An Interview with Megan Duncan
Stories Through Sound is a blog featuring interviews by industry professionals across the audio and post production fields. This week, we're interviewing Megan Duncan.
Megan Duncan is a sound editor and mixer at Walt Disney Imagineering based in Glendale, California. Megan graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Audio Post Production, and went on to work at SDI media as an audio engineer before transitioning to her role at Disney. Now, she is part of a team that designs the sounds behind all the different Walt Disney theme parks, Cruise Lines, interactions, and shows. Megan has worked on projects such as Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, DCA’s Avenger Campus, and is planning to go to Tokyo to work on Disney Tokyo Sea’s “Fantasy Springs” expansion.
Was there a defining moment when you decided you wanted to pursue a career in audio?
I was a sophomore in college and at this point I was a Performance Major at SDSU. I had just starred as Mowgli in the Jungle Book, but I didn’t like the lime light. I enjoyed being behind the scenes more and didn’t want to be an actor like I thought. I had a voice acting youtube channel that was mildly successful and realized that editing audio was a better fit for me.
What was your experience like majoring in Audio Post Production at Emerson college? How would you say your degree has impacted your career in audio?
Emerson was a great program for me. I was really driven having transferred schools so I surrounded myself with every audio opportunity I could find and there was a lot of different avenues to pursue at a film school. Emerson had this program called the “Mix Pilot Program” that allowed me to mix students films for money. It was a student job, but the professors running the program also taught us various lessons each week. For example we had a week intensive on Foley and a different week dedicated to microphones. It was really good information and prepared me for mixing quickly and efficiently, since we only had 4 hour increments to mix these student films. I would say that experience gave me a level head and taught me how to organize and tackle the big problems in a mix first.
What is your favorite part of working as an Imagineer? Is there a particular project or moment you’re most proud of?
Oh, that’s a hard question. I love that I get to dabble in a little bit of everything as an Imagineer. In a normal post production structure I’d have to focus on music, sound effects or dialogue, but as an Imagineer I have the ability to do everything. For example, in my short time at Imagineering, I’ve gotten to record and edit Jim Cummings dialogue in our studio, field recorded some LIVE wolves for our library, and traveled to theme parks to mix my sound design into a physical space for guests to hear. Who else can say they do all that at their job? I am blessed and just proud to be a part of this team, I can’t pick a specific project or moment.
Can you describe what a typical day as an Imagineer might look like?
Well, I did a little of that in the last question. A typical day can be wildly different day to day. Today I’m mastering some BGM for Disneyland Paris, tomorrow I’ll be creating some area development SFX for Shanghai. There really isn’t anything “typical” about this job, haha. Here is a video that explains the different facets of work we do:
What are some of your favorite plugins/gear/equipment to use?
Some of my favorite plugins:
-Pitch ‘n Time Pro
-L3-LL Multi Stereo
Schoeps are my favorite and the Sennheiser MKH 416 and Neumann U67 (yes the 67 not the 87) are great too.
What is something you wish someone would have told you when you were first starting out?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the industry and have conversations with them. Their knowledge and experiences are so valuable and really inspired me to keep going and end up where I am.
Keep up with Megan!
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