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lou.brown [at] me.com

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I tend to get quite a few emails from people interested in pursuing their own Foley paths and are looking for some advice. These usually come in the middle of a fortnight of workload misery and I’m left with unanswered emails and a feeling of inadequacy. Se here is a suggestion of useful methods and practices to employ for budding Foley artists.

It’s really not easy! It took me four years of dedicated hard graft upon graduation to get a cinematic feature film credit as an assistant Foley editor and 6 years before my first broadcast Foley artist credit. This is an industry without an obvious A-Z process to undertake, in fact I would recommend taking the untrodden paths. They seem to offer more fruit if you’re willing to forgo stability, predicability, wholesome food and a social life.

Read books. Vanessa Theme Ament’s The Foley Grail is magic. Sound on Film – Interviews with Creators of Film sound is magnificent. Yes, understand how to use Pro Tools but avoid becoming a walking software manual. Foley artists are emotional, creative and often have their roots in acting and dance. Spend less time sat in front of a computer and spend more time watching humans interact. How are they communicating with their bodies? look for the differences as they walk with purpose, sadness or break into a run. See how the tense their shoulders when they’re agitated and toss down their keys in frustration.

In the UK there are a few websites where amateurs and recent graduates can collaborate on short films, get involved. Record your own guerrilla Foley using whatever you can get your hands on, talk to friends about the projects you are working on. Sign up to networking events, screening and masterclasses. Be nice to your friends when they wonder where you’ve got to and why you’re spending the August bank holiday locked in your room performing cloth tracks around the sounds of passing busses and city sirens. You’ll need their support when you hit dead ends and you’ll want to celebrate all night with them when you dive head first into some good fortune.

Be a person and develop your social skills as much as your Foley skills. It’s essential to know when to pipe up and when to shut up. Have a life outside of post production, it does wonders for one’s sanity.

I wish you all the very best. If it works out, you owe me a whisky.

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