JUNE 30, 1997
David Howe with his Emmy.
Photo courtesy of David Howe.
by Deborah Stone
Winning one Emmy Award is certainly a distinguished honor, but receiving two in two consecutive years is definitely a notable event. For Woodinville resident David Howe, the experience was like "walking on a cloud."
Howe is an audio engineer at Bad Animals in Seattle. He and two other audio engineers at the company, Tom McGurk and Mike McAuliffe, won an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for the Bill Nye the Science Guy series. Last year, the three men won an Emmy for the same category.
Howe has been in the business for seventeen years. Three years ago, he moved here from Florida, where he had been working for Universal Studios and Disney on a variety of TV series and movies, such as U.S. Cable's Swamp Thing and Warner Brothers' Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.
Tired of the 80-to-100-hour work weeks and desiring a lifestyle change, he and his family (wife Karen and son Daniel) came to the Seattle area. "I wanted to be where the mountains and the ocean come together," said Howe, "and the Pacific Northwest seemed the ideal place."
As an audio engineer, Howe is responsible for putting in the sound elements for each of the Bill Nye shows. "We edit the show, decide what sound effects to add, the cartoon voices to put in, the music, etc." says Howe. He adds, "There are usually 500-1,000 sound effects per show and it takes one week to complete the audio portion for one show."
Howe enjoys his job because it allows him to do different things each day and interact with various types of people. He has also learned about science in the process and says, "Bill makes science fun and interesting, and I've picked up a lot of stuff while editing the shows. It's great!" says Howe.
There are only three sound engineers with the program, compared to many other series that employ ten to twelve editors. Competition in the business is fierce, according to Howe, and winning an Emmy is a definite marker of success. He says, "It's a pinnacle achievement for a sound editor, as we are judged by a panel of our peers. Winning a year ago was great, but this year, there's a true respect factor involved and it lends such integrity to the show."
Years ago when Howe first got into the profession, there weren't many training programs for audio engineers. Most people learned through hands-on experience. Now there are many degree programs at universities across the country.
Howe's advice to those interested in the field emphasizes attitude. He says, "Walk into the world with your eyes and mind open. Wanting to learn new things is essential and you need to have the attitude that you don't know everything. Those who think they know it all lose out in the long run."