > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a

                    >

                    > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow

                    >

                    > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things

                    >

                    > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early

                    >

                    > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a

                    >

                    > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."

                    >

                    > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease

                    >

                    > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you

                    >

                    > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started

                    >

                    > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to

                    >

                    > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.

                    >

                    > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,

                    >

                    > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con

                    >

                    > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in

                    >

                    > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing

                    >

                    > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done

                    >

                    > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.

                    >

                    > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done

                    >

                    > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also

                    >

                    > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it

                    >

                    > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is

                    >

                    > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by

                    >

                    > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.

                    >

                    > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We

                    >

                    > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full

                    >

                    > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is

                    >

                    > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to

                    >

                    > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is

                    >

                    > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in

                    >

                    > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final

                    >

                    > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted

                    >

                    > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production

                    >

                    > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should

                    >

                    > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's

                    >

                    > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound

                    >

                    > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly

                    >

                    > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with

                    >

                    > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are

                    >

                    > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising

                    >

                    > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound

                    Designers?"

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > Randy Thom

                    >

                    > January 13, 2009

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    >

                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    >





























                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Randy Thom
                    Ren Klyce has received main title credit on some of his David Fincher films because, I suspect, Fincher fights like a rabid wolverine in favor of it. It
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 15 12:09 PM
                      Ren Klyce has received main title credit on some of his David Fincher
                      films because, I suspect, Fincher fights like a rabid wolverine in
                      favor of it. It certainly helps to have a very powerful Director on
                      one's side, but even that often doesn't help.

                      Randy




                      --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, "Gustavo Costantini"
                      <gcostantini@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi Randy, Barbara, and everyone,
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Thank you Randy for explaining that complicated issue. I guess
                      that's why
                      > just you on Ratatouille and Wild at Heart, Skip Lievsay on the Coens
                      films,
                      > and Ben Burtt on Wall-E have received the Sound Design credit or -in
                      Skip's
                      > case- the Supervising Sound Editor on the main credits.
                      >
                      > That's why too, I guess, someone like Walter Murch looks so happy and
                      > relaxed when working in an independent Coppola production like the
                      upcoming
                      > "Tetro". He is the editor, though he told me he is fond of the
                      French term
                      > Montage (and he would like to be credited like that), but despite
                      that, I
                      > saw him work freely in the whole post-production of the film. Instead of
                      > interfering the work of his colleagues, he transformed all the
                      process in a
                      > sort of exchange of ideas, crossing borders -so to speak- all the
                      time, but
                      > without conflicts. Coppola also -I couldn't see him at work, though,
                      and I
                      > would love doing it for sure- seems to receive input for many people,
                      > although he still is the boss, and even Walter sometimes referred to him
                      > like "The Boss", not implying authority but having in mind that he was
                      > participating in his project not his own.
                      >
                      > I wonder what happens if a big name such as Spielberg or Scorsese
                      decides to
                      > put the Sound "geek" on the main credits.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Gustavo
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > De: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                      > [mailto:sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com] En nombre de Randy Thom
                      > Enviado el: jueves, 15 de enero de 2009 17:12
                      > Para: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                      > Asunto: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The
                      Term "Sound
                      > Design"
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi, Barbara!
                      >
                      > The thing that prevents sound people other than the Composer from
                      > getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title Credits" on big US films is
                      > that in the contract between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and
                      > the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) it
                      > states that only certain job descriptions are allowed to precede that
                      > of the "Unit Production Manager" and "First Assistant Director" in the
                      > credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far as the DGA is
                      > concerned, sound people are "technicians" and don't deserve main title
                      > credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share this opinion, but that
                      > is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you ask the DGA for
                      > a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title credit on a
                      > specific film their response, after heavy resistance, is to suggest
                      > that it would be acceptable if the Producer would agree to also give
                      > the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this point the
                      > Producer of the film usually mutters a few obscenities, hangs up the
                      > phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title credit for the sound
                      > geek.
                      >
                      > We can sometimes get main title credit on animated films because they
                      > are usually not "DGA signatories." Low budget live action films are
                      > also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit opportunities
                      > there. A few of us have received main title credits on big budget
                      > live actions films because of relentless pressure on the DGA from our
                      > Directors and Producers.
                      >
                      > Randy
                      >
                      > --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                      > <mailto:sound-article-list%40yahoogroups.com> , "Anna K." <h1lmann@>
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there
                      > was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound
                      > designer and those who preferred the credit supervising sound editor.
                      > The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern California, while
                      > the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.
                      > >
                      > > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark Mangini who back in
                      > 1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed somewhat pretentious to
                      > him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.
                      > >
                      > > But still sound designers were not given an opening credit in the
                      > titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this changed in the
                      > meantime?
                      > >
                      > > To your actual question: For me -- at least ideally -- the sound
                      > designer is actually the central creative agency who is responsible
                      > for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the music, doing
                      > exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term supervising sound
                      > designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound designer is by
                      > his very function the one who supervises. But you are right in
                      > stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who knows how to
                      > handle a workstation has adopted the term.
                      > >
                      > > However first of all the current American practice of giving the
                      > credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is every geek who
                      > considers himself to be a sound designer really given this credit or
                      > what are the guidelines nowadays?
                      > >
                      > > Best,
                      > >
                      > > Barbara Flueckiger
                      > >
                      > > http://www.zauberklang.ch/sounddesign.engl.html
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@> wrote:
                      > > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@>
                      > > Subject: [sound-article-list] An Argument For Reinventing The Term
                      > "Sound Design"
                      > > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                      > <mailto:sound-article-list%40yahoogroups.com>
                      > > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Dear Sound Article List:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
                      > >
                      > > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
                      > >
                      > > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
                      > >
                      > > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
                      > >
                      > > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
                      > >
                      > > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
                      > >
                      > > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
                      > >
                      > > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
                      > >
                      > > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
                      > >
                      > > issues I want to say something about another historically
                      > >
                      > > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
                      > >
                      > > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
                      > >
                      > > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
                      > >
                      > > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
                      > >
                      > > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
                      > >
                      > > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
                      > >
                      > > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
                      > >
                      > > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
                      > >
                      > > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
                      > >
                      > > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
                      > >
                      > > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
                      > >
                      > > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is
                      > >
                      > > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
                      > >
                      > > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
                      > >
                      > > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
                      > >
                      > > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
                      > >
                      > > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
                      > >
                      > > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
                      > >
                      > > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
                      > >
                      > > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
                      > >
                      > > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
                      > >
                      > > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
                      > >
                      > > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
                      > >
                      > > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
                      > >
                      > > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
                      > >
                      > > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
                      > >
                      > > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
                      > >
                      > > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
                      > >
                      > > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
                      > >
                      > > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
                      > >
                      > > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
                      > >
                      > > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
                      > >
                      > > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
                      > >
                      > > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
                      > >
                      > > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
                      > >
                      > > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
                      > >
                      > > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
                      > >
                      > > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
                      > >
                      > > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they
                      > >
                      > > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
                      > >
                      > > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
                      > >
                      > > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
                      > >
                      > > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
                      > >
                      > > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
                      > >
                      > > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
                      > >
                      > > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
                      > >
                      > > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
                      > >
                      > > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
                      > >
                      > > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
                      > >
                      > > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
                      > >
                      > > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
                      > >
                      > > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
                      > >
                      > > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
                      > >
                      > > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
                      > >
                      > > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
                      > >
                      > > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
                      > >
                      > > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
                      > >
                      > > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
                      > >
                      > > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
                      > >
                      > > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
                      > >
                      > > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
                      > >
                      > > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
                      > >
                      > > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
                      > >
                      > > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
                      > >
                      > > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
                      > >
                      > > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
                      > >
                      > > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
                      > >
                      > > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
                      > >
                      > > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
                      > >
                      > > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
                      > >
                      > > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
                      > >
                      > > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
                      > >
                      > > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
                      > >
                      > > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
                      > >
                      > > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
                      > >
                      > > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
                      > >
                      > > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
                      > >
                      > > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
                      > >
                      > > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
                      > >
                      > > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
                      > >
                      > > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
                      > >
                      > > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
                      > >
                      > > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
                      > >
                      > > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
                      > >
                      > > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
                      > Designers?"
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Randy Thom
                      > >
                      > > January 13, 2009
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • Randy Thom
                      I think sound designers should be compensated just as composers are. We should receive residuals, etc. But that is an even bigger and more complex fight
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jan 15 12:15 PM
                        I think sound designers should be compensated just as composers are.
                        We should receive "residuals," etc. But that is an even bigger and
                        more complex fight than the one over main title credit. Producers
                        don't like sharing their profits.

