Sound Design

Sound Design

Theatrical

It's a Wonderful Life: Radio Theatre

The Playhouse at White Lake (Formerly the Howmet Playhouse), December 2020

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Directed by Cindy Beth Davis - Dykema
Performed by the White Lake Youth Theater
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This play was produced by the Playhouse at White Lake in response to the constraints and societal zeitgeist surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Voices actors were recorded 6 feet away from each other with masks on and sound effects were recorded individually on stage during a separate session. The audio was synced to a festive video of a yule fireplace and livestreamed to patrons who purchased a ticket. 

Since the radio drama has become a distinctly retro form of storytelling entertainment, I designed the overall sound quality to give a vintage impression, rather than distractingly evoking the limitations of 1930s radio broadcast quality. This was achieved through a combination of my choice of microphones and digital effects used during editing.

The sound effects were all created by using small antique props and household items to create impressions of larger than life sounds to support the modest scope of the story and medium.

 
Intro -
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This piece demonstrates the overall quality of the program, with dry, heavy, grainy vocals and the underlying musical motif of a solo violin.
Ice Cream Shop Scene -
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Multiple foley props were used to create the detailed soundscape of the ice cream shop including a glass mason jar, an ice cream scoop, a door in the theater, an antique brass bell and a pack of jelly beans. Additionally, a baseball glove was struck to evoke the sound of Mr. Gower hitting George.
Taxi -
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3 main components were used to create the sound of Bert's taxi, including an antique coffee grinder for the motor, a vintage style brass horn and a lidded plastic filing box for the door.
Windows Breaking -
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I designed the sound of windows breaking out of a satin bag filled with tiny pieces of metal surrounding a glass bottle that were violently jerked and shaken.
Mary's House and Telephone -
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Telephone sounds were created using a bicycle bell and a non-functioning rotary phone. For the sound of a voice heard through a receiver, the respective voice had several bands of high frequencies removed at an instananeous value, creating a very harsh, gritty and unnatural tone. The comedic moment with Mary's mother was emphasized by placing the sound of it low in the mix, with high frequencies removed (this time gradually, creating a physically natural tone) and far to the right in the stereo field, to create a the sonic illusion of it happening on the other end of the house.
Piano and Tension Increasing -
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In this scene, George Bailey's breakdown is accompanied by the unnerving sound of a child practicing piano. In the first part of this scene, it is unobtrusively muffled and quiet, creating a sense of space and supporting the quiet moment between George and his young daughter. During the second part, it is far more present, functioning as a disturbing score for George's utter loss of control, and the ensuing silence is made all the more uncomfortable. 

The piano was performed by me. To approximate the sense of a child learning how to play the piano, I recorded myself writing an arrangement of Silent Night in real time, using my less than intermediate skills on the instrument.
River and Angelic Descent -
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For this scene, where George Bailey is standing at the edge of the bridge contemplating suicide, I directed the water and winds sounds to have an intense turbulance, creating an intensely dramatic weight. 

I created the sound of Clarence descending from heaven with a heavily processed wind chime.

Vintage Hitchcock

Howmet Playhouse, July 2018

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Mr. Sleuth's Entrance & Ominous Nightime Ambience (The Lodger) - Tyler Quinn
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Mrs. Bunting interrupts Mr. Sleuth - Tyler Quinn
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The Bird Shop (Sabotage) - Tyler Quinn
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Countdown to the Bomb Detonation (Sabotage) - Tyler Quinn
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Increasing Stress and Stabbing (Sabotage) - Tyler Quinn
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Street Ambience (Sabotage) - Tyler Quinn
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Brawl and Gunshots (The 39 Steps) - Tyler Quinn
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Cue List
Working Prop List
Directed by Adrianne Lewis
Performed by the White Lake Youth Theater
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Vintage Hitchcock is an anthology play combining three stories from Hitchcock's earlier filmography. The show is presented as a live radio drama, thus all of the sound effects are performed live by the actors. My official job title for this show was "foley designer". I was responsible for locating objects that the performers could use to make the sounds as well as instructing them on the best ways of producing sound with said items. 

Sound 1: The thunder was created with a narrow spring drum, while a different performer created wind with the sound of an aeoliphone. Mr. Sleuth's distinctive limp was created by having one performer strike a wooden cabinet with a wooden dowel, and another striking it with a hard soled dress shoe. 

Sound 2: The squeaky door was created by a performer slowly opening an old rusty door hinge and the sound of the dinner set falling was created by dropping a crash box filled with Corelle plates. 

Sound 3: The sounds of birds were created with as many as four of the performers whistling at the same time and the cash register ringing up "no sale" was created by ringing an old bicycle bell. 

Sound 4: The countdown is achieved by layering three different ticking sounds starting with a metronome ticking at 60 BPM (roughly the pace of clock). More sounds are added to increase the tension and raise the sense of urgency such as the flicking of a switch on a type writer and twisting a rather loud knob. The clock chime was produced by striking the plate of a metal candle holder with a brass bar and the explosion was created with the aeoliphone. 

