Quantcast
How to get a career doing sound for movies? - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
How to get a career doing sound for movies?
Old 24th January 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
How to get a career doing sound for movies?

I would like to know the best way to get into this field.

About me:

-Music engineering background with major label experience.
-Pro Tools expert (over 10 years of daily use + teaching).
-Produced and mixed many regional radio spots--can chop a VO like a chef on speed
-Strong synth and midi background including some sound design.
-Willing to relocate anywhere and work my way to the top.
-Intelligent, reliable, punctual, drug-free

I have worked with audio for many years and would like to parlay my skills into a position in post.

Thanks in advance to anyone here that can offer some specific career guidance.
Old 24th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
starcrash13's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Easy. You'll just need some film credits so you can get jobs working in film and you'll need jobs working in film to get some film credits.

If you can figure out how to sneak through this Catch 22, then you're there.

I did freebie student films until I got an apprenticeship on a major film project. I started from the bottom even though I had similar experience as you in the music world.

Maybe it will be different for you, but I found that my years of experience in music production did not qualify me to work professionally in post; except that I at least knew how to operate Pro Tools which is pretty much expected these days.

Are you located in LA or NYC? That will help if you want to work in film.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the reply, Pascal.

<< I did freebie student films until I got an apprenticeship on a major film project. >>

How did you learn to do what you did in the student films? Did you have any video experience? All I know is audio and do not even know where to start with student films.

<< I found that my years of experience in music production did not qualify me to work professionally in post; except that I at least knew how to operate Pro Tools which is pretty much expected these days. >>

Yes, I understand and accept that.

<< Are you located in LA or NYC? That will help if you want to work in film. >>

No, but I would move there if there was an opportunity. I have friends in both cities and have visited often, so the transition would be possible.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I made that transition myself.

It really was starting over, same tools, completely different mindset, priorities and bag of tricks. Just like in music there is no substitute for working as an intern and then as an assistant to somebody who is REALLY good.

At this point most paid film post in the world is done in a few neighborhoods in Los Angeles. This is because producers need to be able to expand the number of people working on a film in a heartbeat in order to meet today's unprecedentedly expensive marketing deadlines.

I moved from San Francisco to Nashville and went back into music rather than relocating to LA.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
starcrash13's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoAudio ➑️
How did you learn to do what you did in the student films? Did you have any video experience? All I know is audio and do not even know where to start with student films.
I started doing sound editing (poorly) and mixing (eek!) for friends's short films. I read everything I could get my hands on, including teh interwebz forums and several books. I asked a lot of questions. I also made a ton of mistakes, from which I probably learned the most.

My first project, I spent an entire month cutting and then scrapped the entire thing and started over because I was completely blowing it.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
I made that transition myself.

It really was starting over, same tools, completely different mindset, priorities and bag of tricks. Just like in music there is no substitute for working as an intern and then as an assistant to somebody who is REALLY good.

At this point most paid film post in the world is done in a few neighborhoods in Los Angeles. This is because producers need to be able to expand the number of people working on a film in a heartbeat in order to meet today's unprecedentedly expensive marketing deadlines.

I moved from San Francisco to Nashville and went back into music rather than relocating to LA.
It's important to have Grateful Dead recording experience if you are going to do post sound for any sci-fi space opera. heh

"I will get by."
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoAudio ➑️
No, but I would move there if there was an opportunity.
Yeah. You and 1000 other people.
It doesn't work that way.
You'll have to move to LA and create your own opportunities.
The chances of landing a job without being here, are slim to none.
Trust me. I know.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Mark H. is absolutely right.

If you want the success, you have to take the chance of moving out here and doing it for yourself.

I only know of 1 person who had a job prior to moving out here, and it was temporary (a total of 3 months.) Then he's back to florida.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
subbasshead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
there are no 'experts' - ProTools or otherwise

step 1: dispense with the ego...
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead ➑️
there are no 'experts' - ProTools or otherwise
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
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
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
Proficient or "Pro-Tools savvy" would be better.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
<< there are no 'experts' - ProTools or otherwise
step 1: dispense with the ego... >>

Sorry if my word choice bothered you, but that is no reason to call me egotistical. I resent that remark.

Yes, Pro Tools skills are obviously a given requirement in this field. I wanted to set myself apart from folks that just have a few years of experience. I've been hired at $150/ hour to tutor major label engineers, and I beta test for Digi-- so I though I could deem myself an expert.

OK, so I guess I am just "Pro Tools proficient"

<< You'll have to move to LA and create your own opportunities. >>

I am seriously considering moving back to LA. Still not sure how to transition from music to post.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Dallas Taylor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoAudio ➑️
I am seriously considering moving back to LA. Still not sure how to transition from music to post.
Yeah... you really have to move to LA first, then find a job. At least that was my experience. Everyone I spoke with before moving out just said to call them when I got there. In my experience everyone was polite & friendly for the most part... they just couldn't seriously consider anyone who was unable start the next morning at 9am. [I can't think of a single job in LA that is going to look outside of LA for talent then wait 3-4 weeks for that "talent" to get there.]

