As studio owners, Jeff and I get tons of requests for advice regarding how audio professionals can either kick start or amp up their careers. In an industry that doesn’t necessary post jobs on a website, use recruiters, or have a standard interviewing process, how are talented creative people supposed to get their foot in the door? There are so many different ways to answer these questions, but at least one large chunk of this is personal marketing.
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The entertainment industry can be tough. There are many cliche's, such as "It's all about who you know" or "It's all about right place right time." Neither of which are entirely untrue. However, I am a firm believer that anyone with some raw talent and a whole lot of drive can build themselves a career in post production sound - or any entertainment job for that matter.
If I'm making it sound easy, my apologies. It's absolutely a ton of work. Let me repeat that: getting a job in a highly specialized, creative industry where you are in competition with literally thousands of applicants will always be a ton of work. So why do it?
If you’re a creative working professional, it’s likely you don’t have time for your work-life to be a mess. Co-owning a sound design company, Boom Box Post, I quickly realized that simply skating by with a handful of half baked systems was not going to cut it. I needed help to be sure important threads both creatively and professionally did not get lost. Phone calls to return, projects to review, notes to give, even remembering to stand up (of course there’s an app for that). There's a lot to keep track of and a lot that can get lost.
A quick search in the Mac App Store for ‘productivity’ currently shows 158 results. There are a TON of tools out there to help you try and organize your life. Here are a few tools for Mac, iPhone and iPad with my thoughts on how I’ve used them to make my work life run smoother; leaving more time to focus on the creative.
Unlike in the past, degrees in audio engineering are now quite common, and many universities have added bachelor's as well as master’s degree programs for the specific professional niche of sound design. However, while these programs may teach the latest software and philosophize masterfully about the effects of sound on the human subconscious, surprisingly few degree tracks include the necessary knowledge of how to acquire actual work upon graduation.
In order to best understand the business of getting a job in sound design, you must first understand the types of employment available to you. Although these opportunities may be divided into two categories for tax purposes (independent contractor vs employee), I would like to further divide them into three in order to make important distinctions in business responsibilities in addition to the financial ones.