The Sound Design Academy Podcast: Audio Production | Voiceover | Podcasting | Lifestyle

Michael Heuer: Sound Designer, Voiceover Artist, and Blogger

Michael Heuer from Sound Design Academy shares all of his best sound design, and audio editing techniques, gear tips, and awesome audio hacks so you can stomp the audio industry and be at the forefront of audio quality with your voiceovers, podcasts, and audio career. Learn how you can consistently deliver amazing audio that truly shines so that you can stress less, grab the gig, and sound like a pro in no time! If you’re searching for a way to break into the industry, hear how the pros do it, and how you can do it too during your spare time, commute, or whenever you’ve got your the urge, Michael Heuer makes it happen every week. Each session introduces you to somebody who’s out there making it happen, sharing their epic fails, epiphanies, great successes, and so much more. Every session ends with a jam session where each guest shares awesome resources and words of wisdom for you!


SDA 015: Matt Besler – Bioware’s Blowin’ Stuff Up!
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:04:57
SDA 015: Matt Besler – Bioware’s Blowin’ Stuff Up!

sda 15 Matt Besler Mass Effect Andromeda Sound Designer

This episode I’m chatting’ it up with Bioware’s Matt Besler! Matt has a had a varied career in film, television, and gaming with such titles as the Mass Effect Trilogy as well as Dragon Age: Origins, 2, and inquisition along with Mass Effect Andromeda which will be dropping the Winter of 2016. Matt has specifically been an audio lead on Dragon Age: Awakening and Origins DLC. 

Show Notes:


  • Where are you from originally? — this also leads into Matt’s career path (1:31)
  • Matt started at Bioware when he was 31 (18:57)
  • What style of music was your band? (25:46)
  • What was it like working on your first game? (29:28)
  • How did your dialogue get mastered for Mass Effect? (32:46)
  • Out of all the games you’ve worked on has there been a favorite? (38:10)
  • Story about Frank (41:43)
  • Craziest recording session (44:55)
  • Do you have a favorite mic? (54:33)
  • What mic is Bioware using on dialogue? (56:53)

If you haven’t subscribed, be sure to pop over to iTunes and do just that. While you’re there leave a review! It can be a sentence long if you like, and make no sense at all, but it’s the review that gets the word out on the iTunes.

Any questions, comments, or concerns? Shoot me a message at

I always love hearing from you!

The post SDA 015: Matt Besler – Bioware’s Blowin’ Stuff Up! appeared first on Sound Design Academy.

SDA 014: Frank Petreikis – Canada to the Rise of the Tomb Raider
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:04:15
SDA 014: Frank Petreikis – Canada to the Rise of the Tomb Raider

rise of the tomb raider sound designer frank petreikis

This week’s episode is with Frank Petreikis who is currently the audio lead on Rise of the Tomb Raider. Frank’s also worked on The Punisher, Saint’s Row 1 and 2, Red Faction Armageddon, Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC, Mass Effect 3, and Dragon Age Inquisition. Frank’s background is seriously one of the most interesting I’ve come across, but that’s all in the interview. 

Show Notes


  • Frank went to school for Elementary Education (2:04)
  • How Frank got into Sound Design (2:38)
  • The transition away from Volition (8:37)
  • Frank’s 2 1/2 years at Bioware (11:47)
  • The transition to Tomb Raider (16:26)
  • How Crystal breaks up their game development schedule (23:28)
  • What was it like when you made that first move out to Edmonton? (25:40)
  • The volume at with Mike Kent mixes (28:42)
  • What did you work on specifically at Bioware? (30:30)
  • How are V/O files organized? (33:25)
  • Why did you originally go into education? (37:12)
  • Has the draught been an issue in your part of California? (40:50)
  • Does something like a draught have an effect on the industry? (41:48)
  • Do you have a favorite plugin or instrument for sound design? (51:27)
  • Do you have a favorite microphone? (57:38)
  • What’s your favorite kick drum mic? (1:00:14)


Rise of the Tomb Raider

Steel Panda Sound Design

Frank Petreikis


Support the Podcast!



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SDA 013: Austin Shannon – Stick of Truth to Freelance Freedom
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 39:20
SDA 013: Austin Shannon – Stick of Truth to Freelance Freedom

Sound Designer Austin Shannon Interview

Today, I’m speaking with a sound designer who’s doing things a bit differently. His name’s Austin Shannon. Typically we imagine going into a studio, and doing our long days work, but Austin does his work remotely. And I think that… is rad. 

Austin has worked on such titles as Justice Lead Doom, Starhawk, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Omega Quintet, There Came an Echo, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and most recently King’s Quest.

