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I'm an aspiring sound designer who is going to school in a tiny Southern town. We don't have a film program, and while the music department has some music technology, there are only four courses. I can sound design for theater and work at the radio station to learn about audio engineering, but that's about it, as far as I can tell. If I wanted to intern, I'd have to wait until the summer, when I can drive to a major city.

So, besides networking online and scouring forums, how am I supposed to make good face-to-face contacts in the film and gaming industries? Should I transfer to a less isolated school? Thanks for reading!

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Probably the question I never dared asking! –  Justin Huss Jul 9 '10 at 21:25
    
@Mercy - got a beginning sound editing gig out of Atlanta. shoot me an email colin@vcprod.com if you are interested. –  VCProd Mar 23 '11 at 17:35

4 Answers 4

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IMO contacts (while very important) are less important than ability. If you know the right people but can't deliver when called upon, then knowing those people doesn't do much good.

My advice is to spend time developing your skills. Record lots of stuff, build your library, sound design stuff for free for a while. Everyone needs a logo done or a video dealt with. Once you get super confident start trading your work for stuff and favors (or money if you can get it).

Network online. Sound design is not the type of thing that has to be geographically restricted. 60% of our clients are from out of town, and my workflow commonly relies on FTP or yousendits back and forth with the video editor.

Build skills, and the contacts will follow.

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Nicely put. I totally agree. –  Utopia Jul 9 '10 at 20:28
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@Mercy You can also use the fact that you're in a small town in the south to do some good recordings outdoors. What's the ambient sound like? Away from freeways and the like? –  Utopia Jul 9 '10 at 20:29
    
Also, you can go online to find local groups. Is there a local chapter of the IGDA, or an Indie-gaming club? Indie film group? Maybe a Flash based programmer making games on Newgrounds or videos on YouTube? It might not be work that pays, but it'll get you contacts and practice, and help build your demo reel. –  Dave Matney Jul 9 '10 at 22:02
    
@Ryan lots of students walking around. some roads, but no highways. we actually have an entire lake for the Outdoor Education majors I could use. Thanks you guys! –  Mercy Jul 10 '10 at 14:05

I am aware that you are not the only one with this difficulty. It is one of the main reasons I've begun teaching online webinars based on my book Sound Design, which have gotten participants from Asia, South America, Europe and all over the US. The next one is a free intro Aug. 24, leading toward a six week series beginning Sept. 8. Check it out on SoundDesignForPros.com.

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If it's within your budget, I would transfer. In fact I did. I transferred from a small town in Ohio to a school in downtown Chicago for the same reason. I couldn't be happier with my decision today.

Think of it this way: If you want to work in sound, you should study it and get a degree from an accredited school. There are many schools that have programs in film sound, acoustics etc. These students are going to be your competition and by completing a sound-related degree program you are leveling the playing field. You can also compare yourself to them and figure out what you can do to be better.

You can learn a lot from the internet but it's important to learn from people who know what they're doing. *Ironically some of the teachers at these schools don't know what they're doing. It's up to you to learn from every possible angle you can and determine what to take away from your experiences. It's fun!

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You should track down and talk to a composer named Sean Beeson. He lives in... Ohio? On a farm. And is a respected and recognizable name within the game audio community. Oh, and he's 24.

Whatever he's doing, he's doing very well, and he manages to do it from the middle of nowhere. Networking-wise, I see him at every conference I ever attend. I imagine that helps, but if you can talk to him he may be able to give you more meaningful advice.

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Thanks! I'll do that. Is he on SSD? –  Mercy Aug 22 '10 at 16:20

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