As sound professionals we find ourselves in constant search for improvement and inspiration. This can come in many forms and factors, via personal relationships with people we consider mentors or heroes, the online world has blown open such a wide array of opportunities for all of us to connect with like minded individuals and people working in the field, a simple tweet can connect you to someone who’s work you’ve admired for years, and having these gateways to amazing talent is a super invaluable resource. There are however times when you need to take a moment and think about when is the right time to reach out to people. Time is valuable, to everyone, so always consider this when reaching out. Your question will more than likely have been answered multiple times online, so take some time to search and look deeper before asking someone who is extremely busy to answer it again. Audio schools are now a booming business and they certainly have their place. I for one have been through two audio training schools and am grateful for everything that I learned there. However, development (professional or otherwise) doesn’t start or end in a classroom. It is an ever-evolving creature, an independent being. It is not autonomous though, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we feed our creative beasts and control our own development. You can read articles, interviews, and magazines. You can watch behind the scenes videos on YouTube and DVD. You can pick up a textbook and read these, you can even take online courses and spend hours watching Ted talks. These are all legitimate ways to learn and develop for sure. But what if your time is somewhat limited? You already work a job and spend your time doing all of these things just mentioned. Not to mention trying to enjoy your family life and consume the material that you love and led you down this career path.
Podcasts are not a new thing; they have been around for many many years now. They passed me by; I missed the trend as it were. Over the last year and a half I have become addicted to them. I have quite the extensive list of podcast to which I am subscribed now, and the joy that I feel when I see a new episode downloading could probably be considered as quite sad. I am in a position where I currently freelance, but I also have to work a supplementary job in order to ensure I can pay my mortgage and bills. This sees me awake at five in the morning and working until midday. So I am working a job that doesn’t require much in the way of thinking when I am doing it. After about a week of doing this, I realised that this time could be put to much better use. As I am busy with my hands, I am unable to read articles or even watch videos, as I am moving around a lot and these activities require a lot more focus.
So what if there was a radio station that was geared for sound professionals? A channel that focussed on sound editing, audio for film and video games. Sections that focussed on music, and interviews with respected pros. Well, there is and all these areas are covered, the only caveat is that you have to seek and find these all. Well, not quite, as I have compiled a list here of the most appropriate podcasts that I could find. Now, please note that everyone is different, so there are many podcasts that I have not included, that you may think I’ve overlooked, so please, do share your thoughts with me, as I am always looking for new ones to add to my list. Tweet me at @donnellysound or reply in the comments here.
Now, I am an android user, and I compile all my podcasts on an App called PocketCasts. This allows me to subscribe and download episodes to my phone and listen wherever I am. Be this at work or in the car driving somewhere. I have instant access to information at my fingertips. ITunes obviously has it’s own podcast functionality and there are tonnes of third party apps out there, so take a look around and find one that works best for you.
This list does not follow any particular order and all the podcasts included are of equal value to myself as a learning professional.
I would just like to say a huge thank you to all you lovely podcasters out there. You have allowed me to continue to learn and indeed be entertained. I appreciate the hard work and time that you all put into creating and releasing this content. I am very appreciative of each and every one of you, and if you ever need a helping hand with anything, then I am more than happy to oblige.
So here it is, a list of eleven Podcasts that I’ve found to be invaluable, and cover many areas that I believe to be fundamental in developing as a sound professional.
(Some of these Podcasts delve into Game development and also film making. As I believe that to be good at your art, you should be as knowledgeable in as many areas as possible. Learning about game level design and cinematography is just as important as learning how to design creature vocals. It’s all about supporting the medium you work in and telling the story, so try and understand the perspectives and techniques from each individual discipline. The whole is the sum of its parts, and when each part follows a unified vision, then you can create something transcendental).
- 1: The Tonebenders
Hosted by Rene Coronado and Timothy Muirhead. This was one of the first podcasts I started listening to and contains a vast amount of knowledge and discussions geared towards sound. Episodes are generally released monthly and can include specific case studies of sound design, to “roundtable” discussions about a specific area, the gun recording roundtable for example had a whole host of very talented sound recordists all discussing methods and techniques of recording guns. Rene and Tim are both very entertaining hosts, and Rene is also a very approachable and humble guy. I have learned so much from this podcast and am often loading up older episodes to recap and note things down.
Head here to read more and subscribe: http://tonebenderspodcast.com/
- 2: Soundworks Collection (Currently iTunes only):
(Multiple releases, sometimes several a week - Hard to say exactly).
The Soundworks Collection is a truly awesome resource for behind the sound expose. The main website is chock full of amazing links and insights. Go and take a look for yourself now, as there is way too much for me mention here. They do run a podcast, which features amazing interviews with audio legends, plenty of sound editors, designers and composers to learn from here. Treat yourself and take a peek here:
- 3: Game Audio Podcast:
(Approximate monthly release, give or take).
The game audio podcast, believe it or not, is angled towards…yep, game audio. It is hosted by Damian Kastbauer and Anton Woldhek. All areas relevant to game audio are discussed and evaluated. The podcast often includes guests that are serious heavy hitters from the game audio world and the podcast offers up some truly insightful and fun topics.