Show Notes:


  • Austin works remotely thanks to dialogue editing gigs (3:09)
  • Isolation can lead to increased productivity (5:02)
  • What’s your favorite anime? (5:12)
  • Where are you originally from? (5:55)
  • What did you do in your Sony internship? (6:39)
  • Seeing them wrapping up games, what was that like? (8:03)
  • Tell us about working on King’s Quest (9:19)
  • How did you get into audio? (9:44)
  • Regrets selling his drum set (10:38)
  • Got an internship at Tree Sound Studio (12:04)
  • The move from east coast to west coast (14:47)
  • How did you find the LA hustle? (15:02)
  • Worked for Obsidian Entertainment (16:17)
  • What was your transition like going into freelance? (16:39)
  • What was it like working on Stick of Truth? (18:20)
  • Did you guys end up going beyond a stereo mix? (19:18)
  • What engine was the game made in? (20:39)
  • Did you have a title you liked working on the most? (21:46)
  • Are you working on anything outside of King’s Quest currently (24:27)
  • Getting work through Reddit (26:13)
  • Do you have a game that inspired you to do audio? (27:21)
  • Austin recently got into modular synths (28:11)
  •  What’s your favorite microphone? (32:56)
  • Is a high frequency range mic the secret to a good monster pitch down? (33:35)
  • Do you have a  book that you’d recommend? (34:08)
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? (35:00)

Check out some of Austin’s work at 

Be sure to connect with on Twitter @austin_shannon, and look him up on linkedin. If you haven’t reviewed our dandy little program be sure to over at the iTunes, and you can always connect with us on Twitter. Be sure to check out past shows, and if you’re feeling saucy… subscribe! 

The post SDA 013: Austin Shannon – Stick of Truth to Freelance Freedom appeared first on Sound Design Academy.

SDA 012: Kyle Fraser – 343 Industries & Halo 5
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:15:32
SDA 012: Kyle Fraser – 343 Industries & Halo 5

Sound Design Academy interview with sound design Kyle Fraser of 343 Industries

This week I had the massive honor of speaking with 343 industries Sound Designer and Audio Lead Kyle Fraser. Kyle has some incredibly high standards for his work, and an especially keen ear for what he’s going after along with an unquenchable thirst for continuing to improve his craft and deliver an even more epic final product. Halo 4 garnered a ton of audio awards when it released in 2012 including but not limited to IGN’s Best Audio All Platforms, Best Audio Viewer’s Choice, and Game Audio Network Guilds Sound Design of the Year. 

Show Notes


  • Kyle graduated from Vancouver Film School (1:42)
  • Originally from Lansing, MI (2:00)
  • Went to the Art Institute in Seattle when he was 19 (2:27)
  • How does it work going to school out of the country? (2:44)
  • How did you like the Vancouver Film School experience (3:34)
  • When did you first start getting interested in audio? (5:53)
  • Kyle was more into athletics as a kid. Sound came later (7:30)
  • Kyle’s biggest takeaway from that sports background (7:53)
  • How Kyle got to where he’s at (8:19)
  • Did you work on Fable II? (9:58)
  • From there where did you make the transition of to the company you’re with now? (10:41)
  • Did 343 start out on Halo 4 (12:22)
  • What was it like jumping into the Halo universe with such an established following behind it? (13:09)
  • What do you do when you only get 12 mb of memory for audio? (16:48)
  • What was your favorite element of working on Halo 4 (19:06)
  • Kyle’s a fan of the studio DICE’s work (28:15)
  • Sometimes it’s the journey to building a better company that is the real fun and reward (28:58)
  • The Loudness Wars (30:29)
  • Halo 4 did get a ton of audio awards (32:28)
  • Do you guys ever stick easter eggs into the audio? (33:59)
  • Michael doesn’t own an Xbox One… (35:36) 
  • Do you have a favorite game outside of the one’s you’ve worked on? (36:35)
  • How much of playing a game at work is leisure vs. intense listening and developing? (37:39)
  • Audio can get you involved with so many other forms of education and industry (41:08)
  • Do you guys get into the logical design of your weapons or how something might mechanically work? (41:57)
  • When 343 took on Halo 4 was the goal to gut it and revamp from scratch? (43:05)
  • Organization and archiving are sincerely important aspects of sound design (43:30)
  • What’s your DAW? (44:43)
  • When your games need things like forest ambiences, do you just head out into the trees? — they went to Iceland (47:36)
  • Geek out about Chris Watson (47:52)
  • How was Iceland?! (48:37)
  • Field recording gunshot tails (52:20)
  • How did you set up your recording situation with WB? (54:13)
  • Outsourcing foley to John Roesch (54:38)
  • The perks of being in sound (55:33)
  • How’s it feeling getting to the final deadlines of Halo 5? (56:16)
  • Halo Multiplayer (56:52)
  • Where did all the talking go? (57:34)
  • What’s your favorite microphone? Guys, his answer is the most detailed ever. It’s awesome. (1:00:00)
  • Do you have a book that you’d recommend? (1:03:56)
  • Best piece of advice. (1:10:37)

Thanks again for listening, be sure to subscribe and leave a review if you like you’re hearing. I do listen to feedback, and am happy to answer any questions at

