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Sound design is an art. With each artist, comes the inevitable non-conforming attitude when it comes to change in their work. I've found quite the opposite when working in sound design than that of say, a band.....where it seems advantageous to get more brains thinking about, re-recording, and re-editing certain designs and cuts.

Do you prefer to work within a group for projects, or by yourself? Why?

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I do both, and personally, for projects I like working with a group I know and trust.

That is not to say that working by yourself can't be done with great results but I'm just more of a people person myself.

You can brainstorm and work with ideas and come up with new viewpoints in a group. On your own, you're stuck with your own experience - which right now I'm finding tough because I am working on a project on my own this very minute and have hit a "designer's block" slump.

Sure, you can call all the shots when you're by yourself, but sometimes it's good to receive direction from a supervisor you know and trust the opinion of.

I find working by myself is bad for my health (staying up until 4 or sometimes 8 in the morning, drinking red-bull, missing family activities...)

There are pros and cons to working in both. But, in the end, I like working in a group better than on my own because of the faster work-flow and overall feeling of morale when it's all done. I mean, when you finish a movie by yourself, who are you going to party with? :)

Think of what the mixing stage must have been like when you had Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn in there at the same time (Transformers)... Must have been awesome and fun to work with them.. I can only dream.... The fun those guys must have. Some of the stages I have seen have basketball hoops and ping-pong tables for breaks. It must be a blast.

Oh yeah and here's a great article I almost forgot to post a link to:

https://www.editorsguild.com/Magazine.cfm?ArticleID=848

It's about sound design teams and how they work together.

  • I love the insight. I have good technical experience and knowledge, but in terms of my overall on-the-job work, I'm still considered novice. I studied the art with a couple of really smart and talented guys, and since our first projects in school, it just seems like the right group to want to complete projects with. I was really hoping to hear exactly what you said and totally agree with your points. Sure, loved the design in Hurt Locker, gets you a name, but to me, I like achieving in groups. – Detroit Sound Design Sep 17 '10 at 17:54
  • Hurt Locker was not a one man job - I count 20 sound credits: imdb.com/title/tt0887912/fullcredits#cast – user49 Mar 9 '11 at 17:54
  • @Tim My apologies. The interviews I've seen make it seem like it was.. My bad. – Utopia Mar 9 '11 at 17:58
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I love teamwork and I love working alone. Once the projects get to a certain size, it is necessary to work in teams. But I think teams need a hierarchy and a division of individual tasks to work.

If I am supervising the project, I always work as the sound designer as well. I usually try to get other people to edit the dialogue and the naturalistic sounding background atmospheres, so I can concentrate on music, sound design and recording ADR. And of course all of the interaction with the director and the production company goes through me. I often record the foley with an experienced foley artist, but i NEVER edit the foley, I die if I have to....

I like to be in control of everything, but the talents of my co-workers give so much life to the film, which I could not have done myself. It also frees my mind, so I can think about getting deep down into the stuff, that I need to do. I do give directions about how I want the dialogue to be edited, or how I want the backgrounds to sound, but I also leave lots of space for the sound editors own taste.

It is also a question of chemistry. You need to be able to give critique and directions without taking away the sound editor's confidence. You also need to be open minded and take in the good stuff that you hadn't expected, this is what makes the film better.

If somebody else is supervising, I find it very hard for me to do sound design, sound fx and backgrounds. So I prefer working with dialogue. It is a task I know I'm good at, and it is mostly pretty obvious how it should sound. Mostly, though, I am working as the supervising sound editor.....

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How do you get into working with a team? I'd like to edit and design with a team. As a person with less than a year of experience with sound design and about two years of editing, how would I find work with a team? I figure that it would be easier if I were living around LA. It's great having a forum though where I can learn from all these greats and mentors. I recently pulled a 29 hour work day and I was also wondering if that is common in this field. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and would have gone on for another 24 but I had an engagement.

  • Do what everyone should do when starting out: find a role as a trainee/assistant... Mentoring is so important – user49 Mar 9 '11 at 17:56
  • @Tim and @Chris I've also heard of many top top top top guys pairing up with beginner filmmakers and working with them ever since their first project. Ren Klyce and David Fincher is one example - correct me if I'm wrong, Tim.... – Utopia Mar 9 '11 at 18:03
  • for sure, but thats collaborating with a film maker, I meant learning from experienced sound editors & re-recording mixers, becoming part of a sound post team... – user49 Mar 9 '11 at 20:34
  • @Tim, True, but I meant if you can't find someone like that right off the bat, go and find a beginning filmmaker and pair up with him and learn by doing and making films because he's learning just as you are - gain experience that way and then find a team to join. – Utopia Mar 9 '11 at 23:27
  • Well I believe that I am lucky enough to be acquainted with a good editor and a good film-maker. Plus I have this great forum. @Utopia, I actually read a bit from the link that you posted and I noticed how it remarked that SF does not have "team post," so that answered my question. – Chris Mar 10 '11 at 9:01

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