Where are you currently employed?
Alchemy Post Sound, PostWorks New York and Soundtrack Film & Television N.Y
I just finished Season 4 of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and Season 1 of NYC 22 on CBS.
Describe Your Job.
I create sounds.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I am a musician and, after college, my goal was to do session work. I loved working in the studio, but the only job I could get was touring on cruise ships. A friend of my sister's, Geraint Bell, was working as a post supervisor for PM Entertainment and asked if I would like to be a part of a looping session. As a hungry musician, my instant response was "Sure, I'd do anything for $100!"
The session was shot on the Foley stage in a small post-production studio in Hollywood called The ID Group. The owners of the studio, both musicians, found out that I just got off of a cruise ship and they were really interested in my time on the boat. I, on the other hand, was just as interested in all the Foley surfaces and props lying around in the studio. Since we got off on the right foot and because none of them wanted to do Foley, they asked me if I might be interested. My response was "Sure, I'd do anything for $6 per hour!"
Who gave you your first break?
Mark and Troy Allen and Artie Farkus, the owners of The ID Group in Los Angeles.
What was your first union job?
The Nickelodeon TV series The Naked Brothers Band.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
This is a very difficult question to answer. To be honest, just about every session I am on requires so much effort that the film or show becomes a part of me when it’s done. A couple of weeks ago, I performed Foley live with the world-renowned artist John Bock at the Watermill Center in the Hamptons. It was an incredibly challenging project, as well as an exciting experience in the realm of the avant-garde.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Dealing with tight budgets and no time is always a struggle. When I started out, we would record the Foley to 2-inch multi-track tape. In an eight-hour session we would track maybe 100 to 150 sounds. The Foley would need to be shot in perfect sync and ready for the mix because it was way too difficult to cut the sounds on tape.
Today, we record directly into ProTools. Sync is no longer such an issue. Our focus is now on the quality of sound and the performance. Because of this, we are asked to shoot 400 to 450 sounds a day — about a cue a minute. In the DAW (digital audio workstation) environment, all of these sounds are named and are searchable. This gives the editor, the post-production studio, and anyone else who might have access to the session a library of Foley sound effects to pull from for their next show. At this time we, as Foley artists, we have no recourse or rights to any of the sounds we've previously recorded.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
The John Bock performance art project. It is rare that I get to preform Foley live in front of an audience and working with this caliber of talent was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to be working on bigger, better and more high-profile films.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I love to mountain bike, hike, back pack and climb.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
I have many favorite movies but the ones that stand out for me would be Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects. For acting, story, originality, writing, editorial and directing, these films stand alone. For sound editorial, I loved Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. The way that the film utilized sound design and music to create atmosphere and to drive this story is really quite brilliant.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
I try never to miss The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I love the way Stewart brings to light the absence of accountability in journalism on the cable news networks. I hate to admit it but if it was not for The New York Times, I would get all my current events from this show.
Do you have an industry mentor?
In the world of Foley, George Lara and Marko Costanzo from C5 have been a great influence to me. In my opinion, they are one of the best Foley teams out there. There are several Foley teams whom I have never met but hold in very high regard. The team at Skywalker Sound, as well as Dennie Thorp, Jana Vance and John Roesch from the Warner Bros. stages, also hold my highest respect. Two of my all-time favorite Foley artists I have had the pleasure to work with are Margie O'Malley and Marnie Moore from the Saul Zaentz Film Center.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Never give up on your dream! If you want to be a Foley artist, for the love of God, do whatever it takes to become one. Find a studio or a Foley artist who would be willing to train you as an intern and go for it.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Not yet, but I know that they will be there for me when I need it.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Never stop trying to do better. Some people fall into their comfort zone and wind up stagnating and sinking into old routines. On every session I have ever worked, I have always tried to push harder to create better sounds. On every session, I am asked to create a sound or series of sounds that I have never done before. It’s one of the things that makes Foley so interesting to me. That is why I love my work.
Compiled by Edward Landler
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