Finding Your Career Path to Sound Design

I love music. All different types and genres, and music from any time. You could ask anyone from any time in my life and they will tell you I have had a love, actually, more of an obsession with film and television. I have always wanted to work in the industry, but due to years of self-doubt and negative reinforcement from family, it took a long time to realize how and in what capacity. It turned out to be sound design.

But my experience in the entertainment industry was zilch, zip, nada…

I’ve played piano for 15 years. The flute in high school band, school Christmas concerts, music festivals such as Kwanas and TCDSB Educational Music Festivals – but that was it. Besides playing around on my keyboard at home, when it came to recording and studio experience, I had none to speak of. I wanted to learn more, so I applied to Trebas Institute.

But before I even came to the conclusion of wanting to work in audio, I went through a couple of different career options such as a chef (definitely not for me!), my love for reading and novels made me jump to writer (although I’d like to think my writing skills aren’t horrendous, but perhaps it was a desperate leap!), and teacher (I have a lot of family that went into teaching, I thought maybe it would be a safe profession). In my head I went through careers like shuffling through music on my iPod. When in high school, I guess it’s pretty normal being unsure of what kind of career you want to have for the rest of your life, but deep down I knew what I wanted. 

Sadly, throughout high school I felt I wasn’t good enough and wouldn’t acquire the right skills to work in film and television.  I felt I didn’t have the right personality for the type of career I aspired to have — I became so nervous about putting myself out there and only dreamt about failing. My family didn’t help either. I have a cousin in the industry (not for sound), and she told me in so many words, that I wouldn’t be right for this career. My step mother said something along the same lines as well:  I was too quiet, it’s too hard to be successful at, and I didn’t have the drive to succeed. I constantly told myself the same things; that I just wasn’t good enough and it was stupid of me to even try. So I put it out of my mind and decided to go a different route.

I enrolled in the General Arts and Science program at Humber College. I had absolutely no interest in it or passion for it, so, I dropped out  half way through the year and took the next 3 years working at a newspaper, clipping job ads for sales representatives. It was fine for the first year — I was making good money, working with my semi-estranged sister, and the people seemed nice. By the second year my sister left the job, and by the third I was itching to get out. I was working a dead-end job that was killing me slowly. I would wake up angry at the world (mainly at my employer) and I would spend the whole day feeling dejected, depressed, and hateful.

However, I only have my self-doubt to blame, and I was weak enough to let those thoughts get the better of me.

I finally decided that I had nothing to lose — it was now or never. Now or spend my life in a job that was going nowhere and would most definitely kill my entire imagination. So I researched jobs in film, television, and music and went back to school for audio, and began to work on my dream.

When I started at Trebas I wanted to record music — working with talented artists and be part of the process of making an album… I still think about this, but I soon realized I wanted to do sound design, ADR (automated dialogue replacement), Foley — maybe even composing — who knows? My interests haven’t changed much from recording music, though. I hope one day I will get the chance to assist or record an album, but overall, I feel sound design is just better suited for me.

This leads me to where I am now — starting my career where everyone does — at the bottom, interning, writing, soaking in everything and trying my best. And I know I am doing what I love, and I am passionate and determined which makes me confident in believing I will succeed.