Once you get to LA... you hit the phones... hard. Getting a job is usually your communication/networking skills.... keeping your job is performance + communication/networking. I'm sure you understand this coming from your music background.

In your communication with Post Producers, you'll need to creatively associate everything you've done to Post Production heh... & understand Post enough to carry a conversation.

Good luck!!
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoAudio ➑️
<< there are no 'experts' - ProTools or otherwise
step 1: dispense with the ego... >>

Sorry if my word choice bothered you, but that is no reason to call me egotistical. I resent that remark.

Yes, Pro Tools skills are obviously a given requirement in this field. I wanted to set myself apart from folks that just have a few years of experience. I've been hired at $150/ hour to tutor major label engineers, and I beta test for Digi-- so I though I could deem myself an expert.

OK, so I guess I am just "Pro Tools proficient"

<< You'll have to move to LA and create your own opportunities. >>

I am seriously considering moving back to LA. Still not sure how to transition from music to post.
It sounds like you are a Pro Tools expert to me. Some of these guys may view you as competition so they may not be completely friendly, keep that in mind.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
starcrash13's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Pro Tools expertise can be helpful, but experience and personal/social skills are a lot more important in the film business. A sense of humor is also required.

Some of the best in the business are very un-savvy when it comes to technical stuff.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
kk@jamsync.com's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoAudio ➑️
< I beta test for Digi--
You have my deepest sympathy. It takes awhile to realize that beta testing for them eats up far more time than you can make *not* testing for them. It's sort of fun to be on the bleeding edge and get a little bit scraped off the hardware price, but either you crash in front of a client or you make extra time to test and at some point, if you are even marginally successful, you realize the bottom line is about being able to work confidently with a solid system. (or as solid a system as you can muster)

Of course, in a sense, all of us who migrate to the newest version are beta testers in a sense, because of the beta testers pleas they ignore until they get a bunch of messages on the DUC...
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
To the OP: as you may know, a lot of posts like yours get put on this forum, quite frequently in fact. If you've read around in this and other tech forums you probably know that the regular posters kind of assume that you've read thru past threads on whatever subject you are asking about so that your questions can zero in on specifics, which the people here are very willing to help with. What they don't like much are general questions, they kind of make for the re-inventing of wheels and so forth. I'll assume that you read thru past threads on the subject of making the move from music engineering to post, and since they are so numerous (enough to constitute a subforum of its own), I wondered if you had a more specific question or questions about how things work here in post? As you've seen, a simple "how do I get into post" question will almost always be answered by "move to LA". To get a more detailed answer, pose a more specific question? Just my opinion. Good luck.

Philip Perkins (CAS)
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Jussi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think it was Yewdall who in his book "Practical art of Motion Picture Sound" wrote something along the lines that you have to ask yourself do you love the *idea* of working in post, or the work itself. For most of the time sound post is very hard, lonely and humble work and you'll need a very different mindset than working in music studio to cut it in post. Knowing your way around Pro Tools means nothing, anyone can learn it in a few weeks, but do you have the stamina to cut tons of car pass-bys, of which 90% are thrown out in the mix?
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jussi ➑️
I think it was Yewdall who in his book "Practical art of Motion Picture Sound" wrote something along the lines that you have to ask yourself do you love the *idea* of working in post, or the work itself. For most of the time sound post is very hard, lonely and humble work and you'll need a very different mindset than working in music studio to cut it in post. Knowing your way around Pro Tools means nothing, anyone can learn it in a few weeks, but do you have the stamina to cut tons of car pass-bys, of which 90% are thrown out in the mix?
Replace "post" with "film/TV in general" and it's even more accurate.

I've worked in audio post (although not as high-end as some of you guys), but also camera, editing, and electric (on set). It is hard, thankless, work in all instances. None of it is as well-paid as you imagine it should be. You will give up any semblance of a social life you may desire while you're working, as your days will be long and your starts will be early. You will take sh*t from almost everyone who is more senior than you for reasons you will never comprehend (although occasionally they will be right). You may even cease to admire it as an art form because every time you watch a movie or a TV show you will find fault, and your significant other will notice every time you "tsk" or "sigh" when something isn't quite right on screen. You will always be chasing work - before your current freelance gig is even close to finished you'll be living on your phone trying to chase something else down because you don't know when or where your next job will be, and this will stress you out to no end. You will struggle to obtain credit from banks because you don't have a "real" job or a reliably predictable income, according to them (until you've been at it long enough to have a sharp accountant).

So, if this sounds like a pile of stuff you can deal with: then continue your quest. For me, I forget about all of it when I'm sitting in a cinema and/or watching something I did on a big television, cold beer in hand. That feeling of seeing/hearing something I was partly responsible for is a cure-all for every single piece of crap that I had to deal with along the way.

But it's not for everyone.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
It sounds like you are a Pro Tools expert to me. Some of these guys may view you as competition so they may not be completely friendly, keep that in mind.
That statement could not be further from the truth.
I got a lot of help and support from people when I moved here last year.