                        Randy




                        --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, "Anna K." <h1lmann@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi Randy,
                        >
                        > Thank you very much for your accurate reply.
                        >
                        > Still, there remains the question of the intellectual property
                        rights. Is it true that sound designers aren't given IPR? And if this
                        is true: Why not? What are the arguments?
                        >
                        > Barbara Flueckiger
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
                        > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
                        > Subject: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The
                        Term "Sound Design"
                        > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                        > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 8:11 PM
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Hi, Barbara!
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > The thing that prevents sound people other than the Composer from
                        >
                        > getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title Credits" on big US films is
                        >
                        > that in the contract between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and
                        >
                        > the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) it
                        >
                        > states that only certain job descriptions are allowed to precede that
                        >
                        > of the "Unit Production Manager" and "First Assistant Director" in the
                        >
                        > credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far as the DGA is
                        >
                        > concerned, sound people are "technicians" and don't deserve main title
                        >
                        > credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share this opinion, but that
                        >
                        > is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you ask the DGA for
                        >
                        > a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title credit on a
                        >
                        > specific film their response, after heavy resistance, is to suggest
                        >
                        > that it would be acceptable if the Producer would agree to also give
                        >
                        > the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this point the
                        >
                        > Producer of the film usually mutters a few obscenities, hangs up the
                        >
                        > phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title credit for the sound
                        >
                        > geek.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > We can sometimes get main title credit on animated films because they
                        >
                        > are usually not "DGA signatories. " Low budget live action films are
                        >
                        > also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit opportunities
                        >
                        > there. A few of us have received main title credits on big budget
                        >
                        > live actions films because of relentless pressure on the DGA from our
                        >
                        > Directors and Producers.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Randy
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com, "Anna K." <h1lmann@ >
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on sound design there
                        >
                        > was this controversion between those who accepted the term sound
                        >
                        > designer and those who preferred the credit supervising sound editor.
                        >
                        > The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern California, while
                        >
                        > the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark Mangini who back in
                        >
                        > 1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed somewhat pretentious to
                        >
                        > him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > But still sound designers were not given an opening credit in the
                        >
                        > titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this changed in the
                        >
                        > meantime?
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > To your actual question: For me -- at least ideally -- the sound
                        >
                        > designer is actually the central creative agency who is responsible
                        >
                        > for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the music, doing
                        >
                        > exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term supervising sound
                        >
                        > designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound designer is by
                        >
                        > his very function the one who supervises. But you are right in
                        >
                        > stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who knows how to
                        >
                        > handle a workstation has adopted the term.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > However first of all the current American practice of giving the
                        >
                        > credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is every geek who
                        >
                        > considers himself to be a sound designer really given this credit or
                        >
                        > what are the guidelines nowadays?
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Best,
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Barbara Flueckiger
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > http://www.zauberkl ang.ch/sounddesi gn.engl.html
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...> wrote:
                        >
                        > > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...>
                        >
                        > > Subject: [sound-article- list] An Argument For Reinventing The Term
                        >
                        > "Sound Design"
                        >
                        > > To: sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com
                        >
                        > > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Dear Sound Article List:
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is related to
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to encompass all
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > creative work in sound. I don't expect this little piece to change
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > people's minds, but I hope it will help start a dialog.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > issues I want to say something about another historically
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to receive
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that made a rather
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many other Art
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the acrimony over the
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > "Production Design" continued for several decades. Why, some said, is
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing exactly the same job he
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is he trying to
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make himself seem better,
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are? In other words... Is
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some wondered.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch and
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of the
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we could
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember what we
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it. What
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design and
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design" credit
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the first to
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a film.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New York had
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who was doing the
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater scene, took that
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > credit as well, before it appeared in the world of film.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound Designers" do
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > is not new. It was being done long before anyone called him or
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been doing what
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before "Apocalypse Now."
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > The crucial question then: what is that work? What does a Sound
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we know what design is,
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had indeed
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > already done... work with the Director to shape the sound of the film
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > beginning very early in the process, as early as production or even
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > pre-production, and continue that work all the way through post
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > production. Since those opportunities to work on a project from
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it deserved a
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among others, they
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his sound crews as a
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a full collaborator
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > somebody was needed to work with the Director from nearly the
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > beginning of the project so that sound ideas could influence creative
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > decisions in the other crafts before it was too late, so that Sound
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > could be a driving creative force rather than a band-aid. That was
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't catch on.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with a
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the early
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand notion of a
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into "gadget specialist."
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > A Sound Designer became something like a high tech audio grease
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically fabricate sounds you
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots and lots of people started
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly became an easy way to
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > get cheap attention, whether the attention was deserved or not.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > justifiably saw many of these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > artists out to steal their clients with a few slick techy moves.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design. Editing
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design can be done
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > using unmodified sound effects from the most basic commercial library.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be done and has been done
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all. Supervising is also
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in my opinion because it
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > consists of guiding the creative process. And finally, Mixing is
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use of the term by
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit very worth preserving.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > The "grand notion" is worth preserving and spreading as well. We
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to make Sound a full
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > creative collaborator in the storytelling process.
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the final
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone has acted
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through post production
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly that he or she should
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of whether the person's
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > screen credit was "Supervising Sound Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Designer." The borders between editing and mixing are rapidly
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of work to be done with
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > nearly identical machines. Given that "mixing" and "editing" are
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if the people supervising
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > the creative decisions in Sound were called "Supervising Sound
                        >
                        > Designers?"
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > Randy Thom
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > January 13, 2009
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        >
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                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                      • Bob Kessler
                        As I work mostly on lo/no/micro budget projects 99.99% of the time I m attempting to make the production sound listenable. Maybe there should be a credit
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jan 15 8:49 PM
                          As I work mostly on lo/no/micro budget projects 99.99% of the time I'm attempting to make the production sound listenable. Maybe there should be a credit specifically for people like me; maybe "Sonic Surgeon" or "Audio Resuscitation".


                          --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:

                          > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
                          > Subject: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
                          > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                          > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 3:15 PM
                          > I think sound designers should be compensated just as
                          > composers are.
                          > We should receive "residuals," etc. But that is
                          > an even bigger and
                          > more complex fight than the one over main title credit.
                          > Producers
                          > don't like sharing their profits.
                          >
                          > Randy
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, "Anna
                          > K." <h1lmann@...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Hi Randy,
                          > >
                          > > Thank you very much for your accurate reply.
                          > >
                          > > Still, there remains the question of the intellectual
                          > property
                          > rights. Is it true that sound designers aren't given
                          > IPR? And if this
                          > is true: Why not? What are the arguments?
                          > >
                          > > Barbara Flueckiger
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom
                          > <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:
                          > > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
                          > > Subject: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For
                          > Reinventing The
                          > Term "Sound Design"
                          > > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                          > > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 8:11 PM
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Hi, Barbara!
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > The thing that prevents sound people other than the
                          > Composer from
                          > >
                          > > getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title
                          > Credits" on big US films is
                          > >
                          > > that in the contract between the Directors Guild of
                          > America (DGA) and
                          > >
                          > > the Association of Motion Picture and Television
                          > Producers (AMPTP) it
                          > >
                          > > states that only certain job descriptions are allowed
                          > to precede that
                          > >
                          > > of the "Unit Production Manager" and
                          > "First Assistant Director" in the
                          > >
                          > > credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far
                          > as the DGA is
                          > >
                          > > concerned, sound people are "technicians"
                          > and don't deserve main title
                          > >
                          > > credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share
                          > this opinion, but that
                          > >
                          > > is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you
                          > ask the DGA for
                          > >
                          > > a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title
                          > credit on a
                          > >
                          > > specific film their response, after heavy resistance,
                          > is to suggest
                          > >
                          > > that it would be acceptable if the Producer would
                          > agree to also give
                          > >
                          > > the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this
                          > point the
                          > >
                          > > Producer of the film usually mutters a few
                          > obscenities, hangs up the
                          > >
                          > > phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title
                          > credit for the sound
                          > >
                          > > geek.
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > We can sometimes get main title credit on animated
                          > films because they
                          > >
                          > > are usually not "DGA signatories. " Low
                          > budget live action films are
                          > >
                          > > also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit
                          > opportunities
                          > >
                          > > there. A few of us have received main title credits
                          > on big budget
                          > >
                          > > live actions films because of relentless pressure on
                          > the DGA from our
                          > >
                          > > Directors and Producers.
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Randy
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > --- In sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com,
                          > "Anna K." <h1lmann@ >
                          > wrote:
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on
                          > sound design there
                          > >
                          > > was this controversion between those who accepted the
                          > term sound
                          > >
                          > > designer and those who preferred the credit
                          > supervising sound editor.
                          > >
                          > > The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern
                          > California, while
                          > >
                          > > the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark
                          > Mangini who back in
                          > >
                          > > 1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed
                          > somewhat pretentious to
                          > >
                          > > him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > But still sound designers were not given an
                          > opening credit in the
                          > >
                          > > titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this
                          > changed in the
                          > >
                          > > meantime?
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > To your actual question: For me -- at least
                          > ideally -- the sound
                          > >
                          > > designer is actually the central creative agency who
                          > is responsible
                          > >
                          > > for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the
                          > music, doing
                          > >
                          > > exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term
                          > supervising sound
                          > >
                          > > designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound
                          > designer is by
                          > >
                          > > his very function the one who supervises. But you are
                          > right in
                          > >
                          > > stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who
                          > knows how to
                          > >
                          > > handle a workstation has adopted the term.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > However first of all the current American
                          > practice of giving the
                          > >
                          > > credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is
                          > every geek who
                          > >
                          > > considers himself to be a sound designer really given
                          > this credit or
                          > >
                          > > what are the guidelines nowadays?
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Best,
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Barbara Flueckiger
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > http://www.zauberkl ang.ch/sounddesi gn.engl.html
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom
                          > <davidrandallthom@ ...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...>
                          > >
                          > > > Subject: [sound-article- list] An Argument For
                          > Reinventing The Term
                          > >
                          > > "Sound Design"
                          > >
                          > > > To: sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com
                          > >
                          > > > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Dear Sound Article List:
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Below is an email I'm sending to people who
                          > work in film sound. My
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > previous post on the list about "Dialog As
                          > Sound Design" is related to
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > my interest in broadening the scope of sound
                          > design to encompass all
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > creative work in sound. I don't expect this
                          > little piece to change
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > people's minds, but I hope it will help start
                          > a dialog.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I
                          > couldn't think of a better or
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've
                          > been puzzling over,
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely
                          > get to discuss in a
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > formal way. At the center of it is that
                          > relatively new, controversial
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To
                          > begin to frame some of the
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > issues I want to say something about another
                          > historically
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > controversial screen credit. I don't bring
                          > it up to suggest that it
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > is an exact model for our current situation in
                          > Sound, or a predictor
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be
                          > seen, but simply
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > because there are some parallels between the two
                          > that are interesting.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art
                          > Director to receive
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > the screen credit "Production Designer"
                          > on a film that made a rather
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > big splash. The film was "Gone With The
                          > Wind." Many other Art
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and
                          > the acrimony over the
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > "Production Design" continued for
                          > several decades. Why, some said, is
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing
                          > exactly the same job he
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is
                          > he trying to
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make
                          > himself seem better,
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are?
                          > In other words... Is
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some
                          > wondered.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I
                          > (presumably because Murch and
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to
                          > come to a meeting of the
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound
                          > Branch so that we could
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly
                          > don't remember what we
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad
                          > job of it. What
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > follows is something close to what I think we
                          > should have said...
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two
                          > films, in 1979. On
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the
                          > screen credit "Sound Design and
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got
                          > the "Sound Design" credit
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > on the sequel to "American Graffiti."
                          > But they weren't the first to
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > get that credit, they were just the first to get
                          > it on a film.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway
                          > plays in New York had
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > received the credit "Sound Design," and
                          > Dan Dugan, who was doing the
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater
                          > scene, took that
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > credit as well, before it appeared in the world
                          > of film.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Contrary to what many people think, the work that
                          > "Sound Designers" do
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > is not new. It was being done long before
                          > anyone called him or
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > herself a "Sound Designer." People in
                          > film had been doing what
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > "Sound Designers" do at least two
                          > generations before "Apocalypse Now."
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > The crucial question then: what is that work?
                          > What does a Sound
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we
                          > know what design is,
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but
                          > it's not.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it
                          > as something very
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors
                          > and Mixers had indeed
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > already done... work with the Director to shape
                          > the sound of the film
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > beginning very early in the process, as early as
                          > production or even
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > pre-production, and continue that work all the
                          > way through post
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > production. Since those opportunities to work on
                          > a project from
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > pre-production through post were very rare, they
                          > thought it deserved a
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate.
                          > Among others, they
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his
                          > sound crews as a
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a
                          > full collaborator
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > somebody was needed to work with the Director
                          > from nearly the
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > beginning of the project so that sound ideas
                          > could influence creative
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > decisions in the other crafts before it was too
                          > late, so that Sound
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > could be a driving creative force rather than a
                          > band-aid. That was
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't
                          > catch on.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on
                          > in the movie biz, but with a
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > very different and unfortunately much narrower
                          > meaning. Somehow
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Sound Design in film came to be associated
                          > exclusively with things
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > "high tech," with using 24track tape
                          > recorders and midi in the early
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the
                          > grand notion of a
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into
                          > "gadget specialist."
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > A Sound Designer became something like a high
                          > tech audio grease
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically
                          > fabricate sounds you
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots
                          > and lots of people started
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly
                          > became an easy way to
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > get cheap attention, whether the attention was
                          > deserved or not.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers,
                          > especially in LA,
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > justifiably saw many of these newly minted
                          > "Sound Designers" as con
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > artists out to steal their clients with a few
                          > slick techy moves.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > In my view, the word design applies to all the
                          > creative work we do in
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is
                          > sound design. Editing
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound
                          > design can be done
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > using unmodified sound effects from the most
                          > basic commercial library.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be
                          > done and has been done
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all.
                          > Supervising is also
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design
                          > in my opinion because it
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > consists of guiding the creative process. And
                          > finally, Mixing is
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use
                          > of the term by
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a
                          > credit very worth preserving.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > The "grand notion" is worth preserving
                          > and spreading as well. We
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to
                          > make Sound a full
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > creative collaborator in the storytelling
                          > process.
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > The most important part of the work that Editors
                          > and Mixers do is
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > making creative decisions. The word
                          > "design" makes it easy to
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > distinguish us from engineers and administrators,
                          > whose work is
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > extremely important but not focused on artistic
                          > creativity. Oscars in
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > the Sound categories are awarded to those people
                          > who make the final
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > creative decisions for the Director's
                          > approval. If someone has acted
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way
                          > through post production
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly
                          > that he or she should
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of
                          > whether the person's
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > screen credit was "Supervising Sound
                          > Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Designer." The borders between editing and
                          > mixing are rapidly
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of
                          > work to be done with
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > nearly identical machines. Given that
                          > "mixing" and "editing" are
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if
                          > the people supervising
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > the creative decisions in Sound were called
                          > "Supervising Sound
                          > >
                          > > Designers?"
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > Randy Thom
                          > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > > January 13, 2009
                          > >
                          > > >
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                        • JITHU ARAV
                          Hi, I m a new member of this group. Its amazing to see the Greats of Sound involved in one forum. Regarding the current topic, I know that one of the top
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jan 15 9:47 PM
                            Hi, I'm a new member of this group. Its amazing to see the Greats of Sound involved in one forum. Regarding the current topic, I know that one of the top Sound 'Designer' in India( Mr. H. Sridhar) goes with the credit of Audiographer. And his credit always appears in the beginning titles. I really wonder if this term has really a meaning and can actually be used.

