As a music lover, Jingjue Zhou has always been sensitive to the impact that sound has on one person. A few simple notes have the ability to transport someone to a different place, allow them to feel something underneath the surface or grab their attention. When she would watch her favorite movies or television shows growing up, she found that the sound is what made them truly compelling, and her musical interests soon became fused with filmmaking. It was then when she discovered her passion.
“I find sound editing shares some similarities with music. It’s like composing with sound effects,” she said.
As a renowned sound editor in her home country of China and abroad, Zhou knows how to captivate an audience simply by what they hear. She has worked on countless acclaimed films spanning across many genres, from the documentary Road to Olympia to the drama Spring Flower, and many in between. Her vast contributions to her craft have been recognized by many, and she was featured on the 2019 AACYF CAL C America Chinese 30 under 30 list for being an established young entrepreneur and freelancing sound editor.
In addition to her film and television works, millions from all over the world have heard Zhou’s outstanding sound work at SeaWorld Orlando with their new interactive game play. Earlier this year, SeaWorld made headlines with the opening of their “Sesame Street Land” that features the iconic street and its many beloved characters. Part of this attraction are interactives that offer guests a wide variety of play modes, from touch activation and full body movement, to creative expression and personalization. Intuitive and accessible for their core demographic. These interactive games delight audiences of all ages with character moments, clever integration into the set, and an iconic Sesame Street visual language.
“It’s a wonderful experimental combination of art and technology. These interactive plays throughout the neighborhood offer different modes of engagement, from digital games and multimedia show moments, to set pieces that are activated by guests’ touch and presence. Being a sound artist, I am super excited to see my work go beyond the screen through interactive design. In the future, there will be more and more advanced engagement between virtual media and reality. I am embracing and trying to be the driving force of science and art integration,” said Zhou.
Though it’s an interactive play, Zhou treated the videos as a series of short films. They have a beginning, middle and end story arch. The characters have different personalities. She saw it as a blend of live-action and animation. It includes all the essential sound editing process like dialogue editing, foley, background and sound effect. Her vast understanding of storytelling and cinematic sound craftsmanship was pivotal to the success of the project. Her contributions made the interactive play more than a game, adding an emotional meaning subconsciously for players.
“It’s been a wonderful journey for me. It almost didn’t feel like work because the humorous content and funny characters never made me feel bored. I liked spending extra time on them just to see how much more cuteness I could add to them through sound editing,” she said.
While working on the Sesame Street interactives, Zhou worked with several leading companies in their fields. Beaudry Interactive LLC is a top interactive media design company and her direct collaborator. Their scope included concept design, development, programming, fabrication, and installation for all eleven interactive plays. Zhou had an extremely smooth communication with them because they speak the same language in terms of storytelling. Every team she worked with on the interactives were very insightful and creative, making for an immensely enjoyable process for the sound editor.
“I enjoyed watching every puppet show they performed, editing every line they wrote, listening to every piece of music they recorded. SeaWorld Orlando is our client and they have been very supportive in the creating process. It was just an amazingly professional collaboration,” she said.
The grand opening of “Sesame Street Land” was April 2019, and since that time the attraction has garnered lots of attention in the media. The interactives themselves have been a hit for theme-park attendees, and have received very positive feedback from the bloggers, critics and visitors. It is also expected that the project will be part of the THEA Awards this year, the Oscars of the theme park industry. Zhou could not be happier to have contributed to such success.
“Who doesn’t want to work on a Sesame Street project? They are so cute and funny! The interactive play creates an innocent, worry-free space for both children and adults. I love that my work brings tons of happiness to millions of visitors. It’s wonderful,” she said.
Be sure to head to SeaWorld Orlando’s Sesame Street attraction to see these extraordinary interactives.