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Hello everyone,

I had originally posted this on the RAMPS google group, and was advised that I might get more feedback if I posted here. This is my first post at jwsound. I'm a former AV tech looking to transition into the world of location recording. I'm looking to volunteer, or job shadow, a location recordist to gain a bit of practical experience.

I'm based in Toronto, Canada. I always show up on time, work hard, stay out of the way, and don't whine about assigned tasks. If anyone knows of opportunities for me, or if anyone has any advice for me, please reply. I will appreciate any information, and don't be afraid to be frank.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Marc-André Paquin

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Take the time to read through the forums here. Lots of good information to soak up. Try to get on a set as a PA, then ask to work with audio. Learn proper etiquette while on set. Ask about gear and methods during downtime, most sound guys to are happy to explain how their gear works.

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Take the time to read through the forums here. Lots of good information to soak up. Try to get on a set as a PA, then ask to work with audio. Learn proper etiquette while on set. Ask about gear and methods during downtime, most sound guys to are happy to explain how their gear works.

Good idea. Work your way up. Learn the community of Pros in your area. Toronto produces a lot of media and that is a plus. The only answer to how one gets in to production is, "somehow". Good luck.

CrewC

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Find your fellow local mixers and boom opts, with film offices, imdb, ect ect. Email or call them and stay persistent. But then don't over do it, remember working on sets are normally long hours, so it may take some time to return a call or email. You can PA to also meet these sound mixers in person. Get ahold of smaller production companies and work up a indie resume. Like Crew says toronto produces a lot of media theres probably room for you to learn and grow.

It can take time, or no time at all. It does take hard work.

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I'm still a newbie but have been moving up pretty fast. I started last year doing sound for FREE on a few student films for the kids at UCLA, USC, AI, and LA film school. I made sure I kept in touch with all of them via Facebook and occasionally post photos of current jobs so they know that I'm still working. It wasn't long before my phone started ringing with the usual intro "hi, I was given your info from the producer of the last gig you did and wanted to know if you would be interested in doing sound for my production". At first the gigs paid peanuts but slowly but surely the pay started getting better and so did the jobs. I try to get along with everyone on the set and try to add them to my Facebook because you will soon realize that most jobs will be referred by someone you've worked with in the past.

You've made a good decision joining this forum since the great people here are really helpful and easily accessible. The knowledge passed down on this site will be essential in your learning and quest on becoming a location sound mixer. I know it has surely helped me out quite a bit!

But as Colin had mentioned, it really does take hard work too.

Good luck to you.

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Thank you all for the great information. I'll certainly keep it all in mind. I especially liked what Michael mentioned in terms of maintaining an online presence through facebook, and making sure people know what you're doing.

At the moment, I don't have a lot of gear. I'm wondering how others overcame this obstacle? Is it a matter of simply making the plunge, or are there other ways around this while you're starting off?

Also, Colin mentioned working as a PA. What exactly is the best way to find these types of jobs?

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to reply.

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Gear? Research.

Work out what you need for the work you're doing, find something that fits the bill, try it out and see if it fits your personal preference before you buy. Ask others who do similar work what they're using, try that out too. Do a lot of comparing before you buy.

I was in your position a few years ago, just starting out. Within those few years I've gone from having almost nothing to having a swag of professional gear. I got by on a semi-pro package for a while, if you know how to use it and solve problems creatively (like providing playback/headsets for an agency monitor without owning any headsets, and not having the budget to hire them), no-one will know the difference...as long as you dont turn in garbage, of course. I got lucky prices on a few items but the more you work, the more you can buy. Stick to a budget, avoid loans unless you absolutely have to (that's more of a personal preference than advice)

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Finding them is hit or miss, Look on film offices, (i typed in toronto film office and found this http://www.toronto.ca/tfto/pdf/currentlist.pdf ) its a semi current list of ongoing productions.

If you can find a crew directory this could also be helpful. Then you can learn the names of mixers, boom opts, and utilities in your area. And dont hesitate on also contacting booms and utilities, they may need someone to fill in a day, or may recommend you to some other company. ALso find a directory of film companies, cant hurt to call them and tell them you are looking to PA.

Also since you have done AV stuff, you could also try working as a Video assit assistant, Video Assit normally is close to the sound department, a lot of times they share a trailer.

You could also lurk around Trew Audio in Toronto and hassle soundies that go in to the shop. Im just kidding about that.

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I think that starting as a production assistant is the way to go. Even if you are just handing out water bottles or locking down the set, you are meeting people and learning the art of production from a side other than audio's. If you work hard enough and are pleasant to get along with, someone WILL notice and give you a chance. Oh, and on my opinion, move to a production hub such as Los Angeles and New York. You will get many more opportunities faster.

As for gear, I wouldn't buy any yet. On set, you will meet sound guys who have gear and if you learn from them, eventually they might send you out on gigs that they don't want, or the rate is too low for them to take- and they will get the gear rental. Its a win win for both parties. That's how I got my start. Once I saved money, I bought gear. And top of the line gear, productions do notice imho.

And be nice to everyone on set. You never know which one of your pa buddies will be booking you somewhere down the line.

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I borrowed my friends gear to get me by at the time. My first few jobs only required two channels so I would hide a Zoom H4n inside a large bag so it looked like I had a bigger mixer inside. The funny thing about sound is that no one is breathing down your back to make sure your levels are fine. This is why I was able to get away with doing something like that. ;)

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" I don't have a lot of gear. "

rent! lots of advantages, as you get to try out different gear, and bewgin to have your own preferences before making the plunge (especially when that irresistible deal comes along)...and you better figure out your needs for the work you do...

remember, you don't make money by owning gear, you make money by using it!

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Do whatever you have to do to get on set, pa, intern for a sound mixer, whatever. In my experience so much of getting work is about your attitude. You can have all the gear in the world, but no one will want to work with you if you have a shitty attitude. If you get along with everyone, your name is likely to be passed around a lot more. For me 99 percent of my work comes from referals, so maintaining good relationships with the people I work with is very important.

Booming for mixers in town is a great way to learn the craft, and set etiquite. Good sound starts with good mic placement, so good booming really is the foundation of a sound mixers job.

When I started out, I would rent most of the gear I needed, buying what I could each job. It's expensive so you don't make any money and you work really hard, but it's an investment in your future.

K

http://wanderingear.net

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I'm a sound mixer in Toronto. I'm sure plenty of them lurk on here, and I see a couple post once in a while.

There isn't much more I can say that everyone hasn't said. Start from the bottom and work your way up. You'll get the break you needed when you least expect it. There's always the Craigslist, Kijiji, and all of those other sites, but like everyone knows.. those are hit or miss.

In Canada, we're lucky to have the Canadian Film Center. I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but they run programs for up and coming producers, directors, writers, editors, etc. This also gives up and comers a chance to get their hands dirty and work with people with experience. Perhaps something you want to look at if you have any interest in narrative work.

As for Toronto being a media hub.. yes that's true. Toronto has had its rough times though, but we've been lucky the last couple years. I think most of the mixers from here can say they've been extremely busy this year. Everyone can remember the SARS outbreak, the economy, and our loonie... so it hasn't always been sunshine and flowers. There is an article in the Toronto Star how Total Recall 'saved' Toronto's film industry in case you missed it.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1057854--how-total-recall-saved-toronto-s-film-industry#article

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