                            Jithu



                            ________________________________
                            From: Bob Kessler <unclebob6958@...>
                            To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 8:49:09 PM
                            Subject: Re: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"


                            As I work mostly on lo/no/micro budget projects 99.99% of the time I'm attempting to make the production sound listenable. Maybe there should be a credit specifically for people like me; maybe "Sonic Surgeon" or "Audio Resuscitation" .

                            --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ hotmail.com> wrote:

                            > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ hotmail.com>
                            > Subject: [sound-article- list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
                            > To: sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com
                            > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 3:15 PM
                            > I think sound designers should be compensated just as
                            > composers are.
                            > We should receive "residuals," etc. But that is
                            > an even bigger and
                            > more complex fight than the one over main title credit.
                            > Producers
                            > don't like sharing their profits.
                            >
                            > Randy
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com, "Anna
                            > K." <h1lmann@... > wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hi Randy,
                            > >
                            > > Thank you very much for your accurate reply.
                            > >
                            > > Still, there remains the question of the intellectual
                            > property
                            > rights. Is it true that sound designers aren't given
                            > IPR? And if this
                            > is true: Why not? What are the arguments?
                            > >
                            > > Barbara Flueckiger
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom
                            > <davidrandallthom@ ...> wrote:
                            > > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...>
                            > > Subject: [sound-article- list] Re: An Argument For
                            > Reinventing The
                            > Term "Sound Design"
                            > > To: sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com
                            > > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 8:11 PM
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Hi, Barbara!
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > The thing that prevents sound people other than the
                            > Composer from
                            > >
                            > > getting "Head Credits," or "Main Title
                            > Credits" on big US films is
                            > >
                            > > that in the contract between the Directors Guild of
                            > America (DGA) and
                            > >
                            > > the Association of Motion Picture and Television
                            > Producers (AMPTP) it
                            > >
                            > > states that only certain job descriptions are allowed
                            > to precede that
                            > >
                            > > of the "Unit Production Manager" and
                            > "First Assistant Director" in the
                            > >
                            > > credits. Both of those people are in the DGA. As far
                            > as the DGA is
                            > >
                            > > concerned, sound people are "technicians"
                            > and don't deserve main title
                            > >
                            > > credits. Obviously, all Directors don't share
                            > this opinion, but that
                            > >
                            > > is the way the DGA as an institution sees it. If you
                            > ask the DGA for
                            > >
                            > > a waiver that would give a Sound Designer a main title
                            > credit on a
                            > >
                            > > specific film their response, after heavy resistance,
                            > is to suggest
                            > >
                            > > that it would be acceptable if the Producer would
                            > agree to also give
                            > >
                            > > the UPM and 1st AD main title credits also. At this
                            > point the
                            > >
                            > > Producer of the film usually mutters a few
                            > obscenities, hangs up the
                            > >
                            > > phone, and the status quo reigns: No main title
                            > credit for the sound
                            > >
                            > > geek.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > We can sometimes get main title credit on animated
                            > films because they
                            > >
                            > > are usually not "DGA signatories. " Low
                            > budget live action films are
                            > >
                            > > also sometimes not DGA films, so we have better credit
                            > opportunities
                            > >
                            > > there. A few of us have received main title credits
                            > on big budget
                            > >
                            > > live actions films because of relentless pressure on
                            > the DGA from our
                            > >
                            > > Directors and Producers.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Randy
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > --- In sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com,
                            > "Anna K." <h1lmann@ >
                            > wrote:
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > When in 1997 I did the interviews for my book on
                            > sound design there
                            > >
                            > > was this controversion between those who accepted the
                            > term sound
                            > >
                            > > designer and those who preferred the credit
                            > supervising sound editor.
                            > >
                            > > The first ones lived and worked mainly in Northern
                            > California, while
                            > >
                            > > the second ones were working in Southern Califormia.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Some years later when I did a workshop with Mark
                            > Mangini who back in
                            > >
                            > > 1997 said to me that "sound designer" seemed
                            > somewhat pretentious to
                            > >
                            > > him he actually gave in to the use of this credit.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > But still sound designers were not given an
                            > opening credit in the
                            > >
                            > > titles and no intellectual property rights. Has this
                            > changed in the
                            > >
                            > > meantime?
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > To your actual question: For me -- at least
                            > ideally -- the sound
                            > >
                            > > designer is actually the central creative agency who
                            > is responsible
                            > >
                            > > for the overall concept of the soundtrack except the
                            > music, doing
                            > >
                            > > exactly what you are describing. Therefore the term
                            > supervising sound
                            > >
                            > > designer would be somewhat redundant because the sound
                            > designer is by
                            > >
                            > > his very function the one who supervises. But you are
                            > right in
                            > >
                            > > stressing the fact, that more and more every geek who
                            > knows how to
                            > >
                            > > handle a workstation has adopted the term.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > However first of all the current American
                            > practice of giving the
                            > >
                            > > credit sound design should be put under scrutiny. Is
                            > every geek who
                            > >
                            > > considers himself to be a sound designer really given
                            > this credit or
                            > >
                            > > what are the guidelines nowadays?
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Best,
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Barbara Flueckiger
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > http://www.zauberkl ang.ch/sounddesi gn.engl.html
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > --- On Thu, 1/15/09, Randy Thom
                            > <davidrandallthom@ ...> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@ ...>
                            > >
                            > > > Subject: [sound-article- list] An Argument For
                            > Reinventing The Term
                            > >
                            > > "Sound Design"
                            > >
                            > > > To: sound-article- list@yahoogroups .com
                            > >
                            > > > Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 5:35 PM
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Dear Sound Article List:
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Below is an email I'm sending to people who
                            > work in film sound. My
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > previous post on the list about "Dialog As
                            > Sound Design" is related to
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > my interest in broadening the scope of sound
                            > design to encompass all
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > creative work in sound. I don't expect this
                            > little piece to change
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > people's minds, but I hope it will help start
                            > a dialog.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I
                            > couldn't think of a better or
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've
                            > been puzzling over,
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely
                            > get to discuss in a
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > formal way. At the center of it is that
                            > relatively new, controversial
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To
                            > begin to frame some of the
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > issues I want to say something about another
                            > historically
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > controversial screen credit. I don't bring
                            > it up to suggest that it
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > is an exact model for our current situation in
                            > Sound, or a predictor
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be
                            > seen, but simply
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > because there are some parallels between the two
                            > that are interesting.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art
                            > Director to receive
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > the screen credit "Production Designer"
                            > on a film that made a rather
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > big splash. The film was "Gone With The
                            > Wind." Many other Art
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Directors were appalled at the new credit, and
                            > the acrimony over the
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > "Production Design" continued for
                            > several decades. Why, some said, is
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > this new title necessary? Menzies is doing
                            > exactly the same job he
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > did when he called himself an Art Director. Is
                            > he trying to
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > aggrandize his position? Is he trying to make
                            > himself seem better,
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > more desirable than we mere Art Directors are?
                            > In other words... Is
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > this a scheme to steal our clients?... some
                            > wondered.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I
                            > (presumably because Murch and
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to
                            > come to a meeting of the
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound
                            > Branch so that we could
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > explain what a sound designer is. I honestly
                            > don't remember what we
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad
                            > job of it. What
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > follows is something close to what I think we
                            > should have said...
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two
                            > films, in 1979. On
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the
                            > screen credit "Sound Design and
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got
                            > the "Sound Design" credit
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > on the sequel to "American Graffiti."
                            > But they weren't the first to
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > get that credit, they were just the first to get
                            > it on a film.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway
                            > plays in New York had
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > received the credit "Sound Design," and
                            > Dan Dugan, who was doing the
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater
                            > scene, took that
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > credit as well, before it appeared in the world
                            > of film.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Contrary to what many people think, the work that
                            > "Sound Designers" do
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > is not new. It was being done long before
                            > anyone called him or
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > herself a "Sound Designer." People in
                            > film had been doing what
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > "Sound Designers" do at least two
                            > generations before "Apocalypse Now."
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > The crucial question then: what is that work?
                            > What does a Sound
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we
                            > know what design is,
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but
                            > it's not.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it
                            > as something very
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors
                            > and Mixers had indeed
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > already done... work with the Director to shape
                            > the sound of the film
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > beginning very early in the process, as early as
                            > production or even
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > pre-production, and continue that work all the
                            > way through post
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > production. Since those opportunities to work on
                            > a project from
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > pre-production through post were very rare, they
                            > thought it deserved a
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate.
                            > Among others, they
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his
                            > sound crews as a
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > model. The idea was that if sound was to be a
                            > full collaborator
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > somebody was needed to work with the Director
                            > from nearly the
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > beginning of the project so that sound ideas
                            > could influence creative
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > decisions in the other crafts before it was too
                            > late, so that Sound
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > could be a driving creative force rather than a
                            > band-aid. That was
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't
                            > catch on.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on
                            > in the movie biz, but with a
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > very different and unfortunately much narrower
                            > meaning. Somehow
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Sound Design in film came to be associated
                            > exclusively with things
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > "high tech," with using 24track tape
                            > recorders and midi in the early
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the
                            > grand notion of a
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > sound collaborator for the Director morphed into
                            > "gadget specialist."
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > A Sound Designer became something like a high
                            > tech audio grease
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically
                            > fabricate sounds you
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > couldn't find in the effects library. Lots
                            > and lots of people started
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > calling themselves Sound Designers. It quickly
                            > became an easy way to
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > get cheap attention, whether the attention was
                            > deserved or not.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Established Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers,
                            > especially in LA,
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > justifiably saw many of these newly minted
                            > "Sound Designers" as con
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > artists out to steal their clients with a few
                            > slick techy moves.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > In my view, the word design applies to all the
                            > creative work we do in
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is
                            > sound design. Editing
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound
                            > design can be done
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > using unmodified sound effects from the most
                            > basic commercial library.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be
                            > done and has been done
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > with dialog alone, no sound effects at all.
                            > Supervising is also
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > design. It's a crucial kind of sound design
                            > in my opinion because it
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > consists of guiding the creative process. And
                            > finally, Mixing is
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > design. Despite the sometimes questionable use
                            > of the term by
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a
                            > credit very worth preserving.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > The "grand notion" is worth preserving
                            > and spreading as well. We
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > should all be pushing, to the degree we can, to
                            > make Sound a full
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > creative collaborator in the storytelling
                            > process.
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > The most important part of the work that Editors
                            > and Mixers do is
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > making creative decisions. The word
                            > "design" makes it easy to
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > distinguish us from engineers and administrators,
                            > whose work is
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > extremely important but not focused on artistic
                            > creativity. Oscars in
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > the Sound categories are awarded to those people
                            > who make the final
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > creative decisions for the Director's
                            > approval. If someone has acted
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > as a creative supervisor for sound all the way
                            > through post production
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > until the end of the final mix I feel strongly
                            > that he or she should
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless of
                            > whether the person's
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > screen credit was "Supervising Sound
                            > Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > Designer." The borders between editing and
                            > mixing are rapidly
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > disappearing as technology allows both kinds of
                            > work to be done with
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > nearly identical machines. Given that
                            > "mixing" and "editing" are
                            > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > > becoming one thing, wouldn't it be better if
                            > the people supervising
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                            > > > the creative decisions in Sound were called
                            > "Supervising Sound
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                            > > Designers?"
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                          • tapas nayak
                            What can you do with the new Windows Live? Find out http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowslive/default.aspx [Non-text portions of this message have been
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jan 16 7:46 AM
                              What can you do with the new Windows Live? Find out
                              http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowslive/default.aspx

