Firstly, I can now say I’ve been 100% off antidepressants for a month! Which is a pretty great and wonderful feeling in and of itself.
I’m moving to Norway in August!
I’ve been accepted into the Music Production and Recording post-bacc at the University of Stavanger! I’m so incredibly excited for this opportunity and to FINALLY get back into working with musicians and recording music after 2 years of some serious healing. I can’t wait!
More on that later. Dance time now!
The very first sound job I received when I moved to Vancouver was working on an independent film called FSM, or Female Seeking Male. The film was written and directed by Melanie Jones for the Indiecan10K Challenge, which challenges film makers to create there vision with a meager $10,000 budget.
In the continued spirit of helping artists realize their potential, the post production studio I was hanging around last December threw this film at me to see what I could do. It opened the door for me into working as a dialogue editor and I’ve continued to work on projects with The Mix Room since. I’m very grateful to have had a hand in this film, and am very excited to announce its upcoming world premier at the Whistler Film Festival on December 3rd.
The film stars Vanessa Crouch as Sam, a Vancouver-based DJ who is looking for love in the age of social media. It is full of great imagery of East Vancouver and Kitsalano, and features music from ten Vancouver based indie bands and musicians. I had a lot of fun working on it, and this film will hold a special place in my heart as my first “real world” audio job. I won’t be able to make it up to Whistler to see the premier, but I’m hoping it will be playing at part of the International Women in Film Festival in March 2016.
Check out the FSM trailer here!
Ta for now,
For those of your that don’t know me, these last few years haven’t been easy.
I finished my degree the Summer of 2014 with good grades and great references; however, I was also dealing with the aftermaths of a severe trauma. One day I’ll write a post about those things, and that particular journey, but right now all you need to know, is that in September of last year, I left my home town and moved to Vancouver, BC. I had no job, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew I needed to heal.
I’m extremely fortunate to have found the resources I have in Vancouver. For the first time in my life, I have an amazing family doctor that I trust, have met various support and therapy groups, and have enjoyed exploring a city mostly unknown to me before. There is something incredibly comforting about being in a city where you have so much to experience for the first time. In many ways, Vancouver has brought me back to life, and to this city, I’m grateful.
Over the past year, I’ve tried to keep up my audio skills as much as possible– when I was finishing my degree, I was madly in love with acoustics, recording, DSP, and was starting to get into film sound. I knocked on a lot of doors, drank a lot of coffees, and was lucky to get some freelance dialogue editing work at The Mix Room. In addition, I’ve kept up with the local AES chapter, gone to Vancouver Post Alliance Events, and been active in Women and Film and Television Vancouver. I’ve tried to find ways to keep my skills sharp; however, it’s not enough. I want to be submerged in audio. I want to live it and breath it and learn new things every day. I want it to be my day job.
I wish I didn’t have to explain to people that my portfolio the last year has been minimal because of mental health issues. But this is my biggest hurdle. I know deep down that when something big happens, something that makes me feel like I really am part of this industry, then nothing else can ever tear me down.
Some days I feel like I’ve forgotten everything I know; but I know it’s in there. It’s like speaking a foreign language– when you immersive yourself in it, it comes back to you. Those circuits turn back on and you think differently. You start to look at things in a new light again.
So what’s a girl to do?
Last August I decided to take a leap. I found all the money I could and bought a ticket to New York City to attend the 139th Audio Engineering Society Convention. And today I arrived in New York.
It feels like it was forever in the future for so long, but now I’m here. I can see the Manhattan skyline out the hostel room I’m writing this in. And I’m brimming with new found excitement and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see first hand what’s going on in the industry as a whole, to shake the hands of professionals, and to be surrounded by a mass of people that love the things I love. I can’t wait to discover new avenues for audio, new techniques, and maybe make some important connections.
I don’t know what this week will bring, but I know I’m open minded. Who knows what can happen in the Big Apple.
One group I’ve been seeing news about more and more these days is the VIVO Media Arts Centre here in Vancouver. VIVO hosts some amazing events such as the upcoming Nomadic Streams Festival of Ambient Music, and is also the home of ensembles such as the Vancouver Theremin Orchestra as well as a local resource for equipment rentals and electronic workshops.
In my journey to continue expanding my knowledge in the audio world, I took the opportunity to attend the first ever Ladies Hacking Night at VIVO, where we were given the opportunity to build our own Atari Punk Console (APC) under the instruction of composer and artist Bella McKee.
I had a lot of fun making my kit. It was nice to get my hands on a soldering gun again for the first time in a while. It also was a unique experience to sit in a room of mostly women while talking about audio and electronics.
