We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Roy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, why did you pursue a creative career?
Art was actually not my original path. I grew up in a very creative environment and I always enjoyed it but for most of my life, I intended to become a scientist. After I graduated high school I moved to Australia to pursue a degree in marine biology and ecology but quickly decided that it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. One of the things I’ve always loved about science is the need to think creatively to problem-solve, so at that point, I decided that I wanted to pursue a creative and artistic career that I could combine with my passion for science. Having been a violinist for most of my life, music was my first instinct but I’ve never enjoyed performing for others. After doing some research I discovered sound design and sound art, which I quickly realized are great ways to combine those two passions. When I found a school with a sound design program I enrolled and immediately felt at home among my peers. I had incredible professors who encouraged me to pursue my interest in things like acoustic ecology and installation art and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Art is never easy. No matter what your medium may be, it takes years of practice and experimentation and even then, you never truly finish growing within your chosen field. The trick is to make it your own and learn as you create. In my senior year of college, I was lucky enough to be able to do an independent study with a fantastic professor who encouraged me to do just that and it led to me really finding my niche as a sound artist. As a tactile person, I focus a lot of my creative energy on interactive installation pieces and as an environmentalist, a lot of that work has natural themes. Much of what my art has evolved into is vignettes inspired by my personal experiences. Whenever someone asks where home is, an old friend of mine simply says “she’s from the wind”. I’ve lived all over the country and driven through even more of it and that background has given me the opportunity to have some unique experiences. Having the knowledge of what it sounds like to be in a hot air balloon or how quiet nature becomes when a hurricane is headed your way, what elk sound like walking through the snow or a pod of dolphins sounds like as they play in the waves all give me the ability to create more realistic and immersive soundscapes. Any time I travel, I make sure to take a few minutes to just sit and listen to the world around me. That one little act teaches me so much and has given me plenty of inspiration. Those experiences translate to my work as a sound designer and editor for film and television as well. The majority of my film and television work is focused on dialogue editing where having an understanding of regional dialects and colloquialisms is an incredible asset and being flexible to the workflow of others is a must. Sound, no matter what approach you take to it, is about being open to the world around you and understanding how change affects what you hear. You never stop learning about it and that’s what excites me the most.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
To start I’d probably offer up the usual spots – The Getty, Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Observatory, etc. After that, I’d take them to some of the more unique and quirky spots in and around LA like The Museum of Jurrasic Technology, Vasquez Rocks, the painted stairways, the Cinerama Dome, maybe a day trip to Ojai (I love Barts Books). There’s so much amazing vegan food in this city that we wouldn’t be able to hit them all, but my favorite is Hinterhof on York Blvd. Just a couple blocks down from there is à bloc, a fantastic coffee shop with an incredibly kind owner, as well as Donut Friend because who doesn’t love donuts? The Vegan Street Fair is great for when everyone wants something different. Ramen Hood and Little Pine are also excellent choices. There’s no shortage of fun places to go in LA and I can’t wait for them all to reopen.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m incredibly lucky to have such a large support system. My parents, who have always encouraged me to pursue my passions, and my brother, whose laughter serves as inspiration everyday. My best friend, Keatra, has watched me bounce all over the country and never let me wander off too far. My sound art partner in crime, Claudia, entertains all of my ideas, even when they get a little too big. The professors and peers that taught me what it means to be a sound designer and artist. All of the sound designers I’ve had the pleasure to meet in this city, especially my coworkers who have been nothing but kind and patient and continue to teach me new things every day. The list goes on and on, but I’m lucky to work in such a welcoming community and I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
Kaylee Yacono, Amanda Roy