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Woody Woodhall
                              Hi Randy - Thanks for the list and all your insights, musings and admonishments. I struggle with these issues often and have had serious discussions with
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jan 16 12:10 PM
                                Hi Randy -

                                Thanks for the list and all your insights, musings and admonishments. I
                                struggle with these issues often and have had serious discussions with
                                Directors and Producers that I work with regarding them. As owner of a
                                facility I find myself working with new and first time Directors who are
                                generally uneducated regarding what we do in post sound. The first
                                lesson is that what we do is a creative job not merely technical and
                                that our efforts and contributions are a key component in their
                                storytelling. Whether we are creating new sonic environments, creepy
                                atmospheres, adding dialog, change/create pacing through our use of
                                sound design and editing or re-recording dialog for clarity we are
                                shaping the world and experience of the story being told. Most often
                                their question is - "can you fix this" - not "how can we better define
                                this total experience with sound."

                                I preface with this because since we are often viewed as technicians
                                instead of artists the credit is a non-issue with them. It makes sense
                                to them to put us after the caterer and the dog trainer. In the last
                                decade Casting and Music Supervision have made their way to the head
                                credits which to me is a "head" scratcher. I once replaced 95 % of the
                                dialog on a feature which naturally means we replaced 95 % of of all the
                                audio on the show. We worked long and hard to create a complete and new
                                sonic environment for this project with teams of talented folks creating
                                this new world. Somehow Casting and Music Supervisor made it to the top
                                of the list while my crew and I were relegated behind craft services
                                after a lengthy post credit roll. When I politely mentioned these
                                credits to the Director he argued long and loud that it would not have
                                been the same movie without the cast and the source music cues
                                negotiated by the MS. I felt that my guidance, crew, creativity and
                                experience was a key component in there being a movie to deliver at all.

                                I tend to use both credits - Supervising Sound Editor/Sound Designer
                                because of all the ambiguities inherent as you point out. Unfortunately
                                for us it does go deeper than just our clients as rightly note. The
                                union makes these sorts of arbitrary classes of talent as if an "Editor"
                                does not mix, or a "Mixer" does not edit. We live and change with the
                                emerging technologies but the "institutions" (unions, guilds) are still
                                buried in the distant past. I am often the "Re-recording Mixer" as well
                                but I don't want to put a million credits up with just my name.

                                This last point I think is the largest of all, in a way, regarding the
                                misunderstanding of our work. We are in charge of often large crews all
                                working for a common goal. And these crews that we supervise are
                                experts in very different sorts of disciplines. Sound yes, but very
                                differing skill sets. A great sound effects editor may not be the
                                world's best ADR recordist/mixer, a great Foley recordist/editor may not
                                be a great re-recording mixer, a great music editor may not be a good
                                "Sound Designer" etc. We (Supervising Sound Editors) are managing
                                varying crews of many disciplines to help the Director tell his story
                                with sound. One reason that I think that we should find the correct
                                term (and I truly appreciate your continuing efforts here Randy, even to
                                the little guys like me) and also perhaps one day make that an "above
                                the line" position is that we are crew chiefs who are making, managing
                                and contributing artistically to the final product. When people who
                                don't understand what I do ask for an explanation I say that "we are the
                                DP, editor, costume designer, production designer and visual effects
                                chief" rolled into one position on the post side and dedicated to one
                                thing - the overall experience of sound. (Boy I must sound like a
                                blow-hard...) Thanks for allowing me to vent a bit! All the best,

