Need a Mentor?

Please note the date on this post – I have no plans for more virtual sound design interns – see this article

Empathy is a character trait I value. Highly. I heard a psychologist interviewed on the radio a year or so ago & her core theory (based on research) was that a large proportion of people in prison never learned empathy as children. Every now & again I meet someone with an obvious lack of empathy & think hmmmm… they just have no appreciation for their effect on other people & I think about those people in prison, who commit crimes with similarly no thought for the often devastating impact on their victims…

So why am I talking about empathy? Well I so appreciate the support a number of generous people gave me early in my career & while its difficult to repay their kindness I feel that it is probably more appropriate to repay in kind ie offer similar support to young people now… And to me this is an act of empathy, as I dearly remember how hard getting that start is, and how much a small gesture of support can mean at critical stages… Accordingly I’ve managed to do this a number of times over the years by taking on someone with no real post experience as an assistant/trainee and it is satisfying to see them develop & forge their careers… Finding the right person can be problematic, not through any lack of willing participants but more so in terms of clarifying the crucial formative characteristics. But having successfully been through the process four times now I have a reasonable idea….

Anyway, enough philosophy for now – this post is really just to say I would like to offer a virtual internship by acting as mentor to a young sound editor who is early in their career.

So what is a mentor exactly? The dictionary defines it as “a wise and trusted guide and advisor” while Wikipedia refers to “a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person” which sounds a bit more like it.

When I started my own company I had a business mentor for a while, and I found it invaluable to have someone far more experienced to ask advice from. Often they played devils advocate & answered my questions with questions, so I thought through my own conclusions and I definitely subscribe to this approach. If someone I am supervising is stuck on a problem it is rare that I would simply come up with an answer for them, because that doesn’t help them develop the skills to solve that same problem when it arises again in the future.

So what are the characteristics I am looking for? Well the first thing I can say is you do not need to be local. I already have a good team of people who I work with & accordingly I simply don’t have a trainee job to offer, per se. So I am happy to mentor via email, ichat, skype, ftp etc…

You need to be able to illustrate that you are already committed to film sound post as a career. It is an investment of time on my part so I need to be convinced this isn’t just a whim. That doesn’t mean you need to have credits on films, but already having some experience of contributing to short films or TV drama etc is a definite bonus.

Technical skill is important – don’t apply if you don’t already have a basic knowledge of ProTools. I’m not interested in what your favourite software is, it is a simple fact that ProTools dominates in film sound post & we need to be able to exchange Protools sessions as work in progress. I did plenty of films early on using nothing more than ProTools LE, so that at least is a prerequisite.

Owning (or having access to) a field recording kit is also important. I dont really believe in using library sounds other than in specific situations so I want to know what you will be using to collect sounds for your work.

Lastly & in my opinion most important is personality & attitude. I am going to have to research some questions for this bit – not about your personal life but definitely about your attitudes, ethics & approach. This will also require a character reference or two who I can contact.

So its kind of like a job interview, except there isn’t a job. The virtual internship will run for a maximum of 12 months, at which point I will take on a new intern. And bear in mind I despise sycophants. I do not want to hear what you think I want to hear, I want to hear what you think. Still interested? if you want to apply, please email me using the form below & in a week or so I will send you an application form.

> Registration is now closed!

– Update 1

– Update 2

– Update 3

– Update 4

– Update 5

Music of Wires – part 2

This diagram & idea deserves its own post (thanks heaps to moongold for sharing!) – its a great site worth further investigation!

I can tell you right now, if I had followed in my Dads footsteps I would own a farm by now, but I also know my own character too well & if I had, all the fences would be like the one above. There was a great story in the rural area down south where I grew up of a slightly nuts proto-farmer who bought a farm there & when he did his fencing it appeared all the fence posts had been installed upside down, ie all the pointy bits were pointing skywards! No one had the heart to go dig up a fence post to find out if infact he had just decided to install the fence normally & then sharpen the exposed ends for some reason that escaped your normal farmer, but I totally enjoyed the idea of eccentric farming…. Ditto for someone who would build a jetty like this one:

It would seem inspired, but as you started to get dizzy when returning home with a dinner of fresh fish you would realise it was more creative than practical!
Land art, or environmental art (or whatever it is ‘correctly’ labelled by academia) intrigues the hell out of me, especially if it engages the sonic sense. So please do reccomend me the most interesting & inspiring environmental sound art you’ve either heard of (or preferably experienced) so I can add it to my future travel agenda…

Attack of the Solenoids!

CDM has a great image of a solenoid powered physical sequencer which amongst other things has a great physical representation of quantizing, almost like a blocky moire pattern. When I was searching for info on the music of wires post I found a few great videos of music created using solenoids to play objects, check them out (but watch out for motion sickness with the wild camera moves on the first one!)

And a solenoid powered xylophone, which is interesting how the click of the solenoids combine with the xylophone tone – almost like having a clicky drum kit playing along…