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How to get a career doing sound for movies?
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #31
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have worked in the motion picture business in Toronto, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles and my experience is that, of the three places, LA is by far the friendliest work-wise.

My feeling about why this is so, at least from my experience, is that Toronto and the Bay Area both have film industries that are not robust enough to provide full time work for all the people who are trying to find jobs. This leads to cliques and adversarial attitudes towards those perceived as competition. I don't think the people are inherently unfriendly, just that there isn't enough work to warrant the kind of generosity I found here in SoCal.

When I moved to LA, I was really surprised at how helpful and friendly people in the industry were to me. It was a totally alien experience for me. This isn't to suggest that staying employed is easy or that success is guaranteed here (I know quite a few people who are struggling right now), but there is a lot more cooperation and cross-pollination within the work force than in the other cities where I have lived and worked.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #32
Lives for gear
 
santacore's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Back to the OP's question. If you want to get into film work, either assist or intern at a post house that you would like to work at. Once you get in the door, work your way up. This can be done in any city, as long as there is an active post house. Of course, the bigger cities such as L.A. have a lot more active post houses. This is how 75% of us on the board got our starts, including myself. Good luck.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #33
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
One thing film people take for granted that music folks often miss is that the financial cost of a screwup in film can be astronomical.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #34
Moderator
 
jayfrigo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Early in my career I did a year on staff doing commercials, some indie film, and educational programming for little money while I put together my first mastering business. Once it was running, I would still get calls from old post clients, and I'm not one to turn down signed checks, so I added some video gear, filled more days on the calendar, and made some extra money.

When I moved to L.A., I started general networking and happened upon a couple projects where the blind were leading the blind, and they needed my help. Through that, I got calls for more projects, and without ever really trying to work the post angle, I kept getting repeat business and referrals. I ended up cutting on and mixing a couple features, several comedy shorts and indie films, various TV work including a pilot (not picked up unfortunately), and worked a season of a network prime-time 1-hour drama. Imagine if I had really tried!

So, in a nutshell, put yourself in the right place, and kick major butt when called upon to do the work, and it will snowball; at least it did for me. Heck, I still occasionally get a call from L.A. (I kept my cell #) and have to tell them sorry, but I'm no longer there (left to raise a family).
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
One other avenue is maybe taking some classes. Just because you know how to use protools for music production, doesn't mean you know how to use protools in post production. There's a reason why Digi splits their classes into Music and Post. Audio for post, while having some similarities to music, is for the most part a lot different. Everything needs to conform to the picture. You can't do something "cool" and "edgy" unless the film dictates that you do. Otherwise you take the audience "out" of the story. And there is no "grid" in post. A lot of music people are like a fish out of water if they can't do their editing in grid mode (not you specifically, just something I've noticed). They have no idea how to use sync points, spotting, and shuffle modes. And so on and so forth...

Also, one of the things I've noticed... music people (me being one of them too) tend to be more hands-off. We're so used to saying, "well this is the guitar sound they got and there isn't much I can do to change it short of rerecording it..." That mindset is the opposite of post. For mixing especially, I can tell when a novice music sound engineer mixed a short or indie feature. It's usually a lot more "flat" and dull. I know the first couple I mixed were like that too, until I started getting into what really needed to be done.

I remember a long time ago one of my mentors in music said to me, "you EQ way too much. Stop trying to change what the track is and just let each instrument be itself..." Then a few years ago one of my mentors in post said to me while we were mixing a film together, "You are way too light handed. Who cares what the track is, you need to do whatever it takes to fix the sound so it fits it into the film. Don't look at what it is, look at what you can (or need to) turn it into..."
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #36
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch ➑️
Then a few years ago one of my mentors in post said to me while we were mixing a film together, "You are way too light handed. Who cares what the track is, you need to do whatever it takes to fix the sound so it fits it into the film. Don't look at what it is, look at what you can (or need to) turn it into..."
Wow, I don't know about that advice. The longer I do this job, the less I mess with FX tracks. If I have to EQ the hell out of something, it's probably not the right effect or it's a lousy recording and it needs to be replaced with the right one. Especially now with Pro Tools and the number of FX libraries available to even the lowest budget editors, there is no excuse for having to make a chihuahua sound like a doberman. Go find a well recorded doberman in the correct perspective, there are plenty of them out there. Of course futzes, special FX and dialogue are different, but most bread and butter FX and BGs should require very little other than touching up the highs or lows and maybe adding a little verb or occasionally some light compression.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #37
Lives for gear
 
Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Wow, I don't know about that advice. The longer I do this job, the less I mess with FX tracks. If I have to EQ the hell out of something, it's probably not the right effect or it's a lousy recording and it needs to be replaced with the right one. Especially now with Pro Tools and the number of FX libraries available to even the lowest budget editors, there is no excuse for having to make a chihuahua sound like a doberman. Go find a well recorded doberman in the correct perspective, there are plenty of them out there. Of course futzes, special FX and dialogue are different, but most bread and butter FX and BGs should require very little other than touching up the highs or lows and maybe adding a little verb or occasionally some light compression.
LOL... sorry I didn't specify for you. It was in regards to production dialogue. the resonance of the different angles were noticeably different...and then the ADR was still different from that. So, I forget the specific frequencies I had to use, but I ended up having to do a few notch filters to cut resonant "ringing" so the tone from one angle to the next would match, then the ADR was A LOT more thick/bottom heavy, so I ended up having to apply a fair amount of EQ to the low end and midrange to make it sound similar to the production dialogue...

Should that ADR have been re-recorded to match the Prod DIA better... sure... Am I going to stop a feverish 5-day mix of an indie feature and tell them they need to go back, fly the actor in, book an ADR stage and redo all the ADR for this one scene because it doesn't perfectly match the prod dia? Uh, no. Would you?

BGs I kind of set and forget... But sound effects, when I'm mixing FX, I do spend a lot of time EQ'ing them to really make them sound right. Just because there are tons of libraries out there, doesn't mean you'll be able to find the ONE effect that perfectly fits your picture sound-wise. Granted, you have a lot more experience than me, so maybe you have been able to reach that nirvana, but I haven't yet been able to work on a picture where all the cut FX just "fit" without me needing to do anything. Most of the time the FX are layered... so going through and EQ'ing each layer to bring out the part of the sound you want, and push back all the stuff you don't want, has really helped me get things to really come alive. Maybe when I start getting to work on $50mil films like some of you, the editors will have to time and experience to really cut in great effects that fit perfectly... but working on indies so far, I don't have that luxury.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch ➑️
Maybe when I start getting to work on $50mil films like some of you, the editors will have to time and experience to really cut in great effects that fit perfectly...
You know this really brings up an interesting subject of conversation too... For those on here that have been in post for a while and are working on much bigger projects, do you notice the work is in some ways easier than when you were starting out and working on smaller projects?

I know in the music industry, that was/is the case for me. Mixing an album now is a lot easier for me than when I started out, simply because the level of professionalism of the people I work with is much higher and the tracks are recorded "correctly". So instead of having to, for example, replace all the drum mics with samples because the newbie engineer (or worse yet, composer in his living room) used the wrong mics and placement on the drums, I get drum tracks that sound good and were recorded correctly by experienced professionals. It makes it much easier for me to mix.

Have any of you industry veterans noticed a similar thing as your careers progressed in post?
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch ➑️
You know this really brings up an interesting subject of conversation too... For those on here that have been in post for a while and are working on much bigger projects, do you notice the work is in some ways easier than when you were starting out and working on smaller projects?

I know in the music industry, that was/is the case for me. Mixing an album now is a lot easier for me than when I started out, simply because the level of professionalism of the people I work with is much higher and the tracks are recorded "correctly". So instead of having to, for example, replace all the drum mics with samples because the newbie engineer (or worse yet, composer in his living room) used the wrong mics and placement on the drums, I get drum tracks that sound good and were recorded correctly by experienced professionals. It makes it much easier for me to mix.

Have any of you industry veterans noticed a similar thing as your careers progressed in post?
I started mixing before most places even had fader automation and many films were still mono, and that was a lot more difficult, but these days I think it mostly depends on the director and producers.

As far as FX go, things that are nicely staged and where the story works are usually a lot easier to mix, especially if there isn't a lot of disagreement about what kind of movie it's supposed to be. The biggest problem is usually just getting things done in the time allotted, because as the saying goes, a movie is never finished, you just run out of time and money.