Till next week, 


The Road to E3 – Episode 4: Showtime

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SDA 011: Jared Emerson-Johnson – Composing for Telltale Games
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 56:19
SDA 011: Jared Emerson-Johnson – Composing for Telltale Games

Sound Design Academy session 11

Today I am chattin’ it up with the amazingly talented Jared Emerson-Johnson. Jared has composed music for a ton of awesome titles including Jurassic Park the Game, Back to the Future the Game, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead Season Two, Game of Thrones, plus Tales from the Borderlands!!! Jared also worked on many of the Sam and Max games. Another really cool aspect of Jared’s work is that he not only composes but has worked as a designer on many of these titles plus, Lego Stars Wars II: The Original Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, Knights of the Old Republic and Psychonauts. Guys… he worked on Psychonauts

Show Notes:


  • Jared grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area (02:10)
  • Did you always have games as target job area? (02:33)
  • Jared’s gambit of game designer from designer, to vocal lead, to composer (03:25)
  • Works for Bay Area Sound (04:02)
  • Sound Design in many ways can relate to Musique Concrete (04:50)
  • If only we got Pro Tools rigs at age 6 (06:03)
  • How did you get your first gaming gig? (06:51)
  • The cold call approach (10:16)
  • Jared’s work on Knights of the Old Republic (12:27)
  • Psychonauts (13:35)
  • Games becoming classics and staying fun permanently (14:48)
  • Why The Walking Dead works graphically (16:26)
  • Stepping up voice acting in games (18:02)
  • What’s you favorite synthesizer? (19:50)
  • Tales from the Borderlands (19:56)
  • Variety of styles to Jared’s music (22:08)
  • When did you transition over to Telltale? (23:37)
  • Telltale’s emphasis on story (25:43)
  • What’s your favorite Nintendo game? (27:07)
  • Why are many modern games so easy!? (28:20)
  • How’s it been working on Tales from the Borderlands? (29:24)
  • As a composer, are you more empathetic when you write? Does it take a toll? (30:32)
  • What instruments do you all play? (31:34)
  • Have you had a low point in any of the games you’ve worked on? (33:05)
  • Tricks of the trade in music production (36:27)
  • Building material when producing an episodic project (37:29)
  • What if AAA (yea… I said double… oops) titles like Halo were released episodically? (38:31)
  • The information collected in the games with your choices can influence the season. (39:54)
  • Have you had a favorite title that you’ve worked on? (43:22)
  • Did you have a moment when you knew this was what you wanted to do? (46:26)
  • What’s your favorite microphone? (49:25)
  • What book would you recommend? (50:37)
  • What was the best piece of advice you were ever given? (52:04)


Jared’s Website

Jared’s IMDB

Telltale Games


If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review!

This is how we stop things from dying out… That’s right. If the dinosaurs had gotten a review on iTunes, they’d still roam the Earth.

Sound Design Academy on iTunes


Tales from the Borderlands

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SDA 010: Chris Watson – Field Recording at Its Finest
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:01:41
SDA 010: Chris Watson – Field Recording at Its Finest

field recordist chris watson interview

This week I had the absolute honour of talking with field recordist, musician, and audio ace Chris Watson. For those unfamiliar with Chris, he is considered one of the top field recordists in the world. He’s worked on Frozen Planet, The Life of Birds, Big Cat Diary, Life in the Undergrowth, Nature, Autumnwatch, and many more. If you want a bigger impression of this amazing artists work check out his website at and you’ll get an even better picture. Needless to say, he’s had and is still pursuing a stunning career that many of us only dream of!

Show Notes


  • Talk about Lindisfarne (1:30)
  • The Lindisfarne tidal causeway (3:54)
  • An idea of just how dangerous this causeway is (4:31)
  • Chris grew up in Sheffield, England (6:29)
  • Moved to New Castle upon Tyne to work in television at 29 (6:45)
  • How Chris got into recording (7:03)
  • Chris’s entrance into music (8:03)
  • Composing with Tape Recorders by Terrance Dwyer was a big influence on Chris (8:39) 
  • Inspired by the work of Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, and Karlheinz Stockhausen  (9:47)
  • Chris’s involvement with Geosonics by Soniccouture (10:47)
  • Chris’s work recording aquatic insects, and getting those perspectives (13:35)
  • We know so little about the ocean (14:50)
  • Chris’s work with Chris Clark at Cornell (15:26)
  • Mary Anne Masterson Recording Gnarwhals (17:14)
  • Chris recorded humpback whales last year as well (18:53)
  • Chris’s goal to record the song of the Blue Whale (19:44)
  • Capturing Coyote Calls in the dead of winter (20:56)
  • The rarity of spaces without ample noise pollution (22:08)
  • Working on series with David Attenborough and being able to visit both the North and South Pole in the same year (23:54)
  • The South Pole (24:36)
  • The North Pole (26:14)
  • Standing at the North Pole with a GPS unit, and what Chris felt (27:32)
  • What it’s like being one of a hand full of people to ever record in the poles (29:29)
  • Recording the North Pole (30:03)
  • The psychological attachment we have to hydrophonic sounds (33:05)
  • Do you ever get so focused on a recording that despite being in danger, you keep recording? The most dangerous animal Chris has ever recorded, and his most dangerous encounter. (35:37)
  • Have you ever had times where you had to sit in a swamp for days on end? (40:22)
  • It’s better to leave a microphone in a location and get away from it (41:19)
  • The work of Bernie Kraus (42:06)
  • The philosophy of field recording (43:08)
  • Chris’s work with video games (44:55)
  • Chris’s feelings toward foley vs. a naturalistic approach (47:32)
  • Chris prefers to work in radio because it tends to be more accurate and the sound quality is better (48:53)
  • Chris’s work in Indie Films (49:09)
  • Chris’s involvement with the film Light Years with Ester May Campbell (49:51)
  • Working with Norwegian director Duane Hopkins on the film Bypass (51:38)
  • Epic close miked insects (52:10)
  • Patrick Mcginley of Framework FM (54:33)
  • Favorite Microphone (55:31)
  • Best Piece of Advice (56:18)
  • A book Chris recommends (58:37)

