Four prominent Broadway associate sound designers— Andrew Keister, Kai Harada, Tony Smolinski, and Walter Trarbach—will share their experiences on how they got into the business and what abilities led them to their current positions. This discussion of the roles of assistant and associate sound designer, the skills required, and the career paths that lead toward these jobs will take place on Saturday, May 22 at the 2010 Broadway Sound Master Classes at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.
“We will explore the career paths of the four panelists to illuminate key experiences and relationships that led to their current positions," says Keister, who worked as associate designer with Steve Kennedy on Jersey Boys, Hairspray, Mary Poppins, and Guys and Dolls. “We will examine the structure of the sound design team, from designer to associate to assistant to engineer and decode the function of each of these shifting and overlapping job descriptions…
All of the panelists have substantial experience designing their own shows— on Broadway and across the country —in addition to spending significant time in associate and assistant roles. They will share the experiences from their diverse background across plays and musicals ranging from regional theater to Broadway to international productions to help expand the attendees' knowledge of what the duties of these roles are, what skill sets are required, how to best approach landing a job, and some tricks of the trade. Additional topics to be discussed by the panel will include: union membership, the importance of musical skills and ongoing education and training.”
The panelists will discuss the following points:
• How they got started, why they pursued this profession, and advice for others looking for similar positions.
• Discuss the sometimes elusive nature of the relationship between a Designer and his or her associate and assistant.
•Look at where an associate and assistant fit in the overall picture of the creative and technical teams.
• Analyze what a designer is looking for when he/she is hiring a new assistant, and how to present oneself in the most appealing manor.
• Explore what key skills are required, and how to develop them.
• An overview of union membership, how much of a requirement is it and what are the pros and cons involved.
• Study the differing skills required of an associate or assistant on a play versus a musical.
• Discuss amongst the panelists how important they feel musicianship is in our roles, and how their individual musical background effects their interactions with the rest of the creative team.
• Look at what ongoing training the panelist engage in for themselves, and see what they would recommend for others to do to keep their skills current in our ever evolving industry.