Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association


Let us create and share work!

UPDATE: Sign ups are now closed.

A group of professional sound designers from TSDCA has put together a collection of prompts – image, video, and text – that we hope will inspire audio-driven responses. 

First you must sign up! We will place you in teams of two. We will endeavor to mix it up as much as possible; the goal is to match with you people you haven’t met or worked with before. Collaboration is an important part of this experience. Part of the challenge will be one we face on every project in the real world: scheduling when you can meet with your collaborator! 

We’ll have a couple of weeks to work on the projects, during which there will be check-ins where you can talk to other teams and get feedback from TSDCA professional mentors on challenges both technical and artistic. We will then come together and share what we have created on October 21st, with each team getting a (supportive!) critique from a panel of professional sound designers. 

We can’t wait to hear what you create!

hosted by the TSDCA Student Sound Designer Connection Facebook Page, October 2020. Join us here.

Eligible Participants: Current Students, Recent Graduates, or Early Career Sound designers in the field for no more than three years.

We provide check-ins during the challenge to discuss process, technical and artistic challenges, and maybe share a few fun stories. Check-ins are not required but can be a great way to meet other sound designers. 


  • Friday, October 2nd, 11:59 PT:  Sign Ups DUE – Link here –  Signups are now closed
  • Tuesday, October 6th: Teams Announced and Visuals Released
  • Thursday, October 8th    Check-in 1  2- 3:30 pm ET    Register here
  • Thursday, October 8th     Check-in 2  7:30 – 9 pm ET  Register here
  • Tuesday, October 13th     Check-in 3   2- 3:30 pm ET  Register here
  • Thursday, October 15th     Check-in 4  7:30 – 9 pm ET Register here
  • Monday, October 19th  Check-in 5   5 – 6:30 pm ET   Register here
  • Tuesday, October 20th   11:59 PT Projects Due – Upload HERE
  • Wednesday, October 21st, 8:30 pm EDT     Project Presentations on Zoom!  Everyone! Register here!    

The Competition:

  • You will find videos, images, and text HERE. (Link goes live October 6th).
  • Pick the material that is most inspiring to you and your team.
  • The goal is an audio response; this can take whatever form your team desires.
    • Scoring the video is an option but by no means required.

What sounds can I use?

  • Record your own instrument!
  • Create a piece from recordings done on your phone.
  • Create a piece using household objects.
  • You may use virtual instruments or recordings from sound libraries.
  • If you use copyrighted material we cannot legally promote your work. Learn more here: public domain, creative commons, mechanical license issues. Click  Circular 1 Copyright Basics for more detail on copyright and publication.
  • If you choose to include recordings of other people, you are encouraged to reach out to fellow members of your department (if applicable) or fellow Challenge participants. Performers must be volunteers, and you must obtain their written permission to use their material.
  • All are encouraged to create something new for this challenge – ie, not recycle previously composed soundscapes or works.
  • We reserve the right not to present a project that violates our code of conduct.

A brief note on Cultural Appropriation. 

Per wikipedia: Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures. To clarify, per this article,  a deeper understanding of cultural appropriation also refers to a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group. From Wikipedia: Cultural elements that may have deep meaning to the original culture may be reduced to “exotic” fashion or toys by those from the dominant culture. This is repellent. We want our actions to eliminate oppression, not perpetuate it.

Yet we are inspired by other cultures, and our lives are made richer by these interactions and discoveries. This article defines the fine line between cultural appropriation versus appreciation this way: “Appreciation is to learn more about a culture so you can better understand it. This quickly transforms into appropriation the moment you try to use that culture for yourself. Appreciation has you looking to others to guide the conversation. It keeps you clearly in the role of  student. Appropriation is where you take from others and then put yourself in a position of authority.”

This is an extremely complicated and thorny issue. Let us welcome these difficult discussions in this group. 


Final Product:

  • An Audio or Video file uploaded HERE
  • We want you to submit in the highest quality audio file format available to you.
    • Our recommended format is 48Khz, 24 bit wav. Please come to a check-in with any and all questions about this.
    • For video files, .mov or .mp4 is fine. Please also submit your bounced audio file separately.
    • If you are worried about large file size, submitting a pdf with links to your files would be great.
  • At a group sharing session, we will all listen to 90 seconds of the final product, although your piece can be longer. When you submit your file, if you would like a certain 90-second snippet to be played please submit it as a separate file!
  • Be prepared to discuss your creative process – inspirational moments etc.



  • By participating in this challenge, you are agreeing that TSDCA may showcase the final project at with credit given to team members. We also may use this piece in our upcoming TSDCA podcast.
  • You may withdraw this permission at any time by sending your written request to
  • You and your team members remain the owners of this work.
  • If you want to use your team’s submission in your portfolio or on your website, you MUST get their permission AND give credit to them.


 TSDCA’s mission is here,  our Code of Conduct is this and our Community Agreements are HERE.

Sample Collection of Links & Notes from Prior Challenges here!