Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Some sound speed on a Saturday

I am a firm believer in that every choice you make affects the path your life will take. I sat in my bed Friday night thinking of what I wanted out of the weekend. I knew that we would be shooting the Stopover City title sequence and scootering pickups most of Sunday, and also had my 10 AM-noon WICB Best of Broadway show before all of that. So basically Saturday was my only time off; therefore I had a choice to make about how to spend my Saturday; I could either:

a.     go to the Cortaca football game and have a mediocre time whilst freezing my butt off.
b.     sleep in and regain some strength lost from overworking the whole week.
c.      attend the sound workshop held by multiple Ithaca alumni and professionals in the field.

After a fair amount of late night internal debate, I decided to attend the sound workshop. I reasoned that there are a ton of opportunities to sleep and have fun with friends, but it’s not everyday that professional location & post sound mixers come in to talk with students freely (it literally only happens once a semester). I also don’t know a ton about on-location sound mixing but would really like to improve in case I ever needed to do emergency sound mixing for a film.

So I woke up the next morning (at 7:30 AM because my roommates were blasting music in preparation for the game, *sigh*) and made my way over to Park to learn! I thought I would experience some fear of missing out (aka FOMO) but the workshop was so interesting that I forgot all about the other potential plans I had.

The workshop began with the sound mixers in a panel discussion, including both location and post-sound mixers. They spoke not only of the sound industry, but also of the overall tv/film industry workflow. The panelists had a lot of very helpful/inspirational things to say—some of which I wrote down in my handy-dandy notepad. Here’s a few pieces of advice they gave (all 8 of) us:

-it’s really important to invest in your own equipment—that way you get more practice with the equipment.
-(more audio-concentrated but) know signal flow; that helps you troubleshoot a live recording session if something isn’t working
-learn how to manipulate mics
-“it’s all about listening”
-the turnaround is a lot faster in television than in TV.
-fast problem solving is the key to making yourself irreplaceable
-if & when you’re a freelancer, you have to be accountable for yourself
-figure out what type of work you thrive in and what works for your personality*

*I found this piece of advice most significant for people of all concentrations. I am still unsure of where my “calling” is in the industry based on my personality. On the one hand I love doing art department but it is extremely difficult with little to no budget, and I am not interested in producing because I don’t enjoy bossing people around. Location sound is not something I’d like to pursue as a career but I would definitely like to get a better handle on it so I could run sound on a future documentary passion project(?). I am getting quite off topic, but that’s how most of these posts go.

the 1 picture I sniped: mama & baby mixer--SO CUTE
After the panel, we split off into location and post-sound mixing. Four people (including myself) meandered off to 269 for the location sound where Jeff Pullman and David Rosenberg worked with us on refining skills such as boom and lavaliere placement, in addition to little tips and tricks in making our location mix the best it could be. While most of the mixing stuff went right over my head, it was extremely helpful to learn about the microphone manipulation tips. It definitely inspired me to refresh on the pickup patterns of different mics to be better prepared for shoots. At the end of the workshop Jeff generously offered for any of us to shadow him on Madame Secretary in the Big Apple, which I will definitely do (hopefully) over winter break.

Overall, it was a very intriguing workshop and I feel that it was time very well spent.

1 comment:

  1. Yes!! Shadow Jeff he's awesome. I did it winter break of freshman year and learned so much.