28 October 2008


As I prepare (and look forward to) switching hats from Camera Beth to Sound Beth, lemme fill you in on the details.

Going to film school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just wanted to work in movies and I was good with electronics. My youthful adventures with the family camcorder and me constantly carrying around my tape recorder never came to my attention as fore-shadowings for potential movie-related careers.

I knew I wanted something technical, and when my first film teacher in my first film class called us all (earmuffs Lauren) "fucking idiots" for wanting to be writers and directors, I took offense because neither profession had entered my decision making process when applying for film school. (My comments and experiences as a cinema prod major is a whole different blog).

But I didn't quite know what. I just started playing with whatever was around. At first, it was taking all the camera training sessions available. Then I found myself in an unusal extraciricular: radio.

The DJ I trained with (Jake Kuebler, currently on air in San Fran), was head of on-air production for the station. He was awesome and super nice to me, so I kinda followed him into it and joined the production team.

Now, I had never heard of Pro-Tools. Never thought of sound design. This was New World 101 and it was a pain in the ass. I struggled as I tried to learn the simple little digital editing program and little board in the basic audio lab. But, after many hours and Jake's support, I started to pick it up.

Well, like an idiot, I thought I was qualified enough, so the next year I applied to take Jake's place as Production Director.

And I got it.

So I spent the next year of school slowing, but surely teaching myself advanced pro-tools and whatnot. I became a pro of patching, cutting, and had so much fun putting my own voice in EVERYTHING, but disguising it enough noone knew.

During this time, I continued my camera interest as well, but I had trouble getting on student crews, so I opted to do production sound instead. I was the master of the boom and DAT player.

By Junior year, I was the local sound editor. Everyone came to me for promos, breakers, cutters, sliders, openers, you name it. Nearly everything on the school radio was mine. And then something interesting happened: I found that my school offered a post-sound prod class. I was in right away, one of ten students, and the only girl (of course).

When I came to LA, I got onto a crew as a boom op/prod sound person, but the director never made anything (and now lives in Florida). But through her, I met a local sound designer who let me intern at his studio. That's where I worked on my first feature, "Night of the Living Dead: 3d" which came out in 2005. (Come on, you know you all saw it).

This feature got me onto IMDB and while I enjoyed the opportunity, I had to find paying work and left the studio.

While working at Paramount, I found the courage to come back to camera, the department that didn't embrace me in school, but I knew interested me most.

It's funny, people always ask why I don't pursue sound instead of camera, because sound is what I know, and honestly, it's what I'm more experience and currently, better at. Truth is, I like sound, I am good at it. I'm more confident as a sound designer, but hours spent in those sound-dampened studios, hours flying by, no concept of days or time, listening to the same scene/dialogue/line/word/syllable over and over and over again, gives me a headache. I love it, but only in small doses. A career in it isn't for me.

So yes, I'm a Sound Designer.. always will be. But now I'm a DP too and I can live with being both.