Once again, dialogue is always a crap shoot depending on how clean it is. That's why I never had any inclination to mix dialogue. To me it often amounts to damage control. FX is much more like mixing music for albums (Even more so than mixing music on the dub stage). I have it easy, it's the dialogue guys who have to jump through hoops.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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cosmos's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
Start at the bottom, do a GREAT job with everything you are given to do and slowly work your way up to the top (if there are any spots left). It is NOT going to be an easy road but if you are passionate enough about what you want to do you will succeed.

Best of luck!
this is just a great advice.

thumbsupthumbsup
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️

Once again, dialogue is always a crap shoot depending on how clean it is. That's why I never had any inclination to mix dialogue. To me it often amounts to damage control. FX is much more like mixing music for albums (Even more so than mixing music on the dub stage). I have it easy, it's the dialogue guys who have to jump through hoops.
I would say that most of the dialog I get ranges from somewhat useable to abysmal.
But I love mixing dialog and the challenges it brings to a mix.
Whereas I don't really like mixing SFX.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #42
Lives for gear
 
Jfriah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by starcrash13 ➑️
A sense of humor is also required.

what the [email protected]*%$(&#*% do you mean by that?!?!?!?!?





hey, sometimes that's all one has when your computers blow up in the middle of a session and the client is ready to walk.

Got the call on a recent project because the producer liked my (humourous / humorous --or amusing-- for you non Brits/CDNs) CV. He knew I was one of many who had the skills but could see I knew how to roll with the punches when the chips are down/deadline isn't moving.

Good luck to ya! Go make it happen! Love it; sitting in the same chair every day (give or take) but every day has its own challenges / new learning experiences / stories to relate.


And re: this work being "hard, lonely, and humbling", I never forget that I have my own window to look out of in my edit suite here. It is always sunny and green and peaceful. Of course, that "window" is just a photo that I put a window frame around and hung on my wall (in a non-reflecting spot of course). Hey, we all have 'mixer tan', right? Fish belly white? Come out looking like Gollum after any given project?




-------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Go find a well recorded doberman in the correct perspective, there are plenty of them out there.
Getting off-topic but in the interest of fun--OK, audio post drinking game time! Not doberman-specific of course, but the same three dog bark tracks are used in 80% of the TV and films. Usually just cut in as-is off the CD library track. I'm lazy or I'd look up the cut numbers:

"bark bark bark bark bark. Bark, bark. Bark, bark." (Lord of the Rings , Farmer Maggot's field)
"the lonely mid-sized neighbourhood dog bouncing off the buildings" (The Shield, any TV drama)
"the shepherd from the SI-2004 library"


not critiquing. just observing. I know how fast these shows get churned out (and don't get me going on the same three door sounds in "Heroes". Chuckle...). Hey, I've got my faves that save ME time, too!!! Time to focus on the stuff that needs creation every show.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #43
Lives for gear
 
Jfriah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead ➑️
To be honest, my reaction was based on having never heard a single
person ever describe themself as an expert - in this field or any other...

There is no arriving, there is only the journey.
Best of luck!

Like my meditation instructor taught me: the phrase "zen master" should be laughed at. He (or she...of course) who masters zen has stopped striving for it.

Now, where was I...ah yes, the zen of cutting laughter and applause for a "live to tape" comedy show.
Old 8th December 2009 | Show parent
  #44
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I would agree - it's a gamble to move here, but at the end of the day, what's the worst that happens? You can't find work and move back! It's not the end of the world. I quit a $50K a year mechanical engineering job to come out here and try "a career in post." Yeah it's a gamble, but if I get sick of the grind I can always move and do something else.

For the record, I found people in LA to be more friendly and at least willing to talk to you then the market I came from (Cleveland). People there wanted nothing to do with me and I have an actual engineering degree and was willing to work any hours for free. I found that odd, I would take advantage of it if I owned a business! But people in LA were much more willing to give an opportunity as an intern - which was refreshing.

When it comes down to it you will probably have to move, at least if you want to work on TV and film.

Good luck!
Old 8th December 2009 | Show parent
  #45
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
So, I came to LA in a similar boat. I moved from MN about 7 yrs ago and immediately got my dream internship at a Music Studio in LA working 12 hrs a day here and 8 at McDonalds. I got fired from that job after 3 months because a very famous Engineer, that now has his name printed all over Waves Bundle boxes, had me start recalling his sessions and assisting him on a record, which was a big No No at the studio. There were other people in line for that position that had been there long before I got there, so that was the end of that.