Mikes mentioned:

Thanks again to everyone for listening. Chris’s work is amazing, and it’s without a doubt, a massive privilege talking with him about his work and career. If you love what you’re hearing, be sure to leave us a review on iTunes, and help spread the word. Shows like the Sound Design Academy Podcast are maintained by the listeners, so shoot me some feedback, request a guest, or share the show like the intellectual knowledge spreader you are. Reach me at



Whispering in the Leaves

The Colour of Sound

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SDA 009: Drew Medina – Io Moon, Virtual Reality, and the Future!
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:12:59
SDA 009: Drew Medina – Io Moon, Virtual Reality, and the Future!

game sound design podcast with drew medina from headtrip games

Today I’m interviewing Drew Medina from Headtrip Games. Little about Drew, and this is from his website, but Drew has been a game artist for 14 years, developing console games at Atari, Pacific Coast Power and Light, Shiny Entertainment,  EA, Angel Studios, Crystal Dynamics, MadDoc software, Rockstar New England, and now of course Headtrip Games.

Game Credits:

Gauntlet Legends (Arcade) 

Jet Moto 3 (Playstation 1)

Road Rash 64 (N64)

Smugglers  Run (Playstation 2)

Test Drive Offroad: Wide Open (Playstation 2)

Enter The Matrix (Playstation 2,GC…)

Need for speed Underground (GC) 

Path of Neo (Playstation 2)

Tomb Raider Legend (Xbox360,PC)

Bully Scholarship Edition (Xbox360,PC)

Turok  (Xbox360, PS3)

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox360, PS3)

Max Payne 3 (Xbox360, PS3,PC)

Grand Theft Auto 5 (Xbox360, PS3)

Show Notes


Show Notes

  • Gauntlet Legeneds (2:44)
  • The Death of Arcade Games (5:19)
  • Michael Rags on the Youth of America (6:04)
  • Talk about Drew’s childhood in Jersey (6:48)
  • Drew mentions the film Kids (7:43)
  • Talk on Drew’s taking piano in middle school because he got kicked out of computer class (8:02)
  • Drew spent a lot of time as kid, coding (10:50)
  • Some thoughts on Minecraft (12:55)
  • Mario Maker (14:06)
  • Drew’s Video Game Schooling (14:53)
  • 3D Animation led to Drew getting his first gig (15:47)
  • Brief discussion on Stick of Truth (18:04)
  • Io Moon is being made in Unity 5 (18:57)
  • Drew’s feelings on Unity 5 (19:32)
  • Talk on animation (20:47)
  • Check out Armikrog
  • Drew is doing everything himself on Io Moon (22:35)
  • Using playmaker for code
  • Headtrip is a year old (23:58)
  • Co-founder is Ricci Franklin (24:21)
  • Thoughts on the indie game revolution (25:33)
  • Drew’s development schedule, and quite frankly one of the best things I’ve heard someone say in a long while (26:06)
  • Implementing Garry Schyman’s music (28:07)
  • Some VR Philosophical implications — we’re gettin’ deep team (31:33)
  • Tiltbrush for the Vive (33:50)
  • The potential for training professionals and rehabilitating people within VR (36:53)
  • Some incredibly powerful life lessons (41:31)
  • Talking about Garry’s discography and his work on the project (44:39)
  • A crazy motorcycle revving his crazy loud ninja motar…. thanks motorcycle man… thanks (46:21)
  • Drew’s goal for Io Moon (52:12)
  • Michael ruins a really nice moment by choking on coffee, which have you noticed how fast he’s been talking? (55:01)
  • Podcasts Drew is listening to: The Nerdist, Joe Rogan, Kevin Smith, The Smodcast, Mysterious Universe
  • How VR can benefit the physically disabled — so overwhelmingly beautiful (59:40)
  • Somebody needs to make fans (the air kind) that integrate with VR to create wind (1:03:35)
  • The Europa Report (1:06:10)
  • Europa SPOILER WARNING (1:06:18 – 1:06:30)
  • VR Theme Parks (1:07:53)
  • Drew talks about Toy Shop (1:08:49)

Things to Check Out


Io Moon

Io Moon Headtrip Games


Click here for Garry Schyman’s Interview


Thanks again for watching! Be sure to show your support by sharing, and starting amazing conversations with the world. If you have any questions or comments you can always contact Michael – . Take care, and catch you next week!

