It’s Sound Check! with Tania Vlassova.
I didn’t really know much about the sound world until I started uni (Bachelor of Sound and Music Design). Back then I was set on music composition and finding any excuse to play more piano.
It wasn’t until a couple of guest lecturers came in to talk about “sound design” that I was sent down a different path. They’d show short movie clips and ask us what SFX we thought would best suit a scene. I was so drawn in by the nuance and attention to detail needed for this that I went from never wanting to put my hand up in tutorials to being that nerd that won’t put it down. Then I ventured into the trenches of short filmmaking.
From there I emailed a constant stream of cover letters to various post houses until my WPM typing rate significantly increased while my ego deflated. I eventually received a response from Unison Sound, where I was offered a Sound Attachment role that was partnered with See-Saw Films for the Netflix production ‘The New Legends of Monkey.’
It was a really challenging few months, even just trying to learn the Pro Tools shortcuts, general sound terminology – and the struggles of conforms and reconforms reminiscent of trying to solve the last question of a maths exam – But I’m forever grateful for being thrown in the deep end.
I’ve continued to work in long-form television and film ever since, branching into SFX editing, dialogue editing and ADR – and finding a sort of side quest in field recording.
My most memorable project I would have to say was The New Legends of Monkey season 1 and 2.
That was the project which helped me discover the extent of what you can do in the sound world and where I was able to meet so many talented soundies I could look up to.
Monkey’s fantasy world gave us license to create many of the sound elements from scratch – it was a great project to uncover what is involved in building a show’s “sound”. There was incredibly detailed costume Foley for each character, magical sound design fighting sequences throughout, and the ambience wasn’t restricted to needing to sound like a real location so there was free rein to experiment. To hear all these detailed elements come together in the mix was rewarding.
Working on Season 2 years later, I was lucky enough to be one of the FX editors alongside a super talented team. Reconnecting with the show was an opportunity to see how far I’d come, but also how far I have to go. I began working on Monkey saying, “What’s the shortcut to add fades, again?” and ended with, “Look, it’s not a primetime Emmy – just a daytime Emmy.” So it’ll always be the most memorable.
If I wasn’t currently working in sound, I would probably be googling endlessly how to get into the industry.
Or working in music / screen composition (is that far enough from the sound industry?)
If I had to mention just one soundtrack I would have loved to work on… I’d say Sergio Leone’s – ‘Once Upon a Time in the West.’ I would have loved to work on even just the opening sequence. A fly in a gun, drinking water trickling from the top of a cowboy hat and a windmill which sounds like Ennio Morricone wrote a melody for it to play on repeat.
The best advice I have been given is If something doesn’t feel right or isn’t working, take a breather.
When you come back to it, you’ll have the bigger picture in mind and what didn’t work before will probably now fall into place.
If you’ve enjoyed getting to know your fellow ASSG members, then we’d love to hear from you for the next Sound Check, drop us a line HERE.