This week our Sit Down With... features Sound Engineer for Angell Sound, Tim O'Donoghue. He mentions all the skills needed to be at the top of your game!
1.What inspired you to be a Sound Engineer/Designer?
I’ve loved audio my whole life – as a kid I enjoyed almost every media - radio, tv, films, theatre, music and games, and the sound was always big part of what interested me. I started mucking around with recording gear as soon as I could. Star Wars was also a massive influence!
2. What does your job entail?
Most of our work is creating soundtracks for TV, online, cinema and radio commercials. This means collaborating with creatives, directing voice actors, creating sound effects, editing, mixing and of course, managing relationships.
3.What skills do you need to be a good Sound Designer?
As well as the “sound engineer” stuff like good technical knowledge, a solid playbook of sound design techniques, a broad appreciation of cultural reference points, fast fingers, good time management and the ability to maintain concentration for hours, you also need people-skills like tact, diplomacy, good communication, assertiveness and decisiveness.
4.What’s your favourite part of your job?
Achieving the desired result. Managing a project successfully through to completion. On bigger projects it’s when I start mixing with all the elements in place and everything starts to come together – I get a real buzz from that.
5. If there were one thing you could change about your job what would it be?
This is a industry typical gripe, but it would be - less focus on budget. A lot of shortcuts are taken because of budget and it hurts the overall quality, not just of the finished product but average quality of work out there goes down because the shortcut becomes the “new normal.”
6. Has your style been influenced by other Engineer’s work?
It’s a service industry so we have less of a recognisable “style” than say, the creatives or directors that we work with. If we’re doing our job properly you shouldn’t really notice us! We’ll still contribute creatively if it’s appropriate (and sometimes it’s all our contribution) but it’s hard to pin down a particular style as we’re there to facilitate whatever style is required.
7. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a Sound Designer?
I have no idea. I’d love to say musician but that seems less likely than sound designer!
8. What projects are you most proud of?
I recorded Stephen Merchant’s dialogue for the character “Wheatley” in the game “Portal 2.” It was one of the most fun recording sessions I’ve ever been involved in and it still gets recognition from gamers whenever it comes up in conversation so I’m pleased to have been involved even in a small way. Also an internal safety campaign for National Rail I worked on called “Life Saving Rules” won the EVCOM grand prix a couple of years back. It was an intense set of 6 films, some employing binaural techniques and all very hard-hitting - I was really glad that it was successful and ultimately helped NR achieve their goal.
9. What are your latest projects?
I’ve been travelling the country recording business owners for a government-backed apprenticeships campaign and before that I redubbed 21 hilarious animated shorts teaching kids how to brush their teeth into South American Spanish.
10. Lastly after a long day in the studio what do you like to spend your spare time getting up to?
I spend time with my family, play the guitar, read comics, watch the odd movie or TV drama and play the odd video game. Also sleep is good.