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WCC 014: John McClain

WCC 014: John McClain

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John McClain is the owner and lead sound designer for The Dog and Pony Show, a boutique audio house in Las Vegas, Nevada. They specialize in creative audio for all media but tend to work heavily in sound design, composition and mixing for long form and indie film. He was the recording engineer on George Carlin’s “More Napalm and Silly Putty” which won a Grammy in 2001 and they’ve recently been nominated for a regional Emmy for a TV series they mix called Outdoor Nevada.


Show Notes:

  • John started as a post audio engineer in the 1980s in Detroit working on car commercials
  • He’s been working in Las Vegas for the last 20 years for clients including MGM resorts.
  • More and more of John’s time is spent networking and chasing leads as competition in his industry increases.
  • The key to building a client base is to find common ground and establish a relationship.
  • He performs as the lead in Paul Sating’s first season of Subject: Found. He will have a role in season 2, and will be doing sound design for it.
  • They were nominated for a Parsec award.
  • He’s also appeared on an episode of John Grills’s podcast Creepy.
  • John prefers recording his own sound to using prerecorded audio.
  • If you want to start doing your own sound, just get a recorder and start recording sound. Pay more attention. Try and emulate high quality work.
  • Include sound in a soundscape as it serves the story.
  • It’s the subtle details that draw you into the story.
  • Gimlet’s Homecoming is an audiodrama that impressed John with its sound design.
  • Quality is only half the work; you have to market yourself. Set aside time to do so.
  • If you want to commission work from Dog and Pony Show, contact them through the website
  • They do foley, they do sound design for independent movies. Use them to outsource some of your production to focus on other aspects of your production.
  • Complex sound design is an untapped niche in the audiobook world, especially when it comes to childrens’ books.
  • John recommends the Sure MV88 microphone. (Affiliate link)
  • Always have your actors record at the highest resolution: 28 bit 48k
WCC 008 Joe Griffin

WCC 008 Joe Griffin

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Joe Griffin’s work as a recording engineer, sound designer, and composer over the past 25 years encompasses a wide variety of media, including theatre, film, music, and advertising. He’s one of the founders of Toxic Bag Productions, which in 1996 pioneered the field of sound effects specifically designed for use in tabletop roleplaying.


Show Notes

  • Joe’s company Toxic Bag has been producing audio products for use with tabletop roleplaying games since the 90s. It grew out of their desire to add an audio element to their home Call of Cthulhu campaigns.
  • Initially they intended to produce audio-enhanced scenarios, but chaosium didn’t have the budget for it.
  • They stripped away the scripting and actors and focused on sound effects.
  • They put together their first CD, the 20th century, in 1996.
  • They would sell these physical CDs at GenCon.
  • Back in 1996 mp3 formats were terrible.
  • After a few years doing sound for film and theatre, they got back into RPG sound effects but aren’t doing CDs anymore.
  • Convention sales are difficult to manage when you’re selling digital files, but the modern internet provides more distribution options. Now they sell through DriveThruRPG.
  • Toxic Bag creates their effects through foley and field recording rather than relying on commercial libraries.
  • Their podcast started out as coldly promotional, but they revamped it to provide more content, including sketches, reviews, interviews, and parodies.
  • Joe does the sound design, his partner Steve Baldwin does the writing.
  • I have appeared on the Toxic Bag podcast with my Burning Brigid Media co-producer Kat O’Connor
  • Joe’s day job is in advertising as a recording engineer. His marketing wisdom: People don’t like being sold to. Make it a conversation.
  • Promotion is okay, but if all you’re doing on twitter is marketing yourself, people will tune you out. Reveal who you are. Put yourself into it.
  • You need to have a thick skin to put your work in front of people.
  • Joe composes music for theatre and toxic bag projects.
  • He performs as part of the experimental band Donny Who Loved Bowling
  • Joe is doing sound design for John Klein’s short film Limerence. The kickstarter was successful and they’re moving into post-production.