Women in Pro Audio: Amy Truong
“I get to play a small role in bringing happiness to mass amounts of people!” – Amy Truong
In 2017, The Atlantic put out an article aptly titled, “Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio?” Apropos, because the percentage of women working in pro audio (gleaned from various demographic statistic sites) is roughly 10%, with the remaining percentage consisting of men. This is probably not a shocker for most people. Still, despite the glaring disparity, L-Acoustics aims to spotlight all the phenomenal women behind the scenes at our beloved shows and events—and hopefully encourage other aspiring women who wish to enter this growing industry.
MEET AMY TRUONG
She’s a Vietnamese American born and raised in Orange County, California, who wears various titles such as Monitor Tech, A2, Patch Tech, or as she likes to call it, “an audio plumber.”
“An audio plumber is essentially a patch person/audio technician. In a live setting, they lay down the foundation, aka the plumbing (cabling). They are usually the first in line to troubleshoot an audio problem on stage. Their job is to support the FOH and monitor engineers so that they can focus on mixing,” Amy explains.
Getting into pro audio wasn’t a clear path for Amy. A band geek growing up, she was involved in the marching band and drumline. “I loved drumming and didn’t really know what else to do with that. Being in drumline made me realize I enjoyed being part of a team with a common goal and taught me that everyone’s role is important, no matter how big or small that part was. That gave me a sense of purpose. Now I just feel that same way about working with an audio team.”
GETTING INTO PRO AUDIO
After attending a Vans Warped Tour and watching the audio crew work, Amy knew she wanted to work in live sound for music and concerts but didn’t know where to start. She ended up learning audio through the theater department at her local community college, Fullerton College. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If someone is just starting out, I highly recommend learning through theater because it forces you to work with different personalities and departments—lighting, video, wardrobe, etc. It’s important to have a general idea of the whole operation and to understand the bigger picture.”
Amy then worked in audio for California’s world-renowned theme park built from humble beginnings, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the American global cruise line, Royal Caribbean. “Now, I work as an employee/contractor for multiple live sound companies. I also feel fortunate that during the pandemic, I worked at a virtual production studio. It isn’t the same without an audience, though, so I’m hopeful that everything will go back to ‘normal.’”
As far as early struggles with getting into pro audio, she mentions that most of her issues were internal. “As a 5’1” woman and person of color, I didn’t know if I’d ever be taken seriously in the audio industry. As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve built up confidence and learned that none of that matters as long as I just focus on my work.”
EVERYONE HAS A FAVORITE
“One of my favorite tours I’ve been part of is the Vans Warped Tour with Rat Sound. It’s a tough tour because you’re waking up in different parking lots every day, and it’s like audio boot camp patching 9-10 bands a day. But it was a very monumental moment in my career because I finally came full circle as it was what got me interested in audio.”
Her fave resources for pro audio are Dave Rat’s blogs and YouTube channel, SoundGirls.org, DcSoundOp’s YouTube channel, and all of her colleagues on Instagram.”
CHALLENGES AS A WOMAN IN PRO AUDIO
Most women have learned first-hand that many tech industries have their challenges, and Amy’s experiences have been no different. “On multiple occasions, I have been stopped and questioned by security because they don’t believe I’m part of the crew, even with proof or my laminate pass. I’ve also encountered situations where the local union crew didn’t listen to me and my instructions, but they’ll do anything my male colleagues asked them to do.”
Despite the occasional challenges, Amy loves what she does. “I get to play a small role in bringing happiness to mass amounts of people! And when my colleague Hector Picon— his Instagram is @infernoride, if you want to check him out— told me he used some of my Instagram content of my cable management videos as examples to his students in Guatemala City, I was extremely flattered. That really made me happy.”
Amy also loves that there is always something new for her to learn or get better at with pro audio. Therefore, she’s never bored.
AMY’S ADVICE TO OTHER WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
“This goes for any gender. If this is really your passion, please don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t where you want to be, and don’t compare yourself to others—that is only a distraction. Focus on your own path and being the best version of yourself. Take advantage of the free resources that are out there on the internet and network with everyone you can. There are great techs and engineers out there who will share their knowledge; you just have to seek that information yourself. And the best advice I ever received was to surround myself with the right people, be a sponge, and buy a P-Touch label maker!”
She also cites that being organized, having cable management, and paying attention to detail will get someone very far. “People will take notice,” she assures.