There are a lot of reasons I’m glad I got out of sound design, but the principal among them is that I was getting to the point where I was paying more attention to how a movie sounded then whether it was actually good or not.
Sometimes, however, something sounds so horrible that my inner sound designer comes out, screams, and won’t let me pay attention to a movie.
That happened Friday night when I went to see Friday Night Lights. The movie itself was great, and I’m sure it had some good sound design and music.
But I sure as fuck didn’t hear it.
The theater I was in was built in such an acoustically stupid way that anytime there was dialogue that wasn’t EXACTLY in the center channel, there was a really huge echo.
And only two speakers worked in the theater: The center channel (where all the dialogue comes out) and the left front speaker (where half the music and some of the sound effects come out).
The surround kept popping in and out, so it wasn’t the print, it was the theater’s sound system.
I bitched to the manager after the movie, giving the caveat that while 99% of people wouldn’t notice it, the 1% who did would be driven batshit insane.
He basically admitted that the sound system in that particular theater was in need of repair, and gave me a coupon for a free movie.
It just pissed me off, because if I had never done sound design, I might have noticed something, but I never would have been as completely distracted as I was.
The other three people who went with me, who are all movie aficionados and watch even more movies than I do, barely noticed the popping and didn’t notice that there was only half a music track.
I don’t think the rest of the audience noticed at all. I would have gotten better sound out of my fucking TV, and nobody noticed.
And that’s why I’m glad I gave up sound design.