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SDA 008: Derrick Espino – Tokyo, Tech, and The Last Of Us
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:30:24
SDA 008: Derrick Espino – Tokyo, Tech, and The Last Of Us

podcast session 8 derrick espino: tokyo, tech, and the last of us

This week I sat down with Sound Designer Derrick Espino. Derrick is not only an amazing human being, but has also worked on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, God of War: Chains of Olympus, God of War III, Twisted Metal, Soul Sacrifice, God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us, The Last of Us: Left Behind, and so many more. You can check out all of his titles here. It’s really incredible stuff.

Session Notes:

  • Originally from Modesto, CA
  • Moved to LA
  • Currently livin’ the dream in Tokyo
  • Working with an international team has its challenges
  • It pays to radiate positivity and people dig enthusiasm
  • Japanese banks close at 3 pm. 
  • Family has a musical background. Derrick grew up around music.
  • When Derrick was 6-7 he discovered he could use his mom’s portable tape recorder to capture sounds
  • Beatles fan at an early age
  • Wanted to play guitar and that really set the stage
  • Had a 4-track in High School
  • Started out wanting to be an illustrator
  • When Derrick decided to do sound he went to the Expression Center for New Media in Emeryville California
  • Worked with Ann Kroeber when in school. She ended up liking his stuff, and Derrick became her intern.
  • Used a Nagra back in 2001, but generally used DAT
  • Edited Sound on American Gun
  • From there worked at Earwax with Jeff Darby
  • Moved to LA started working at Sound Dogs and  met Andrew Bracken
  • Was offered a game audio gig, and turned it down. Was offered the job again five months later, and passed it along to Jeff.
  • The same group had a ton of extra work and needed a contractor. That’s when Derrick joined and met all the folks at Sony.
  • They then offered him a job, and Derrick turned it down again.
  • Later they had some more freelance work, and Derrick took that.
  • Got into a tight spot financially, and a friend ended up calling and offered another game contractor job. This led to Derrick getting the job he had turned down 3 times. This was the game changer.
  • You can make through even the darkest times.
  • You can’t appreciate the good moments if you’ve never survived the bad ones.
  • Everything can change on a dime. Good fortune can go away just as easily as it comes, and vice versa.
  • We’re trying to educate folks on audio, so that life can be better for all audio people.
  • Derrick’s High School Band: Rhythmic Sushi
  • A big sound design inspiration: Eddie VanHalen 
  • Discussion on sound philosophy
  • Michael poo poo’s the orc calls in the Battle of Helm’s Deep
  • Derrick recommends Steal Like an Artist
  • Discussion of the Wilhelm Scream and it’s permeance in games and film
  • Always serve the story first and foremost.
  • A discussion of the Beatles and isolated tracks.
  • If you’re going to do Sound Design, you’re going to tell stories to other people. You need to understand them.
  • Big fan of David Lynch
  • Derrick’s been playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Don’t get hung up on things that don’t matter.

Short Answer

Favorite Microphone


Schoeps CMC6 Body with an MK4 capsule 

Recommended Book


On Writing by Stephen King

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity by David Lynch

Best Piece of Advice


“You become by doing… and that’s it.”

Connect with Derrick on:





Grounded – The Making of the Last of Us

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SDA 007: Joel Green – The Gallery: Six Elements, and Cloudhead Games
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 57:35
SDA 007: Joel Green – The Gallery: Six Elements, and Cloudhead Games

sound design academy - the gallery: six elements and cloudhead games with Joel Green

Today I’m sitting down with Joel Green. Joel is a professional sound designer, helping to generate amazing audio for game titles such as Need for Speed: Undercover, Mass Effect 2 and 3, Dragon Age 2 and Inquisition, and is currently the Producer / Audio Director at Cloudhead Games working on the VR title The Gallery: Six Elements.

