"Reality doesn't work dramatically," he says, "and we don't care." When he shows a sound class the opening of Star Wars, the students are not concerned with the fact that there is no sound in space, rather, they respond to the dramatic use of sound in the moment.
Kowalski's background—growing up in Europe, earning a Masters in Visual Anthropology at USC, teaching documentary techniques to students in architecture as a way of understanding how the city affects people—provided multiple ways to see the world. His own work, either as sound designer or documentarian, covers a wide range of subjects, from the Alamo and medieval knights to a comedic view of a Britney Spears impersonator and an examination of an African-American community as a microcosm of underdeveloped neighborhoods in urban America today.
Kowalski applies his interest in storytelling to teaching as well: "The more boring the subject, say sound physics, the greater the storytelling challenge."