I’ve picked up some work helping finish up a movie that’ll be a big summer release in July. Today I was conforming predubs, which is quite cool for me. I need to spend more time editing. My official title (not on this show, I’m just helping out on it) is First Assistant Sound Editor. You can think of me as the general manager of a store, while the Supervising Sound Editor is the owner. Or in the way I prefer to think of it: I’m Commander Riker to Cameron’s Captain Picard. Basically I lead the away team missions and look quite dashing in my beard from Season 2 on.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to say more stuff about movies I’m working on, while I’m working on them. But not today. Today as most days I’m just a little cog in a very large wheel. Don’t get me wrong, I love the work I do. Playing with computers all day long. Recording cool sounds and doing weird stuff to them with effect processing units and special software. I find it fun.
It isn’t really all that glamorous though. I was just talking to a friend about this yesterday. There is the mystique about this town that I’ve noticed when talking with people from other places–like when I’m visiting my family in Boston. “Oh! You work in Hollywood! How exciting!” is a typical kind of response I get from people. And yes, it’s exciting but not in the way people would think. It’s exciting because I’m doing what I love to do. It would be the same for someone who loves teaching, or accounting, or whatever career they really get into. It’s not like I hang out with Steven Spielberg all day and tell him how his next movie should feature a monkey and a robot battling to the death on distant planet run by the decendents of ancient ninjas who were abducted by aliens a thousand years ago. (Though now that I think about it, that would be pretty sweet.)
Occasionally I meet actors when they come to a stage to record ADR if I’m not busy with something else. But that’s usually nothing more than a “Hello, nice to meet you.” Perhaps a handshake. When I worked on “Down With Love” I was able to go up to Renee Zellweger and after the the customary, “Nice to meet you,” I did get in a “Could you sign this please.” But only because she needed to sign her Exhibit G so that she could get paid. (And actually it was Sarah Paulson playing Vikki Hiller who I found so enchanting on that picture. Shaking hands with her was like a dream come true. Sarah, if you ever happen to read this, go ahead and click on that “Email Me” link in the corner.)
Mostly it’s about playing with computers. And collecting lots of electronic gear. It’s definitely a job for boys who like toys. (Or girls. Girls who like toys, I mean. Sexual preference has very little bearing on job satisfaction in the sound industry.)