Meet the Team: Owen Peterson (Sound Designer)
Time for another meet the team interview. This time with the sound designer on Halfling Wars - Owen Peterson. We were fortunate to meet Owen while running our Kickstarter campaign. The sound effects and creature voices he created for Halfling Wars are brilliant! We already received several compliments about the sound design from publishers and press. To hear a few samples of Owen's work on Halfling Wars CLICK HERE.
To see what else Owen is working on CLICK HERE. Now time for the interview.
Q: Hi Owen! What do you do on the Halfling Wars team?
A: I'm responsible for designing everything you hear in the game except music.
Q: How long have you been working in post-production audio and how did you get your start?
A: I've been working in post-production audio for 5 years. I got my start at Monkeyland Audio in Burbank, CA (I think they're in the process of moving to Glendale). I started as an intern then moved up to an engineer position and eventually got hired as a sound editor and re-recording mixer.
Q: How did you hear about Halfling Wars and how did you become a member of the team?
A: I heard about Halfling Wars via Kickstarter and contacted ChondroStrike through Facebook to let them know I was interested in working on the project. After a few conversations they hired me.
Q: We heard that you created many of the creature sound effects using your own voice. How did you do that and what was that experience like?
A: I always keep a microphone handy while I'm creating because oftentimes, it's quicker to do certain sounds with my own voice than it is to search through a sound library. I would use my voice to get a feel for the character and general shape of the sound and then find other sounds to sweeten and enhance what I did with my voice. For example, I was trying to think of what the voice of Djinn might sound like when I saw a business card sitting on my desk that said "Filmed in Utah." I recorded several layers of myself saying "Filmed in Utah," backwards along with a crescendo of whispers in the beginning. I then added the sound of some pyrotechnics to get the feeling of a spell being cast.
Q: What was your creative approach to designing sound effects for Halfling Wars? In general?
A: I wanted to include elements from each creature type in the design of the characters. For example, when designing the dryad, nymph and sprout, I tried to include plant and nature sounds such as wood creaking, leaves, wind and thunder to help express the connection between the plant-based creatures. I used similar techniques throughout the design process in order to keep the connection between similar creatures while still giving them a unique voice.
Q: What sound effect you created for Halfling Wars are you most proud of? Why?
A: I'm very proud of the "Level up" sound effect because it proves I'm not totally useless on a bugle.
Q: What was the most exciting thing about working on Halfling Wars to you?
A: As a sound designer its always exciting to work on a project with creature voices. This project was especially exciting and challenging because there were so many unique characters to design. It was exciting to watch the personality of each creature and character grow as the sounds for each was solidified.
Q: Do you have any quirky habits or rituals while designing sound effects?
A: I eat a lot.
Q: What are your favorite video games? What about favorite RPGs? Mobile Games?
A: I don't really have a favorite game, but some games that I remember playing till the wee hours of the morning are: Super Mario World, Warcraft II, Doom II, Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye
Q: What films or video games have superior sound design/mixing in your opinion? Which ones have inspired you?
A: I love any film where a character's vocalizations are almost entirely created by sound design and/or editing. Some great examples are the dragons from "How to Train Your Dragon," "Wall-E," or R2-D2 from "Star Wars." One of the hardest things to do in sound design is bring out the personality of a non-human character in a believable way, especially a character that needs to display a wide range of emotions.
Q: Have you worked with any famous people in Hollywood or the video game industry? What were they like?
A: I recently had the opportunity to work with Luke Perry. He's exactly how I imagined him.
Q: Who are your personal mentors and why?
A: Peter D. Lago was my teacher and mentor at Monkeyland Audio, Inc. and continues to be a good friend and adviser. He is a gifted sound designer and consummate professional. I am honored to know him.
Q: What would you say to other people who are interested in breaking into the post-production audio industry for games or films?
A: If you're seriously okay with starving for long periods of time, give it a shot. But you can't do it half way. If you do, you will fail. Also, you have to be all right with spending long periods of time in a room by yourself doing extremely tedious work. Get used to that as well.
Q: What software do you typically use when mixing audio or creating sound effects for games and films?
A: I use Pro Tools.
Q: Do you have any nicknames, self-imposed or otherwise?
A: Yes (nicknames intentionally omitted)
Q: What hobbies do you have besides designing sound effects?
A: I like to cook, watch bad movies, and run.
Q: Any last words – your slogan to live by?
A: That which you persist in doing becomes easier to do; not that the nature of the thing has changed, but your ability to do has increased.