Thursday, March 02, 2000

Career Arc of a Commercial Audio Producer

My career began as an aspiring songwriter, composer and sound designer. By the time I was 23, I had not only a classical music training, but I had also mastered the Synclavier Operating System, –the Pro Tools of its day– and I was hoping to leverage this then relatively uncommon skill set into a job as a producer’s creative assistant.

Academic connections pointed me to Jonathan Elias, who was not only fresh off producing a Duran Duran album, but who staffed a music house that created a lot of music for TV and Radio commercials.

I took the first job Elias Arts offered me, which was an unpaid Administration assistant, essentially a gopher/receptionist position. From there I worked my up the ladder. By the time Jonathan left to open up a satellite office in California, I was producing many advertising projects. A year later I was promoted to Senior Producer, whereby I shared management requirements of every project with Alexander Lasarenko, the New York office’s dedicated Creative Director.

After leaving the company, I became an Executive Producer for Machine Head New York, and assumed not only Creative Directorial duties for all projects generated in New York, but also became responsible for leading east coast sales.

In 1998 I co-founded Blister Media, the first dedicated audio facility that provided coding to interactive clients in addition to the usual composition, sound design and supervision projects.

Along the way, I provided music supervision, and produced music, sound design, Foley and sonic branding projects for Television and Radio commercials, film projects, Network and Cable Channel packaging, online ads, interactive websites, electronic games, electronic devices, theme parks, in-store kiosks and other venues.

My duties included conceiving music directions and directing projects to completion; composing arrangements and directing re-mixes; creating sounds and sound design libraries; putting together music libraries for television networks; offering license suggestions and creating sonic branding filters to and for Fortune 500 clients.

In this capacity I contracted and collaborated with band members from hugely popular rock bands, members of the New York Philharmonic; and prominent engineers, conductors, arrangers and talented musicians from all over the world.

One of the great satisfactions of this job is watching talents evolve from unknowns to stars before your very eyes (and ears).

By necessity, I also estimated and negotiated bids and contracts; reviewed story boards, technologies, and venue experiences; produced creative briefs and created audio brand filters; and spent as much time with advertising professionals, brand strategists and negotiating contracts, as I did in the studio sitting at a synthesizer making music.

There’s a lot to learn, and it takes years to do so. The profession has it’s ups and downs, and can generate lean years, but it’s also well worth the journey.

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