Sound design maverick Mark Mangini dished out four essential skills to those gathered at the CNA Sound & Storytelling Conference this March.

The Oscar winner and four-time nominee for films including Blade Runner 2049, The Fifth Element, and Mad Max – Fury Road welcomed the crowd of over 150 professionals and educators from 26 countries for three full days of presentations, networking, and general geek out over the important, yet little-regarded medium of sound design.

Mangini began by explaining his presentation would not be step-by-step instructions or a list of tips to be “the next Mark Mangini.” Rather, he emphasized the need to express one’s own unique vision and trust their ideas. The technical skill of a designer and editor can be demanding, but Mangini’s essential skills paint a broader image of what is required to be successful in the industry. Public speaking, writing, acting, and an understanding of psychology are necessary to create the universe of a film, according to Mangini.

These skills round out the artist and inform their work. Public speaking, for instance, is helpful when presenting and defending thoughts to the director and film team. Lessons in acting can expand the understanding of the motivation behind a character that can then be used to build a believable world. Though not directly tied to the medium of sound, Mangini notes the importance of drawing on ideas from a variety of sources.

With every project he approaches Mangini thinks outside of the box, literally designing sounds outside the bounds of the movie screen. Bringing to life a world in which characters on a two-dimensional screen are able to explore. He continues to innovate, harnessing the power of storytelling through sound design.

“Don’t be bound by the frame,” he says. “Color outside the lines.”

Experience more of Mangini’s method on his website here.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the CNA Sound & Storytelling Conference, especially our sponsors. Special thanks to Pro Sound Effects for sponsoring Mark Mangini as the keynote speaker.