Check it out here: http://www.gameaudiopodcast.com/
- 4: Audionowcast:
This podcast ranks as one of my faves; I get way too excited when I see a new episode is released. It is hosted by Mike Rodriguez, and hosts multiple guests every month for great discussions. Now there are many many guests that feature on this one, but some of the more permanent fixtures are: Diego Stocco, Rob Arbittier, Martin Page, Bobby Owsinski, Nick Peck and Scott Gershin.
If you know any of these names, then you can instantly see the value that this podcast brings to you. I mean, these folks know their stuff, and this podcast opens up an insight into their world. They discuss everything, from current and new technology, to working process and their methods. They delve deep into areas that you probably thought about for a while and what is great, is that they have a good old giggle when they do it. Cannot recommend this one enough. It is super informative and highly entertaining.
Go here for more info and a huge list of guests: http://nowcastnetwork.com/
- 5: The Sound Architect
(Multiple per month)
Created and hosted by Sam Hughes. Sam offers up a fantastic variety of audio related interviews. They vary from composers and sound designers, to Voice actors and Musicians. Sam allows us insight into how each area of audio can differ from one discipline to the other. Every podcast is a 20 to 30 minute (approx) interview with someone working in an audio related field. Great snippets of info and a podcast that allows you broaden your thought process and expand your knowledge outward of your chosen discipline. Head to the website, as The Sound Architect offer up far more than just a podcast, but the podcast is awesome!
- 6: Beards, Cats and Indie Game Audio
Hosted by Matt Marteinsson and Gordon McGladdery. This one is a game audio focussed podcast, there will be the occasional mention of a beard or a cat, but game audio is the main focus here. The podcast hosts differing perspectives on game audio, specifically within the indie game area. They can offer amazing opinions and information on serious topics, like work/life balance and various other important aspects when it comes to working in this industry, and they also have fun and discuss areas that are lighter in topic. Again though, you are invited into a super friendly atmosphere and offered some invaluable thoughts, all for free.
Go here for more: http://indiegameaudio.podbean.com/
- 7: Level with Emily Reese
The successor to Top Score (Emily Reese’s original podcast - which is also extremely awesome).
Emily focuses on Game music. New and old and hosts in depth discussions with extremely high profile composers. Emily is extremely knowledgeable in music theory and orchestration and so every question she asks is extremely pertinent. The guests offer super detailed insights into their entire workflow and backgrounds. Emily does an amazing job of extracting the perfect amount of information, whilst delivering an extremely enjoyable experience. Emily’s laugh always manages to make me smile.
Head here for more: https://www.patreon.com/Level?ty=h
- 8: Game Devs Like You
(Released every Two Weeks)
Chris DeLeon hosts this podcast, and this is series of interviews with game developers. Guest range from larger industry veterans who’ve been working the Triple A circuit for decades, to new game developers making games in their bedrooms. Regardless of background, each and every guest opens up their world to you and shares their creative processes. One week you can learn about the process behind level design for games such as Gears of War, the next you can be learning about what it takes to make low poly count artwork for mobile games. A huge range of topics and disciplines to be heard here, and if you’re into game audio, then this should be a must podcast for you.
Link here: http://www.gamedevslikeyou.com/
- 9: No film School Podcast
(Weekly/multiple per week)
This is a supporting podcast for the large resource that is No Film School. It is a place of infinite resource for filmmakers. A place for anyone with a remote interest in film to go and learn, and network and make films. It’s fantastic. This podcast is amazing for learning about film competitions, new developments in film technology and gear. Deep insights and coverage from all the major and smaller film festivals. The podcast includes specials, which can be roundtable discussions with filmmakers, or panels from Sundance etc. Vast array of information to be had here, can’t recommend this site enough.
- 10: Infinite Ammo
Indie game developer? Then why aren’t you listening to this? Hosted by Alec Holowka. This podcast is a series of long informal conversations with various indie developers who make games. Artists, level designers, AI programmers, sound designers, and every other aspect of game development have covered at some time or another here. The podcast takes a relaxed and informal front and is basically a microphone in the middle of a room whilst friends and fellow game devs chat about their work and experiences. The episodes can run long, although I enjoy a good two-hour podcast, some may be put off. The podcasts are not structured in any specific fashion, and they allow the conversation to dictate the flow and pace. I enjoy the format and really enjoy the conversations. It’s like you’re there in person.
Go here for more: http://infiniteammo.com/podcast
- 11: Bithell Podcast
This is the podcast of Bithell Games, hosted by Mike Bithell and Alexander Sliwinski. If you’ve played or heard of Thomas Was Alone, or Volume. Then you’ll know how great Mike Bithell’s games are, and if you’re looking to learn what it takes to run an Indie games studio, then this is a great place to start. The podcast starts with a “What have we been playing this week” section. This is great for hearing developer informed opinions on games that you are playing or have heard of. The podcast often features guest from the games industry, anyone from Lawyers to marketing managers and fellow devs. You’ll learn about areas of game development that you may not have heard of before, alongside learning about Mike Bithell’s own process and the developments and issues tackled by his studio.
Available on every podcast platform around.
Check it out here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/bithell-games-podcast/id1065880449?mt=2