How do you promote yourself and your skills? How do you make them known?
I've tried promoting and putting together a really nice show-reel and I constantly get good comments of how well I am to work with etc. etc. but it just doesn't seem to push me into higher and higher positions on the todem-pole. I'm constantly the second-in-command or the "deputy" or what have you, and it is starting to irk me that I am not chosen for the head or supervising role and I honestly think I can do a better job than what I currently get hired as. ]I know how to communicate emotions through sound or how to create an atmosphere with sonic landscapes for a movie or even how important it is to capture home-grown sound effects to add that extra flavor to your soundtrack that you just can't get sometimes anywhere else. I feel like I've grown in my knowledge of what is correct and what is incorrect sound to add in to a professional soundtrack.
Should I be worried about this? I'm 26 and I feel like if I don't start moving up into those higher echelons of responsibility on projects I'll never make it out of "just being another editor on the project".
I mean, I have learned a lot on this site as well as on the job and I think I could sound design the hell out of a movie or similar project and I don't know how to communicate or show this to the powers-that-be which puts me into the go-to guy for sound needs.
What has worked for you in the past? I've been in this game for a little over 8 years and I've spent the last 2 years now working 80+ hours a week sacrificing many personal endeavors to get ahead in this game but it seems like I've not gotten anywhere and I'm sort of doubting if I can make it.
Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.
EDIT: Here is an example of something that happened recently that made me begin to feel this way.
A director came in to my studio to do a listendown to a final mix I recorded the voice over for. The sound design was complete, mixed and being submitted to him. It was a very artsy piece, similar to The Tree of Life. The narration could not be heard in certain places, the music was thin and lacked dimension, etc. Real basic things. Then, in terms of the artistic viewpoint of what sounds were chosen for certain things, there was a line of people who were lined up in a semi-serious scene, not slapstick or anything, and the sound chosen and put into the final mix was crashing bowling-pins when they were falling down. The designer eventually was fired and the film had to be fixed but that's one example where I thought - "Wow, with what I know, I could have helped that director with that soundtrack".
Another project I worked on, the director really really really wanted to make the audience feel cold and sad. He wanted it done solely with sound design because he didn't want any music in the film at this point. The sounds were 90% chosen from the on-set mics, a stereo pair set up by the camera. It was filmed on a sunny day so you hear birds, you hear traffic on dry streets and an otherwise normal day in a rural area. Many foley elements were missing, footsteps, movements on the screen, jerky camera angle switches, etc. The director shook his head while I played it back for him and he turned and asked me what I would do to design the soundscape to elicit the proper response from the audience, in this case being cold and sad. I told him I would do these things for starters: Nix the ambience with any signs of happy life - happy birds, anything which sounds warm or happy. I would then put in colder winds, colder climate sounds. Most specifically I thought of replacing all of the car bys with cars that were driving through puddles and wet streets, even though it had been filmed during a sunny day, so that the audience would subliminally think that it had just rained or that it was cold outside, etc. He heard this and told me to get with the editors and fix it right away. I spent that night all night re-working that section and getting it perfect (which was the use of the cold wind I recorded with the coleman air mattress I posted earlier) and he came back in after it was mixed and approved it first time.
I can go on and on and list my skills and how much production I've done and what different types of things I've done but I don't think that's necessary - I think my question has already been answered below, so thank you. But, I just wanted to clarify that I'm not sitting under the command of someone like Chris Boyes or Gary Rydstrom thinking I can do better than them, rather, it's situations like the above which I hope you agree are pretty blatant. But, I have been thinking of how to either promote myself or make it more known about what I CAN do so that I might be given more opportunities to have full responsibility of the track which yes, it does come from the idea that "I can do better than someone else" but from the viewpoint of better contributing to the effectiveness of the final mix and not from the viewpoint of "I'm better than him!" I haven't brought the director aside and told him that and I don't undermine my peers or say this sort of thing to them or the producers or any of that - this is the first place I've written this and I thought maybe some of you have had similar situations and care to share what you've done in the past to get yourself out of that situation.