Quick, name a sound designer that's won an Emmy Award. Can't? Actually, neither can we right off the top of our head. Unless there big bombs or huge explosions, an audience usually doesn't pay much attention to a show's sound design. Ambient sound and incidental music are crucial to a show, but usually go unnoticed -- sound designers don't take a bow at the end of the show. Here's one that should. Andy McWilliams, a composer, musician, producer, sound engineer, instrument craftsman and theatrical sound designer works with local companies such as Mildred's Umbrella where he just finished working on Red Death.
What he does: "I do many different things. Being a musician and engineer/producer, I play many different instruments, write and record, produce and mix different projects. As a sound designer in theater, I use my musician side to put together the right elements for the play I'm working on at that time."
Why he likes it: "I like all of the elements involved with making any artistic production come together. Making records and working in theater share a lot of similarities... [for both] you're working with people that you like and trust, and they like and trust you to add your ideas to what something. I love working with the people, and seeing the final product is always very rewarding. Sometimes the process takes so much out of you that you have to step back a bit before you can see what you've made, but it's always wonderful."
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What inspires him: "I think just about anything can inspire me, at any point. Life in general can provide a pretty big bowl of inspiration for different works. Certainly there are numbers of musicians who I've been inspired by, but also the people I'm working with provide the same level of inspiration."
If not this, then what: "That's a tricky question... I'd probably be more involved in building instruments, pedals, amplifiers; I've built or helped build a lot of the equipment I use). And I really enjoy wood working.
"My ideal fantasy gig has been for some time, to be Tom Waits' guitar player. Though it seems like I'd have a lot of time off on my hands and would have to have some other kind of work," he jokes.
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If not here, then where: "Well, my daughter is in South Dakota, so there's always that thought. But really, I could work from just about anywhere at this point, and wouldn't mind waking up every morning to mountains, a nice climate, and a lot of space... so New Mexico or Alaska."
What's next: McWilliams, who recently finished working with Mildred's Umbrella on Red Death, will be the sound designer for several plays this spring. The band he's currently drumming for, The Brunson Theater, has a new album out and a schedule of upcoming gigs.
"Other than that, I'm hoping for a bit of breathing room for some time to paint. I enjoy that as well."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Maria-Elisa Heg, zine queen Allan Rodewald, artist Anne-Joelle Galley, artist Michelle Ellen Jones, ballroom dancer and actress Morris Malakoff, photographer and filmmaker Terrill Mitchell, dancer Deji Osinulu, photographer Mason Sweeney, artist K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer