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Behind The Scenes Spotlight: The Sound Designer!

Meet the Artist, Christy Hernandez!

Music and sound effects are an important part of creating a detailed atmosphere on stage and helping the audience immerse themselves in the world of the story. Christy Hernandez is a part of the resident team of talented designers here at The Rose Theater and is the Sound Designer for Go, Dog. Go! Ms. Hernandez has designed sound for numerous recent productions at The Rose including Winnie-the-Pooh, Dragons Love Tacos, Point A to Point B, and Matilda: The Musical. We asked her to share some information about her work as a Sound Designer and her work on our current production of Go, Dog. Go!. 

Q: Can you explain what exactly is the role of a SOUND DESIGNER for a production? 

A: The sound designer is the person in charge of telling a story with sound effects. That might include sounds for the actions and events that happen in the story or it might include music that helps the audiences connect to the way certain parts of the story make them feel.

Q: What are some of the activities that you might do on a typical day as a sound designer? 

A: Every day is a little different! On some days I might read scripts and figure out where sound effects should go. Other days I get to experiment with different ways to use our sound system and learn about how sound works in the theater space. Did you know that for sound every room is unique? Placement of speakers and mics become really important depending on what feeling you want audiences to have. On my favorite days I get to sit in front of a mic and record sound effects. I do this with either my voice or with a random thing I find that I can use to make unique noises! 

Q: For a show like Go, Dog. Go! , what is the process you use to create your sound design? 

A: The first thing any designer must do is read the script. The first time you read a script you should do so to have fun and just enjoy the story.  If while reading I hear a sound effect in my head, I take a note, but I try not to the first time around. 

Second, I read the script again. By this time all the designers and directors have had a meeting where the director speaks about the story and what they think it means, or the themes they want to explore in the production. So, while reading the second time I keep those themes and ideas in mind. This is when I open my imagination to all the possible sound effects that could go in the story. 

Third, let’s give that script one more read. This time it is important to edit yourself. Sometimes when imagination goes wild thigs get lost. Remind yourself what is most important is to tell a story clearly.  

Fourth is where it gets fun…or more fun! Now you have to find sound effects or create them if you can’t find anything that fits the bill.  

Then it is Tech week time! Tech week is when everything comes together. Lights, sound, set, costumes, props, actors! It’s a little crazy, but it’s a lot of fun. A lot of the times we add or take away some sounds during this week.  

Q: What are some of the sound elements that you had to find or create for Go, Dog. Go! ? Are there any parts of your sound design that you are especially excited for our audiences to hear? 

A: Go, Dog. Go! is really fun because we are using a combination of recorded sound effects and live sound effects coming from instruments on stage! I am excited about all the cartoon noises that the audience will hear. 

Q: What is your favorite part of being a sound designer? Are there challenges in your work that aren’t as fun? 

A: I LOVE RECORDING SOUNDS! My favorite thing to do ever is recording. Whether it be my voice doing silly things, or just banging metal things together, even going outside and recording the world around me. Paperwork… It’s not as fun, but without it I wouldn’t know what to record! 

Q: If a young person wants to be a sound designer when they grow up, what advice would you give them? 

A: Open your ears. The most important thing is to realize how sounds make you feel. If you ever feel super calm as you are walking down a park, listen for the sounds. Can you hear the birds chirping? Maybe there is a water fountain and the water is flowing. Maybe some kids are playing and laughing in the background? Or have you ever been scared when you are all alone? What can you hear that adds to your feeling of fear? Maybe it’s some water moving in the pipes, maybe your house is creaking a little, or perhaps there is an owl outside. The world is full of sound all you have to do is listen! 

Thank you for sharing your work with us, Christy!

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