Audio production companies can come in various forms and serve in various capacities, and oftentimes, the roles they play regarding the audio needs of, for example, a film production company or an advertising company will vary.
There are audio production companies that concern themselves solely with recording and producing foley sound effects for film and television; other audio companies that focus on sound design and mixing for film and television; and jingle production companies that focus on creating incredibly short yet extremely catchy jingles for commercials, websites, and various advertising companies.
The opportunities and possibilities are exponentially limitless, but on the other hand, the amount of competition you’re likely go up against is fierce and unrelenting. So, how can you make sure that you’re up to the task and able to snatch those high-profile gigs that everyone else is vying for?
Showcase Your Talents
The single most important element in your formula of success in the audio production industry is a strong portfolio that showcases your talents and ability, and for the sake of brevity, I’m going to assume that you’re relatively experienced and well-versed when it comes to audio engineering and sound design. The first step in doing so is by studying other films that feature amazing sound design in nearly every single discernable aspect.
Watch the movie a couple of times so you can suppress the “wow” factor and really focus on the film, and then “watch” it blindfolded. Obviously, the only other sense available to you at that point will be your trusty set of ears, and every few minutes or so, pause the film and take notes on what you hear and be as descriptive as possible.
Add Your Personal Touch
After that, watch the film again, but this time with no sound and take notes on what you think is missing and what you think you should be hearing. Identify the obvious stuff like dialogue, sound effects for on-screen events, off-screen elements that become on-screen elements and need sound to accompany those transitions, etc., and try to think about the not-so-obvious elements like background noise, random chatter and crowd noises, and natural echoes and reverberation that help you to identify whether you’re in a building, outside in a field, on top of a roof, in a spaceship, etc.
Once you compare your notes, you’ll definitely notice certain discrepancies between what you heard when you played the movie without watching it and what you thought you should’ve heard when you played the movie again with no sound.
Then, the next step is to extract a scene from the film that’s only a minute and a half long and recreate the entire sounds cape by implementing your own dialogue, sound effects, ambient background noises and tones, and just about everything else that you think you should hear in the film.
Honing Production Skills
Not all films are perfect; perhaps you’ll do an even better job than the original sound designer, but this kind of work is far from easy; if you’re starting off for the first time, it’ll take you at least a month to get all your sounds in place, and perhaps even longer to get it properly mixed and balanced to the point where your scene seems believable and realistic.
But, as long as you use the original audio track as a reference track, and compare your efforts to what’s already been accomplished, you’ll be well on your way to honing your audio production skills and becoming a quality sound designer.