Dirk Sciarrotta: Alumnus Wins Second Daytime Emmy for Sound Recording
Dirk Sciarrotta (Class of ’94, B.A., music) won his second Daytime Emmy Award in June at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 35th Annual Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment Awards Ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York City. The award, which he shares with audio engineer Terry Fountain — the second win in eight nominations — is for Outstanding Achievement in Live and Direct to Tape Sound Mixing for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Having co-founded Los Angeles-based CueLogic Audio with business partner Tom Evans, Sciarrotta has been involved in the design of a new audio control room for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” A member of DeGeneres’ regular crew, Sciarrotta has worked on numerous shows, including “Dancing with the Stars,” the Grammy Awards, and the BET Music Awards. The freelance engineer says that predicting the unpredictable when broadcasting live is the key to success.
“As far as preparing technically, I would say you need to be diligent with anything dealing with a computer,” he says. “Almost everything is a computer of some sort now and [they] can do funny things. If you crash on a live show and you have nothing to go to, you will not be asked back. If the show is live, then you must have a backup running in sync with your primary machine.
“You must predict the future actions and decisions of writers and producers [who] will change their minds four or five times before the show begins,” he notes. “If you are prepared for changes, which will happen, then the changes will not be a surprise and you can execute them easily.”
Despite the stress that ensues, Sciarrotta thrives under pressure and says that the challenge of working on a live broadcast is very rewarding.
“I've done many live broadcasts but the one that sticks out the most was the 63rd Golden Globes,” he recalls. “I was using our [Cue Logic Audio’s] first dual playback system that we built. I had over 300 cuts of music, many of which were not scripted as to what to play until the envelope was opened on stage. We were live to over 30 countries, and everything I did at almost exactly the second I did it made it to homes across the world. The show went great and I slept very well that night!”
- Joanie Harmon