Sound 5: Dinner plates were set on the foley table by performers to set the scene, and a performer pretended to chop vegetables on an empty wooden cutting board, and increased the speed and forcefulness of their strikes as the character of Winnie became more stressed. The stabbing sounds were created with a performer vigorously plunging a salad knife into a watermelon. 

Sound 6: The sounds of the cars were created with handheld brass horns, twisting knobs on an antique typewriter and turning the crank of an old coffee grinder. 

Sound 7Punching sounds were created by the performers punching their palms and vigorously patting their chests, and the gunshots were created by loudly clapping the soles of tuxedo shoes together. 

If interested, please enquire to hear a runthrough of the entire play.

Documents

 
Photo by Beth Beaman

The Seamstress

Howmet Playhouse, July 2017

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Daytime Ambience - Tyler Quinn
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Evening Ambience - Tyler Quinn
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Victrola - Tyler Quinn
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Doorbell - Tyler Quinn
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Directed by Justin Sternburgh
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The Seamstress is a period piece taking place in 1916, set in the home of an aspiring politician, his wife, and their seamstress. My sound design served to support the time period, create an atmosphere to place the characters in and bring life to props. For the time period, I pulled 78rpm transfer recordings of popular songs from 1916 and included them in pre-show music, post-show music and scene changes. To create and atmosphere, I played simple daytime and evening ambiences, with both panned slightly more to the left main, so that the audience would localize it to the window (pictured above), so that they would be aware that the source was outside the home. Some props (e. a Victrola) weren't capable of producing sound at a sufficient volume as a practical for the audience to hear them, so I created the sound to be played back over the speakers on cue.
Photo by Beth Beaman

The Rememberer

Howmet Playhouse, July 2017

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Joyce's Dream - Tyler Quinn
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Sick Soundscape - Tyler Quinn
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Spirit Thunder - Tyler Quinn
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Whipping With Belt - Tyler Quinn
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Directed by Ann Genson
Performed by the White Lake Youth Theater
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The Rememberer tells the true story of Joyce Cheeka, a young Squaxin Native American girl, who is forcibly taken from her home and placed in a government-run school in 1911. The sound was designed to support Joyce's culture as a Native American. Flute and tribal chant music was pulled, some from modern recordings of traditional music and some from digital transfers of museum cylinder recordings. The set was largely bare, save for a few props or scenic paintings to visualize the scene. I used sound to further differentiate the changes of setting, so that they would be more apparent to the audience. The most abstract usage of sound design occurred at moments where Joyce's deceased Aunt Sophie was mentioned or seen onstage, such as tracks 1 and 3. This is because Aunt Sophie appears to Joyce as a spectral guide, thus some supernatural elements were added to enhance her phantom-like presence. For instance, track 3 is a sound controlled by Aunt Sophie with a clap of her hands.
Photo by Claire Beaman

Fox on the Fairway

Howmet Playhouse, July 2017

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Phone Squacking - Tyler Quinn
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Golf Starter Voiceovers - Tyler Quinn
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Amplifier Destruction - Tyler Quinn
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Directed by Jason Bertoia
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Fox on the Fairway is a farce that takes focus on a country club and it's regulars. The owner finagles his assistant into competing in a golf tournament after betting the ownership of the club with his rival. I used sound to augment the comedy and support the 80s inspired design that was also utilized for the set and costumes. Sound for comedic purpose was used in cue 1, with the overtly silly phone squawking sounds, whereas the phone would be silent in a more serious production. Another instance occurs with cue 3, when Bingham's wife destroys the club's defective PA system. The hits are cued by her individual swings and the feedback is overly dramatic and almost expressive. To support the 80s design, I pulled the sound of an eighties office phone ringing in cue 1 and used stimulus progression muzak to play quietly in the background of the club for the duration of the play.

Slaughter City

Unrealized Theatrical Sound Design, January 2016

Runner up to Recipient honor for KCACTF Region III Design competition for Sound Design, 2016

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Slaughter City Killing Floor Ambience - Tyler Quinn
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Brandon's Casette Tape - Tyler Quinn
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Triangle Shirtwaist Dream Music - Tyler Quinn
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Mr. Sausage's Music - Tyler Quinn
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Pipes Bursting/Brandon's Death - Tyler Quinn
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Triangle Shirtwaist Inferno - Tyler Quinn
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Slaughter City takes a central focus on a motley crew of slaughterhouse workers. They toil away at an unforgiving job every day of their lives and there is little hope that they'll ever be able to break free from a life where all they know is miserable work, and just scraping by financially. Thus, I designed the sound to turn the slaughterhouse environment into a sonic limbo. The entirety of the soundscape was to revolve around a central soundscape (the killing floor ambience) that melded every sound the workers would hear on a daily basis, into an endless, inescapable cacophony of death, filth and misery. Additional cues are used to convey the Sausage Man's supernatural powers and manipulation, such as tracks three and four. The third track is a warped, distorted song that seems to weep. The fourth track is also a musical cue that evokes a dreamlike quality. It plays during the surreal moments where Cod witnesses her mother's death and bargaining with the Sausage Man during the triangle shirtwaist fire.