The kit we used was made by Synthrotek. The APC has three knobs: volume control, frequency, and pulse width. It’s driven by a single 556 dual timer IC. The kit came with two 1/4″ inch inputs for extra fun, but I’ve only installed one as I will be using a small mint case to assemble the final product, something like this:
Volume pot will be top centre, frequency and width pots on the top of the case on the left and right. On off switch on the left front, 1/4″ output on the left back, 1/4″ input right back, and DC in right front. I will also have a 9V battery pack for potability.
Will finish it off and post a cool demo track with it after I get home from the AES conference in NYC. For now he’s a short demo of some of the sounds I got out of my assembled kit:
Ta for now,
In the late 1960s at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, composer R. Murray Schafer started a project that would lead into what we now know as acoustic ecology. This was the World Soundscape Project, an initiative that would bring awareness to the changing sonic landscape of Vancouver, and raise awareness about noise pollution. You can read all about the project and it’s legacy here. During the 1980s, composer Hildegard Westerkamp became part of this project. One of her major contributions to the project, and something that continues to be practiced by groups in Vancouver, such as the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective, is the idea of soundwalks. In her paper Soundwalking, she defines a soundwalk as “any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment”. This sounds pretty simple; however, when we go about our day to day lives, how much do we really focus on sound over the visual?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on my first every soundwalk as part of ISEA2015. It took place in Charleson Park here in Vancouver and lasted about one hour. I didn’t record it because I wanted my first experience to be truly organic. Walking in a large group of people who are all focusing sound over anything else is an incredible experience. You notice a lot more– where the sound of cars rises and falls, how people’s shoes sound, the sounds coming from houses. Everything suddenly becomes more complex and interesting– because really, there is an orchestra happening all the time, right? I’d like to do some more of these on my own and record them. I think they could be invaluable for rich sound designing and composition.
At the end of the walk, someone from the group that had lived in Vancouver talked about how Vancouver had been considering the work coming out of the World Soundscape project. The park we walked through had been designed to have a buffer from the traffic created from dredgings from False Creek. When he said that, it made sense– the cars couldn’t really be heard in the park, but when you walked up they were very loud. We had all noticed that. How different would that park feel if that sound buffer wasn’t there? And how much do we consider sound this way in designs now?
Lots to think about.
The night also included a series of audio/visual installations throughout the park that used electronics melded with the nature of the space entitled “Oscillations”. You can read up on some of these works here— there were a lot!
And it’s really fun.
I love how working on a project for a show can be incredibly fun, even when it’s something I would never normally watch. Right now, I’ve working on some of the episodes for season 1 of “First Dates Canada”, a simple half-hour show depicting people of all orientations going on a blind date. While some of the setups are cringe-worthy, everyone is charming and there are a lot of laughs. I’m having fun getting lost in it.
This one will be airing on Slice starting in September, so pretty soon! You will be able to find it here. Maybe it will make you smile too: http://www.slice.ca/first-dates/.
Cheers for now,
I’m posting this while wearing a power rangers t-shirt that says “Stay in school” with the green ranger giving a thumbs up. There are also saved-by-the-bell inspired confetti shapes on it. It’s pretty much as 90s as you can get. Unless you add in that right now I’m editing a show that’s going to be airing on YTV, Canada’s youth network and pretty much every Canadian 90s kid’s favourite channel for cartoons, shows, and witty VJs (or “PJs” as they called them). I remember racing home after school to watch Phil and Paul in the Zone, with Snit, the TV… and if you weren’t a kid in Canada in the 90s and your reading this, I’m sorry. But you missed out.
So, working on a show that’s going to be airing on that channel sometime this fall is making my inner child jump for joy. Also, I am working on almost all the first season, so that is awesome! The show is called “Tricked“, and while it is based on a British show of the same name, this version features Canadian magician Eric Leclerc doing street magic and hidden camera tricks in Vancouver (I’m starting to get giddy when I recognize places). So far, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I know I loved trying to figure out how magicians did tricks when I was a kid, and while I can say the show does have some more simple ones, some of the bigger ones have me scratching my head– and I can go back and re-watch it over and over!
When it airs, I’ll throw up a link.
Yay! It’s finally out!
My first paid work as a dialogue editor is finally airing tonight, after being rescheduled after some footage had to be reworked. It’s been a really cool experience to see this doc go from the rough audio, through my hands, and on the to sound editing and mixing. I can hear a few spots I wonder if I could have done a bit cleaner, but all in all, I’m really excited to see something I touched be broadcast on National Television! The topic is also very interesting.
You will be able watch the CBC DocZone: Volunteers Unleashed online here.