Sound design health Asbjoern Andersen


Working in sound can be dangerously stressful and taxing on both mind and body - so we were really happy that Andrew Lackey allowed us to re-post his insights on the importance of looking after yourself, even when things are hectic:
Written by Andrew Lackey and reposted with his kind permission
Please share:
 

For many of us, this time of year is about spending time with family and friends; the other “half” of the life balance. I jokingly put half in quotes because that “half” can look a lot more like a sliver on the pie chart during some projects. One of the dicier topics in our industry is “The Crunch”: the final weeks or months of a project where there aren’t enough hours in the week to get everything done to the quality bar you’ve set. Audio Pros are particularly vulnerable to this problem since sound production is finessed and finalized at a very late stage in the process. I’ve worked in TV, Film, Video Games and Commercials – as an in house sound designer and as an external contractor; ”The Crunch” is universal.

The prevailing opinion in the biz is ‘deal with it’, and ’it’s part of the job’. I agree with this, and even embrace it… to an extent. To function well on commercial products, creative right brainy people need limits – especially time limits. Crunch mode helps focus your attention, cut ideas that aren’t paying off and commit to the creative choices you’ve made.

However, there comes a point in “The Crunch” where personal well being becomes an issue. In a generalized observation gathered from myself, my peers, my mentors and younger people coming into the business, we often go over the line. Yes, “The Crunch” is part of the job, but sacrificing your health and well being is not. In this article, I offer you no guidelines; only evidence that your personal health is supremely important. This line is always up to you to define.
 

Two Aspects: Health and Well Being.

Health – Stress while recording a lion is good. Weeks of stress during a crunch is bad.

The sustained and habitual stress of our work sets us up for what doctors call Chronic Stress. Stress in small doses is good. In fact, it keeps you from doing stupid things like stepping out into traffic. It helps us survive very dangerous situations.

This constant state of stress doesn’t allow your body to recoup, and your cardiovascular system, digestive system, weight and mental health are all at risk

The problem is that our bodies can’t stay in that state very long without doing internal damage. Chronic stress is just that. This constant state of stress doesn’t allow your body to recoup, and your cardiovascular system, digestive system, weight and mental health are all at risk. Many doctors believe this to be just as bad as a serious addiction. Look it up.

Wellness – We can all learn a thing or two from Ben Burtt.

At the end of Ben Burt’s recent acceptance speech for the Charles S. Swartz Award, he warmly and sincerely says:

“And lastly I want to urge everybody that…we know in post production you’re in a very tough business that takes a lot of sacrifice of your time and energy. I’ve never fully solved this problem, but I’ve learned over the years that you have to make time for your loved ones. That you have to try to get home for dinner and be with those kids across the table at night if you can. And I know the business doesn’t favor that kind of activity…it doesn’t put an emphasis on that. But you find in many many years that those loves ones that you leave at home, that are waiting for you, matter a lot more ultimately than the films and shows that you do. So try to find a balance there. Try to find projects that allow you to do that, or make decisions that allow that to happen. Thank you for this award its really an honor.”

Ben opened huge doors to the wonders of sound that we’re all playing in. He has had an amazing career in doing so. Yet, in a lifetime achievement award he is saying…”loved ones are more important”.

This isn’t the first time any of us have heard this advice, and on some level we know balance needs to be maintained to keep ourselves and our lives functional. The fact is humans need this practice of community, commitment and belonging to stay healthy and happy. To a certain extent we build these relationships with our coworkers, but spiritual leaders, doctors, and sound design visionaries agree… spending quality time with loved one’s is at the core of content happy lives.
 

Now for the hard part; making it happen:

I for one haven’t always been skillful creating this balance for myself. Ultimately this is your challenge, but here are some suggestions.

Start to notice your health and well being.

Think about the last year. What have been the good times and bad? How are you doing now?

Take really small steps.

Eat an apple today, and allow yourself to slowly graduate to better habits like regular exercise and leaving work at a specified time.

