This semester I designed a show for the first time. I accepted a position as the sound designer of a play called “Fen” by Caryl Churchill, performed in our black box theatre. I had never planned in any kind of sound designing, but after being thrown into the deep end of sound technology, I managed to learn a lot and actually enjoy myself. Exploring the design of a show from the inside is a new experience for me, but an entirely thrilling and exhausting one. I spent days of my life listening to tractor engines starting up and crickets chirping in the night. I arranged music and composed pieces. I was pushed as an artist and my creative mind learned every step of the way. While all of this was brand new, I was able to use skills that I had acquired from other jobs to accomplish my goals and duties as a sound designer.

Arranging music and rehearsing with actors a year ago would have been intimidating beyond belief. But, after two semesters of music theory, I managed to get three actors with little to no musical experience to sing a song together, on tempo, and even harmonize with each other. I also composed underscoring for several scenes after spending countless hours pounding away at the piano like Beethoven after he lost his hearing, except that what I came up with is hardly a 5th symphony. These things at first seemed like impossible tasks, until I collected my thoughts and realized that I had these skills all along. And thanks to my experience as a Stage Manager and Director, I know the importance of self-imposed deadlines and communication among everyone on the team. I also learned just how valuable other designers can be. After all, they’re working on the same show, maybe they have some similar ideas and opinions. Overall, my advice to all new designers is to remember that you already have all the skills you need to succeed; you just have to figure out how to use them to your advantage. And if there happens to be a skill you haven’t yet acquired, there is always someone nears you who knows how to do it and is more than willing to help you; all you have to do is ask.