I’m Millie Wissar. I’m a sound artist, sound designer and dialogue editor for indie games, field recordist, soundwalker, and host of the podcast The Happy Listening Project.

With over a decade of experience in sound for visual media, I’ve collaborated with artists, filmmakers, and academics to make sure that sound is an essential part of their work.

Throughout my life, I’ve discovered that listening attentively is the best travel kit we can take on this journey. Sound is essential for navigating life and understanding the world around us.

I believe in the transformative power of sound in our lives and how it can enrich our experience if we stop to listen to our surroundings.

Sound is like magic, you can’t see it, but it’s always there.

Read my story!

The beginnings

I’m seriously a very unserious person. I believe in magic, in the power of attraction, rainbows with gold coins at their ends and tiny, tiny gnomes that appear when no one is looking and move your things around. It must be why my phone gets lost, and then I find it again. I also have some ADHD and no sense of orientation. I can get lost in my building but always find my way home. I love coffee, food and travelling. I like to try different sports at least once before saying I don’t like them, but not the really dangerous ones.

I’m the middle child of two bros; they are my long-life protectors on this planet. My parents are amazing and have always had my back; they are my closest magical creatures. I was born in Peru, in the noisy capital of Lima, at seven months. Due to political problems rattling up that country, we moved to the United States. I spent my childhood and teenage years as an American girl. It was fun and competitive, and I became a great basketball player and track star. I made life-long friends. When my family moved back to Peru, I decided to do my University years in Lima and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Communications. Go me! I was also DJing in clubs around South America, managing to pay for part of my university education. And yeah, you can party almost every day and at the same time be a great student. As many wealthy people suggest, always choose both! For many years I worked as an instructor in media arts at the University I attended. I realized I was about to hit a dead end and decided to pivot.

The falls

I followed my dreams of becoming a Sound Designer for Film and Video Games, and guess what? That dream came true. I was given half a scholarship to enter the program of Sound Design at Vancouver Film School and, upon graduation, hustled like crazy to learn as much as possible to land my first dream job. I did! I got to work as a dialogue editor for film and tv in a renowned studio. I was so into my career in films I ignored my physical health. The pressure, the stress and the hours were extremely intense, but I made myself believe it was all part of the job. My drive to succeed was too strong and careless. I was working more than 12 hours a day, not resting any day, and right before I could burn out mentally, my retina detached. I almost lost my vision in both eyes. I had an emergency surgery a day before Christmas, the only holiday I took time off for. I lost partial sight in my right eye; luckily, my left eye was fully recovered. That wake-up call was emotionally draining and extreme, taking me back to square one. While recovering, I started listening to podcasts to give my eyes a break. Somehow I found something called acoustic ecology. I was super excited about this topic and began to learn about the importance of listening, active listening, deep listening, birdsongs, dawn choruses and whale songs. All of this highly resonated with me and my current state. If I had better mentors in high school, I would have probably been a biologist.

The rises

I decided to quit dialogue editing for the sake of my visual health, and luckily, I was hired to work in my true dream job position. A sound designer for indie games at a studio with a no-crunch time culture that prioritizes your well-being and team diversity, with a boss who is one the most humane people I’ve ever met in this crazy world. Check out the cool website here. While transitioning from dialogue editor to sound designer, I used my vacation to assist an artist residency in acoustic ecology at Camp. I met three mentors that blew my mind and inspired me with their work, Leah Barclay, Annea Lockwood and Grant Smith. I also made friends who love listening to sounds in nature and cities. We geek out about gear and experiences over social media. Camps programs are always following the best trends in the arts.

After those lockdown days, I started travelling to all the places I had dreamed of going but never had enough cash or time to go. After landing in Thailand for the first time, I discovered that listening to life’s surroundings is the greatest travel kit we can carry with us. I didn’t learn this the hard way, although waking up at 4 am every day after only sleeping 3 hours for two weeks with jetlag wasn’t easy. The happiness of listening to nature’s awakening on your birthday with a view that you cannot believe feels like pure bliss. So spreading the word about sound and its benefits became clear to me after many days of listening to a completely different part of the world and discovering its natural beauty and friendly people. Probably the reason why so many people stay in Thailand for so long or even move there. I find this fascinating. If you can have this freedom, why not?