As far as making the move to post.
Well, it's the same way you got into music.
You start at the bottom and work your way up.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
That statement could not be further from the truth.
I got a lot of help and support from people when I moved here last year.

As far as making the move to post.
Well, it's the same way you got into music.
You start at the bottom and work your way up.
So you don't think the guy is a Pro Tools expert, fair enough I guess.

If you don't think people can be competitive and unfriendly in this business especially in La La land I have to strongly disagree.

As far as GS goes, it is at times a nit pick fest from certain posters. People will take one little thing and blow it up to ridiculous proportions.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
So you don't think the guy is a Pro Tools expert, fair enough I guess.

If you don't think people can be competitive and unfriendly in this business especially in La La land I have to strongly disagree.

As far as GS goes, it is at times a nit pick fest from certain posters. People will take one little thing and blow it up to ridiculous proportions.
I never said he wasn't an expert. It just has little bearing on getting into post.
And yes, it's competitive. Every business is.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
I never said he wasn't an expert. It just has little bearing on getting into post.
And yes, it's competitive. Every business is.
I agree.

Furthermore, being a techie "expert" will get you no further than an assistant job or maybe an engineering position, if you are really great at it. Editing and mixing are not technical jobs, they are creative jobs. A really creative editor or mixer with almost no technical knowledge, can hire a techie assistant for peanuts. Technology is the tool of the artist, not the other way around.

I'm not dissing technical knowledge. I have always striven to be working with tools that are at the cutting edge of technology, often to my detriment. But I do it because I'm a tool freak and I get a charge out of learning new ways of doing things. It has never really advanced my career in post or earned me any extra money. I know mixers and editors who are virtual Luddites, but their creative juice is so potent that they consistently work on the highest profile projects for much more money than most of us will ever hope to earn in our careers.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
I never said he wasn't an expert. It just has little bearing on getting into post.
And yes, it's competitive. Every business is.
So what statement of mine was furthest from the truth?
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
subbasshead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
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...
Sorry if I am being overly sensitive but imho such terms are bestowed
by others rather than used to describe yourself...
So you are a "ProTools expert" but have no post experience? To me
it seems an odd choice of word, when software is all about its use/context...
My point is that calling yourself an expert (of anything) really indicates
to me a fairly present ego so its important you appreciate that is how
that word is perceived (by me & quite possibly others) and maybe it is not
a wise term to use... The issue of ego is yours & yours alone to resolve,
but I would expect a ProTools expert to be far more than proficient at
many things that I strongly suspect you have no idea about, since you
are saying you are a beginner in the post world...
I also am a beginner in the post world & I always will be.
There is no arriving, there is only the journey.
Best of luck!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
So what statement of mine was furthest from the truth?
The statement about people being unfriendly.
I've met a ton of people here in studio's big and small.
So far, I've only had 2 negative experiences.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
The statement about people being unfriendly.
I've met a ton of people here in studio's big and small.
So far, I've only had 2 negative experiences.
I said some of these guys can be unfriendly. That's hardly saying that all people are unfriendly.

Learn how to correct and quote people properly. That will help you come across as more fair and easier to get along with which is important.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
I said some of these guys can be unfriendly. That's hardly saying that all people are unfriendly. Learn how to listen and read properly. That will help you network more and move up that ladder.
Actually, you said people can be competitive and unfriendly, "especially in LA.

So the tone of your post implies that in general people in LA are more competitive and un-friendl than other places..
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
Actually, you said people can be competitive and unfriendly, "especially in LA.

So the tone of your post implies that in general people in LA are more competitive and un-friendl than other places..
Oh wow, you where quick to quote me before I changed my post to be more diplomatic. I'll stop here and allow you to win this argument. I here by claim you as the winner!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
It is amazing to me how fast these posts go down hill in to nit picking and verbiage.

If you want a job in post for the movies go where the movies are being made.

If you want a job in music you have almost unlimited choices. New York, Nashville, LA, Chicago, or basically any were that music is being made.

Today there are less and less opportunities for people such as the OP to move up. People are holding on to their jobs fearful of what is around the corner so they hang on to what they have. Movies have always done well in recessions due to people wanting to escape in to the unreal world from the real world. Problem with this recession is that the banks have made a lot of BIG mistakes, have gotten a big government bail out and are basically sitting on the money. So there is less and less money available for loans to companies that want to do movies. The average movie today costs in the hundred's of millions of dollars to make and it is a crap shoot at best if the movie covers the investment and many movies today only break even with the world wide release and DVD markets.

Best bet is to move to LA. Live as cheaply as you possibly can and start doing, as others have suggested, a lot of phone work and networking. 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!
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 55 views: 32426
Avatar for IM WHO YOU THINK
IM WHO YOU THINK 13th October 2020
replies: 15929 views: 1533507
Avatar for Ragan
Ragan 11th January 2019
replies: 1296 views: 181938
Avatar for heraldo_jones
heraldo_jones 1st February 2016
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump