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Sound Design….What’s that again?

With break nearly upon us, I reflect on this repetitive question I recieve a lot from family friends back home who still don’t get what my major is and why I’ve spent my collegiate years studying it.

General Dialogue:

Family Friend: “Oh, how’s college? What do you study again? Lighting something for theatre, right?

Me: “Actually no, I study sound design for theatre….so yep….pretty close but not quite”

FF: “oh, that’s unique……what’s that again, actually?”

I forget being at BU surrounded by theatre artists who have a general understanding of what sound design is that to a civilian  (my favorite term for nontheatre/performance driven ppl) sound design is this mysterious and magical thing that just happens.  Since it is designing the intangible-not-right-in-your-face-cant-quite-put-my-finger-on-it aspect of live performances and plays, I find I have to repeatedly reexplain what I contribute to theatre over and over again.

While this can be furiously frustrating, especially from family friends I’ve explained to many times, I have found that there is a silverlining to it.  I have to constantly figure out how to explain what I do in a way that’s understandable and thus I have to be in conversation with myself a lot about, well, what do I do, really?  That quick self check-in is actually very self motivating.  It’s my inner driving force to strike up a dialogue about theatre and its potentials.


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