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Video transcript
Tales from the Wild Bush – 10. Sound and lighting interview

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ETHAN: My name's Ethan, and I'm the lighting designer on the showcase.

MCLANE: Hi, I'm McLane, and I'm the sound designer on 'Tales from the Wild Bush.'

ETHAN: It's very good that NIDA has a very good mentor support network around us, which is what I think really helps us get through the productions. So I have my lighting mentor Matt Cox who guided me through the process. So we've been chatting with him since day one when we started on the productions and rehearsals.

And then we've just slowly developed from there, pulling a little bit on our knowledge from what we've learned throughout the course and in class, and then also just on the job experience learning as well.

MCLANE: Yeah, this is my first time ever going into sound design, so it's all rather new to me. I have a fantastic mentor as well, [inaudible] Kingsley Reeves. And it was really great to work with, and I've learned so much from him. And this is now something that I feel like I want to pursue in the further.

ETHAN: I think some of the biggest challenges for me was being that it was a device work and it was being written and developed as we were going along. It was a lot of I just needed to have a rig and stuff that was flexible enough to be able to still create enough different looks throughout the show, but still be able to properly light the whole stage and still be able to really tell a story throughout the whole show.

MCLANE: It all sort of progressed as it went. And it was a mixture of creating tracks earlier on in the system as more testers to get a certain vibe. But once we got a set, and once the story progressed and the script changed then, of course, the sound had to change with it.

So having those base layers allowed me to change everything as we went, and mainly add on to it and present that throughout the rehearsals once we got to NIDA. And it was a big task between getting the venue set up and adding the sound into it to make it seem right because we configured all of that together as well.

And I did the technical design for the actual speaker plan. So it's great to know the system and give something to the system and play it like an instrument. In some sections I did have to go into composing which was terrifying, but it turned out rather well. So there was a lot of playing and a lot of learning. And I'm really happy about it because now I actually know more about what I'm doing.

And you'll notice at some points in the piece that there is the guitar playing. And I sat in a studio recording that just to get it right. And majority of the time, I went from the guitar onto the computer system to create the sounds, and it was more of my inspiration. I think the best thing is to experiment and play. There's a lot of programmes out there that you can get into and which don't cost too much or even free.

And if you start there and you build up, then you'll be able to find some amazing discoveries, I think. Go see some theatre experience, just music or ambience. And there's a lot out there at the moment. There's a lot that you can find online as inspiration, and so many tutorials which is the best thing in the world because you can find hours and hours worth of tutorials. And that's really what carried me through a lot of the creation as well.

ETHAN: So the tips that I'd probably give would be don't be afraid to experiment around. Things are going to change no matter what, even just from what I've had day one once I've got to see the cost under the light and start to see it all come together, things change. And that's just the way that lighting design is.

So I'd say the same thing. There's plenty of different tutorials and stuff out there online, as well as trying to find people out in the industry and stuff. People are always willing to have a chat. That's what I quite heavily relied on with Matt and also some of the tutors here at NIDA who teach us lighting. It's like bouncing ideas off them to see what they thought and then collaborating them all together to form the final shape that we've got now.

I use the Vector Works which is a CAD software. So NIDA has already a lot of the venues already drawn out in that software with all the different lighting positions and stuff on them. And then it allowed me to just start placing lights into them. And it also allows me to view stuff in 3D as well. So it allowed me to kind of little experiment around with some angles and stuff like that to be able to see how things going to work before having to get into a venue and trying all of that.

MCLANE: I used AutoCAD in order to make the speaker plans, whereas for the actual content creation I used a mix of programme called REAPER and Logic Pro on Macs. And from there I created the soundscapes and different things depending on what programme suited best and also pen and paper. I can confidently say I have a book half full of writing just with notes and general idea creation. I think I can say that for both of us really.

I think the strengths are the fact that you get to do everything, and that you really don't leave any stone untouched. Because it doesn't matter what you're doing or why you've come here, you're always going to have to experience every type of theatre or every aspect of it. And I think that's the beauty of the course because we get a broader understanding of the theatre as a whole or live entertainment.

ETHAN: Yeah, I think it's really good that the course gives you the opportunity to be able to dabble around in all the different opportunities and all the different productions and get to experience all the roles that you could work on in a production, particularly within NIDA's production sense and then also with these external collaborations and stuff like that as well. And I think that's a really beneficial experience in the course.

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