Founded in 1953, the Motion Picture Sound Editors is a global organization dedicated to improving the recognition of its members by educating the public and the filmmaking community as to the artistic and storytelling merit of sound editing. The efforts of our talented and hard-working members can be heard every hour of the day all over the world. MPSE members sculpt dramatic sound effects and invent new sounds for imaginary worlds, they give character to every footstep, carve importance into each word, and creatively shape the sound track to tell the cinematic story. Our organizational membership includes sound artist in feature, television, gaming and interactive entertainment.
The Motion Picture Sound Editors is also a founding organization of EIPMA, aka Entertainment Industry Professional Mentoring Alliance, a newly-formed organization which includes nine other industry professional organizations. The goal of EIPMA is to provide those aspiring to enter the entertainment industry, a conduit for basic information, career paths, guidance in obtaining goals, and ultimately, direct mentorship. EIPMA recognizes the need for diversity in our industry and seeks to reach out to all who are interested in careers in the entertainment industry, seeking a balance of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, veterans, and other ideologies.
EIPMA seeks to inform and advise through panel discussion events, screenings, Q&As, group mentoring relationships, and one-on-one mentoring including shadowing for a limited time. EIPMA will help prepare those individuals for entrance into the entertainment industry.
The MPSE and its members currently thrive in an industry that is seeing continued growth in creation of content and new paths of distribution. New technological tools and software applications provide our artists with the ability to expand their creativity and storytelling abilities. Technology is creating new opportunities and workflows such as the ability to cross over from editorial to mixing when requested by our filmmakers. This type of cross over can help the storytelling process to continue and expand during post sound editorial through the mixing process. New technology brings a whole new approach to the creative storytelling process, to be truly successful we need to provide different options and workflows to our filmmakers and clients. Diversified approaches bring the most value, strength and lasting success.
Gaming has become a leader in entertainment world wide. The creation of VR and immersive tools have increased the overall experience of consumers while increasing revenue streams. Immersive formats have expanded within the home environment. To satisfy these new formats requires the proper editing and mixing environment along with fresh, creative talent. Formats such as these open up new opportunities for employment in post production.
In my 35 years of being within the post production environment this is absolutely the most amazing and exciting times I have seen. Post sound is strong and its power to advance the storyline of any project is becoming increasingly clear.
I truly have to think hard about weaknesses within our industry. I think instead of weakness I would consider the word challenges. Our industry has many experienced veterans who have kept up with the new technological changes and have adapted while carrying with them the basic storytelling techniques that can contribute to the making of award-winning films. Although the newer generation of sound editors and designers are quite adept with today’s digital tools and applications, the challenge is to learn from the veteran editors and mixers, and apply their knowledge and storytelling experience to the changes impacting our industry. Integrating the techniques learned from the past into the future is key.
Sharing our past knowledge with upcoming talent while embracing new technologies and software tools will undoubtedly jump start new careers that will take our craft to higher levels. However, we must also keep in mind that we are always about story. Stories would entertain us when told around the fire without any technology at all. Yes, our modern advances have taken entertainment to new heights, but in the end, it is all about the storytelling and technology affords us incredible creative tools to help imagine new soundscapes to create for all areas of entertainment. Through MPSE monthly Sound Advice events, vendors present new technologies currently being developed and explain the direction they are taking, asking advice and opinions from the sound artists and engineers attending. Sound Advice events also include panel discussions with ‘A’ level talent about sound processes, workflows, and tools used on specific content. These events are streamed around the world so that our members receive the opportunity to learn about new technologies and creative processes that other artist use no matter where they live within the world. Growth in the entertainment industry appears to be strong with an increase in product creation providing new job and career path opportunities.
I am a firm believer in innovation and change when needed. If we see a threat we need to face it and determine what we can do to change the threat into a possible opportunity. Instead of threat let me use the word concerns. One is managing the quick growth of post production centers in many locations around the world and how they communicate with each other. All the new content being created in different locations require coordination and the post talent needs to grow as well, rather than just stealing talent from one center to another. Opening new opportunities creates new talent, allowing more creative talent to come from a variety of places around the world. Secondly, there is the need to stay ahead of the curve with new technologies and software solutions. Facilities need to provide a range of technological solutions that can be a benefit as many filmmakers have different styles and workflows.
In all, it is important to recognize that in this quickly changing industry, truly what many may perceive as a threat, can be solved through communication within our industry and amongst our peers. We have always been a community, technology has made our industry a global entertainment community.
Bernard Weiser is a supervising sound editor in Hollywood. He is also vice president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) and chairman of the Entertainment Industry Professional Mentoring Alliance (EIPMA).