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WTF is a Sound Designer??


I've been trying to explain to various people I meet, that sound design is about decisions, not about tech/gear or a specific aspect of sound (say effects, or music). Apparently a much, much more established person, one Randy Thom, says this:

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.

Which isn't right.. "In my view, the word design applies to all the creative work we do in sound." says Randy Thom, and this is exactly what gets difficult to explain. Sound Designer, being a relatively new (and fancy) term, has been assigned little meaning, and seems to be associated with geekness and trickery.. And apparently in the US, calling yourself a 'sound designer' can be a no-no.. and film sound designers can't get into early credits because they are 'technicians'.

Hopefully the industry will decide on what to call the people who make the important decisions that shape sound as a whole (and are not just editors). Until then, just think it has nothing to do with gadgets.

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