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DePaul Sound Recording Technology Alumna (2005)
Kate Marciniak, a graduate of DePaul's Sound Recording Technology (SRT) Program, works as a sound effects editor for television cartoons at Audio Circus in Los Angeles. Kate has worked on such shows as Transformers: Animated for Cartoon Network, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Yin Yang Yo! for Disney, and has been nominated for two Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild Golden Reel Awards.
What were your early experiences with music, and how did they prepare you for your studies and career?
The road to my experiences at DePaul and beyond began with piano lessons at the age of 7. In fifth grade, I took on the clarinet, too, and was instantly hooked. I continued to take private lessons on both instruments through middle and high school and participated in my schools bands, jazz bands and pit orchestras.
The moment that I began to seriously consider a college career in music is still clearly etched in my mind. I was playing Hindemiths Clarinet Sonate at my city's Solo and Ensemble competition, accompanied on the piano by my clarinet teacher, JoAnn Nelson. It was a piece that I connected with on a very deep level, and when I had finished my performance, my teacher turned to me and sighed, "You could really do this."
After her kind words, I began to consider which musical major might be the best fit for me. Previously, I had been thinking about studying math or science in college. I found my AP Physics class fascinating and had been spending a lot of my lunches and study hall periods in the office of my teacher, Mr. Zelmer. I was interested in finding a college major that could combine my love of music and creative performance with the structure and finiteness that I found so appealing in science and math. A friend of mine suggested that I look into Sound Recording Technology, the major that she was about to begin at the Cleveland Institute of Music in the fall. I was immediately enthralled by the idea; it seemed to be the perfect fit for me.
What made you choose to study at DePaul?
By the time I applied to colleges, I was sure that SRT was the right major for me, but continuing my clarinet studies was also a key factor in my search for the right school. I was only interested in schools that offered a Sound Recording major in tandem with music-conservatory style training. In the end, I applied to DePaul, Northwestern, USC and NYU, along with a few Wisconsin schools as back-ups. My auditions went well, and I was accepted nearly everywhere. It was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately I chose DePaul. I had been pleasantly surprised by the amount of personal attention that I had received at my audition with clarinet professor Julie DeRoche and my one-on-one meeting with Tom Miller, chairman of the Sound Recording Technology major. I was also drawn to the big-city, yet close-knit community feel that Lincoln Park offers; the cosmopolitan possibilities of Chicago, such as the symphony and myriad art museums; and the wonderful scholarship opportunities that made DePaul one of the most affordable choices for me.
How did you feel about your experiences as a DePaul student?
Once I got to DePaul, the one-on-one attention that I had received during my visit as a prospective student extended into my current-student experience. My private clarinet lessons were eye opening, and I soon found that I was holding myself to higher standards than I had ever expected. My clarinet teachers, Julie DeRoche and Wagner Campos, are both incredibly talented musicians and teachers, and I never ceased to be surprised by the talent of my fellow music students.
My SRT classes also exceeded my expectations. My class was small, as are all of the SRT classes, with only six students. With such a small group of students, Tom Miller was able to get to know each of us very well over the next four years as both our professor and advisor. In class, each of us always had the opportunity to push a fader, dial in an EQ setting or compress a vocal track. When it came to my junior year, the small student-to-teacher ratio really paid off. Tom and I discussed my career aspirations during an advising session, and he then helped to set me up with interviews for two different internships one at a music-recording studio and one at a post-production studio. In the end, I found that post-production sound was what I wanted to pursue a career in, specifically sound effects for movies or television.
How did DePaul prepare you for your current career?
I graduated in June of 2005, moved out to Los Angeles that August and found a job in mere weeks at a company called Audio Circus. I was surprised at the speed that my resume was responded to by prospective employers. I can only assume that my two internships in different areas of the field, the live-sound work that all SRT students complete at DePaul and the extensive electronics coursework that is required all contributed to my employability.
I find my job to be incredibly satisfying. I work creatively alongside directors, producers and fellow sound editors to create an auditory experience that turns two- or three-dimensional drawings into live worlds. Whether I'm designing the sounds for robot transformations, kung-fu fight scenes, car chases or rocket ship launch sequences, each day is a new and engaging experience.
Even a few years into the workforce, I constantly find myself putting to use the information that I learned at DePaul. I never would have found such a perfectly fitted job with such ease without the superb education and experiences that DePaul provided me.