For many budding sound designers, it can be difficult knowing how to make the jump from amateur level up to professional. In this article we share with you 5 tips to help you kickstart your career in the world of sound, and confidently land your first paying projects.
Read on below to discover our top tips!
1 - Have a clear goal.
How can you hit the target if you don't have something to aim for? Setting a clear goal for yourself is like a superpower, as it not only narrows your focus but gives you a clear path to follow as you try to achieve your dreams. Often we are too vague in our goals, and make grand, sweeping statements that are difficult to put into practice.
Instead of saying "I want to make sounds for film", or "I want to be a foley artist" we can instead say things like: - "Within the next year I will buy the equipment I need to produce audio to a professional level." - "Within 6 months I will contact 5 companies about work placement or internship opportunities." - "In the next 18 months I will complete full foley coverage for a short film and use this for my show reel." - "This year I will attend 1 networking event or industry meetup per month, and make at least 1 connection per event." By making our goals super specific, and setting a timeline to accompany them we are placing ourselves on the right path to achieve them.
Having clear targets helps you to achieve your long term goals.
2 - Develop a wide-range of skills.
When starting out, it is beneficial to equip yourself with a wide set of skills. This will give you the strongest foundation possible to start with, and puts you in prime position to land the job you want when it comes up. Think about it like this, if its a choice between two young candidates for a junior position, who is going to be more attractive: The person who is amazing in one aspect of sound but lacks knowledge elsewhere, or this person who has a general knowledge and competency across the full range of sound disciplines?
Specialisation is important however, but this can come later as you progress in your career and have gained a high level of expertise in certain areas.
Some key skills and areas of knowledge to develop include: - Audio recording - Audio editing - Synthesis - Sound design - Foley - Mixing for film - ADR
Crafting a solid web-presence and presenting yourself in a professional manner will help you to stand out from your peers.
3 - Build your website & Professional Portfolio.
Knowing how to present yourself in a professional manner, and effectively sell your services is one of the key skills to master on your journey to success. When starting out its a good idea to invest in a quality website that you can continue to update as you progress in your career. Populate your website with your best pieces of work, and highlight the key projects you have been involved with. Pay close attention to the words you choose to say about yourself on your website and make sure that all written information projects a positive and confident impression.
You can take things to the next level by hiring the services of a professional photographer to take some photos and headshots of you. A good set of photos can be carried with you through your career.
The "essential" areas of your professional portfolio would include the following: - Website - Central hub that showcases your work and expertise. - Vimeo / YouTube channel to host your show reels. - Soundcloud Profile for audio examples of your work.
- IMDB & LinkedIn Profile.
Some basic networking skills can be a huge asset for you when you are in the early stages of building your career.
4 - Network and build connections.
All business is fundamentally built on the foundation of strong Human relationships.
With the world of the creative industries being so collaborative, it is extra important for us to be skilled in the art of networking, and never is this more true then when you are first starting out. Often its the relationships you build during the early stages of your career that will stay with you the longest and be the most fruitful.
Take an interest in people, offer them advice and do favours for them from time to time. Perhaps a Director acquaintance of yours is looking for a DOP. Hook them up with one, or point them in the direction of someone you know. This all helps to position yourself as a competent, well-connected and respected professional that brings a high level of value to the projects you are involved with.
Taking a junior position at an established studio is a tried-and-tested way of getting your start in an audio career.
5 - Take an internship or placement with an established studio.
For our final tip, we recommend to seek out opportunities at established sound studios. Whilst this is probably the most traditional and predictable tip on this list, it still remains one of the best ways of getting your foot-in-the-door when it comes to a career in audio. A quick google search of your local area should reveal some of the studios that are in operation, and from there you can go forward and make contact.
Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and strike up a conversation. Most people, no matter how senior will be empathetic to your situation, as they can remember what is was like when they were first starting out. With a little initiative and luck on your side you may just land yourself a placement or work opportunity!
That concludes this blog post. For more tips you can check out this great article from the Los Angeles Times that features quotes and advice from some of the top professionals in the industry.
We hope you enjoyed reading these tips and can start applying them to your own journey today!
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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