Listen To The About Me & The Show Podcast
Hi I'm Pete, the founder and host of 'Film Industry Pro', A podcast where I interview todays top industry professionals within the TV and filming industry, every week.
Each week I'll be asking about their struggles, their triumphs, tips and tricks to find work as a pro and more specifically how they managed to get where they are today, and what would they do, if they had to start all over again with the knowledge they have now.
As a Location Sound engineer, I found it difficult to get properly established as a professional in the film industry for years. Although I have found my feet and have regular work now, it wasn't until recently that I discovered, I wasn't alone, and that most people struggled for years to figure out where to look and how to network.
WELL LET ME BE YOUR GUIDE....
My mission is to help as many people as I can and give them a head start, as they begin their career in the TV, film and audio industry. Pointing them in the right direction to find work and begin networking with industry professionals without the struggles I had...
About Me And My Journey
Hi I'm Pete Bailey but on location, people always shout “pete on sound”. I live in Warrington (between Manchester and Liverpool), and I attended the School Of Sound Recording (SSR) where I learned audio engineering and techniques. I originally wanted to get into music production but as I was coming to the end of my course I was asked by a local film maker if I could record the sound on a short film. I felt completely out of my depth but the same audio principles applied so I said yes and loved every minute of it - I never looked back.
I got a loan, bought some kit, and spent my first twelve months doing a mix of post production and location sound, on around 80 productions. But I always struggled to network with other soundies, so I spent my time continuing to research techniques and equipment. I then decided to do the BBC location sound course where all of my self learning was thankfully confirmed.
Since then, I’ve worked on a bunch of commercials, dramas, features and documentaries such as, ‘Hollyoaks’, ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’, ‘Lorraine’, ‘Daybreak’, ‘Being Liverpool’, ’The One Show’, ‘Captain America’, CBBC Dramas, and I recorded the sound on Oscar nominated “Voorman”. I currently work as a location sound mixer on ‘Good Morning Britain” for ITV and have been for the last 3 years.
HOW I GOT INTO THE INDUSTRY?
I knew, sitting in my friends room at the age of 14 listening to the loudest bedroom stereo on the planet, that I had to get involved in sound. I was a bedroom DJ who then became a nightclub promoter and a club DJ and thought by the age of 21 that it would be a good idea to study sound engineering and start producing my own music.
So I quit night club promoting and Djing for a while to study.
During the time on the course I did at the SSR, I managed to build a basic studio in my house and I recorded bands in my spare time for a bit of cash to put towards more kit.
during my course we touched on post production sound and I was captivated. I couldn’t believe there was a job out there, doing sound effects for films. It was an instant decision for me. I found a guy in my college who was already working on an actual film and I asked if I could help him with the sound design, where I kinda took over the project. Never the less, the director loved the work I did and asked me to work on his next film. I was in!
WHAT A TYPICAL DAY IS LIKE ON ASSIGNMENT?
well… I’ve been working on ‘Good Morning Britain’ (a morning news program) for 3 years now, which means getting up very early. Typically a 2am - 3am start, on location for 5am, ready for the program to go live at 6am.
News is an ever changing production so I always have to be prepared for what ever the news story is. never knowing if we are outdoors or indoors. It could be floods, extreme weather, sports, politics, court cases etc or it could be something nicer like the worlds biggest mince pie (true story, and no, I didn’t get a bite - I did ask), so working on the fly is an everyday event.
I work in a small crew consisting of me, Geoff the camera man, katy (our corespondent) and our satellite engineer.
We all meet on location with the satellite truck at 5am and discuss how we’re going to shoot that morning.
As we setup, I hand out radio comms to the crew so we can hear the directors/producers in london, we setup camera and do a vision and sound test with the technical director who is also in London.
PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND FAVOURITE SHOOT
my proudest accomplishment has to be working on ‘Captain America’ as a sound assistant. working on a Marvel film is the peak for me. I even have my wage slip framed. it’s amazing to see what goes into something like that but boy were they long days.
My favourite shoot has to be a film I did in Positano, on the Amalfi coast in Italy. The most beautiful relaxed place I’ve ever been to. It was a small production, the crew were amazing and it was sound recordists dream. I was given an entire day to go and wonder around the town and the beaches to record wild tracks of the waves crashing up the cliffs and onto the sand, and the bustling markets between the labyrinth of defending steps and alleyways . During the scenes, we shot completely noiseless audio and we even had unscheduled fireworks on our final scene of the shoot down on the breezy beach, where i luckily had my stereo mic already in record. it made me fall in love with sound all over again.
HOW I'VE SEEN THE INDUSTRY CHANGE AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
I’ve seen technology change at an incredible rate over the last 10 years. Everything is now completely digital and there are lots of different cameras to choose from which are likely to become out dated in the next year or two. Even lighting has changed. Sound however seems to have had a steady adjustment to the advancement of technology so you know you can invest in kit that will last a good few years and still be relevant.
film making has also become more affordable and there are more filmmakers getting there hands on super inexpensive kit, which is a great thing but I think this is creating a divide between old school professional film makers with serious budgets and young creative people on a shoe string budget, who, although are creating fantastic stuff, are valuing themselves too low which may have a big affect on the industry in the future.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD I GIVE TO NEWBIES?
The most important thing of all, make sure you love what you do. you must be passionate about the job and take pride in your work. so long as you have that interest and attraction to your role, skills can be learnt and developed along the way.
I would advise people to network like crazy, build relationships and friendships with people who are at the same point in their career as you, and those already established in the industry. It’s the number one key to success as all jobs are word of mouth in this industry.
If you're pursuing a technical role then buy your own professional kit asap (never ever buy cheap gear). people will not take you seriously otherwise.
I started with a really cheap mixer which I used on my first professional production, and completely messed it up because my kit wasn’t cable of handling the job. I literally threw it out of the window, marched to the bank, got myself a loan and bought some serious kit, which immediately attracted attention from other professionals when they saw my kit list.
WHATS IN MY KIT BAG AND WHY?
I use a petrol bag with the double compartment. one compartment contains my 4 channel sound devices mixer and the other i use as a pocket to put spare radio mics in for guests/interviewees.
the front pouch contains all of my batteries and lav wind shields. and the outer pouches hold my sennheiser G3’s - not the highest quality radios but perfect for news. I decided to hang my audio 2020’s up when the change from channel 69 to 38 happened. there wasn’t a need for such high end radios in my current role on ‘Good Morning Britain’, but I still use my sanken cos-11’s.
For my boom, I have a choice of a sennheiser 416, 816 and sunken cs1, depending on the location/environment I’m in. I usually use my cs1 for interiors but the majority of the time I use my 416. It’s a great versatile mic and it can cope with almost anything.
I often say, my BIG odds and sods bag is like my garage. it’s full I've things I may never use but you never know when it may come in handy. over the years you accumulate a lot of bits that were once an absolute necessity for a particular job (usually something I had to make) and it’s always worth keeping just in case - saves me making it again. but you’ll also buy all sorts of connecters, cables, different types of mics and even different coloured lav mics.
If you'd like to get hold of me then please contact me via email.
I look forward to hearing from you.