We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Hirlinger and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristen, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Music and sound are like a second language to me, and what’s better, it’s a universal one. A set of sounds or notes can elicit the same emotion from many different listeners, no matter where they’re from. When I was young I loved listening to film soundtracks, and sometimes I would sit at the piano and just play what was on my mind, where I found I could express myself easier through notes rather than words. I started writing these ideas down, eventually moving on to write a concert piece that I premiered with my high school band. I studied music in college and wrote for more ensembles and films, moving from the Midwest to Los Angeles, and ultimately creating music and sound became my career. I feel most myself when I am creating, and I count myself lucky to be able to make a living from it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Much of my work these days is in film, and I love bringing stories to life with music and sound design. Most people know what a film score is—the music that drives the developments we see on screen, from big soaring orchestras to somber piano solos. I have a lot of fun crafting scores, drawing from my experience writing for and playing in music ensembles. People tend to be a little less familiar with sound editing, which is a big umbrella covering all the work that goes into transforming a movie from sounding like a clunky home video to a polished blockbuster. I’ve done a lot of dialogue editing on larger projects for TV & theatrical releases (Netflix, Amazon, Warner Bros), which involves carefully cleaning the actors’ lines so they’re perfectly easy to understand. I’ve worked with some well-known actors in ADR when we need to re-record and replace some of their lines. Sound design also involves creating a sonic atmosphere for where the movie is taking place, and of course, crafting sound effects like big explosions or car chases. In the end, it’s all perfectly balanced together with the music in the final mix. I’m a member of Local 700 and IATSE, a member of Motion Picture Sound Editors, and a voting member of the Television Academy. I still write music for concert performance as well, and had works performed recently by the Los Angeles Symphonic Winds and the Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles (C3LA). I also released an album last year under the name Tannins.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is amazing because there are so many things to do, no matter what your interests. Where to begin! There are the obvious places like the Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood Bowl. But some of the lesser known gems are concert venues like the Echo, the Teragram Ballroom, the Lodge Room, and the fancy Ace Hotel. There are also so many great places to hike like Eaton Canyon with its waterfall ending, and Solstice Canyon where you can walk through the ruins of an old mansion. I like to check in on the eccentric exhibits at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, or just catch a classic nighttime skyline view from the balconies of the Getty. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents have always been encouraging and supportive of my music, and never missed a concert when I was young. A big thank you is due to my high school band directors Steve Litwiller & Kim Hartley Pirtle for noticing my interest in composition early on and encouraging me to enter competitions. There are many mentors and teachers who shared their knowledge and threw opportunities my way, for which I am very grateful. I also want to give a shoutout, as a woman in audio and composition, to the groups who are helping make change happen by putting the work of women artists front and center, and providing supportive environments. It can be hard to carve your way into a field where you don’t see a lot of people like yourself, but this has been gradually changing over the past decade, and I look forward to a time where no one has to feel like an anomaly.

Website: http://www.kristenhirlinger.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tanninsmakesmusic/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristen-hirlinger-50734461/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanninsmakesmusic

Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7119540

Image Credits
Martin Guitar

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