Mark Lanza is an award-winning sound designer and supervising sound editor based at Sony Pictures Studios (www.sonypicturesstudios.com). Here, he looks at some of the opportunities the pro audio business is seeing, as well as the threats that come along with them.
One of the big strengths of the industry right now is the quantity and diversity of work in television. Quality shows are being produced to appeal to every taste, every generation, every demographic. As a result, there is an abundance of work for professionals of all types.
Too many shows today are green-lit with relatively few episodes per season. It is common for shows today to have just ten, or even eight episodes. That makes it hard for sound editors and other pros to have regular and predictable schedules. If you only have eight weeks of work in front of you, you are always looking for the next job. When shows had 24 episodes, you had six months of work, without worrying about searching for a new project.
The number of companies producing content continues to grow. That creates new job opportunities and possibilities for career advancement. It’s a crazy time, a little like the Wild West. You have to pick the opportunities that are right for you, that fit your skill set and personality, and your tolerance for risk.
There are always new threats. One is streaming revenue and its impact on how residuals and benefits are paid. Another is the inevitable consolidation of streaming companies. The current rate of expansion is unsustainable. At some point, smaller companies will get eaten by larger ones. It’s like the internet boom of the ‘90s where the mantra was “GBF” (“get big fast”), or risk being acquired by someone else. The day of reckoning is coming and when it does, jobs will be lost.
Mark Lanza is an award-winning sound designer and supervising sound editor based at Sony Pictures Studios. He has more than 250 credits in features and television for directors including Oliver Stone, James Cameron, Bryan Singer, Michael Dinner, Phillip Noyce and Mike Newell. Lanza is also president-elect of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE). His two-year term begins in January. In his new role, Lanza will work to build awareness of sound editing within the industry and among the public. He also wants to team with other industry organizations to promote networking, share resources and achieve common goals.