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Hi all,

I am a recent sound-post graduate from Australia and I'm in need of some career advice. Since graduating in December, I have worked on a few external projects (one minimally paid and two unpaid) and have been interviewed for a paid sound assistant role on a popular reality show (still obsessively waiting on the outcome).

As hard as it is, I'm trying to emotionally detach myself from this potential role to avoid disappointment. However, since it's one of those rare sound jobs that IS actually advertised, it's not exactly easy finding other ones to apply for in the meantime.

I have come to the realisation that I may have to continue doing inconsistent lo/unpaid work to hopefully progress, but I'm feeling pressured by my parents to work more hours at my part-time checkout operator job (which makes my blood boil) and I believe this would also impact my availability to do unpaid work during the week. They don't want me to work for free for the rest of my life.

So I have this dilemma of finding a happier part-time job in the meantime and risk missing out or losing focus on sound-related opportunities, or continue being miserable at my current job and hopefully land an unpaid internship sometime in the near future (which may or may not lead to a paid job).

Also what would be the best way to approach my local sound-post facilities about work experience, through calling or emailing them politely?

Sorry for sounding negative and naive, but this is definitely the career I want despite being constantly reminded it is a grim industry to work in and I honestly can't see myself doing anything else.

Advice would be much appreciated at this time.

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Keep calling and emailing, managers (mostly) love people who just show they're keen. With little experience, it already proves to them that you'll work hard.

Keep Volunteering when you can.. even once a week if that's all the time you have..

Don't take no for an answer basically. After all, you're offering to work for free.

Getting knocked back is inevitable.. but if you approach 100 people, the chances are someone will take you on. We've had a lot of people simply come in and ask if they can sit in and just watch what we do...

Cold calling is fine, even speak to reception and say you're keen for work experience...

and don't give up.

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I would "forget" the public job advertisements and contact people directly. Even visit the studios directly, if possible. I believe that many people watch those public job postings, so they will get loads of applications, which isn't a particularly good situation, neither for the recruiter, nor the applicant. Of course contacting people directly just because of a job interest has its own "social issues", you could send an email prior to visiting them, but I still think it's the best way to show that you're seriously motivated and possibly get to know new people as well. Also, start from small studios, so it won't feel like you're aiming too high and the studio or person might be more open to discuss with "random" job seekers, when they aren't constantly bombarded with applicants, like all the popular places and people probably are. Also, in the long term, knowing people that work in the field, without having a short term motive of getting a job, will be valuable, because you could get brought into projects, because of your good relationship with someone in a project.

Also, something which I think is fairly easy to get sound work in: (indie) games and mods. These can be found online and basically worked entirely remotely. So those could offer you more credits and contacts as well, if those are what you need. However, games are technically so different (meaning generally much more simpler) from films or TV shows, that I would not see game audio experience as particularly valuable for film or TV, although of course anything is better than nothing. And versatility in sound production, regardless of where its applied, is definitely valuable.

  • The funny thing about this site is that instead of constructive arguments, one can get away with downvoting. – Internet Human Mar 5 '13 at 13:41
  • How do you mean "games are much simpler to work on than linear media"? I can argue that it's exactly the opposite due to the difference in approach. I do have experience with both types, and each of these certainly has its own advantages and disadvantages. But I wouldn't go out on a limb and decree which one is more difficult to work with. – Cat Mar 6 '13 at 6:08
  • @George V. At a very basic level, because playing isolated sounds from a sampler (this is a very reduced analogy of how games play sound) is easier than stitching those sounds together to some kind of coherent construction (which is what a linear sound composition is). – Internet Human Mar 6 '13 at 14:10

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