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News & Notices
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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
Sound Workshop Goes
Back To Basics

Dave Tosti-Lane
Sound Commission

In recent years the USITT Sound Commission has offered numerous Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) focused on equipment, software, and technical practice in sound engineering. Typically, these have been highly rated by attendees, but they have often required extensive equipment and set-up time, shipping costs, and multi-day sessions leading to relatively high per-person cost to attend.

During the 2007 Conference, the Commission leadership distributed surveys at sound sessions to get an idea of the kind of PDW that would most interest its regular audience. As it turned out, many attendees reported they were looking for a more basic introduction to the art and craft of sound design. In addition, there was a perception that it was difficult to commit to two additional evenings in a hotel, and two days beyond the regular conference particularly when combined with hefty enrollment fees. The Commission determined to put together a PDW that would provide that introduction, take just one day, and be as inexpensive as possible.

On March 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, the USITT Sound Commission will offer From Script to Stage: Sound Design for Drama, an exciting Professional Development Workshop presented as part of the 2008 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo.

The daylong workshop will focus on the artistic and creative process of creating a sound design, in contrast to focusing on tools and/or technical issues.

Richard B. Ingraham, freelance professional sound designer, and Christopher Plummer, assistant professor of sound design at Michigan Tech, have crafted a program which will include topics such as understanding the functions of sound in the theatre, defining the aural space and scale, shaping dramatic moments, and defining a design structure. Mr. Plummer and Mr. Ingraham, who bring extensive experience in both education and professional theatre to their task, will cover these topics through the use of play analysis, audio and written examples, aural experiments, and training tools.

Both Mr. Plummer and Mr. Ingraham have generously agreed to provide their services pro bono, which has allowed the Commission to offer the PDW with a fee of just $125 per person (USITT members), making it the least expensive PDW available for 2008.

From Script to Stage: Sound Design for Drama is ideal for educators seeking new ways to teach sound design or who are developing curriculum, plus professionals who must execute sound designs as part of their job but have not had the benefit of formal training in the discipline.

It is also valuable for students or recent grads who are in the early part of their careers or who might be attending schools that lack formal sound design training programs.

More information about this and other PDWs, along with registration materials. may be found here. Additional information about this workshop will be posted as available on the Sound Commission website, and interested parties may contact Chuck Hatcher, Sound Commission Vice Commissioner for PDWs, at

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Christopher Plummer

Richard B. Ingraham