                                Woody Woodhall, CAS
                                Allied Post Audio
                                www.AlliedPost.com
                                www.WoodysSoundAdvice.com
                                www.LAPPG.com
                                >
                                >
                                > An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
                                > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sound-article-list/message/4577;_ylc=X3oDMTJxNjlyN3FmBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzEyNjI5MzUEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDM3NzA1BG1zZ0lkAzQ1NzcEc2VjA2Rtc2cEc2xrA3Ztc2cEc3RpbWUDMTIzMjExNTk2OA-->
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Posted by: "Randy Thom" davidrandallthom@...
                                > <mailto:davidrandallthom@...?Subject=%20Re%3AAn%20Argument%20For%20Reinventing%20The%20Term%20%22Sound%20Design%22>
                                > earcircus <http://profiles.yahoo.com/earcircus>
                                >
                                >
                                > Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:35 am (PST)
                                >
                                > Dear Sound Article List:
                                >
                                > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
                                > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is
                                > related to my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to
                                > encompass all creative work in sound. I don't expect this little
                                > piece to change people's minds, but I hope it will help start a
                                > dialog.
                                >
                                > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                                >
                                > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a better or
                                > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
                                > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
                                > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new, controversial
                                > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
                                > issues I want to say something about another historically
                                > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest that it
                                > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a predictor
                                > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
                                > because there are some parallels between the two that are interesting.
                                >
                                > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to
                                > receive the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that
                                > made a rather big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many
                                > other Art Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the
                                > acrimony over the "Production Design" continued for several
                                > decades. Why, some said, is this new title necessary? Menzies is
                                > doing exactly the same job he did when he called himself an Art
                                > Director. Is he trying to aggrandize his position? Is he trying to
                                > make himself seem better, more desirable than we mere Art
                                > Directors are? In other words... Is this a scheme to steal our
                                > clients?... some wondered.
                                >
                                > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch
                                > and Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of
                                > the Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we
                                > could explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember
                                > what we said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it.
                                > What follows is something close to what I think we should have said...
                                >
                                > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in 1979. On
                                > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design
                                > and Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design"
                                > credit on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the
                                > first to get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a
                                > film. Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New
                                > York had received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who
                                > was doing the same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater
                                > scene, took that credit as well, before it appeared in the world
                                > of film.
                                >
                                > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound
                                > Designers" do is not new. It was being done long before anyone
                                > called him or herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been
                                > doing what "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before
                                > "Apocalypse Now." The crucial question then: what is that work?
                                > What does a Sound Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we
                                > know what design is, so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's not.
                                >
                                > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
                                > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had
                                > indeed already done... work with the Director to shape the sound
                                > of the film beginning very early in the process, as early as
                                > production or even pre-production, and continue that work all the
                                > way through post production. Since those opportunities to work on
                                > a project from
                                > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it
                                > deserved a new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among
                                > others, they used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his
                                > sound crews as a model. The idea was that if sound was to be a
                                > full collaborator somebody was needed to work with the Director
                                > from nearly the beginning of the project so that sound ideas could
                                > influence creative decisions in the other crafts before it was too
                                > late, so that Sound could be a driving creative force rather than
                                > a band-aid. That was the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't
                                > catch on.
                                >
                                > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with
                                > a very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
                                > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
                                > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the
                                > early days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand
                                > notion of a sound collaborator for the Director morphed into
                                > "gadget specialist." A Sound Designer became something like a high
                                > tech audio grease monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically
                                > fabricate sounds you couldn't find in the effects library. Lots
                                > and lots of people started calling themselves Sound Designers. It
                                > quickly became an easy way to get cheap attention, whether the
                                > attention was deserved or not. Established Supervising Sound
                                > Editors and Mixers, especially in LA, justifiably saw many of
                                > these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con artists out to steal
                                > their clients with a few slick techy moves.
                                >
                                > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do
                                > in sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design.
                                > Editing existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design
                                > can be done using unmodified sound effects from the most basic
                                > commercial library. Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be
                                > done and has been done with dialog alone, no sound effects at all.
                                > Supervising is also design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in
                                > my opinion because it consists of guiding the creative process.
                                > And finally, Mixing is design. Despite the sometimes questionable
                                > use of the term by "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit
                                > very worth preserving. The "grand notion" is worth preserving
                                > and spreading as well. We should all be pushing, to the degree we
                                > can, to make Sound a full creative collaborator in the
                                > storytelling process.
                                >
                                > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
                                > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
                                > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
                                > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity. Oscars in
                                > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the
                                > final creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone
                                > has acted as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through
                                > post production until the end of the final mix I feel strongly
                                > that he or she should be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless
                                > of whether the person's screen credit was "Supervising Sound
                                > Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound Designer." The borders between editing
                                > and mixing are rapidly disappearing as technology allows both
                                > kinds of work to be done with nearly identical machines. Given
                                > that "mixing" and "editing" are becoming one thing, wouldn't it be
                                > better if the people supervising the creative decisions in Sound
                                > were called "Supervising Sound Designers?"
                                >
                                > Randy Thom
                                > January 13, 2009
                                >
                                >


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Gustavo Peña y Lillo
                                Hi Randy, Hi All Regarding your question on the term Sound Designer . I´d like to make two statements In the first place, the sound postproduction process,
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jan 16 10:14 PM
                                  Hi Randy, Hi All

                                  Regarding your question on the term "Sound Designer". I´d like to make two statements


                                  In the first place, the sound postproduction process, as others creative aspects of filmmaking, like scriptwriting and editing, is by definition, a Process of Design.

                                  Maybe the most in depth study of the design process has been made by industrial designers, who describe "Design" as "A Proyectual Activity, of contextual characteristics, which tends to specific results, to satisfy specfic needs".

                                  Such an activity implies two big stages: (I oversimplify in order to be short)

                                  1) a process to obtain a prototype (for example: defining objectives, investigating, thinking, proposing, building the prototype, evaluating it)

                                  2) redoing (redesign!!!)

                                  and that is what, following your list, the sound team do:

                                  - Sound Editors design by creating a sound in a trial and error or approximation process or "JUST" by choosing the right sound from a sound effects CD.
                                  - Editing Dialogue ALONE is sound design too, because the editor must decide if the initial breath before a word will stay there or not, depending on the script needs (contextual), or maybe she decides to change half of the dialog line with one of another take, because of its "wrong" intonation/inflection/feeling (and why "wrong"?)
                                  - SUPERVISING is designing because here is where the objectives are specified and the correlation of the "prototype sound design" with the "specific needs" is evaluated .
                                  - MIXING is sound design, not only may different relative levels and timbre of sound elements lead the audience to interpret a scene in completely different ways, adding or enhancing meaning, but also they can obscure it, and what is worse, they can even ruin it.



                                  Finally, with regards to the title "Supervising Sound Designers", I think it is accurate. It describes exactly what they do. But, could it be possible such a title when there are no "Sound Designers" in the credits?

                                  What about "Sound Design Supervisor". This elimates the feared and controversial word "Designer", putting the stress on the Design work of the sound team. And if a team makes a design and a person supervise it, all of them ARE DESIGNERS.


                                  have an excellent 2009!
                                  gustavo



                                  Yahoo! Cocina
                                  Recetas prácticas y comida saludable
                                  http://ar.mujer.yahoo.com/cocina/
                                • Frank Kruse
                                  I also like the word design for what we do because I think it´s possible to compare our job with that of an Architect. Someone approaches us with sometimes
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jan 18 5:52 AM
                                    I also like the word "design" for what we do because I think it´s
                                    possible to compare our job with that of an Architect.
                                    Someone approaches us with sometimes rather vague and sometimes very
                                    precise plans for his project.
                                    We go out and try to translate those intentions into a "sound
                                    building" that the story can "live" in.

                                    Some "clients" need a lot of help to develop some kind of imagination
                                    for the "sound building" and some already know: "I need 3 beedroom and
                                    don´t bother with red paint because my wife hates that" etc. etc.

                                    It´s good to have some engineering skills as an architect but the
                                    major part of the work is designing and translating ideas into shapes
                                    (sounds in our case) in collaboration with the "client" and his
                                    intention.

                                    I think "sound design" is not as artificial as a term as it might
                                    seem. Surely often overused and over the top but I think it´s a good
                                    name for what we do.

                                    This wasn´t meant pro or con "supervising sound designer" More a
                                    gerenal comment on the credit "sound designer". I don´t understand the
                                    credit as someone designing space ship fly-bys using stacks of gear
                                    that only he can operate.

                                    In some countries the is a term that would translate into "sound
                                    director" which might be the equivalent to Randy´s "supervising sound
                                    designer" who might not be the one to construct the space ship fly bys
                                    and to "director of photography" who might not be the camera operator
                                    at the same time.

                                    frank.




                                    Am 17.01.2009 um 07:14 schrieb Gustavo Peña y Lillo:

                                    > Hi Randy, Hi All
                                    >
                                    > Regarding your question on the term "Sound Designer". I
                                    > ´d like to make two statements
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > In the first place, the sound postproduction process, as others
                                    > creative aspects of filmmaking, like scriptwriting and editing, is
                                    > by definition, a Process of Design.
                                    >
                                    > Maybe the most in depth study of the design process has been made by
                                    > industrial designers, who describe "Design" as "A Proyectual
                                    > Activity, of contextual characteristics, which tends to specific
                                    > results, to satisfy specfic needs".
                                    >
                                    > Such an activity implies two big stages: (I oversimplify in order to
                                    > be short)
                                    >
                                    > 1) a process to obtain a prototype (for example: defining
                                    > objectives, investigating, thinking, proposing, building the
                                    > prototype, evaluating it)
                                    >
                                    > 2) redoing (redesign!!!)
                                    >
                                    > and that is what, following your list, the sound team do:
                                    >
                                    > - Sound Editors design by creating a sound in a trial and error or
                                    > approximation process or "JUST" by choosing the right sound from a
                                    > sound effects CD.
                                    > - Editing Dialogue ALONE is sound design too, because the editor
                                    > must decide if the initial breath before a word will stay there or
                                    > not, depending on the script needs (contextual), or maybe she
                                    > decides to change half of the dialog line with one of another take,
                                    > because of its "wrong" intonation/inflection/feeling (and why
                                    > "wrong"?)
                                    > - SUPERVISING is designing because here is where the objectives are
                                    > specified and the correlation of the "prototype sound design" with
                                    > the "specific needs" is evaluated .
                                    > - MIXING is sound design, not only may different relative levels and
                                    > timbre of sound elements lead the audience to interpret a scene in
                                    > completely different ways, adding or enhancing meaning, but also
                                    > they can obscure it, and what is worse, they can even ruin it.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Finally, with regards to the title "Supervising Sound
                                    > Designers", I think it is accurate. It describes exactly what they
                                    > do. But, could it be possible such a title when there are no "Sound
                                    > Designers" in the credits?
                                    >
                                    > What about "Sound Design Supervisor". This elimates the
                                    > feared and controversial word "Designer", putting the stress on the
                                    > Design work of the sound team. And if a team makes a design and a
                                    > person supervise it, all of them ARE DESIGNERS.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > have an excellent 2009!
                                    > gustavo
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Yahoo! Cocina
                                    > Recetas prácticas y comida saludable
                                    > http://ar.mujer.yahoo.com/cocina/
                                    >
                                    > ------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • Randy Thom
                                    Very good points, Woody! Many of us were taken aback when the title Music Supervisor suddenly appeared in the main title credits ten or fifteen years ago. I
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jan 18 11:53 AM
                                      Very good points, Woody!

