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Hello. I'm new here and just starting out in the field of sound design. I'd say I've been doing sound design work on and off for about a year now. Where I live right now (Maryland) there aren't many opportunities in the field for someone just starting, so I'm moving to L.A. in a few weeks hoping to have more opportunities out there.

Here is a scratch animation piece a friend of mine created that I did the sound design and music for: http://vimeo.com/17001395

Here's another project a did a few months ago for my last semester of college http://vimeo.com/10245546

Any feedback/advice would be great! Thanks!

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4 Answers 4

COD trailer is good, I liked the explosions you achieved. Are they all recorded by you or from libraries? Song fits well.

Thing I missed was the lack of footsteps and movement of people and vehicles, you don't have to cover all of them but if you notice there isn't any its weird to the ear. The out of space explosion really hurt my ears when the high frequency maxed maybe change that a little. Gun sounds were well synced and believable.

Nice work :).

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The SFX are from various libraries. I wish I had the budget that allow me to actually go out and record guns or tanks or such. I do agree with you about the missing footsteps. I will definitely go back and throw those in. Did you get a chance to listen to the other clip? I recently invested in a Zoom H4n and a Sound Devices Mixpre and look to get a rode ntg-3 or at least a rode ntg-2 shotgun mic so I can start getting better sounding SFX than from using my Olympus LS-10 which I have ambiences. –  Mitchell Scott Nov 19 '10 at 20:01
    
which I have for ambiences* –  Mitchell Scott Nov 19 '10 at 20:01
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Hi Mitchell, welcome.

Best of luck to you in your move to LA, but I do hope you know what you're getting in to because it doesn't sound like you know what you're leaving behind. I've worked in DC (which is pretty close to MD, relative to CA) for just over 11 years now, and while it's certainly not all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, there's quite a few opportunities for an aspiring young sound editor here.

Last I checked, DC was the 6th largest media market in the country. Off the top of my head I can think of about 10 major audio houses that work on national programming & ad campaigns. Each have multiple editing and mixing suites and all are always interested in those willing to put in the time and energy to learn the craft. If TVs not your thing, there are 3 or 4 AAA game developers (most that I know are in MD) which have audio needs as well. All that aside, I understand the allure of LA, and reiterate, best of luck to you in your move.

As for your work, I'll hit the COD spot first:

Something that I've seen (heard) recently is a trend of just having the sound design in a sound design demo. I like this idea. It really puts your work under a microscope and shows what works and what doesn't. So it'd be nice to post a version sans music too. Of course, I think keeping the music version posted is important as well. It's a good cut, your edits work well, and being able to display balancing the mix between Music, SFX, and Dialog is significant too.

First off, I commend you on your choice of material. You've done a good job choosing a piece that presents an opportunity for a dynamic soundtrack, from ground shaking explosions to stealthy movements. It's a bit of a double-edged sword though, as many people will be very familiar with the content as it is "supposed" to sound. You've done a good job with sync and editing the FX, but there's a couple of things that I noted while listening to your clip multiple times.

Variation - I'd like to hear a little more variation in the fire-fights. To a certain extent this comes down to library and plug-ins. Regardless, for my tastes, most of the battles sounded too similar.

Part of that may be solved with my next note: Depth - Multiple locations sound the same. For example, the AK-47 firing around the corner of a building (:53) sounds as though it's in the same space as the guy firing out the top of the Jeep going through the airfield (2 seconds later). I want to hear more building reflections if I'm in the alley between two apartments vs. the openness of an air field.

Detail- The baddies stalking the airport @ :24? I want to hear the glass under their feet, and the airline call board flickering all to "Delayed" is screaming for something. Try leading the shot @ :32 with some snowy crunching footsteps running up to the gap to emphasize the jump. The guys in the tunnel @ :40 are hauling ass, but they make no sound. The rattle of their gear in time with their steps would sell it a little better when the roof crumbles in. Also, it seems that every gun shoots a bullet, but after they leave the gun they make no sound. There's a fair amount of bullet trails that give you an opportunity for ricochets and bullet bys that would fill out some of the scenes that don't have any obvious "hard" action FX in them.

