Hi All,

A semantics question. I'm a couple of months and a large post-production project away from graduating from my film/sound program and trying to clean up my site/C.V./demo reel a bit in advance.

In terms of how I'm selling myself to the world of hopeful sound employment, I'm still very much a generalist at this point - with slightly more experience on the post-production and sound design side than the game implementation side. Working with sound in any form is thrilling to me and I'm willing to take whatever opportunities I can find in sound to get my chops/reel/contact network built up. It doesn't have to be in the realm of original SFX creation.

It seems strange to label myself a "sound designer" if I'd be equally down to freelance or apprentice as an ADR Recordist, Foley Editor, Junior Sound Implementer, etc. But is that how you'd do it?

As an alternative, does anyone use the term "sound artist?"

Any other tips you have on pitching yourself from this starting position that aren't buried elsewhere on the site, feel free to drop them in here as well.

Thanks SSD!

6 Answers 6


It's all semantics/title BS really as the lines of responsibility are blurring.

But if you're interested in starting out in the film world, I'd suggest using the term "Assistant Sound Editor." Adding "assistant" implies that you can edit sound, but you're also willing to lend a hand and understand that you must earn your place on a post sound crew. It is also most likely the highest position you'd be offered in a film sound facility starting out (apprentice sound editor, PA, and runner are other terms thrown around for entry level positions).

I know numerous seasoned sound editors that still don't refer to themselves as "sound designers" even though they've been at it for quite some time and craft great stuff every day.

It's best to be humble when starting out (my humble 2 cents).

Good luck.

  • 3
    agree completely with this perspective. call yourself a sound effects editor until there's no question in your own mind that you are a sound designer. It should take a while. :)
    – Rene
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 0:00

Who says you need to have a single title, or a title at all when you're trying to get work?

I read once on a freelancing website that you should call yourself what you want to be -- none of this "I'm a IT guy, but I really want to be a sound designer" crap. Your role on different projects will change, and you'll go where the work is, but I don't think you should call yourself something different just to appease a job posting.

(Take this with a grain of salt... I'm far from a pro at this.)

  • Thanks Dave! I'll try a few titles and the non-title approach and see how it feels. Really appreciate the $0.02.
    – lucafusi
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:11

Its a great question that does have sort of a grey area with the paradigm shift in how post production workflows are handled nowadays.

Personally, it has taken me about 3-4 years of editing before I now am comfortable calling myself a sound designer, because my role has in team projects has been shifting from bottom-level sound work (BGz, spotted BGz, doors, etc), to more top-level work (vehicles, designs, etc). And as I do more of these top-level categories, I haven been charged with greater responsibility and creative latitude to add my personal sound signature to it. And many times these sounds, especially for computer sequences, have to be developed from scratch to build a library palette of sorts. So in that sense, over the years I have shifted into a position where I am doing a lot of creating and designing on top of the cutting, so Sound Designer feels appropriate to me now.

In regards to the other post sound disciplines outside of effects, I agree it can sound weird, and in some cases care must be taken to not using a role's name that you are not actually familiar with and market yourself incorrectly. It can be all about context too. I market myself to potential clients for my sole freelance work as being a supervising sound editor (sometimes I do have to crew-up with others) and/or sound designer as an all-encompassing term. When I'm needed for a dialogue edit, I need to market myself to sound supervisors as a dialogue/adr editor, etc. My though is to go with your gut on this, there really is not wrong answer as long as you market yourself accordingly.

  • Yeah, as you said, it's more out of concern of marketing myself as knowing more than I know at this stage. Thanks for your thoughts!
    – lucafusi
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:07

I reckon it really depends on the circumstance.

If you're applying for a job at an audio post facility, then as Justin says, having the 'assistant' term in front makes it more appealing for them to want to talk to you.

If you're out networking on your own, then you should be more confident and try to sell yourself as best as you can as Julian has advised.

You don't want to step on the toes of the older guys, yet you don't want to sell yourself short on getting the smaller projects.

Most importantly though, is to be honest and upfront about what you can do and can learn to do. We all can't do many things, but what's probably more impressive is the ability to learn it well, and fast.


When people ask me what I do/study, I say "I'm looking to get into composing", rather than straight up "I'm a composer". On my site though, I am a composer - sell yourself, be confident. Good luck!


I think that sound artist is perhaps more valid in the sense that what you do is an art

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