Learn

There are many forms of stress management…all with great side benefits. Be curious about what spiritual, philosophical, and health wisdom you can seek.

Encourage others to be healthy.

Altruism and compassion are the keys to happiness if you believe the Dali Lama. I feel we struggle against a culture that during crunch time manufactures a sense of duty that attempts to supersede our desire for personal well being. Showing co-workers compassion for their stress is not only a way to keep that in perspective, but a kind practice you will get benefit from.

Value Planning for great results and graceful execution.

You have to get the job done…and well. No doubt about it. Define the results you want to achieve on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and work as gracefully as possible to achieve them.

Communicate your intentions.

Be frank and honest about where your limits are, but also keep in mind that ‘negotiation’ needs flexibility. Sometimes just stating your preference not to work 120 hours this week is a good first step. There is a great state of mind termed: Equanimity Try to keep that in these situations.

Continually evaluate your situation.

Retain your power by continuing to evaluate your situation. This doesn’t necessarily mean look for another job, but that is certainly one evaluation you could make. The more ideal approach is the make many small adjustments from periodic evaluations instead of one big one. You may still end up looking for another job, but there may be other adjustments that will benefit you as much or more. Ask yourself, “How’s this working out for me?”, but there’s no need to freak out if the answer is bad. If you’ll notice this step is the same as the first.

Our jobs wouldn’t be any fun if we were punching a clock and stamping widgets. The challenge for us as individuals and as a community is to balance our open hearted love for what we do with the principles of healthy living. I hope you find this helpful.

 

A big thanks to Andrew Lackey for allowing us to re-post his insightful thoughts! Republished from its original 2009 postings on the Wabi Sabi Sound Blog and Designing Sound.

 

Please share this:


 


 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
 
 
  • Alchemy of Guns is a comprehensive weapon laboratory of single sounds made to be mixed, assembled and fit with each other.
    We built the library as an array of modular layers, each one bound to a specific alchemical element, each one made with a specific Xfer Serum setup, and since we enjoyed finding ourselves sketching on paper combinations of elements according to the combinations of the samples, we kept this general structure.

    33 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135199
    Add to cart
  • Sci-Fi Advanced Propulsion Play Track 1191 sounds included $99

    ADVANCED PROPULSION is a next-gen sound design toolkit built for creating dynamic sci-fi vehicle engines and passbys. The designed engine sounds are all seamless loops, making them perfect for use with various plug-ins and interactive applications. All raw source material used to design the engines is included, giving you maximum creative flexibility.

    Add to cart
  • Game Audio Packs Gamemaster Pro Sound Collection Play Track 8076 sounds included, 189 mins total $49

    Pro Sound Collection is the highest quality and most affordable sound library you will find. The ultimate collection of 8076 ready to use sound effects!!!

    This is the perfect collection of sounds for all types of sound designers, game developers and video editors who need a large range of high quality sound effects ready to use. Designed specifically for games, film and other media by award winning sound designers.

    What’s included? EVERY sound Gamemaster Audio ever made! ALL our other other sound libraries (plus other sounds) have been packed into in this amazing sound collection.

    Pro Sound Collection Includes:
    Fun Animal Voices $25
    Explosion Sound Pack $10
    Footstep and Foley Sounds $10
    Fun Casual Sounds $15
    Fun Character Voices $10
    Gun Sound Pack $19
    Guns, Bullets and Explosions $35
    Human Vocalizations $25
    Magic and Spell Sounds $25
    Punch and Combat Sounds $29
    Retro 8 Bit Sounds $15
    Sci-Fi Sounds and Sci-Fi Weapons $25
    Silenced Gun Sounds $25
    Troll Monster Vocalizations $10

    Total value $278!!!

    Sound Categories:

    • Alarms • Ambience • Animals • Beeps • Bullets • Buttons • Cartoon • Cinematic • Collectibles • Comedy • Doors • Electricity • Explosions • Fire • Foley • Footsteps • Guns • Hums • Items • Levers • Magic • Misc. • Nature • Powerups • Punches • Retro/8Bit • Sci-Fi • Snow / Ice • Switches • User Interface • Voice • Water • Weapons • Whooshes + MANY MORE!

