Larry Magna is a well-known Sound Engineer in the gaming industry. He has worked on so many games that he’s on the who’s who when it comes to post-production professionals in the gaming world’s inner circles. He has mastered the art of sound engineering so much so that he can tell if a sound is organic or computer generated just by taking a short sampling of it. He has a very sharp ear indeed, and that has been his biggest asset and his secret to staying so long in this very competitive business industry.
Larry got his first break in the gaming business when one of his friends asked him to stand in for a colleague who couldn’t make it on the set of a recording for one of the earlier games. He was there merely as a guest and an observer. And observe he did. He watched the skilful masters tweaking their tools to make the perfect sound for a certain scenario. This piqued his interest so much so that after that incident, Larry decided to invest in some education and learn the ropes of sound engineering.
He went on to learn and master the art of sound design and has been working on big projects ever since.
NA: Hi Larry! Nice of you to have a little time for a chat. What can you say is the biggest influence in your career decision to become a sound engineer?
LM: Hi there! Well, for me it was love at first sound. The first time that I attended a recording session, just as an audience, mind you, there was something about being able to control sound and make it bend and twist the way I want them to. That, for me, was the main selling point. It allowed me to have artistic freedom and totally found ways to express myself through the sound I produce which would e used in games. From that day on, I never looked back. It ws always moving forward, just always moving. Perpetual motion is what you might call it. I gave that motion a sound track to go along with it.
NA: What is the relevance of sound in games?
LM: For us professionals, we can tell if a game will be a big hit just by listening to the sound track of the games. Usually games come out with teasers, and with these teasers usually comes a sound track or background audio. If the audio is well planned, we can say for sure the game will be a big hit. But if it’s just a hodge-podge of sound clips, we’re certain that it will be a flop. So, I think good sound engineering can make or break a game. It ties the game together and gives the player a surrealistic experience, like being immersed in another world during gameplay. If you have achieved that, you’ve won half the battle.
NA: What is your biggest challenge that you had to face in your line of work?
LM: Well, one of the biggest problems I’ve had to deal with was working with prima donnas. As you well know, we have to rely on voice actors for some of our work. Well you know, some voice actors think they’re so important to the project. Like the project won’t be complete without their contribution. So, yeah, those types of scenarios really bug me off. There is no business where there are no antagonists, otherwise it’s a bummer. So I guess these add spice to what we do. I’m not saying all voice talents are bummers, only a handful I know. But then again, c’est la’vie!