Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Awards, Competitions, and Recognition for Sound Design

On the eve of the Academy Awards at our favorite local pub, my wife and I had an interesting conversation regarding awards and recognition in the fields of audio engineering and/or sound design. It was sparked by the article "On the Unification of Sound Awards" by Tim Nielsen and published on DesigningSound.org on February 22, 2012. It was a very well composed article that received a number of interesting and intriguing comments from experts in the field.

I remained curious as to what other awards or organizations give a bit of recognition for the time and effort that we put into creating our sound art. We do seem to get lost in the shuffle of cinematography, acting, and original score. It is interesting to me that our work is very important to the overall composition of all types of media projects and how our industry is expanding and contracting on itself. At the time of our conversation I was under the impression that very little recognition was given (with the exception of the unflattering awards received at the Academy Awards and other shows of a similar vein). 

What I found upon researching the topic this week is that I was wrong. There is a strong support system for recognition within our industry and all it takes is for us to get involved. I am going to provide some links and brief descriptions of what I think is pretty cool so that my readers can explore the mission and scope of these organizations. My hope is that sound designers, sound editors, and engineers use this resource to gain some networking opportunity and a platform to submit works for recognition. Please post any comments below to cover sources that I have left out. As I mentioned their remains a lot of opportunity to get your work recognized, but if you are not active about getting your work out there then the recognition will go to those who are fervently pursuing their career in the audio field. 

This award ceremony celebrates creative excellence in the areas of music and sound design for various types of visual media. The inaugural awards event was held at KOKO in London, England on February 23, 2012. I find it interesting that all judges for each category are hand-picked making it true "field experts" that are giving the awards. The media partners include Universal, Warner, and EMI which to me screams that this will be one award to reckon with in future years. View the list of this years inaugural winners by clicking HERE! I am not sure if these awards are restricted to the UK only, but if they are then American audio professionals and artists could benefit from following this format. 

The Motion Picture Sound Editors association offers what I consider to be the most prestigious award in the field of film editing and sound design. Several of you are probably familiar with this award, but I felt it was necessary to cover solely because the organization is far reaching and very professional in their scope. The Golden Reel Awards acknowledge the year's best work in the various areas of sound editing: Dialogue & ADR, Effects & Foley, and Music. Membership is available on the site provided certain criteria are met. The site is quite informative as to how to submit entry forms, advertise, etc. Student Membership is available as well.

Aiming to highlight the excellent qualifications of best sound designs, design concepts and design oriented products & services, the A' Design Awards honor sound designers (as well as many other kinds of designers) and provide them with a global platform for recognition. I encourage you to explore the site and contact any individuals with your personal questions. CLICK HERE for an entry form for participating in the Sound Design Competition.

The fields of sound design and audio engineering are growing very quickly, but the work is being condensed and performed by people who utilize their networking resources, know what to do and do it VERY well. It takes dedication, talent, and commitment to make it in this industry. I believe that awards will surface soon honoring sound design for a variety of medium including but not limited to: web content, attractions and theater, gaming, mobile applications, etc. Sound design has become a meticulous art and is gaining respect as digital media continues to grow and be utilized. Recognition on any level will be a key component for anyone who hopes to succeed because competition is fierce and you need to stand out. I challenge all of you to seek and USE your resources. Be proud of the work you do, stay humble, refine your craft, and find ways to get your work seen, heard, recognized and honored.


  1. One aspect that you totally ignore as far as film sound awards go is non-America i.e. the rest of the world. A few examples: the Cannes film festival (which I personally believe is far more important than Acadamy Awards) very occasionally hand out awards for sound.... Australia has a very strong sound guild with awards, NZ has annual film awards with sound design awards, France has the Caesar awards etc etc...

  2. I may have been a bit short-sighted in my scope. I failed to mention that many countries recognize sound editing and design on their own accord. You cite some excellent examples. Most of my readership is US-based so I wanted to use this as a springboard to get people thinking about the benefits of entering contests, competitions, etc. and submitting for awards. Thanks for sharing...I was hoping that people would post known sources here in the comments to explore awards around the globe. Thanks for making this a much more global approach to our craft!

  3. Regardless, momentum for recognition seems to be on the upswing. You speak of strong organizations and guilds abroad which strengthens the theme of this post. I think the most positive aspect is that our craft is getting the recognition it deserves for several reasons (technology accessibility & ease-of-use, increased educational opportunities and curriculum, etc.)

  4. Australian Screen Sound Guilds Awards


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