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • We have created a small library to help with the ongoing need for safety videos during this strange time in our lives. From hand sanitizer’s to spray bottles, we have compiled a library to cover all forms of day to day sanitizing.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591394399
  • Jump in a hot-off-the-assembly-line 2020 Porsche 911 “992” Carrera S from the comfort of your home or studio chair. This library won’t lose a cent of value when you drive it off the lot!

    Great for linear work or games – especially since it includes an easy-to-use Interior vs. Exterior mockup folded down to 2-channel files (ISO’s also included separately).

    This is our premiere foray into sound libraries here at Steamboat Sound, and we worked real hard to make it equally high-quality and easy-to-use – we hope you enjoy!

    Recordings include:

    Mockup channel order (panned, for easy editing in NLE):
    Channel 1 (left) – Exterior
    Channel 2 (right) – Interior

    Isolated tracks of all Exterior and Interior perspectives on idles, revs, engine starts & stops, various speeds, and more!

    Interior knobs, buttons, dials, seatbelts, sunroof, turn signals, buttons, windshield wipers, door open/close.

    Recorded with industry-standard equipment used on theatrical films and name-brand commercials, for your listening pleasure.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591307999
  • MAGIC SOUND EFFECTS REDEFINED
     
    Enter the world of MAGIC – ARCANE FORCES, where supernatural entities can be heard raging with ultimate power and fury. The distinctly forceful and kinetic character of this comprehensive sound effects library and its designs is supported by countless pristine source recordings of the elements being pushed to their limits. Whether in post production or sound design for games, MAGIC – ARCANE FORCES gives you the edge on the other side.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:
    INCLUDED SOUNDS – KEYWORDS
    ACID, ARCANE, BARRIER, BREATH, BUFF, CURSED, DEBUFF, DIVINE, ELECTRIC, ENERGY, FIRE, GLASS, ICE, IMPACT, LIGHT, LIQUID, METAL, PROCESSED, PROJECTILE, RUMBLE, SEQUENCE, SUMMON, SWEETENER, SWISH, TELEPORT, TEXTURE, VOICE, WATER, WHOOSH, WIND
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591999199
  • “The Shoe Collection: Soft Hardwood – Woman’s Knee-High Boot“ by Periscope Post & Audio, provides 22 high quality footsteps on soft hardwood floors with the knee-high boot.  The audio files are recorded at 24bit, 192k with mono and stereo recordings.  The Sennheiser MKH-60 was used for the mono files with a slightly more distant mic placement than the stereo files, which were recorded with the Sennheiser MKH8050 and the Sennheiser MKH-30 near the shoe.  From different walking speeds, to jogging, sprinting, jumping, hard stops, scuffs, and more!  There are several performances with each file to fit the right action you need.  That’s a whopping 620 footsteps between the mono and stereo files!

    17 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135199
  • Recording of the Pulse Jet Snowmobile. Powered by a 50 Hz Pulse ethanol/water jet engine the same used by a WW2 V-2 rocket.


    The Pulse Jet Snowmobile sound collection shares 28 clips of field recordings in 1.42 gigabytes of audio. Powered by a 50 Hz Pulse ethanol/water jet engine the same used by a WW2 V-2 rocket, this bundle presents the snowmobile racing at extreme speeds for a mix of perspectives.

    Both onboard and exterior perspectives are shared in two takes. The exterior perspectives arrange microphones at a mix of distances at the beginning, end, and middle of the racing strip. The onboard microphones were positioned onboard the body and at the jet engine to portray steady fast driving, with bonus custom mixes of the onboard and exhaust tracks.

    The sound library includes iXML, Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder embedded metadata, metadata keyword import files for 7 languages, and Pro Tools and Reaper mixing sessions.

 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER:
 
The A Sound Effect newsletter gets you a wealth of exclusive stories and insights
+ free sounds with every issue:
 
Subscribe here for free SFX with every issue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.