Starting in the Sound Effects Business
Deciding on what to take at college is no easy feat. There are so many options out there, and suddenly you need to narrow it down to a specific area of study. Some people are lucky, and have known exactly what they want to do from the start of high school, which is amazing and commendable. Other people have gone through high school trying out different things, but maybe just not finding something they for sure want to go into, which is completely understandable as there is only so much exposure to specific careers that you can get in high school. Whether you fall into the first category, the second category, or a third completely different category (like an adult making a career change) this article will try to give you some more information and insight into the sound effect business.
The most important question to start off with is how do people even first get introduced to the sound effects business? Two of the main ways that I have found are students doing film work, including side hobby YouTube videos, or students looking to record music.
Film work at high school is a great gateway into the sound industry as the students have to wear all the hats for the project, from screenwriter to director to production sound mixer. In post production, they will get their first taste of working with sound effects to synchronize to their work. The same goes for YouTube videos. Low/no budget film work exposes you to all the different jobs one film can create.
Recording music is another amazing way to find out more about the sound industry. So many students in high school are into creating music, whether it is on their own or part of a band. And with so many artists now getting fame from social media, these young artists need to be able to record their music and put it out there into the world.
Students who then take their passion for film or music and decide to turn it into a career have to consider the various options in college/university open for them. They could take specific majors in film and music, where they would still have to take audio engineering or music production classes, or they could decide to get into just the music industry arts that focus more on sound mixing and engineering.
Once they have successfully completed their courses, where do they go next? What are their career choices? Some careers open to them would be Sound Engineer, Audio Production, Sound Technician, Sound Mixer, etc. in a variety of different industries. Just like how choosing a major in university or college is starting to direct you to the general field for a career, choosing a job afterwards is narrowing that down even further. This is where you start seeing specific career paths, like getting into the sound effects aspect of the field.
Our best advice to those looking into this industry is to do your research, get some hands on experience, find someone already in the business and ask questions. We are sure you have heard this a million times, but there is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when it comes to you picking your career!