Company (or Freelance):
Did you attend school for an audio-related degree? If so, what school and degree?
School: Full Sail University (Florida, USA)
Degree: BS Recording Arts
What inspired you to work with sound?
Music has always been able to move my heart. It’s something that’s able to inspire me every day of my life. I originally went to school so that I could record bands that I loved yet couldn’t afford studio time. During my time at Full Sail I also learned about post-production audio and got my feet wet in interactive audio. I was given an introduction to game audio by the guys from Engine Audio, Tom Todia and Chris Latham, and was so enthralled by everything game audio had to offer.
How old were you when you found out sound is what you wanted to do for a living?
I figured out at age 20, when I realized that post audio would help me make something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but aside from having the literal ability to make money and support myself, I never thought about making money.
Was a school degree the first thing on your mind, or do everything self-taught?
The reason why I went to school was to know more people who were passionate about audio. I grew up not knowing many people who were into audio in any degree so it was tough knowing exactly how to kindle this desire to know more about audio. I think that since I had so little knowledge to begin with that going through a degree program was what gave me the ability to learn on my own. If I had not gone to school it would have taken me much longer to build a foundation on which I could actually teach myself what ever else I wanted to know.
What is your specialty/preference of the sound fields (sound design, music, recording, audio programming, implementation, etc)? What do you like most about it?
I would say that what I like to do more is actual sound design and what I have more experience doing is sound recording. With sound my goal is to bring an experience to the listener and I want to do that by creating new worlds out of the sounds I capture and create.
What sound tools did you learn in your school curriculum?
At Full Sail we primarily used Logic Pro and Pro Tools.
What kind of projects did you have in your classes?
There were a lot of different projects but the major ones were finding a band and recording them, redoing sound for videos, and creating sounds for a map that some of the students in the game design program had done.
Were your teachers audio professionals? Anybody the audience would know?
I’ve already mentioned the guys that introduced me to game audio but another teacher I met at Full Sail was my good friend and mentor Colin Hart. He actually taught sound in the film program but we somehow met at an Irish pub throwing darts together with some mutual friends from church. No one has taught me more about sound than Colin and he’s always shared as much knowledge with me as he could. He is the one that is responsible for making me a legitimate “sound guy.” You can find him and some of our sound adventures together at www.hartfx.net
Did you do any side projects during school? If so, what were they like?
During school I tried to work on some film projects but I didn’t have the gear or the social skills to jump into legitimate projects. When I finally did get some gear I attempted to work on game mods and I was able to find a few teams. Unfortunately all those projects were not organized well enough to make anything out of them.
How many of your side projects were published? Any of them turn profitable?
None and no.
How large was your graduating class? Were you all close?
My graduating class was about 30 at the end of our program. I made quite a few good friends during my time at school but I wouldn’t describe the class as a whole as tight knit.
How often do you work with your old classmates today?
I don’t work on any projects with my classmates.
Any old classmates you want to mention? The more the merrier with the audio community!
Brecken Hipp is an extremely enthusiastic and cool dude in Austin, TX who has an amazing passion for games and game audio. He and I were the only two in class really interested in game audio so we ended up hanging out a lot. You can find him at www.breckenhipp.com and www.twitter.com/breckenhipp
Do you feel more prepared for the sound industry than if you had not graduated from your program?
Definitely. Like I said before, school laid out a foundation for learning that I’m able to use every day.
Do you have a website for your portfolio? How often do you blog on it?
I have a portfolio website at www.johnnypease.com but I’m planning on turning it into a blog soon.
Do you use social networking? How often, and what communities?
I am on Facebook and Twitter. Both have been great to be able to communicate with amazing sound people that I otherwise would have never been able to contact. For some reason though I’ve gravitated more towards using Twitter. You can find me there at www.twitter.com/johnnypease
Any last words for future audio guys looking to carve their education and career paths?
I would say be diligent and keep at it. It’s easy to feel defeated when you’re starting from the bottom but you have to keep moving. Try not to get caught in a rut and always look to better yourself.
About Sonic Backgrounds
The sound industry is an ever growing field, ranging from linear sound design in film and TV, to interactive audio in games, and from live theatrical sound design to field recording for the creation of custom libraries. It is only recently however, that school programs have begun to offer degrees in the sound-specific variety. Graduates of these new programs are now coming into the industry, and it provokes the interesting question of how these new, specific programs are preparing individuals for the sound world, as opposed to the older approaches of entry, such as pure passion, musical talent, a film degree, or a computer science degree.
“Sonic Backgrounds” is an interview series focused on interviewing recent graduates of these educational sound programs around the globe, to see what exactly they are providing, and how they are shaping the new “academic”-based sound artist.