If youve been to the movies lately, youve probably seen the
name of a sound designer in the credits along with the names of the composer
and cinematographer. Youre also likely to find a sound designer
as part of the production team for every computer and video game you come
across, not to mention theatrical productions, Web sites, and even radio
dramas. But exactly what is a sound designer, and when did that position
reach its current status?
Sound design is as old as talking movies, but it really became a serious
full-time endeavor when the use of sound was brought to new heights in
films such as Apocalypse Now and Star Wars. Since the mid-1970s, sound
design has become an essential part of most major films as well as the
majority of computer and video games.
Today, sound-design work is available for virtually every form of visual
entertainment. Large game companies often have junior sound-assistant
openings that can lead to more senior positions with greater responsibility.
Film post-production houses often hire interns, giving them the chance
to learn while making coffee and labeling tapes. Freelance studios occasionally
have roles for junior and senior sound designers to help with Web and
The art of sound design has provided fine careers for many musicians who
are not interested in traditional job opportunities in music but love
audio production and the creativity of the sonic arts. Its a booming
profession that requires a combination of skill, patience, and hard work;
professional sound designers are highly sought after and can command good
Magazine, March, 2001
© 2001, Intertec Publishing, A Primedia Company All Rights Reserved.