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I've been working in audiobooks for a little over ten years and, to be frank, I've had my fill. There's also the matter of cash flow. The family pot seems to have a hole in it and my career is going nowhere!

Back when I was still green, I earned a City and Guilds diploma. This eventually led me into my current job as an audiobook editor. Apart from that, I have no other training or experience (apart from work experience in TV and a few short film shoots, and a little experience of film editing).

I would like to get into film sound but have no idea where to go. I'm not London based. In that respect, I live in a fairly remote part of the country. I can't afford to live on a yearly income of less than £30,000 -- £27,000 at a push -- as there are bills to pay and mouths to feed (and yet more bills to pay).

I'm not exactly over the hill yet but it seems that to enter this game you have to be fresh faced with plenty of time to sacrifice. Am I wrong?

Okay, enough with the sprawling preamble. I'm not entirely sure what my question is. I guess I'm asking for someone to suggest the best direction. Thirty something audio guy with little professional experience other than audiobooks wants to earn £30k plus in the film industry, doesn't live near London (neither can he relocate) has he got his head in the clouds?

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As long as your willing to risk not making nearly as much as you want for a while, I say, "Follow your bliss." I'm in an eerily similar situation, and still decided to pursuit film sound because I love doing it. You can't let age, geography, or ignorance hold you back. No matter how old you are, or where you live, if you put in the effort to learn the art, make connections, and don't let difficulties get you down, and you'll be successful and have a lot of fun doing it. Best of luck.

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    Truer words t'ain't been said, pardner. Amen. – NoiseJockey Feb 9 '11 at 5:35
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I'm not really sure what to answer, but it sounds difficult. Perhaps you can look beyond film, and consider the games industry also. The games world isn't so focussed on London in the UK, it's all around the country. However it's not easy to get a first paid game audio job without some prior experience.

Perhaps if you have some spare time you can use to look up mod teams (moddb.com) who need people who can provide sound effects. This will be unpaid but it will be a good starting point to hone your skills. Alternatively, visit iPhone/Android games developers forums and offer your skills and expertise. You can also go to websites such as elance.com and pitch for jobs that need sound people. Sites like elance usually offer paid jobs, but the pay is very low - and a lot of people are pitching for it. Again it won't be film work, but it will be a change, and it could be a step forward.

As for film work - I am not really sure. You could try signing up to Shooting People (https://shootingpeople.org/account/auth.php), but to be honest, all audio jobs I've seen going on there in the past were unpaid, and still require you to be in London in most cases.

Bottomline is that, I think, you will have continue in your current job and use every spare minute you have to work on low or even unpaid projects that are relevant to your career goals. Try to not work for free on projects that you know 'have a budget' (this is why I don't like Shooting People, for instance - but game mod teams is a different story), unless you really have the feeling it will further your chances.

Other people might have much better advice than me, this is the best I could come up with given the paramaters of your situation - but good luck!

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You could potentially get some work in the film industry doing ADR and Dialogue Editing. This might even work to get into the video game industry as well. You don't have to know anything about video games to record dialogue, chop it up and put it up on an ftp for your client, so don't let that intimidate you. The process and techniques for Audio Books isn't all that far off, so it seems you have enough experience to get your foot in the door in that way.

I'm not sure if you'll have to be in London for that or not, as I don't live on that side of the pond. Who knows, if you can land a gig in London it might be worth it to rent a room of someone and spend M-F in London and spend the weekends at home until you get a big enough name for yourself and a sufficient rig to work from home (if you don't already have one). While you're at said post house spend as much free time possible learning other aspects of audio post so you can start to transition away from Dialogue if you're burnt out on it. If it's video games that work out (which you can likely do from home if you have a healthy list of decent voice actors), you now have contacts in that industry to hopefully start pulling sound effects work once you hone your craft at that a bit (see my comment about my other reply to you on how to hone those particular skills).

BTW... Mad respect to you for working so long on Audio Books. Dialogue editing is one of my least favorite aspects of Audio Post. I'd rather get a root canal because it's just not my cup o' tea.

Also, like I just said... see my reply to your other question about what to do when you're uninspired. I put a bunch of tips in there that would also help in this scenario.

Cheers!

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Narrative. If you can bring that and your editing skills from Audio Books, the rest is about deconstructing the process of film sound and finding where you fit. There is no shortage of work where bleeding edge sound effects work is not required, but cleaning-up dialogue, adding backgrounds and small sound effects throughout is. No shortage of unpaid work either, great for cutting one's teeth (and pulling one's hair out). Definitely Dialogue Editing and ADR to explore first. Don't ignore games.. Certainly a few years of basic frustration and crazy excitement ahead.. Anyone know shortcuts?

  • Yes, I've started to look into dialogue editing as a possibility. It would be a way in and, at least, relates to what I do at the moment. – nagraIV Feb 14 '11 at 18:36
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Yeah, I think 'difficult' is probably the best way to describe this whole venture. (I have never considered the game industry. I don't think it's an area I would feel comfortable working in as I don't really know much about computer games. Film is my thing.)

I'm going to give it a go nonetheless. When spring comes, I should have some time to go doorstepping a few post houses to get a clearer picture. Perhaps I'll find it's not really my bag and that I should keep audio as a hobby rather than a career.

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