Enhancing Storytelling Through Sound Design

The process of composing music—not just writing a song, but composing and layering all the music and audio effects that move our emotions along—involves so much more than we realize.

Whether it’s in a 30-second TV commercial, video game trailer, or a feature-length movie score, sound design is a craft that I believe is vastly under-appreciated for its ability to move the viewer into, and along with, the story being presented. 

As I’ve moved increasingly more into the motion/film area of storytelling after spending most of my career producing primarily still photographs, my appreciation for having appropriate music accompany the projects we film has risen considerably.

But I also realize that I’m not alone in my ignorance of effective audio production, especially when it comes to the scoring and layering of original music.

On the most recent episode of my podcast, I talked with Andrea Saparoff about what goes on behind the mysterious curtain surrounding music composition for commercial projects.

Based in Los Angeles, Andrea is a composer and sound designer working primarily in the advertising and film/TV industries. She has completed projects for scores of clients including Cheerios, American Express, Nike and the City of Los Angeles, as well as films for Lifetime and Hallmark.

“I’m always writing music for myself because writing music begets more work writing music. It’s the law of attraction. I’m a composer and that’s how I express myself, that’s how I express my connection to the universe. That’s where my soul speaks.”

“Sometimes I can’t find a sound that I’m looking for and I have in my head, and I pull something else up and I go, ‘Wow, that’s so much better than I would have expected.’ Synchronicity is my friend!”

“I like incorporating really interesting sounds. I’ll write a piece that incorporates the sound of washing machines because it inspires me. I don’t like writing the same music over and over again. I like to write in a lot of different styles.”

“A professor in college told us, ‘You can’t wait until the Muse kisses your ears. You have a job, you have an assignment, roll up your sleeves and start doing it.’ ”


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