I've spent my entire career here in Washington, DC. As some of you know, I'll be headed out to LA in January. With that on the horizon, workflow, the division of labor, & the responsibilities of the roles in audio post have been on my mind.
See, around here you don't hire a Dialog Editor, a Sound Effects Editor, and a Re-Recording Mixer, you hire an Audio Engineer, an Audio Post Engineer, or more recently, a Sound Designer. Typically speaking, we're talking one guy, one room, soup to nuts.
You have to record a VO? You're in Audio 1. You have to mix a promo? You're in Audio 1. You have a 13-episode series that needs dialog edit, sound effects edit, VO record, and mix? You're in Audio 1. I could go on, but I think you get it.
It wasn't until I arrived at my current gig, where the workflow was so constant and schedules so condensed, that I brought up the notion to segment roles across the department. "You'll mix this episode while I tackle the OMF clean-up and dialog edit on the next one. You two split the sound effects work between you." It's great, very efficient. Everyone is busy as a team with a common goal. However, we're not role restricted. That is to say, any one of us on the team could be saying this to the other four in the department. So this project, I'm mixing, the next two I could be sound designing, the next dialog editing. And while these larger, department-wide projects come and go there's still smaller productions that never leave a single room tucked into the holes in the schedule.
From one perspective, I find it incredibly useful wearing the many hats of the audio post department. i.e. It wasn't really until I sat in a mixer's chair that I fully understood what others needed from me when I was acting as a dialog or effects editor. From another perspective, because my focus is scattered across so many aspects of the process, I feel like I haven't had an opportunity to gain the level of mastery in any one area of skills that my years of experience would/could attest to.
From what I understand of the industry out in LA, this "Hire-one-audio-guy-to-get-your-audio-done" attitude is a rarity. Projects are strewn all across town with House A doing the dialog edit, House B adding FX, and House C re-recording. I've heard former East-Coast producers complain that when they take simple promos to some houses out there they outright refuse to add in sound effects because, "that's not what we do here."
So, I'd like to know how common this is in your experience? What are the positives/negatives that you see to being a Jack Of All Trades? Am I at a competitive disadvantage amongst my peers on the West Coast? Or has my experience gained me insight that others may never have thought to seek?