There are a lot of really great things going on in the sound design community on the web, and one of the coolest things is the "Sound Design Challenge" being put on at the Dynamic Interface site. Each month a new challenge is put out, with a list of restrictions of what can and can not be done and just one week to complete the challenge. I have been wanting to take part in one of these for a while but have always been just too busy with current projects to be able to jump head first into the competition. In January I finally got a chance to make an attempt, the competition was, to come up with a set of vocalizations for a hypothetical "Yeti" and the challenge's imposed restriction was that you could only use your own voice and processing to make a range of emotions for this fictional Yeti. So the usual tricks of grabbing lion roars or other animal attacks and manipulating them to create a new creature was not allowed. Each entry had to have a vocalization from their Yeti for anger, confusion, curiosity, happiness, breathing and pain.
Sadly I don't really feel like I put my best foot forward as I was not able to spend much time polishing my entry, so I think it was pretty forgettable to the judges. The upside though was all the people who entered agreed to make a library out of all the submissions. So I got a ton of crazy new monster sounds for future projects. I have even used a few already to make the sounds for a rabid grizzly bear attacking an RV in the middle of the night (Mostly the Yeti submitted by "Farley").
Here is my submission for the Yeti competition, again this is all based on my voice:
I was able to do something similar with a different character.
This roar ended up having an almost mechanical servo type sound. Could be a robot vocal or a element of a mechanical arm movement or something along those lines.
Basically I was able to take some techniques I used in the Sound Design Challenge to use in real work but mostly the challenge was able to shake me out of my routine on how I was building Monster/Creature/Robot sounds. Hopefully I can find the time to enter future competitions through Dynamic Interface because it seems you get more out of it then you think you will.