Show Notes


  • Graduated from Vancouver Film School
  • Worked on Need for Speed: Undercover
  • Worked under Charles Deenen 
  • From there got hired onto Bioware’s team to work on Mass Effect and Dragon Age titles
  • Took time off to learn C# and Unity
  • Found position at Cloudhead Studios on Vancouver Island
  • Rural Living + High Technology
  • We don’t need to live in cities to work on games.
  • Be willing to start with big ideas and expectations that get whittled down to the core idea of what something is.
  • If you shoot for the stars — even if you fail — you’ll at least be in outer space.
  • Bioware’s employees have an extensive collection of larping gear, weaponry, and armor.
  • Mass Effect 2 was a highlight experience in Joel’s career
  • Seeing a game come to fruition is incredibly rewarding
  • Virtual Reality is so new that every step into the technology is defining the medium
  • Everything being done in VR is breaking new ground
  • Audio in VR has a number of new considerations to take in such as Binaural listening
  • We have a huge discussion on Binaural recording 
  • The Dark Crystal was freakin’ terrifying
  • Implementing orchestral music is a challenge in VR 
  • Getting the player to look where you want them to is a challenge within VR — you have to figure out how to draw attention naturally
  • VR won’t only change the gaming world. It’s going to be a global shift in how we communicate
  • VR has the ability to create incredibly great things and incredibly dark things
  • Story Studio
  • The conversation takes a philosophical turn discussing the implications of Virtual Reality and its future impact on the world

Short Answer

Favorite Mic

Sennheiser MKH 80-50 

Favorite Game You Haven’t Worked On

Super Mario World or Super Mario 64

What Book Would You Recommend

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Best Piece of Advice

“You can’t wait for your ducks to all be in a row because they’re never all gonna’ be in a row… There’s times when you have to plan, and then there’s time when you just have to do it, and deal with what comes up.”

The Gallery: Six Elements

Story Studio

Henry’s Premiere from Story Studio on Vimeo.


Thanks again to everybody for the massive support you’ve been giving. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast! Also, if you’re feeling saucy, generous, or amazing, please leave a review on iTunes. Your feedback and love drive the podcast to new levels, and help celebrate the amazing folks that make audio happen.


Michael Heuer

Keep on Learning

The post SDA 007: Joel Green – The Gallery: Six Elements, and Cloudhead Games appeared first on Sound Design Academy.

SDA006: Garry Schyman – Aliens, Bioshock, and Mordor!
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 58:32
SDA006: Garry Schyman – Aliens, Bioshock, and Mordor!

sound design academy podcast session 6 Garry Schyman

Today’s guest is Garry Schyman. Garry has composed for many mediums, but as of late has had an epic streak of video games. To name a few: Destroy All Humans! , Bioshock, Resistance: Retribution, Dante’s Inferno, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Garry has also received a staggering amount of awards for his work, but I’m only gonna toss out a few:

  • The Bafta Awards 2014 Winner for Best original Music
  • The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences – DICE Awards 2014 Winner for Outstanding Achievement in original music composition with Bioshock Infinite
  • Musican and Sound Awards 2014 winner for Best Original Composition: Gaming
  • New York Video Game Critics Circle Awards 2014 winner for Best Music in a game: Bioshock Infinite
  • Spike TV Video Games Awards 2007 Winner for Best Original Score – with Bioshock
  • 2008 GANG Awards for Music of the Year: Bioshock
  • 2007 G4 Television Award for Soundtrack of the Year: Bioshock
  • so, so, so many more

Show Highlights


  • Garry was born in Chicago, but grew up in California
  • Studied Music Composition at USC
  • Started working for Mike Post and Pete Carpenter
  • Worked as a ghost on Magnum P.I., Greatest American Hero, and others.
  • Scored movies in the 90’s
  • In 2004 Garry’s agent sent his resume to THQ and it was sitting on a fax machine. An executive saw it, recognized his name, and booked him for Destroy All Humans!
  • Fun Fact: John Williams scored Gilligan’s Island — who knew!?
  • Once upon a time Garry scored infomercials
  • Just finished an awesome project called iO Moon
  • Garry first learned to play the piano
  • Big fan of Mahler
  • Garry teaches at USC in the Scoring for Motion Picture and Television Program
  • Every composer should know how to operate both in-the-box and in a recording session
  • Garry has always been a contracted composer, not an in-house composer
  • Garry writes music in Digital Performer
  • Scoring the original Bioshock was a massive pull right away as was Dante’s Inferno
  • Nathan Grigg cowrote a lot of the music for Shadow of Mordor
  • It helps to remember when composing that “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • Applying limitations to your workflow can generate some amazing creative results.
  • The originally score of Bioshock was never sold. It was given away.
  • Go above and beyond with your composition. It often pays to compose extra pieces that may fit in elsewhere.
  • Deadlines can be a very strong source of inspiration.
  • You can’t wait for inspiration. “Inspiration is for amateurs… professionals just get up and crank.
  • When faced with writer’s block, Garry will often take a walk, or lie down, close his eyes, and really think about the music without the excess stimuli.
  • As a composer it’s best to have a combination of technique and emotion. Get to the point where the technique is second nature and then you’re really cookin’. 
  • In-the-box Garry is a fan of Omnisphere — we all like for a reason, right?
  • Garry is also a fan of Zebra.
  • ADIO also makes a series of synth sounds for Kontakt that are fantastic.
  • When Garry decided to be a composer, he didn’t leave himself a backup plan. He committed from day 1. “If you have stuff you can fall back on, you probably will.
  • Garry’s favorite instrument is the piano.
  • Garry has a passion for history, and often reads related books. He just recently read a massive bio on Gustaf Mahler. 
  • The Martian is also a recommended read.
  • A piece of advice: You should be well read.
  • Reading and being curious is critical success and a successful life.
  • Garry’s best advice: “Never give up, never give up, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill
  • You need to check out iO Moon by Headtrip Games!!!