All in all I like what you've done here, and it grows on me each successive listen. But one of the first things I wrote down after the first listen was "Arc". Overall, it doesn't really go anywhere. You did build in that nice pause in the space shot, which I like, and seems like the apex of the drama in this short story. But building up to it and coming out of it felt a little weak. It seems like a good opportunity to use some contrast of continuously escalating, fast-paced warfare, that culminates in this moment of "silent" destruction, and then slams back to earth with helicopters, motors, bullets, jets, explosions, etc.

As for the Scratch Animation, I find it tough to critique. There's sound and music, which conveys a dreamy unease. It seems to match the picture. But without knowing what the focus or intent of the project actually is, I hesitate to find fault or praise in it. Plus, I gotta get back to work...

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Thanks for the feedback Steve. I've looked at the DC craigslist every now and then for jobs and haven't found any openings at any audio house. However I might move back to MD if it doesn't work out for me in LA. In case I do could you list a couple of potential places that I could find work at. Thanks again. –  Mitchell Scott Nov 20 '10 at 19:04
    
@Mitchell you've gotta be more proactive than just looking for openings on Craigslist. Do some google searching and send out resumes. In my experience I've found that networking works wonders. People hire people they know before people they don't, especially in entry-level positions. Try joining the other pro community organizations in the area (TIVA, WIFDC). All the major post houses have sales reps who are regular attendees at their events. Get on their good side, let them know you're young, hungry and ready to work. –  Steve Urban Nov 20 '10 at 21:23
    
@Steve I do look at more places than Craigslist, and send out resumes to the post-production facilities applying at least the very least for an internship. It seems most of the time I don't get a response and when I do it's a reply saying that they don't have any openings at the moment. How did you go about getting your current job? –  Mitchell Scott Nov 23 '10 at 21:55
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I'll apologize now, I haven't had time to listen to your work, but I did want to comment on your reasoning behind the move you're making.

The big question I have, and it's really more a question to ask yourself than one you need to answer to anyone on this site...What do you consider a starting position?

I find there is a misconception, and we are/were all guilty of this at one point or another, that those of us who are interested in post-audio expect to be able to get a gig as an assistant editor somwhere as our first job. That does happen occasionally, but it's just not the norm. Take the time to find out how some people here got their start, and you may find some interesting results. My first staff gig was as an Audio PA at a public radio station. I know, it kind of sounds like I got that entry gig we're talking about, but I was lucky if I got to do the occasional dialogue editing there. Also, they were more concerned that the candidate have teaching experience than audio. Thankfully, I had that. My second staff gig was dialogue recording and editing for a company that creates online compliance and ethics training courses for businesses (kind of like preventing Enron situations). Neither of these were what I really wanted to be doing, but they were professional audio gigs, and the income afforded me the opportunity to take on some freelance gigs that I would not have been able to otherwise.

I guess my advice here is that you should not limit yourself, or your job searching, to just audio post-houses. No offense meant here, but there are many people looking for those jobs, and many of them already have more experience than you do. You're probably going to run into similar situations out in LA.

By all means, got to where the work is. Just don't overlook (or blind yourself to) the work available in your backyard. A foot in the door of the audio industry is a foot in the door. Focus on getting through that one first, then look for the door to the wing you want to be in. Who knows, you may even discover a niche you hadn't thought of...and you might even like it. ;)

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@Shaun No offense taken at all. I would love to work at a audio-post house, but as a recent college graduate I understand that I probably won't be able to get a job like that right away simply because I don't have as much experience as others. Honestly, I would be willing to work any professional audio job as long as I could support myself at this point in my life. Hopefully I am able to get some freelance work while I'm in LA being a boom operator, p.a., or doing the occasional sound design work for a production. How did you find your first job? –  Mitchell Scott Nov 27 '10 at 17:39
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what program did you use to create this.

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@rick I used Pro Tools 8 –  Mitchell Scott Nov 27 '10 at 17:24
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