I've heard a lot of people say "If you want to work in post-sound you should pick what role you want to do like sound editing, designing or mixing and focus on that." as much as I'd like to do all of them I want to have more experience with all the different aspects of mixing since to be enjoying doing it a lot more than the others (I'm guessing cause I'm lazy, impatient and love playing with gadgets, this also makes me a little discouraged cause these are qualities you should have to become successful in the business). Since I'm still waiting for next year to come by so I can start film school, I'd like to know where or how I can learn some common tricks and techniques and some good ways to practice using them, and that's the main problem I don't have any projects to work on. I do occasionally make music or (try to) edit sounds to picture and mix them to get them to sound as good as I can make it (which isn't much) but I guess that's what I'm gonna have to do for now.. I've read Sonsey's great answer to a question Utopia asked on mixing before, which is pretty helpful but I feel like I need a little more info on the technical side, I'm also going to check out gearslutz more often like he mentioned but other than that any other good resources you could recommend? Thanks in advance.
I think there are two things you can do, and they are both fairly simple and relatively cheap or even free depending on what you already have at your disposal. First thing you should do is read - read everything you can get your hands on. Be it sound focused websites like this one, designingsound.org or many others that you can find, and books are also amazing sources for information too, go to the library and grab as many of the books in this thread as you can (http://socialsounddesign.com/questions/1945/audio-postproduction-sound-design-resources-youd-recommend). Just because it is not about mixing specifically does not mean it will not be useful, mixers have to know how everyone else works so they can use the material they are provided with by the various editors and foley crews who have been working on the project already. Simply devour as much information as you can, while still actually absorbing it. This is not something that will stop once you are established, even the most experienced professionals spend many hours a week just reading up on new technology, techniques and ideas. So start the practice now because you have decades of knowledge and theory to catch up on.
Second is doing. You mentioned you have been trying to edit sound to picture, keep doing this. Your results will be horrible to start with, if it wasn't then the profession would not be so hard to be successful in, it is both creative and technical and requires both sides of your brain firing off synapses to get to the end. But the more you do it the better your work will start to be. Pick short clips, but pick vastly different clips. Do a scifi scene, they are fun and wildly creative as the possibilities are endless, then do a scene from a simple drama, where not much is happening but the sound can build tension, then do a car chase scene- these are extremely difficult. You will learn what works as you go and build your own internal database of what works best.
Sadly there is no quick answer, you gotta dig in and get to work.
One simple beginner mixing tip that I heard about a while back is designed to get you familiar with throwing faders. You'll need two faders, two signal generators and a meter (the finer the resolution around 0 the better, I use PhaseScope set to VU and my dorroughs, but whatever you have will work).
- Setup two tracks, each with a Signal Generator set so that when the fader is at 0 your meter reads 0.
- Set the first fader at 0, the second at -INF.
- Pull down the first fader while bringing up the second.
- Keep your output to -+1 on the meter.
Sounds easy, right? ;)
I agree with @Azimuth and will add that I seem to remember the honourable Tim P. writing a post somewhere about how us soundies are more and more expected to be Everything Wizards. In my experience this has definitely been the case. In the indie scene there just isn't the money for a 12 woman/man sound team. So take every opportunity to do everything you possibly can.
For reading materials I would highly recommend these two:
They're both pretty heavy-duty so don't kill yourself trying to read them all in one go. I tried that with The Music of Sound. Totally OD'd on Awesome!
Luckily, sort of, Silent Listening only posts once or twice a month so you'll have plenty of time to absorb before the next load of Sound Goodness.
I think its important to learn everything to some degree. When it comes to film sound I think its vital for anyone who plans to go into post production sound that they work on production sound. Sound Recording is a hard task and you learn after time what extras you need to supply to the post production team to get the best result and thus you realise what you will want from your future production team in future.
There's a lot of composers out there or sound designers who claim they can do sound design for film, and I feel this is a massive flaw. It's completely different (even if they will work hand in hand in the future) and you should pick one or the other, although I'm sure there are some of you on here who can but generally the results I've heard on some peoples showreels are poor.
So do everything you can now, but ultimately do what you enjoy most and work at it. If you are serious about film, I'd look into getting some picture editing in as well and reading/learning about that, as you'll be telling the story together.