To learn more about Garry visit his website at:


Huge thanks to Garry, and to everyone for checking out the podcast. You help make it happen! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast. If you’re feeling extra feisty, share the conversation and help spread the news. Everyone I interview is taking time out of their day to talk with us — which is completely rad — and it’s even more fun getting these conversations out to others. Thanks again everybody!

Keep on learning.

– Michael Heuer

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SDA005: Jeremie Voillot – Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and More!
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 1:03:32
SDA005: Jeremie Voillot – Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and More!


Today I had the chance to sit down and talk with one of my industry idols: Jeremy Voillot. Jeremie is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School where he studied Sound Design. Since graduating Jeremie has had an amazing career working as a sound designer on Mass Effect, senior sound designer on Dragon Age Origins, then continuing onto such titles as Dragon Age 2 & 3 plus Mass Effect 2 & 3. Jeremie is presently  Audio Director 2 at Bioware.

Show Notes

  • DJ’d for a number of years before attending school
  • Attended the Vancouver Film School where he got his degree in Sound Design
  • Got his first gig on Mass Effect 1 after deciding not to pursue getting into the Vancouver film scene
  • Dragon Age = Cling Clang and Mass Effect = Pew Pew — I think I’m going to start nicknaming all my projects as well.
  • The Last of Us is one of Jeremie’s favorite game audio experiences as a consumer
  • It’s likely we will see more use of Dolby Atmos in game mixing
  • Bioware is using Frostbite as a game engine
  • We get an amazing description and run down of the Dolby Atmos System and how it essentially works.
  • Loved the impact of audio on people — the ability to move a person with sound.
  • When you’re doing audio right it’s subconsciously recognized, but when you do it wrong… you really know it’s wrong.
  • Bioware trains their QA (quality assurance) team to recognize and be able to discuss the audio
  • Making a game is a lot like attending a university. You work on it for up to 4 years, and you come out of it a little older, wiser, and better equipped for the next challenge.
  • The better we can empathize with other people’s situation, the better job we can do in our area.
  • If you’re not scared by what you are doing then you’re probably not doing the right thing. You should be challenging yourself and your perceptions all the time.
  • The true test of experience is being able to know that on the other side it’ll work out. You’ll come up with something. If not you, someone else will to help you out.
  • No game is perfect, and that’s ok. It shows that something amazing and great is trying to be achieved.
  • I’d much rather go to a show where you see a dj attempting something difficult 
  • Most voiceover recording is outsourced.
  • Music composition is also outsourced
  • Their field recording is done with a 702 Sound Device
  • If you get a chance in Dragon Age Inquisition, stop by a hollow log, tree, and other materials and just listen. You’ll notice they dynamically change based on the wind velocity that naturally picks up and slows down. It’s all dynamic.
  • The first dragon took a year and half

Jeremie’s Favorite Mic:

 Sankin CO-100k 

Jeremie’s Recommended Book:

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

Must Check Out

Mass Effect Andromeda

Closing Notes:

If you haven’t had the chance, it means the world every time we get a review on our iTunes page. If you’re diggin’ what you hear, be sure to stop by, and leave us some love. We read every review, and it helps us get found more easily, so that we can help inspire future sound designers, and celebrate the people that give our profession a good reputation. Link to the iTunes page

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SDA004: Building a Better Voiceover Career w/ Scott Stackhouse
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 47:31
SDA004: Building a Better Voiceover Career w/ Scott Stackhouse

sound design academy session 4 - building a better voiceover career with scott stackhouse

This week I had the absolute privilege of sitting down with Scott Stackhouse. Scott is assistant professor of theatre in acting and voice at the University of Missouri Kansas City where he teaches acting, directing, and voice. He earned his MFA at the lovely University of California – Los Angeles and has worked regionally and nationally as an actor, director, vocal coach, and fight choreographer. On top of it all Scott also works as a professional voice actor booking gigs and continuing to develop his career. Plus, he’s a really outstanding human being.




  • Scott took 5 years off between high school and college
  • Finished his BA at the University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • Attended URTAs where he got into UCLA for his Masters
  • Left LA to start teaching at Johnson County Community College (Some stellar programs there btw)
  • Got signed by Exposure Inc. in Kansas City along with longtime friend David Washington
  • Actor’s tend to have a leg up in Voiceover
  • No matter how successful you get, keep it all in perspective.
  • There is no specific path for getting into the field. You have to discover it for yourself.
  • You can analyze yourself by listening to recordings of your craft.
  • The closer you can deliver to the final product, the better.
  • You gotta separate the work from the art. When you sell, sell. When you play Romeo, play Romeo.
  • Selling out has more to do with your attitude and perspective than what gig you take.
  • Bob Bergen has been a great resource for voice acting.
  • Voiceover Universe – The Facebook of Voiceover
  • It’s easier to pull back than ask someone to be bigger.
  • Voice work is much like mask work.
  • The listener can hear if you’re being authentic.
  • You gotta find your money voice — who you’ll be cast as.


