This week we were fortunate enough to receive a guest Lecture from Mark Hills, a Lincoln University Media Production Graduate and sound engineer in a highly reputable audio post-production house in Soho, London called Soho Square Studios. Soho Square studios are a Dolby approved studio and focus on audio post production for Advertisement, animations, feature films, and voice recordings for games.
Mark began the lecture talking a bit about his background and how he got to where he is now. He explained how similarly to most sound designers he fell in love with electronic music at an early age. He took media at A-Levels and then became a Lincoln University Media Production Undergraduate in 2007.
I won’t go too much in to detail about his background as he has personally blogged about it, this can be found here: https://audioproduction.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2015/10/09/mark-hills-class-of-2010-sound-designer-soho-square-studios/
Mark then talked about the challenges of getting into this industry and being able to work in a studio like Soho Square Studios. He explained the importance of ‘running’ and how although we have (will have) degrees, we will still be expected to start from the bottom as runners. He explained how its better to go for a running job at a smaller studio with around 10-15 people, as the opportunity to grow, learn and promotion is higher. Whereas the larger companies, you could find yourself being a runner for many years and not get anywhere.
He also gave us a little advice for our CVs. He said that the studio aren’t that interested in how many student films you’ve worked on, what they want to know is, if you have a degree; and have some real work experience. What he meant by that is customer focused work experience e.g. working in a pub. The studio likes this as it shows you can deal with and work well with clients.
The Lecture gave a great insight to what its like working in an ins try we are all passionate about, but also gave us all a bit of a reality check in regards to the amount of work it takes to get to his position. This was a slightly different approach than most guest lectures give however i felt like it was good for us to get a bit of a reality check to push us more to where we want to go.
The day after this lecture myself and another AP student, Matt Jones actually went to London and visited Soho Square Studios to interview Mark and His manager Tom Mackewn for research in our R&D case study module. We arrived at the Studio and got to see Mark in action, finishing up a session, where we were quite impressed by the speed of his Pro tools skills. He then gave us a tour of some of the studio rooms and showed us a few bits of his previous work.
When we interviewed Mark, we had to ask questions about his role as and engineer and what he does day to day etc. If was interested to find out how the working hours were 9-6 monday to friday, as most creative industries involve working unsociable hours. he also talked about how they don’t have ‘official lunch breaks’ and work around their daily schedules to fit in lunch. He also talked about some of the perks of the job. That of which he said how he loved being able to do a hobby for a job and that you get to work with some amazing high status people.