Steve Younkins describes himself as a storyteller “whose stories are usually three panels long.”

The sound designer and creator Q2Q Comics told a few longer stories as speaker at the 2016 Young Designers & Technicians Awards at USITT 2016 in Salt Lake City.

Younkins was there to unveil the first book of his popular theatre tech comic and host a book-signing. Invited to speak on risk-taking in theatre tech, he obliged by sharing his humor and his experiences in the trenches of technical theatre.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and laugh at the absurdity of what we do,” he said. “I have sat for hours squishing wet peanut butter in my hands and recording the sound. I mean, that’s ridiculous! And I get paid for it!”

He also shared a couple of life lessons, including his first failure and the time a Tony-winning producer chewed him out in front of the crew. When things like that happen, he said,he recalls a quote from his friend Matthew Koch, sound designer at Stages St. Louis.

“Matt says, ‘We’re not at war. We’re not taking lives. We’re making musical theatre in Missouri.’”

younkins-brings-humorWatch the speech here.

Afterward, Younkins went home and drew a comic about the peanut butter story.