Recommend Gear and Resources

Scott’s Mic

Rode NT1

Suggested book

Conversation Pieces Out of the Studio: The Voiceover Workshop for Professional Actors

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SDA 003: It’s the Journey Not the Destination with Greg Mackender
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 54:03
SDA 003: It’s the Journey Not the Destination with Greg Mackender

its the journey not the destination with greg mackender

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Greg Mackender. Greg is the associate professor of sound at the University of Missouri – Kansas City where he teaches Hard Disk Recording and Sound Scoring. Professor Mackender has a long history of music, audio exploration, and being at the breaking edge of audio innovation where he was one of the early implementors of digital audio. 



  • Greg works primarily in theatre as a Sound Designer
  • Started out with a love for science that turned into a love for audio
  • Early implementor of digital audio
  • You don’t always need college or a training program to learn audio.
  • It’s often better to buy the right gear initially to create better work.
  • Maintain a creative dojo where you hone your craft.
  • Sometimes you need to step away from your craft in order to rejuvenate your creativity
  • You’re only as good as the weakest link in your signal chain.
  • The readiness is all. Be ready.



Thanks again to everyone for checking out the podcast. Every listen gets us closer to the next interview. If you’d like to support the SDA Podcast even more, write us a review at iTunes. Reviews drive everything for us on that space, and we read every single one. Thanks again guys.

Keep on learning!

Michael Heuer

Sound Design Academy

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SDA 002: Location Sound with Joe Elfanbaum
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 41:54
SDA 002: Location Sound with Joe Elfanbaum

location sound with joe elfanbaum

Sound Design Academy sits down with Production Mixer and location sound man Joe Elfanbaum to discuss his recent success and growth as an audio expert within SCAD. Within 2 years of attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, Joe has managed to jump start his location audio career, and is currently working on a number of professional gigs. Listen in to learn how you too can break into the location sound industry, get tips on how to succeed and so much more!

Show Notes: 

  • Joe is a Production Mixer out of Georgia
  • Started at UMKC then shifted to SCAD
  • Location Sound is Joe’s primary focus
  • Get the right tools for the job because you can build a career off it.
  • You can sell SFX online at Pond 5 even with an H4n
  • Always keep a level head. Never lose your cool. Getting worked up doesn’t solve the problem.
  • You never know when the moment’s gonna happen.
  • Easy to spots to hide a mic pack: ankle, thigh, small of back, chest, and under a wig.
  • Always go with the location scout to help decide if a location is conducive to good audio.
  • Solid communication skills go a long way.
  • Organization is very important.


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SDA 001: Booking Books and Building Relationships on with Michael Pauley
2017-12-02 05:41:40 UTC 44:24
SDA 001: Booking Books and Building Relationships on with Michael Pauley

SDA 001: Booking Books and Building Relationships on with Michael Pauley

Sound Design Academy sits down with actor Michael Pauley to discuss his recent success and growth on Within less than a year Michael has managed to rack up over 70 titles on ACX, and made the leap to full time voiceover artist through September of 2015. Listen in to learn how you can do it too, and much more! 


  • Originally from Chicago, Ill
  • Worked at the Southwest Shakespeare Conservatory
  • University of Arizona – Undergrad
  • Moved to New York City directly after undergrad
  • Received his master’s from the University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • Mentor: Ted Swetz
  • Voiceover Workshop Coach: Jeff Dreisbach – McCorkle Casting
  •  Started doing audiobooks from home
  • Artistic Director for Hyperion Theatre Company
  • Michael actually has a small part in the upcoming PeeWee’s Holiday Netflix episode — keep an eye out for him.

Key Takeaways:

  • No matter the medium – relationships is the name of the game. Building great relationships with people who share your ideas and your way of working.
  • There’s no longer an excuse — as an actor — to not have a demo reel. It doesn’t need to be from full productions, it just needs to be made.
  • Nowadays we are able to produce professional audio from home whereas that was much more difficult a few years ago.
  • Put your ego aside.
  • You have to do what’s right for that project, and that client.
  • All you have to work with is yourself. Your experiences. Your perspectives. 
  • I don’t try to be what I think they want me to be anymore… I present who I am and if I’m a right fit then great, and if not then they’re gonna find the right fit.
  • Be humble with yourself.
  • “Doctors practice medicine. Lawyers practice law. We have to practice our art.”
  • It’s not a survival job, it’s a thrive-al job.

Referenced Projects, Places, and Resources

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