25 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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IFTA Q&A Series: Damien Lynch on Sound Design
12 Apr 2024 : Luke Shanahan
Damien Lynch
To mark the 21st anniversary of the IFTA awards, we are showcasing Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with Irish talent who represent a range of disciplines across our industry.

We find out about their approach to craft, working on the projects they’ve been nominated for, and the best piece of advice they’ve been given in their career.

Damien Lynch, Aza Hand, and Peter Nicell are IFTA-nominated for Best Sound for Lies We Tell. Lynch was the sound effects editor for Lies We Tell. His other recent credits include Oddity, Kneecap, Sunlight, and The Gone.

IFTN: Tell me about your experience working on this project, and your collaboration with the director and other HODs.

DAMIEN: “I had a great experience working on Lies We Tell. My studio is based in the Wicklow hills in a 200 year old house so my settings were perfect for the premises of this film.”

“Plus working with my old time friend and collaborator Aza Hand (Sound Design/Mixer, Composer) is always exciting as we usually take our work home with us or to the pub, and over a pint we chat about what else the film needs sound wise.”

IFTN: How do you approach creating a unique soundscape for a project?

DAMIEN: “Usually we talk to the director to find out what's needed then create a list of specific needs and wants. From there we work on finding the right sounds/atmospheres that match the images on screen.”

“As Lies We Tell was filmed and set in Ireland we needed to make sure that we used the sounds that would match, such as thicker wind, Irish wildlife (crows, ravens, foxes), and cold ocean waves in the distance. Irish wind sounds very different to say a warm breeze in California!”

“Once we move indoors into the old house we needed to give the sound a vintage feel, so old thick wooden doors and latches, distant room knocks from working servants, a warm fireplace, candles etc. We also made sure in the rooms with big windows that we had a small bleed from outside, crows and birds especially. No double glazing back then!”

IFTN: How did you first get into sound design professionally, and what have you learned through your experiences that would be of use to aspiring sound designers?

DAMIEN: “I first got into sound design professionally after scoring the documentary Castro’s Spies. I have been writing electronic music for over 20 years with commercial releases worldwide, so when my friend Aza Hand approached me to see if I would be interested in working in sound design and FX for film and TV I jumped at the chance. Since then we have worked together on many different projects.”

IFTN: Is there one thing about your craft that you would like the public to be more aware of?

DAMIEN: “I'd say the one thing that the public or up-and-coming directors learning their craft should be aware of is that sound can take a film to new heights when done well. I've seen many short films suffer from lack of good sound quality, because they couldn't get funding for sound design or just didn't think about it.”

“I would tell emerging filmmakers and creatives to make contact with sound designers learning their craft. Both can learn from each other, and together can create something more special, polished, and professional. Maybe try connecting by sticking up a poster on a college campus noticeboard.I studied sound in BCFE many years ago and would have jumped at the chance to work on sound for a film or TV.”

IFTN: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

DAMIEN: “Take a break.”

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Oscar-nominated Todd Field discusses directing at IFTA Masterclass
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