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I moved to LA from Orlando a year ago and in Orlando I've done a number of low budget feature films, usually with a small team of sound editors, where I was primarily responsible for multiple jobs that an LA post house would farm out to multiple employees (Dx editing, Foley Artist, ADR recordist, Re-recording mixer, Sound Designer, etc...) and when applying for jobs at post houses in LA, I've been asked a number of times whether I'm able to edit dialog. To which I reply, "Well yes, I was responsible for all of the sound of the films that I've worked on and have done the dialog edit on every film I have a sound supervisor credit on." There are a number of times though that I haven't heard anything back when I send in a resume and I often wonder if it's because I don't have the credits listed on IMDB that they're looking for.

I've always been the type to not want to hog up credit roll time with listing every single job that I perform on a film, but is this the right way to go about things? Generally I just take a sound supervisor and a re-recording mixer credit, but should I be listing every job? I've also thought that maybe I should go into IMDB and list everything out, but I'm not sure of what the norm is on this.

Recently I changed my resume to include most of the specific jobs I've done on each film, but a resume is just a piece of paper and IMDB seems to be a more legit way of listing credits. Any thoughts?

I feel like a lot of studios don't realize how many different things I can do and that they are looking for specialists. Then again I could be unfounded in that belief and maybe most understand on low budget fair that one person is responsible for every aspect of the sound track. More than likely no one's been hiring, but I really want to step up to something bigger... then again, who doesn't!

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To which I reply, "Well yes, I was responsible for all of the sound of the films that I've worked on and have done the dialog edit on every film I have a sound supervisor credit on." There are a number of times though that I haven't heard anything back when I send in a resume

Herein lies the problem, as I see it. The one major part you omitted, in my opinion, is that you didn't declare in some way shape or form that you have a desire and passion to learn and grow. Secondly, you dropped 'supervisor'. If you're open to a suggestion, I would suggest not using that choice word (unless it's a case like I mention later down, where the studio is courting you instead of you approaching them for work). Whether you intend to or not, it has a self-righteous feel in the vain of "well, if you're a supervisor, then why are you begging for work?" - Not that this is the case at all, but it helps to have a perspective to how they may look at it. So it comes back to the learning and growing idea. This is what they usually want in an entry-level position - potential, coupled with the potential and aptitude to learn to do things the way they want. Saying you have supervised this or that, as important as it might seem to you, comes across unpalatable to them - it has a "guns-blazing" kind of feel. Usually if a post house is directly seeking top talent for dialogue, effects, supervision you name it, it can usually come through in-house referrals and varying ways in which the studio reaches out to the person they want (in that, these positions don't ever exist as "available job openings" at a company or post house - they "create the job position" for the person they want to bring on board - effectively, they often recruit the talent they want to work with). But in the case where you are approaching a post house for entry level work, as opposed to a post house courting you, in my opinion the approach should be one of being humble and letting them know with great importance that above all the things you know, your primary goal is the learn and grow. So A way to maybe rephrase or re-approach this is" Yes, I have past experience and skills with dialogue editorial, however most importantly, I am very much open to learning to integrate with how your team likes it's dialogue tracks prepared"

Distilled down: You approaching them for work is a situation where you are seeking experience and a foot in the door to the network at-large. But them approaching you ('you' meaning an established editorial entity) is because they know you're a good at what you do, through referral or what knot, your body of work and work relationships have proven it, and they want you on their show.

I feel like a lot of studios don't realize how many different things I can do

Here's the stark truth - most studios don't care, at least, in the vain that "talk is cheap". The thought is borderline self-righteousness, at least in hows its perceived. Not out of spite, but they have a ship to run and job to get done, usually lean and mean nowadays, so they desire a workforce which has the plasticity to learn to do things they way they operate and take on a task proficiently. An example being, they hand you a six reel show with an important director behind it, and after the spotting session, and say "here, we'll see you in _ weeks at the stage". Of course, this is over simplified, but one must exercise caution in saying what they can do versus what they are actually well versed in, because in the end we're only as good as our last gig, and we are defined solely by our body of work, and LA is a VERY small town, so the last thing one would want to do is over-extend them self by misrepresentation and botch a show.

