Today we are joined by Merve Tokar, a talented sound designer who has worked on a variety of film and television projects. With a passion for sound and music, she has established herself as a skilled professional in the industry. We are excited to learn more about Merve’’s creative process, techniques for capturing and manipulating sound, and experiences working on notable projects.
- How did your music career begin and what notable experiences have you had throughout your journey?
I started my musical journey at the age of 9 when I began taking piano lessons. Later, I pursued my passion for violin by joining a school orchestra and receiving professional training at Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory. During this time, I had the opportunity to study with renowned violinists and perform at orchestral and solo concerts, including playing Turkish music pieces. I attended various Masterclasses and worked with accomplished musicians such as Ani Schnarch. I also had the honor of performing as concertmaster in an international music festival and being featured in music videos for popular Turkish singers. As a violin instructor, I helped students achieve Royal Academy of Music certificates. I founded the EVA String Quartet with the aim of promoting both Classical and Turkish music and inspiring others in the industry. The quartet was even featured in a commercial for a major food company in Turkey.
- What inspired your transition from a musician to a sound designer, and how did you begin your journey in this field?
While pursuing my music career, I had always been interested in working in the film industry and utilizing my musical skills. However, I wasn’t sure where to start or if it was even possible to transition into another career. One day, during a recording session with Eva Quartet, I spoke with the sound engineer about his work and learned more about sound design. This conversation ignited a strong desire within me to pursue a career in the film sound department. Soon after, I discovered the Sound Designer Master program at the Academy of Art University, and I began my journey in this field with excitement and dedication
- Can you explain what “sound design” means?
Sound design is the art of creating and designing sounds that activate our senses and create an aural atmosphere. It is a production area where the imagination has no limits.
- What is the typical work of a sound designer ?
Sound design first starts with determining the sounds to be used in the project. (It would be helpful at this stage to mute the music to see which sound effects would be better to tell the story and convey it to the audience). After the sounds are determined, audio or music recording is made according to the needs. Then the sounds are synchronized with the video, and dialogue and music are added as needed. Every scene and every emotion has a different sound, and these uniq sounds are specially created as a result of the sound design process.
- Can you tell us more about your experiences working in the film industry ?
The film industry is certainly an interesting, instructional environment to work in and a very fast-paced environment. Time management, being a team player, and being detail-oriented are the three most important skill sets you should have. The best aspects of working in this field are being a part of a team with high creativity and motivation, and being around inspiring people. Also knowing that a project that you have worked on for months and years touches millions of people is the best part of this job. Being a part of a process much bigger than yourself is absolutely priceless.
- In what different settings can a sound designer work ?
Sound designers can work on different creative projects and fields such as Film/TV production, theater, audiobooks, radio, podcasting, video game creation, and live performances.
- What’s your creative process when working on a new project ?
There are lots of different ways and everyone has their own approach. First, I usually watch the project from beginning to the end. Then I start brainstorming about the sounds that I need for this project. Accordingly, I check my sound library (or other libraries) to see whether I need to record it from scratch or not. When designing sound effects, the first thing is to focus on creating sounds that make sense for the video. Then, it comes to manipulating or layering the sounds to make it more engaging for the audience. Depending on the duration of the project, it may take years or on the contrary, it may take hours.
- What do you like most as a Sound designer ?
As a sound designer, I love the power of sound reminding certain images in our memory. For example, some games/movies have classic sounds (like the iconic lightsaber sound from Star Wars created by legendary sound designer Ben Burtt), and as soon as we hear them, we understand what it is. It’s almost like you smell a certain scent and it takes you to the moment you smelled before.
Merve Tokar was recently involved in capturing the sound for the “Buna Short Film”.
Check out Merve Tokar’s YouTube videos, showcasing her journey as a music professional.