Meeting Topic: Industry Perspectives:Life on the Inside
Speaker Name: Bill Whitney, Harmonix
Meeting Location: Durgin 209, UMass Lowell
This UML AES presentation offered a unique look inside the audio industry with Bill Whitney, a local audio professional and jack-of-all-trades. Bill primarily talked about his work as a sound designer for Harmonix, but also shed light on building custom percussion instruments, being a freelance bassist, owning and operating his own home studio, and his past employment as a high school band director.
Bill first worked as a transcriber for Harmonix, translating bass lines from famous songs into a format to be used in the Rock Band franchise. As the company has branched out into other video game genres, Bill has taken on a somewhat more traditional sound designer role; working on a team to provide any audio-related services required by the rest of the company. This flexible position has included writing jingles for menus or loading screens, custom building instruments for totally unique sounds to be used as Foley FX. Bill even took part in an educational venture with Harmonix where he traveled to the Rock Band manufacturing plant and taught factory workers how to play guitar.
Apart from his day job, Bill keeps a busy schedule between his other careers and stresses the importance of having multiple skills. In many ways this versatility can be more important than virtuosic talent in a single area.