As for IMDB I'd say that's of prime importance - I'm guilty as charged of looking up peers on there all the time, as well as information for films I'm working on or being bid on. It's a great resource, but only if the data on it is current and up to date. So I'd suggest you make sure everything on your page is current and up to date. Also, for our line of work especially filled with independent contractor types like myself, IMDB IS your work history track record, often your only one. Demo reels, or Show reels as I like to call them (sounds less tacky), can be useful, especially for starting out - over time though, if you have one, it mostly serves as a showcase of your most notable work to reinforce your body of work

I know this all comes across blunt, but I believe it's important to realize how fast-pace the LA environment is. It's competitive (do you eat, breath, sleep 'sound'? well, the other person you're competing for the job is), the quality demand is of very exacting standards (especially so for the top studios), it's fast paced (primetime TV has one week editorial and 2 days of mix per show, some 6 reel features have 3 weeks editorial, etc) and the career path is a process of patience (think years and decades), but there is also a close-knit comradery - do your best work, maintain a solid work ethic, and have a desire to learn and grow from the start... and that will echo in a good way and come back to you over time in ways you won't even realize at the moment. Hopefully this helps, and good luck!

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    Totally agree re Supervisor - I dont use the term myself unless I am actually having to supervise/coordinate a team of people that actually requires such.... if its just me, the dialogue editor & foley editor/assistant/s then there is no supervision, its collaboration.... I appreciate 'the Academy' only acknowledge supervisors but that really doesn't have much to do with actual film making/its marketing/irrelevant to me... so dont take them as your guide – user49 Jan 30 '13 at 5:50
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    I would also interpret anyone saying 'they did everything' as meaning "you did what you could, given how thinly spread you MUST ahve been, because we always have 5+ people doing those tasks.... so its likely you did more than the bare minimum of everything, but what we want is someone who is excellent/passionate & dedicated to A or B or C (& knowledge of X, Y,Z is invaluable) In the long term/overall it is EXCELLENT to have experience in all departments, but fitting into a team they want to know what your passion is.... Its a test to reveal your true nature – user49 Jan 30 '13 at 5:57
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    @tim I agree, it's all a team sport - definitely more of a collaboration than supervision. You make a very good point. I've found this common in LA, where editors (and recordists) are known for being specialists in one category or another, sometimes really specific such as so-and-so being a specialist in vehicle FX or another being a NoNoise specialist. – Stavrosound Jan 30 '13 at 6:40
  • Oh man, This is such an awesome answer! Most of the time when I've taken a Supervising Sound editor credit I have supervised a team of sound editors and foley mixers, but there have been a number of times on short films where I took the credit and I was the only one doing the post. I had the definition wrong in my head that I was supervising the sound track instead of a team. So luckily I can keep most of those credits, but I'll need to alter IMDB a bit to include everyone's specific jobs including my own. – Rob Reider Feb 1 '13 at 0:00
  • I also really like your perspective of coming to the studio a little more humble... I've probably even seemed a little desperate in emails stating that I'm willing to scrub toilets or do any type of editing, but the mention of passion really gets me. Where as I'm a speedy and good DX editor (around 2 minutes or more an hour), it's not a job that I have the most passion for, but I've been telling studios I'm looking to start out and move my way up. I really have the most passion for re-record mixing, but it's seemed to me to be such a high level thing that hardly anyone walks in and mixes. – Rob Reider Feb 1 '13 at 0:03
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Hi Rreider, I don't work in LA or the US for that matter. My experience (Europe) is slightly the same. Credits are sometimes a thing to take care of yourself, especially on IMDB. Most of what I've done is on the list, but with some films I'm not on the credit list, although I made a substantial contribution. Mostly I add my work to IMDB when the production company forgot about it. As long as you're on the credit list of the film, it's legal.

But more to the point, do you have a demo reel? Isn't that the best opportunity to show your skills? I don't admire a fulltime film sound design career (yes it sounds strange I know), but if I would, then I would definitely work on it. Show some scenes your proud of. I can imagine a dialog edit scene (with a before and after) or sfx scene (with and without). This should convince any contractor if your work is good.

Good luck!

  • I sort of have one, but I've been scoring films for 10 years before I started providing post sound in 2009 and I got really confused when I moved to LA as to what I wanted to do. I realized that scoring for commercials and projects that I may not always believe is not exactly the route for me, but at the time I made a demo with all the films that I've worked on, but no audio from them. Just one of the music tracks that was used in a pretty epic scene from a movie I scored. – Rob Reider Feb 1 '13 at 0:16
  • I've been trying to find time for the past 6 months to create a type of demo reel that you're talking about (pre and post work). One for DX, one for SFX, and one for score... but I had thought about them more for the clients that I've been pitching to (seems like hardly any directors in the indie world understand what we do!) but I didn't really think about it for studio gigs. after reading your answers, I really feel like I need to aim specifically for what I want to do in studios instead of just throwing myself out and seeing what sticks. Thanks again for the responses!!! – Rob Reider Feb 1 '13 at 0:19

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