                                      Many of us were taken aback when the title "Music Supervisor" suddenly
                                      appeared in the main title credits ten or fifteen years ago. I don't
                                      know the details of how it got past the DGA gatekeepers, but I suspect
                                      it was mostly a matter of commerce. There are wonderfully creative
                                      music supervisors who collaborate with the composer and work miracles
                                      to integrate pop music into films where it makes sense... Moulin Rouge
                                      leaps to mind... and then there a few who are essentially pimps who
                                      do nothing but broker deals between record labels and film
                                      productions, forcing snippets of pop tunes into movies that don't need
                                      them for the sole purpose of lining various people's pockets with money.

                                      Randy



                                      --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, Woody Woodhall <WOODY@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Hi Randy -
                                      >
                                      > Thanks for the list and all your insights, musings and admonishments. I
                                      > struggle with these issues often and have had serious discussions with
                                      > Directors and Producers that I work with regarding them. As owner of a
                                      > facility I find myself working with new and first time Directors who
                                      are
                                      > generally uneducated regarding what we do in post sound. The first
                                      > lesson is that what we do is a creative job not merely technical and
                                      > that our efforts and contributions are a key component in their
                                      > storytelling. Whether we are creating new sonic environments, creepy
                                      > atmospheres, adding dialog, change/create pacing through our use of
                                      > sound design and editing or re-recording dialog for clarity we are
                                      > shaping the world and experience of the story being told. Most often
                                      > their question is - "can you fix this" - not "how can we better define
                                      > this total experience with sound."
                                      >
                                      > I preface with this because since we are often viewed as technicians
                                      > instead of artists the credit is a non-issue with them. It makes sense
                                      > to them to put us after the caterer and the dog trainer. In the last
                                      > decade Casting and Music Supervision have made their way to the head
                                      > credits which to me is a "head" scratcher. I once replaced 95 % of the
                                      > dialog on a feature which naturally means we replaced 95 % of of all
                                      the
                                      > audio on the show. We worked long and hard to create a complete and
                                      new
                                      > sonic environment for this project with teams of talented folks
                                      creating
                                      > this new world. Somehow Casting and Music Supervisor made it to the
                                      top
                                      > of the list while my crew and I were relegated behind craft services
                                      > after a lengthy post credit roll. When I politely mentioned these
                                      > credits to the Director he argued long and loud that it would not have
                                      > been the same movie without the cast and the source music cues
                                      > negotiated by the MS. I felt that my guidance, crew, creativity and
                                      > experience was a key component in there being a movie to deliver at
                                      all.
                                      >
                                      > I tend to use both credits - Supervising Sound Editor/Sound Designer
                                      > because of all the ambiguities inherent as you point out.
                                      Unfortunately
                                      > for us it does go deeper than just our clients as rightly note. The
                                      > union makes these sorts of arbitrary classes of talent as if an
                                      "Editor"
                                      > does not mix, or a "Mixer" does not edit. We live and change with the
                                      > emerging technologies but the "institutions" (unions, guilds) are still
                                      > buried in the distant past. I am often the "Re-recording Mixer" as
                                      well
                                      > but I don't want to put a million credits up with just my name.
                                      >
                                      > This last point I think is the largest of all, in a way, regarding the
                                      > misunderstanding of our work. We are in charge of often large crews
                                      all
                                      > working for a common goal. And these crews that we supervise are
                                      > experts in very different sorts of disciplines. Sound yes, but very
                                      > differing skill sets. A great sound effects editor may not be the
                                      > world's best ADR recordist/mixer, a great Foley recordist/editor may
                                      not
                                      > be a great re-recording mixer, a great music editor may not be a good
                                      > "Sound Designer" etc. We (Supervising Sound Editors) are managing
                                      > varying crews of many disciplines to help the Director tell his story
                                      > with sound. One reason that I think that we should find the correct
                                      > term (and I truly appreciate your continuing efforts here Randy,
                                      even to
                                      > the little guys like me) and also perhaps one day make that an "above
                                      > the line" position is that we are crew chiefs who are making, managing
                                      > and contributing artistically to the final product. When people who
                                      > don't understand what I do ask for an explanation I say that "we are
                                      the
                                      > DP, editor, costume designer, production designer and visual effects
                                      > chief" rolled into one position on the post side and dedicated to one
                                      > thing - the overall experience of sound. (Boy I must sound like a
                                      > blow-hard...) Thanks for allowing me to vent a bit! All the best,
                                      >
                                      > Woody Woodhall, CAS
                                      > Allied Post Audio
                                      > www.AlliedPost.com
                                      > www.WoodysSoundAdvice.com
                                      > www.LAPPG.com
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
                                      > >
                                      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sound-article-list/message/4577;_ylc=X3oDMTJxNjlyN3FmBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzEyNjI5MzUEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDM3NzA1BG1zZ0lkAzQ1NzcEc2VjA2Rtc2cEc2xrA3Ztc2cEc3RpbWUDMTIzMjExNTk2OA-->
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Posted by: "Randy Thom" davidrandallthom@...
                                      > >
                                      <mailto:davidrandallthom@...?Subject=%20Re%3AAn%20Argument%20For%20Reinventing%20The%20Term%20%22Sound%20Design%22>
                                      > > earcircus <http://profiles.yahoo.com/earcircus>
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:35 am (PST)
                                      > >
                                      > > Dear Sound Article List:
                                      > >
                                      > > Below is an email I'm sending to people who work in film sound. My
                                      > > previous post on the list about "Dialog As Sound Design" is
                                      > > related to my interest in broadening the scope of sound design to
                                      > > encompass all creative work in sound. I don't expect this little
                                      > > piece to change people's minds, but I hope it will help start a
                                      > > dialog.
                                      > >
                                      > > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                                      > >
                                      > > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I couldn't think of a
                                      better or
                                      > > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've been puzzling over,
                                      > > regarding issues we all know about, but rarely get to discuss in a
                                      > > formal way. At the center of it is that relatively new,
                                      controversial
                                      > > and ambiguous term "Sound Design." To begin to frame some of the
                                      > > issues I want to say something about another historically
                                      > > controversial screen credit. I don't bring it up to suggest
                                      that it
                                      > > is an exact model for our current situation in Sound, or a
                                      predictor
                                      > > of how the credit Sound Design will eventually be seen, but simply
                                      > > because there are some parallels between the two that are
                                      interesting.
                                      > >
                                      > > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first Art Director to
                                      > > receive the screen credit "Production Designer" on a film that
                                      > > made a rather big splash. The film was "Gone With The Wind." Many
                                      > > other Art Directors were appalled at the new credit, and the
                                      > > acrimony over the "Production Design" continued for several
                                      > > decades. Why, some said, is this new title necessary? Menzies is
                                      > > doing exactly the same job he did when he called himself an Art
                                      > > Director. Is he trying to aggrandize his position? Is he trying to
                                      > > make himself seem better, more desirable than we mere Art
                                      > > Directors are? In other words... Is this a scheme to steal our
                                      > > clients?... some wondered.
                                      > >
                                      > > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I (presumably because Murch
                                      > > and Burtt weren't available : ) were asked to come to a meeting of
                                      > > the Executive Committee of the Academy's Sound Branch so that we
                                      > > could explain what a sound designer is. I honestly don't remember
                                      > > what we said, but I suspect we did an appallingly bad job of it.
                                      > > What follows is something close to what I think we should have
                                      said...
                                      > >
                                      > > The credit first appeared on a film, actually two films, in
                                      1979. On
                                      > > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took the screen credit "Sound Design
                                      > > and Montage." About the same time Ben Burtt got the "Sound Design"
                                      > > credit on the sequel to "American Graffiti." But they weren't the
                                      > > first to get that credit, they were just the first to get it on a
                                      > > film. Earlier, some sound people working on Broadway plays in New
                                      > > York had received the credit "Sound Design," and Dan Dugan, who
                                      > > was doing the same kinds of work in the San Francisco theater
                                      > > scene, took that credit as well, before it appeared in the world
                                      > > of film.
                                      > >
                                      > > Contrary to what many people think, the work that "Sound
                                      > > Designers" do is not new. It was being done long before anyone
                                      > > called him or herself a "Sound Designer." People in film had been
                                      > > doing what "Sound Designers" do at least two generations before
                                      > > "Apocalypse Now." The crucial question then: what is that work?
                                      > > What does a Sound Designer do? Well, we know what sound is, and we
                                      > > know what design is, so shouldn't it be clear? Maybe, but it's
                                      not.
                                      > >
                                      > > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw it as something very
                                      > > similar to what a few Supervising Sound Editors and Mixers had
                                      > > indeed already done... work with the Director to shape the sound
                                      > > of the film beginning very early in the process, as early as
                                      > > production or even pre-production, and continue that work all the
                                      > > way through post production. Since those opportunities to work on
                                      > > a project from
                                      > > pre-production through post were very rare, they thought it
                                      > > deserved a new name, and Sound Design seemed appropriate. Among
                                      > > others, they used Orson Welles and the way he worked with his
                                      > > sound crews as a model. The idea was that if sound was to be a
                                      > > full collaborator somebody was needed to work with the Director
                                      > > from nearly the beginning of the project so that sound ideas could
                                      > > influence creative decisions in the other crafts before it was too
                                      > > late, so that Sound could be a driving creative force rather than
                                      > > a band-aid. That was the grand theory in a nutshell, but it didn't
                                      > > catch on.
                                      > >
                                      > > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught on in the movie biz, but with
                                      > > a very different and unfortunately much narrower meaning. Somehow
                                      > > Sound Design in film came to be associated exclusively with things
                                      > > "high tech," with using 24track tape recorders and midi in the
                                      > > early days, and a little later plug-ins. Basically the grand
                                      > > notion of a sound collaborator for the Director morphed into
                                      > > "gadget specialist." A Sound Designer became something like a high
                                      > > tech audio grease monkey, a nerd you hired to electronically
                                      > > fabricate sounds you couldn't find in the effects library. Lots
                                      > > and lots of people started calling themselves Sound Designers. It
                                      > > quickly became an easy way to get cheap attention, whether the
                                      > > attention was deserved or not. Established Supervising Sound
                                      > > Editors and Mixers, especially in LA, justifiably saw many of
                                      > > these newly minted "Sound Designers" as con artists out to steal
                                      > > their clients with a few slick techy moves.
                                      > >
                                      > > In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do
                                      > > in sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds is sound design.
                                      > > Editing existing sounds is sound design. Brilliant sound design
                                      > > can be done using unmodified sound effects from the most basic
                                      > > commercial library. Breathtakingly beautiful sound design can be
                                      > > done and has been done with dialog alone, no sound effects at all.
                                      > > Supervising is also design. It's a crucial kind of sound design in
                                      > > my opinion because it consists of guiding the creative process.
                                      > > And finally, Mixing is design. Despite the sometimes questionable
                                      > > use of the term by "wannabees," I think Sound Design is a credit
                                      > > very worth preserving. The "grand notion" is worth preserving
                                      > > and spreading as well. We should all be pushing, to the degree we
                                      > > can, to make Sound a full creative collaborator in the
                                      > > storytelling process.
                                      > >
                                      > > The most important part of the work that Editors and Mixers do is
                                      > > making creative decisions. The word "design" makes it easy to
                                      > > distinguish us from engineers and administrators, whose work is
                                      > > extremely important but not focused on artistic creativity.
                                      Oscars in
                                      > > the Sound categories are awarded to those people who make the
                                      > > final creative decisions for the Director's approval. If someone
                                      > > has acted as a creative supervisor for sound all the way through
                                      > > post production until the end of the final mix I feel strongly
                                      > > that he or she should be eligible for Oscar nomination regardless
                                      > > of whether the person's screen credit was "Supervising Sound
                                      > > Editor," "Mixer," or "Sound Designer." The borders between editing
                                      > > and mixing are rapidly disappearing as technology allows both
                                      > > kinds of work to be done with nearly identical machines. Given
                                      > > that "mixing" and "editing" are becoming one thing, wouldn't it be
                                      > > better if the people supervising the creative decisions in Sound
                                      > > were called "Supervising Sound Designers?"
                                      > >
                                      > > Randy Thom
                                      > > January 13, 2009
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
                                    • Bob Kessler
                                      A great example of how hard a music supervisor works would be Forrest Gump , on which Randy was both Sound Designer and Re-Recording Mixer. The songs were
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jan 18 11:08 PM
                                        A great example of how hard a music supervisor works would be "Forrest Gump", on which Randy was both Sound Designer and Re-Recording Mixer. The songs were not gratuitous, but a key element in establishing the specific time periods in the film, and the seamless integration between the songs and the Alan Silvestri's score was superb. (BTW, the film is a personal favorite.)

                                        Bob
                                        ALCOVE AUDIO PRODUCTIONS
                                        alcoveaudio.com


                                        --- On Sun, 1/18/09, Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...> wrote:

                                        > From: Randy Thom <davidrandallthom@...>
                                        > Subject: [sound-article-list] Re: An Argument For Reinventing The Term "Sound Design"
                                        > To: sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com
                                        > Date: Sunday, January 18, 2009, 2:53 PM
                                        > Very good points, Woody!
                                        >
                                        > Many of us were taken aback when the title "Music
                                        > Supervisor" suddenly
                                        > appeared in the main title credits ten or fifteen years
                                        > ago. I don't
                                        > know the details of how it got past the DGA gatekeepers,
                                        > but I suspect
                                        > it was mostly a matter of commerce. There are wonderfully
                                        > creative
                                        > music supervisors who collaborate with the composer and
                                        > work miracles
                                        > to integrate pop music into films where it makes sense...
                                        > Moulin Rouge
                                        > leaps to mind... and then there a few who are essentially
                                        > pimps who
                                        > do nothing but broker deals between record labels and film
                                        > productions, forcing snippets of pop tunes into movies that
                                        > don't need
                                        > them for the sole purpose of lining various people's
                                        > pockets with money.
                                        >
                                        > Randy
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, Woody Woodhall
                                        > <WOODY@...>
                                        > wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > Hi Randy -
                                        > >
                                        > > Thanks for the list and all your insights, musings and
                                        > admonishments. I
                                        > > struggle with these issues often and have had serious
                                        > discussions with
                                        > > Directors and Producers that I work with regarding
                                        > them. As owner of a
                                        > > facility I find myself working with new and first time
                                        > Directors who
                                        > are
                                        > > generally uneducated regarding what we do in post
                                        > sound. The first
                                        > > lesson is that what we do is a creative job not merely
                                        > technical and
                                        > > that our efforts and contributions are a key component
                                        > in their
                                        > > storytelling. Whether we are creating new sonic
                                        > environments, creepy
                                        > > atmospheres, adding dialog, change/create pacing
                                        > through our use of
                                        > > sound design and editing or re-recording dialog for
                                        > clarity we are
                                        > > shaping the world and experience of the story being
                                        > told. Most often
                                        > > their question is - "can you fix this" - not
                                        > "how can we better define
                                        > > this total experience with sound."
                                        > >
                                        > > I preface with this because since we are often viewed
                                        > as technicians
                                        > > instead of artists the credit is a non-issue with
                                        > them. It makes sense
                                        > > to them to put us after the caterer and the dog
                                        > trainer. In the last
                                        > > decade Casting and Music Supervision have made their
                                        > way to the head
                                        > > credits which to me is a "head" scratcher.
                                        > I once replaced 95 % of the
                                        > > dialog on a feature which naturally means we replaced
                                        > 95 % of of all
                                        > the
                                        > > audio on the show. We worked long and hard to create
                                        > a complete and
                                        > new
                                        > > sonic environment for this project with teams of
                                        > talented folks
                                        > creating
                                        > > this new world. Somehow Casting and Music Supervisor
                                        > made it to the
                                        > top
                                        > > of the list while my crew and I were relegated behind
                                        > craft services
                                        > > after a lengthy post credit roll. When I politely
                                        > mentioned these
                                        > > credits to the Director he argued long and loud that
                                        > it would not have
                                        > > been the same movie without the cast and the source
                                        > music cues
                                        > > negotiated by the MS. I felt that my guidance, crew,
                                        > creativity and
                                        > > experience was a key component in there being a movie
                                        > to deliver at
                                        > all.
                                        > >
                                        > > I tend to use both credits - Supervising Sound
                                        > Editor/Sound Designer
                                        > > because of all the ambiguities inherent as you point
                                        > out.
                                        > Unfortunately
                                        > > for us it does go deeper than just our clients as
                                        > rightly note. The
                                        > > union makes these sorts of arbitrary classes of talent
                                        > as if an
                                        > "Editor"
                                        > > does not mix, or a "Mixer" does not edit.
                                        > We live and change with the
                                        > > emerging technologies but the "institutions"
                                        > (unions, guilds) are still
                                        > > buried in the distant past. I am often the
                                        > "Re-recording Mixer" as
                                        > well
                                        > > but I don't want to put a million credits up with
                                        > just my name.
                                        > >
                                        > > This last point I think is the largest of all, in a
                                        > way, regarding the
                                        > > misunderstanding of our work. We are in charge of
                                        > often large crews
                                        > all
                                        > > working for a common goal. And these crews that we
                                        > supervise are
                                        > > experts in very different sorts of disciplines. Sound
                                        > yes, but very
                                        > > differing skill sets. A great sound effects editor
                                        > may not be the
                                        > > world's best ADR recordist/mixer, a great Foley
                                        > recordist/editor may
                                        > not
                                        > > be a great re-recording mixer, a great music editor
                                        > may not be a good
                                        > > "Sound Designer" etc. We (Supervising Sound
                                        > Editors) are managing
                                        > > varying crews of many disciplines to help the Director
                                        > tell his story
                                        > > with sound. One reason that I think that we should
                                        > find the correct
                                        > > term (and I truly appreciate your continuing efforts
                                        > here Randy,
                                        > even to
                                        > > the little guys like me) and also perhaps one day make
                                        > that an "above
                                        > > the line" position is that we are crew chiefs who
                                        > are making, managing
                                        > > and contributing artistically to the final product.
                                        > When people who
                                        > > don't understand what I do ask for an explanation
                                        > I say that "we are
                                        > the
                                        > > DP, editor, costume designer, production designer and
                                        > visual effects
                                        > > chief" rolled into one position on the post side
                                        > and dedicated to one
                                        > > thing - the overall experience of sound. (Boy I must
                                        > sound like a
                                        > > blow-hard...) Thanks for allowing me to vent a bit!
                                        > All the best,
                                        > >
                                        > > Woody Woodhall, CAS
                                        > > Allied Post Audio
                                        > > www.AlliedPost.com
                                        > > www.WoodysSoundAdvice.com
                                        > > www.LAPPG.com
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > > > An Argument For Reinventing The Term
                                        > "Sound Design"
                                        > > >
                                        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sound-article-list/message/4577;_ylc=X3oDMTJxNjlyN3FmBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzEyNjI5MzUEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDM3NzA1BG1zZ0lkAzQ1NzcEc2VjA2Rtc2cEc2xrA3Ztc2cEc3RpbWUDMTIzMjExNTk2OA-->
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Posted by: "Randy Thom"
                                        > davidrandallthom@...
                                        > > >
                                        > <mailto:davidrandallthom@...?Subject=%20Re%3AAn%20Argument%20For%20Reinventing%20The%20Term%20%22Sound%20Design%22>
                                        > > > earcircus
                                        > <http://profiles.yahoo.com/earcircus>
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:35 am (PST)
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Dear Sound Article List:
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Below is an email I'm sending to people
                                        > who work in film sound. My
                                        > > > previous post on the list about "Dialog
                                        > As Sound Design" is
                                        > > > related to my interest in broadening the
                                        > scope of sound design to
                                        > > > encompass all creative work in sound. I
                                        > don't expect this little
                                        > > > piece to change people's minds, but I
                                        > hope it will help start a
                                        > > > dialog.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Hi, All, and Happy New Year!
                                        > > >
                                        > > > I'm sorry for this mass mailing, but I
                                        > couldn't think of a
                                        > better or
                                        > > > less intrusive way to air some ideas I've
                                        > been puzzling over,
                                        > > > regarding issues we all know about, but
                                        > rarely get to discuss in a
                                        > > > formal way. At the center of it is that
                                        > relatively new,
                                        > controversial
                                        > > > and ambiguous term "Sound Design."
                                        > To begin to frame some of the
                                        > > > issues I want to say something about another
                                        > historically
                                        > > > controversial screen credit. I don't
                                        > bring it up to suggest
                                        > that it
                                        > > > is an exact model for our current situation
                                        > in Sound, or a
                                        > predictor
                                        > > > of how the credit Sound Design will
                                        > eventually be seen, but simply
                                        > > > because there are some parallels between the
                                        > two that are
                                        > interesting.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > In 1939 William Cameron Menzies was the first
                                        > Art Director to
                                        > > > receive the screen credit "Production
                                        > Designer" on a film that
                                        > > > made a rather big splash. The film was
                                        > "Gone With The Wind." Many
                                        > > > other Art Directors were appalled at the new
                                        > credit, and the
                                        > > > acrimony over the "Production
                                        > Design" continued for several
                                        > > > decades. Why, some said, is this new title
                                        > necessary? Menzies is
                                        > > > doing exactly the same job he did when he
                                        > called himself an Art
                                        > > > Director. Is he trying to aggrandize his
                                        > position? Is he trying to
                                        > > > make himself seem better, more desirable than
                                        > we mere Art
                                        > > > Directors are? In other words... Is this a
                                        > scheme to steal our
                                        > > > clients?... some wondered.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > In the mid 1980's Richard Beggs and I
                                        > (presumably because Murch
                                        > > > and Burtt weren't available : ) were
                                        > asked to come to a meeting of
