Cory has a day off out of town with little to do but sit and chat with another awesome designer, so this week we bring you a brand new episode with Sound Designer and very distinguished gentleman, Alex Hawthorn! Aside from following in the footsteps of past guests with fantastically groomed facial hair (Mr Zinn and Mr Nigrini), Alex is one of the leading Associate Sound Designers on Broadway, on the cutting edge of new advents in sound design technology. Fresh off his collaboration with Ken Travis on “In Transit,” Alex discusses the myriad of difficulties in finding the right sound for Broadway’s first a capella musical. With in-ear monitors for every cast member, a backstage mixer, hundreds of cues that only the performers hear, and no band to hide behind, the sound design plays a starring role. Alex and Cory also discuss the optics of where the Sound Designer sits during tech and how that can help shape the ongoing discussion about sound as a craft vs art. And they bounce around to other topics including the revolutionary approach to how you hear the performers at ‘Aladdin’, the transition from associate to designer, how sound designs are adjusted for touring productions, and naturally, the best BBQ in Kansas City!
We’re mixing up the format again this week as we sit down not with a designer, but with the man in charge of handling the contracts for ALL designers, it’s United Scenic Artists Business Rep for Live Performance, Carl Mulert. Carl is the go-to-guy for all contract and union related issues for designers working in theatre and he’s with us today to talk about everything you’ve always wanted to know about USA but were afraid to ask. Cory and Carl cover a multitude of topics including when to join the union, how to join, the different kinds of contracts covered by the union, how collective bargaining and negotiations work, how pension and welfare contributions work, how the union can help you, and how YOU can help strengthen the union. They also briefly discuss the difference between working in the US and working in the UK where designers are not covered by a union. This episode is a must listen for young designers going into the business and probably a good refresher for existing members. There’s a common phrase among designers who need assistance or have questions navigating their contracts…”Call Carl,” over the next two hours, it should become clear why. Enjoy!
This week we welcome back the very first guest to ever sit down for an interview, it’s the return of Sound Designer Lindsay Jones! But this is no ordinary episode. Lindsay is the undisputed king of travel tips, tricks, hacks, secrets, and every other solution to making life on the road as stress free as possible and he joins us today to share with us his wealth of knowledge and experience. Cory and Lindsay chat about airline preferences, loyalty miles, perks and upgrades, best and worst airports, booking websites, what to do if your flight gets canceled, car rental insurance and a whole host of other related topics. They talk about the thankless job of Company Manager and the role they play in making travel arrangements for designers. And as an added bonus, Lindsay shares with us a fascinating tale from his current show ‘Privacy’ at the Public Theatre, which may or may not involve a certain US Citizen living in an undisclosed location in Russia. If you’re a designer who travels a lot, this episode is required listening and will hopefully be the first in a series with Lindsay as he helps everyone learn how to save the tears for opening night, not the Delta terminal.
The podcast is back for some new Spring episodes starting with today’s guest, Sound Designer Stowe Nelson. Cory and Stowe chat about the true meaning of ‘silence’ in theatre, how to create the perfect aural landscape for a play, and how designers work together to create that perfect ‘walk-in’ look that an audience will soak in for 30 minutes prior to the start of a play. They chat about how Stowe is preparing his upcoming designs for ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘The 39 Steps’, how his designs evolve out of the rehearsal room and his least favorite kinds of sound cues to make. And prepare yourself for a riveting conversation about theatre HVAC systems!
It’s been nearly a year since the Tony Awards Administration Committee eliminated the Sound Design Tony so this week we check in on what progress is being made to right that wrong with Sound Designer Nevin Steinberg! Nevin tells us about the steps being taken to educate the public about the art of Sound Design including a newly formed committee within United Scenic Artists. But this episode has so much more! Nevin and Cory chat about his work on ‘Hamilton’ and the emotional and professional impact of being involved with such a runaway hit and Nevin shares lots of interesting anecdotes from ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Venus in Fur’ and ‘In The Heights.’ Hear about the challenges of designing sound for Shakespeare in the Park, why he often doesn’t listen to cast albums, and you’ll never drink a glass of Merlot again without thinking about Nevin’s dead-on comparison of design and the fine art of winemaking. Cheers!
Welcome to our first LIVE episode as we team up with ETC to bring you the Young Designer’s Survival Guide! Cory chats with Jon Collins (Scenery), Jason Crystal (Sound), Travis McHale (Lighting) and Tristan Raines (Costumes) about the nuts and bolts of being a young designer working in New York City. The panel has lots to say on topics ranging from assisting to designing on your own, when to join the union, whether you need an agent, how to remain passionate and how to pay that pesky rent. Being a “young” designer often means having to work harder to get noticed or be taken seriously among a team of seasoned pros and the panel shares their thoughts on maneuvering those obstacles. We take some questions from the audience, everyone names their favorite tech food, it’s a party and you’re invited!
The theatrical design community has spent the past two weeks all abuzz over the recently announced decision by the American Theatre Wing to eliminate the TONY awards for Sound Design. On this week’s show we discuss that decision as well as the art and craft of Sound Design with the very first recipient of the TONY award for Sound Design of a Musical, Scott Lehrer. Scott discusses the importance and impact of being bestowed that honor and his reaction to the Wing’s recent announcement. Cory and Scott chat about creating intimate moments in “South Pacific” at the cavernous Vivian Beaumont theatre, and the role of sound in theatre from amplification, to aural landscapes, to musical mixing and the paradoxical nature of trying to recognize an art form that by it’s very nature, often strives for transparency. The podcast is back with a timely and opinionated episode. Enjoy!
Today’s guest is sound designer, Tony winner, and all around awesome dude Darron West. See if you can figure out how Darron manages to work on all the coolest projects…cause we can’t! He and Cory discuss ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’, ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘Kung Fu’, and an upcoming production of ‘The Tempest’ that sounds so crazy he might have made it up. Learn how companies like Actors Theatre of Louisville and SITI company have shaped his career and what it was like when he decided to sit in the director’s chair. And if that’s not enough, Darron regales us with stories of the original production of ‘Rent’ and how his Broadway debut led to partying it up with Quinten Tarentino!
The podcast has been seriously lacking in feminine charm and this week we’re rectifying that with sound designer and actual female Jill Du Boff! Jill chats about going on the road with Radiolab, how a baby that wouldn’t stop crying led to an awesome sound effect and how she is preparing the next generation of artists to think about sound design in a whole new way. Expect guest appearances from both her cat and her husband…it’s an episode for the whole family!
The hardest (and nicest!) working man in showbiz sits down to chat about his life as a sound designer. It’s Lindsay Jones! He talks about making his Broadway debut with ‘A Time to Kill’ and why he waits until the last possible moment to write music for a show. He’s got a resume as long as the 20 years he’s been designing and he was the first person to record an episode. Enjoy!