On the one hand, you have one of Canada's best known playwrights, Quebec City's Robert Lepage. He is an international leader in the use of audio techniques for the theatre. His nine-hour play Lipsynch features a character with audio production college know-how. On the other, you have such international adult contemporary and pop sensations as Céline Dion and Shania Twain. What do these famous Canadians have in common? They all require the services of audio school grads.
If you are enrolled in audio school, take the time now to figure out where you are heading. Would you like to work in the theatre or would you like to work in a commercial recording studio?
Theatre sound production
Right now is an exciting time for graduates of audio training to embark on a career in the theatre. In the past, the goal of theatre sound production audio school programs was to teach students how to reinforce live sound in such a way as to make it sound as natural as possible. Proof of how well the job was done lay primarily in how invisible the audio production college grad was.
Not so anymore. In the last decade, there has been a sound revolution on theatrical stages from London to New York. Audio training grads who work in theatre are now called upon to apply a greater range of audio school techniques to theatre sound production. They use explicit voice-overs; audience members are provided with microphones; and, in some cases, the sound techs are even directly visible on stage.
Audio school students who take this route should do so out of a love of experimentation. They may need to travel from city to city, and may live contract to contract. They must be flexible, imaginative and open to change.
Other audio production college grads may prefer to seek a line of work where their work is presented pre-recorded to the audience. They may want to work in recording studios. If so, they may want to look for an audio school that offers internships in a recording studio. Some schools also have a project in which students are asked to draw up a plan and budget for setting up their own recording studio.
One advantage of this line of work is that recording studios are designed with sound quality in mind, unlike in the theatre, where audio school grads know that they have to roll with the punches. After all, errors and slip-ups are part of what gives the theatre its grace.
Audio school perfectionists may prefer to seek out a studio-based career rather than suffer the imperfections of a live performance.
But, there's nothing stopping audio production college students from pursuing a career in both these lines. Some audio production careers are built piecemeal, contract by contract. Those audio training students who really like the idea of a variety may want to pursue a double specialization in the sound production for the stage, as well as for the studio.