                                        > > > the Executive Committee of the Academy's
                                        > Sound Branch so that we
                                        > > > could explain what a sound designer is. I
                                        > honestly don't remember
                                        > > > what we said, but I suspect we did an
                                        > appallingly bad job of it.
                                        > > > What follows is something close to what I
                                        > think we should have
                                        > said...
                                        > > >
                                        > > > The credit first appeared on a film, actually
                                        > two films, in
                                        > 1979. On
                                        > > > "Apocalypse Now" Walter Murch took
                                        > the screen credit "Sound Design
                                        > > > and Montage." About the same time Ben
                                        > Burtt got the "Sound Design"
                                        > > > credit on the sequel to "American
                                        > Graffiti." But they weren't the
                                        > > > first to get that credit, they were just the
                                        > first to get it on a
                                        > > > film. Earlier, some sound people working on
                                        > Broadway plays in New
                                        > > > York had received the credit "Sound
                                        > Design," and Dan Dugan, who
                                        > > > was doing the same kinds of work in the San
                                        > Francisco theater
                                        > > > scene, took that credit as well, before it
                                        > appeared in the world
                                        > > > of film.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Contrary to what many people think, the work
                                        > that "Sound
                                        > > > Designers" do is not new. It was being
                                        > done long before anyone
                                        > > > called him or herself a "Sound
                                        > Designer." People in film had been
                                        > > > doing what "Sound Designers" do at
                                        > least two generations before
                                        > > > "Apocalypse Now." The crucial
                                        > question then: what is that work?
                                        > > > What does a Sound Designer do? Well, we know
                                        > what sound is, and we
                                        > > > know what design is, so shouldn't it be
                                        > clear? Maybe, but it's
                                        > not.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > When Walter and Ben took that credit they saw
                                        > it as something very
                                        > > > similar to what a few Supervising Sound
                                        > Editors and Mixers had
                                        > > > indeed already done... work with the Director
                                        > to shape the sound
                                        > > > of the film beginning very early in the
                                        > process, as early as
                                        > > > production or even pre-production, and
                                        > continue that work all the
                                        > > > way through post production. Since those
                                        > opportunities to work on
                                        > > > a project from
                                        > > > pre-production through post were very rare,
                                        > they thought it
                                        > > > deserved a new name, and Sound Design seemed
                                        > appropriate. Among
                                        > > > others, they used Orson Welles and the way he
                                        > worked with his
                                        > > > sound crews as a model. The idea was that if
                                        > sound was to be a
                                        > > > full collaborator somebody was needed to work
                                        > with the Director
                                        > > > from nearly the beginning of the project so
                                        > that sound ideas could
                                        > > > influence creative decisions in the other
                                        > crafts before it was too
                                        > > > late, so that Sound could be a driving
                                        > creative force rather than
                                        > > > a band-aid. That was the grand theory in a
                                        > nutshell, but it didn't
                                        > > > catch on.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > The "sexy" term Sound Design caught
                                        > on in the movie biz, but with
                                        > > > a very different and unfortunately much
                                        > narrower meaning. Somehow
                                        > > > Sound Design in film came to be associated
                                        > exclusively with things
                                        > > > "high tech," with using 24track
                                        > tape recorders and midi in the
                                        > > > early days, and a little later plug-ins.
                                        > Basically the grand
                                        > > > notion of a sound collaborator for the
                                        > Director morphed into
                                        > > > "gadget specialist." A Sound
                                        > Designer became something like a high
                                        > > > tech audio grease monkey, a nerd you hired to
                                        > electronically
                                        > > > fabricate sounds you couldn't find in the
                                        > effects library. Lots
                                        > > > and lots of people started calling themselves
                                        > Sound Designers. It
                                        > > > quickly became an easy way to get cheap
                                        > attention, whether the
                                        > > > attention was deserved or not. Established
                                        > Supervising Sound
                                        > > > Editors and Mixers, especially in LA,
                                        > justifiably saw many of
                                        > > > these newly minted "Sound
                                        > Designers" as con artists out to steal
                                        > > > their clients with a few slick techy moves.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > In my view, the word design applies to all
                                        > the creative work we do
                                        > > > in sound. Fabricating and manipulating sounds
                                        > is sound design.
                                        > > > Editing existing sounds is sound design.
                                        > Brilliant sound design
                                        > > > can be done using unmodified sound effects
                                        > from the most basic
                                        > > > commercial library. Breathtakingly beautiful
                                        > sound design can be
                                        > > > done and has been done with dialog alone, no
                                        > sound effects at all.
                                        > > > Supervising is also design. It's a
                                        > crucial kind of sound design in
                                        > > > my opinion because it consists of guiding the
                                        > creative process.
                                        > > > And finally, Mixing is design. Despite the
                                        > sometimes questionable
                                        > > > use of the term by "wannabees," I
                                        > think Sound Design is a credit
                                        > > > very worth preserving. The "grand
                                        > notion" is worth preserving
                                        > > > and spreading as well. We should all be
                                        > pushing, to the degree we
                                        > > > can, to make Sound a full creative
                                        > collaborator in the
                                        > > > storytelling process.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > The most important part of the work that
                                        > Editors and Mixers do is
                                        > > > making creative decisions. The word
                                        > "design" makes it easy to
                                        > > > distinguish us from engineers and
                                        > administrators, whose work is
                                        > > > extremely important but not focused on
                                        > artistic creativity.
                                        > Oscars in
                                        > > > the Sound categories are awarded to those
                                        > people who make the
                                        > > > final creative decisions for the
                                        > Director's approval. If someone
                                        > > > has acted as a creative supervisor for sound
                                        > all the way through
                                        > > > post production until the end of the final
                                        > mix I feel strongly
                                        > > > that he or she should be eligible for Oscar
                                        > nomination regardless
                                        > > > of whether the person's screen credit was
                                        > "Supervising Sound
                                        > > > Editor," "Mixer," or
                                        > "Sound Designer." The borders between editing
                                        > > > and mixing are rapidly disappearing as
                                        > technology allows both
                                        > > > kinds of work to be done with nearly
                                        > identical machines. Given
                                        > > > that "mixing" and
                                        > "editing" are becoming one thing, wouldn't it
                                        > be
                                        > > > better if the people supervising the creative
                                        > decisions in Sound
                                        > > > were called "Supervising Sound
                                        > Designers?"
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Randy Thom
                                        > > > January 13, 2009
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
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                                      • Jim
                                        I keep coming back to a comparison to the visual element of movies when thinking about this troubling terminology connected to sound. At the risk of being
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jan 21 8:32 AM
                                          I keep coming back to a comparison to the visual element of movies
                                          when thinking about this troubling terminology connected to sound. At
                                          the risk of being overly general: A production designer is responsible
                                          for what we see. A cinematographer is responsible for how we see it. A
                                          picture editor chooses points of focus, and the duration of these
                                          focus points (as well as the sequencing and structure).

                                          That's the visual aspect, divided into three parts. When it comes to
                                          the audible aspect... it's one thing, it's just "sound." The sound
                                          team, whatever you choose to call them, decide what, how, when, for
                                          how long, and in what order and in what combination (under the
                                          director's direction, of course). There's so much that goes into this.

                                          Looking at it this way, why is sound not simply called "Sound"? Why
                                          modify it with "design" or "editing" or "supervision"? This way,
                                          whoever is the audio "director" (to borrow a game term) is the person
                                          who comes after "Sound by ___". This is your supervisor, your sound
                                          creative leader, your technical leader. I think "Sound Designer" is a
                                          good term, but I also wonder about the perception of it. In the
                                          perception of some (as I've seen suggested) it narrows the task into a
                                          kind of sonic painter, or a cloistered artist fiddling with mysterious
                                          toys in a dark room. In truth, isn't a the person responsible for the
                                          overall sound also a supervisor? A manager? An editor? A technician?
                                          Is a location sound mixer "designing"?

                                          Music also makes things problematic. Those who photograph what we see
                                          photograph *everything* that we see. But the sound team isn't
                                          responsible for everything we hear. There is also music. Because of
                                          people's recognition and embrace of music as a standalone thing, not
                                          to mention a very emotional and personal thing, audiences understand
                                          its significance. It's been brought into people's homes, their cars,
                                          their ipods... their lives. Sound hasn't been comodified or owned in
                                          the same way. Sound is of course an immensely powerful thing. But it
                                          isn't bought and sold and possessed in the same way that images and
                                          music are. I think there's something to that aspect as well.

                                          Jim Batcho
                                        • Randy Thom
                                          Actually it s very common for the computer graphics and other visual effects shots to be in the control of someone other than the Director of Photography.
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Jan 21 12:10 PM
                                            Actually it's very common for the computer graphics and other "visual
                                            effects" shots to be in the control of someone other than the Director
                                            of Photography. So, different teams handle the visuals as well.

                                            Randy



                                            --- In sound-article-list@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jimmythejim@...> wrote:
                                            Those who photograph what we see photograph *everything* that we see.
                                            But the sound team isn't
                                            > responsible for everything we hear. There is also music.
                                            > Jim Batcho
                                            >
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