Q. What is your job title and where do you work?
I am a freelance Sound Recordist. I work on various projects but the bulk of my work is with Amersham based ‘Boundless Productions’. For Boundless, I am one of a handful of Location Sound Recordists working on the daytime property show ‘Escape to the Country’
Q. When did you start working there?
I started working for Boundless at the end of summer 2014 after successfully completing an in-house training program with them earlier in the year.
Q. In a typical day, what do you do?
Working on ‘Escape’, a typical day involves working as part of a small, 4-person crew with a presenter and two contributors. My job is to get the guys in front of the camera mic’d up with radio lav mics, so that the mics aren’t visible on camera. I then mix 3-4 signals down to a stereo mix which is recorded straight onto camera for sync sound. Whist each show follows roughly the same format, a ‘typical day’ can be extremely varied. We work both inside and outside, with animals, on land and on water! Aside from making sure the microphones are hidden and are sounding great, it is my responsibly to make sure that the ambient sounds of the environment we are in do not impact negatively on the way the show might be cut together. The golden rule is: if it’s not on camera, it shouldn’t be heard. Aeroplane and traffic noise are the two main offenders but nearby building or gardening work is also a concern! It is not uncommon to have to politely ask people if they wouldn’t mind giving up 15-20 mins of silence so that we can film uninterrupted. People are generally very friendly and accommodating once we explain what we’re doing!
Q. How did you get the job?
When I was at Bucks, Al Green sent us an email about a ‘trainee sound recordist’ position being advertised in Amersham. I applied for the job after seeing the same advert on a jobs board online the following year. Most of the decent sites (e.g. Production Base, Film & TV Pro) have free and paid-for sections which appropriately yield unpaid and paid jobs respectively. It’s worth doing a few of these ‘expenses only’ things to gain experience, and they won’t cost you to apply.
Q. What are the best bits of what you do?
The best bit about being a ‘soundie’ is when everything runs smoothly. Nobody likes ‘waiting on sound’, so it’s nice when you manage to do your job and make it look easy. It’s also satisfying (in a TOTALLY different way) when things go wrong and you manage to fix them quickly. For me, the variety of the job is what I enjoy. Going to places you would never normally go and meeting all kinds of interesting people keep things really interesting. When you’re outside in the sunshine, it hardly feels like working at all!
Q. What are the worst bits?
Rain, wind, cold, early mornings, traffic, strimmers, angle grinders, starched shirts and hairy chests! – for all kinds of different reasons!
Get as much experience as you can. Try and get a basic kit of your own together as this will help you get jobs. Nobody likes sorting out hire kit and having your own means you can charge a higher day rate.
Be friendly and as helpful as you can be. Working in TV is as much about getting along with people as it is being technically god at your job. Especially when you’re starting out, try and tread the fine line between showing that you’re capable and being a know-it-all. That said, it never hurts to have at least some understanding of everybody else’s roles. This will help you work well as part of a team and make some sense of the jargon that is associated with each job.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
Do as much as you can whilst you’re at Bucks, the kit you have access to will cost you a small fortune in the ‘real world’ and being able to use it for nothing will get your foot in the door of countless opportunities outside of uni!