A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

It’s the quintessential line from one of the most famous movies of all time, right up there with Obi Wan Kenobi’s, “Remember … the Force will be with you, always,” and Darth Vader’s shocking reveal (in that menacing voice) that he was actually Luke Skywalker’s father.

But where did Darth Vader get his voice?

Three aspiring young designers Sofaya, Martha, and Ben, pondered that question as they embarked on a journey with Hobsons partner Roadtrip Nation to figure out their future paths. The college students spent six weeks during the summer of 2014 on the road interviewing inspiring designers around the country and learning from their advice.

On one of their stops in Marin County, CA they met up with Ben Burtt, the sound designer behind the heavy-breathing Darth Vader. In his interview for Roadtrip Nation’s video archive, Burtt talks about how he continued to pursue his interest in filmmaking even though he went to college to study physics. After earning a master’s degree in film production from the University of Southern California, Burtt landed a job with Lucasfilm to work on sound production for Star Wars, which allowed him to synthesize his interests in filmmaking, aerospace, physics, and electronics.

And, Vader’s voice? The sound effect is surprisingly simple. He took a tiny microphone and placed it inside the regulator of scuba mask to create that iconic breathing sound. Watch this clip to hear Burtt explain the process to the roadtrippers.

How Vader Got His Voice - Ben Burtt from Hobsons on Vimeo.


Sofaya, Martha, and Ben went on to interview other design professionals in architecture, engineering, the arts, and sustainability as part of Roadtrip Nation’s public television series. The Design Roadtrip is one of 12 career-specific road trips Roadtrip Nation has organized for PBS and the Interview Video Archive. During the conversations, interviewees discuss the challenges they faced, the fears they tackled, and the conviction that carried them in their quest for meaningful work.

In addition to playing on public television, each interview is archived within Roadtrip Nation’s video library, available for free to middle and high school students who use Naviance by Hobsons as part of their school-based college and career planning. The Roadtrip Nation Interview Archive in Naviance features more than 3,500 videos with individuals who have forged through challenges to accomplish unique goals. These leaders candidly discuss hardships, successes, and the obstacles they overcame to create a meaningful life on their own terms.

Career exploration can be a daunting task for any student. But Roadtrip Nation brings it to life with video content that is most relevant to students’ lives. By exploring the diverse personal stories of those who have gone before them, students using the archive gain exposure to career pathways they may not have known existed, and can actively begin thinking about colleges, majors, and career goals that reflect their unique talents and aspirations.

"We're always excited to showcase the stories of leaders like Ben Burtt in our interview archive—leaders who have combined their talents and interests to forge innovative careers and produce inspiring work," says Mike Marriner, the co-founder of Roadtrip Nation.

Are you a Naviance school? Make sure the Roadtrip Nation Interview Archive is enabled for your students. In addition to The Design Roadtrip interviews, Roadtrip Nation will be adding new video content within the Archive throughout 2016 and into early 2017.

May the force be with you as you define your own road in life.


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