So as an I'm sorry, he got me another job at studio in town where I started as a runner. Within 5 months I was assisting engineers on sessions and because of my demeanor with clients and engineers I began Engineering my own sessions a few months later.

This lead to me Recording and Mixing an album that was nominated for Grammy of the year a few years ago. I was then fired from my studio for not having brought the project to them! HA!

So I called Music quits and got a part time job off craigslist mixing episodic television on the night shift. I thought I was going to know how to do EVERYTHING. The reality was I had to fake it until I got my bearings. It took a while, but you eventually can conform to the new style of Pro Tools work flow. To this day I'm still learning things though.

*Big step for me* I joined the Local 700. This DID NOT GET ME WORK, but it brought a certain amount of credibility.

After working for the TV post house for a couple years, I got a job at Paramount and then started doing some Television Mixes and Film Remixes there. The whole time I was also working on Student films when I had free time.

Those student films eventually turned into good relationships and now have developed into 2 Major release films and a 3rd starting soon. I have been EXTREMELY lucky, but every director I have worked with has told me they enjoy working with me because of my attitude. NEVER say NO, always listen and suggest, DON'T demand.

The successful people are the people you could hang out with after the film is over. Not the ones with light speed on the console.

The moral is, you need to be here to start moving. The politics are rough and you need to be very attentive as to not hurt your credibility. When ever you don't have a job, you need to be looking for your next job. I try to keep myself booked at least 4 months in advance if I can. Good luck and send me a message if you make it out here.
Old 8th December 2009 | Show parent
  #46
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
um...

I don't want to get into a pissing match here, but the statement:

'most paid film post in the world is done in a few neighborhoods in Los Angeles'

Is laughably untrue.

The U.S is 4th in the world for Feature Film Production statistics behind India and the EU...

Um, I mean - it's all cool y'know - but - Jesus guys... the world doesn't end at the your borders y'know? The United States is just another country.

Sheesh.

Anyway...

As you were.



D.
Old 8th December 2009 | Show parent
  #47
Lives for gear
 
Fajita's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Cartel ➑️
I don't want to get into a pissing match here, but the statement:

'most paid film post in the world is done in a few neighborhoods in Los Angeles'

Is laughably untrue.

The U.S is 4th in the world for Feature Film Production statistics behind India and the EU...

Um, I mean - it's all cool y'know - but - Jesus guys... the world doesn't end at the your borders y'know? The United States is just another country.

Sheesh.

Anyway...

As you were.



D.

How easy is it to get a work visa for AU or NZ ?

heh
Old 9th December 2009 | Show parent
  #48
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Cartel ➑️
I don't want to get into a pissing match here, but the statement:

'most paid film post in the world is done in a few neighborhoods in Los Angeles'

Is laughably untrue.

The U.S is 4th in the world for Feature Film Production statistics behind India and the EU...

Um, I mean - it's all cool y'know - but - Jesus guys... the world doesn't end at the your borders y'know? The United States is just another country.

Sheesh.

Anyway...

As you were.



D.
If you want to work in india, you have to learn the language.
And as far as the EU, that's a pretty spread out territory.
But, if you are an American, or Canadian, your best bet is LA.
Old 9th December 2009 | Show parent
  #49
Lives for gear
 
dr.sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Cartel ➑️
I don't want to get into a pissing match here, but the statement:

'most paid film post in the world is done in a few neighborhoods in Los Angeles'

Is laughably untrue.

The U.S is 4th in the world for Feature Film Production statistics behind India and the EU...

Um, I mean - it's all cool y'know - but - Jesus guys... the world doesn't end at the your borders y'know? The United States is just another country.

Sheesh.

Anyway...

As you were.



D.
While you make a point, let's look into it a bit.
India has numerous languages and nearly all of the movies are dubbed in (no original production sound) and the budgets are very very small.
The EU is made up of how many countries and languages?
If that was the case shouldn't the US,Canada, England and Australia and New Zealand be considered as One?
Old 9th December 2009 | Show parent
  #50
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound ➑️
While you make a point, let's look into it a bit.
India has numerous languages and nearly all of the movies are dubbed in (no original production sound) and the budgets are very very small.
The EU is made up of how many countries and languages?
If that was the case shouldn't the US,Canada, England and Australia and New Zealand be considered as One?

