2021 Performing Arts Scholar – Drama, In Honour of Tom Gunning
Stage Management and Sound Design
Recipient of an Australian Industry Scholarship
Sound exists everywhere around us, and so too does the fundamental concept of sound design: ‘layered sounds to create a scene’.
Whether it be inside a home, or outdoors sounds are layered for our ears to receive, and thus, generally what we see – or expect to see – is what we hear. However sound design itself – and what interests me about sound design – can play a role in altering this for the listener.
Sound design at its core can create, add or remove a world of opportunities for the listener. An often-overlooked sense, sound can provide our ears with as much stimulus as our eyes, transporting the listener to another world and removing them from reality, albeit for a short moment in time. It’s this base concept that fuels my passion for sound design and how we use sound in our everyday life.
One field I am passionate about is documenting and telling true Australian stories.
As an artist I seek to tell the stories of all around me. Through my work, I seek to enrich the Australian voice on the world’s stage as well as continue to develop and grow the Australian theatre and creative arts industry. In doing so, I seek to work in a way that is safe, sustainable and enriches the practice of my co-workers and the communities around me, all whilst following and implementing the UNSDG framework.
One of the SDGs I am committed to is Goal #11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities”:
My work as a theatre maker seeks to tell Australian stories and in-turn develop sustainable communities that have their stories continue to be told, remembered and respected. I also seek to create work that is ecologically sustainable in the common interest of the Australian community. The theatre industry is notorious for paper and structural waste – particularly with sets. In my own practice I seek to combat this waste and implement sustainable practices beginning with my own work.
I also hope to contribute to SDG Goal #17 “Partnership for the goals” in my industry:
Through the inter-state portion of my scholarship, I seek to create long lasting partnerships and connections with industry professionals who are pivotal in developing Australian work. With this partnership I hope to grow new practices as well as gain an insight into how to respectfully tell Australian stories from all walks of life.
My BBM Scholarship in Australia
My BBM Scholarship includes training, the purchase of special equipment and an interstate work experience placement to help me achieve my goals in several ways:
Training & Development
Additional training and education will help me develop my own practice in a safe, controlled and constructive way, so I can help to guide the practice of others around me to create a safe workplace and industry.
I will also complete qualification courses to acquire Rigging and Forklift tickets. This will not only stimulate my own professional and personal development but contribute to a safe and decent workplace for myself and coworkers.
Equipment & Software
The equipment will enable me to develop my creative and technical knowledge and to diversify my storytelling ability, allowing me in turn to pursue my goal of telling Australian stories. The purchase of specialist software will allow me to develop my sound design skills to work across multiple platforms, collaborate with others and further my development of my original proposal in the field of podcasting and innovative sound design.
The ability to undertake an interstate secondment, with accommodation and travel funded through my BBM Scholarship, will allow me to gain a quality education from a leading professional in the sound design field, as well as develop possible partnerships with people I may work with in the future. This would would allow me to diversify my training and study under the guidance of industry professionals who frequently work with telling Australian stories onstage.
At this time, I am looking at completing a secondment with Steve Francis on “Boy Swallows Universe” and am in talks with my university about this. As it is not all formal educational course based, I can email a detailed proposal, explanation and allocation of funds. The rest of the form is based off the first qualifications component.
Looking towards the future
I seek to work in the theatre and podcasting sector of the arts industry, working on both mixing as well as sound design. At a base level it’s my goal to become a core member of an Australian based podcasting company apart of the sound design and mixing departments. During additional secondments in Australia I will seek to work in these teams and continue to develop my skills in order to join companies that encompass audio production in Australia.
Having worked on a variety of theatrical shows in and outside of NIDA, both as a sound engineer and a designer, I will continue to explore these opportunities throughout my practice and secondments. As I continue to develop my practice, I strive to incorporate variety and innovation as much as possible, creating new ideas and sparking interest in sound design for theatre.
Long-term, my goals are similar; however, I seek to further develop my ideas on educational opportunities for emerging artists. One important factor that I myself have seen in my sound production is the access to sounds and resources, and thus, I have loose ideas on developing a sound resource library for educational purposes in-order to once again help foster the next generation of sound designers. I believe as my experience grows in the field, so too will my future ambitions with regards to this. Ideas around this sound library also include recording and developing a library of purely Australian sounds which, from my experience are underrepresented in the audio field.
Throughout my career so far I have been afforded the opportunity to watch and learn from leaders in the field of audio in Australia – primarily audio engineering. In doing so, I’ve developed the philosophy that, as good as you at your practice, so to do you need to give back and support fellow practitioners. Thinking about this, I continue to develop ideas about how I can give back to both other practitioners and the next generation of sound designers and engineers.
Before current events around the closure of gatherings I was booked to return to my high school and undertake several classes with their performing arts department. Classes would have ranged from sound design and music composition to the fundamentals of sound technology and hardware. Overall, my main goal with this set of classes was to not only inspire but also promote the industry for the new age of innovation. This is something I will continue to pursue and try to evolve as I continue in the industry as I believe it’s imperative that, much like knowledge was shared with me, I share my knowledge.
Currently, I have several long term and short-term plans devised in order for me to give back and support those around me. These include building a sound library developed solely from Australian sounds, including iconic Australian wildlife and nature as well as everyday sounds. Such a platform would allow for future sound designers to have easy access to a wide variety of specifically Australian sounds and make producing Australian location-based work easier.
“Zacchary reveals ambition and a dedication to a theatrical specialism. […] He has, thorough research, connected with and planned a solid programme whilst overseas and has strong ideas about what he could contribute and how the industry could develop.” – BBM Industry Panel