You forgot to mention Ireland Scotland and Wales (parts off) heh
Old 9th December 2009 | Show parent
  #51
Lives for gear
 
Fajita's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeg1970 ➑️
You forgot to mention Ireland Scotland and Wales (parts off) heh

what they speak ain't English...


heh
Old 9th December 2009 | Show parent
  #52
Lives for gear
 
Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Cartel ➑️
The U.S is 4th in the world for Feature Film Production statistics behind India and the EU...
Here's a list of the top 100 grossing films worldwide. Show me where you see ANY bollywood film in that list? or any film produced in the EU for that matter?

All Time Worldwide Box Office Grosses


You can't just look at how many films a country or area puts out in a year... you also have to look at how much money those films make. Because ultimately THAT is what dictates the pay scale for people working on films in those areas. While the US might be 4th in terms of sheer volume (not sure how true that is, I've never bothered to look into it), I do know it is #1 by a big margin in terms of revenue. And that means that people working on those films have higher pay scales.

When you start to think about revenue and the worldwide sales of these films, it's a no-brainer. There aren't that many bollywood films that do extremely well outside of India, for example. But there are a lot of US films that do extremely well world wide. The Bourne Identity franchise for example (which is a somewhat lesser-known series compared to Star Wars, etc), has made almost one billion dollars world-wide. The first one in the franchise cost $60mil to make, and made over a little over $200mil in revenue. The second one cost $70mil and made a little under $300mil, the third one cost $110mil to make and made almost $500mil.

Then you look at Batman, Terminator, Transformers, Die Hard, Pirates of the Caribbean, Iron Man, Twilight, James Bond, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc, etc, etc...
Old 9th December 2009 | Show parent
  #53
Lives for gear
 
Kuba_Pietrzak's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound ➑️
The EU is made up of how many countries and languages?
As for dialog editing: I wonder, how many of us ever tried to edit and mix dialog in language they do not understand...
... and even when you think you speak in a language, how do you know, if expression is right or if the pronunciation is right...
I've been there - this is really hard stuff and the real supervision is required...

regards,
Kuba
Old 10th December 2009 | Show parent
  #54
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuba_Pietrzak ➑️
As for dialog editing: I wonder, how many of us ever tried to edit and mix dialog in language they do not understand...
... and even when you think you speak in a language, how do you know, if expression is right or if the pronunciation is right...
I've been there - this is really hard stuff and the real supervision is required...

regards,
Kuba
I've done it, and it does require proper supervision.
Old 10th December 2009 | Show parent
  #55
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
I've done it, and it does require proper supervision.
Ditto
Old 10th December 2009 | Show parent
  #56
Lives for gear
 
Fajita's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
x3
Old 11th December 2009 | Show parent
  #57
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuba_Pietrzak ➑️
As for dialog editing: I wonder, how many of us ever tried to edit and mix dialog in language they do not understand...
... and even when you think you speak in a language, how do you know, if expression is right or if the pronunciation is right...
I've been there - this is really hard stuff and the real supervision is required...

regards,
Kuba
I've done 2 features for the Chinese market. I did one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines. Both films were in Cantonese but every line was ADR. From what I've been told and seen, most foreign language films are done this way. At that point you just need to trust that the ADR recordist and ADR Supervisor know the language. There were a few times that I had to ask if a word sounded correct because the Cantonese language ends sentence phrases with up turns, when we in English have down turns and Visa Versa. But it really isn't that different than mixing your native language.

The funny thing is that I had english subtitles printed on the film I was mixing too. By the end of the project, I thought I knew each word the Actors were saying. You just become so familiar with hearing a language that you can start to think you understand it.
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #58
Lives for gear
 
neilwilkes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elephant_Talk ➑️
Why does the word exist then?

Maybe is not right to describe yourself as an 'expert', but I sure know people I admire and consider experts in their fields

To lighten the mood a little...it was explained to me in this way once.
An "Ex" is an old has been, or past tense.
A "Spurt" is a drip under pressure.
Put the 2 together, and ask yourself if this is how you want to describe yourself.....
Old 27th December 2009 | Show parent
  #59
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
It ain't braggin' to say youse an expert if you can do it.

Where'd you guys come up with the resentment towards expertise?
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