A Sound Career

Sean Pond brings his own mug into the coffee shop where we meet to discuss his work in post-production and audio mixing.

His mug says, “I wish I were dead.”

Sipping his coffee, Pond is tired from working all night and all morning but answers my questions about his work.

With a sound library of over 10,000 different kinds of sounds, many of which he mixes together to create his own unique sound, Pond is the guy responsible for adding atmospheric tones, voices and sound effects in films.

“It’s kind of nerdy, I have collections of thousands of kinds of footsteps,” he says. “You get obsessive, does this footstep sound how they are walking?”

Having moved up here from Vancouver, Pond is most likely the only person in the territory doing post-production. With a freshly built studio and a local film project on the go, Sean Pond is the guy you don’t see often.

While studying philosophy at the University of Toronto, Pond started his career in post-production in 1996 on a small budget film ($50) in Montréal with some friends. The Corpse in Canvas was a pseudo German expressionist film that Pond spliced together sound bites of classical scores and noises, such as chainsaws and jackhammers.

The Corpse in Canvas went on to receive acclaim at the McGill film festival where it won best picture and best sound. Shortly thereafter, Pond continued to work in post-production working on a variety of projects in locations such as Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and New York, later attending school for audio engineering in Vancouver.

“I always liked music and sound, it’s just something I ended up doing,” says Pond.

Being responsible for post-production and audio mixing means Pond is responsible for helping guide the focus of the film.

“Sound is very intuitive,” he says. “I don’t want the sound to take away from the actual power or depth of what is going on in the scene.”

Because post-production and audio mixing is usually done after sections of the film are shot, Pond usually doesn’t deal with too many people: “You’re completely in your own world, there are no parties,” says Pond.

Post-production can be a solitary job and tedious, too. “It’s really knit picky, you have to loop the same couple of seconds hundreds of times and you have to care throughout,” he says.

Having been involved in the film industry for over a decade, Pond is not being driven by the money, but rather by the art: “Unless you’re doing block busters, you’re not making money.

“The more artistic you get, the less money you make,” he says.

Pond works another job as well as doing post-production which allows all the money he makes from doing sound to go right back into his art, like building his new home studio. Talking animatedly with his hands, Pond’s excitement is obvious as he describes his gear, dimensions and look of his new studio: “There’s people for everything, for someone else it’s really not that interesting,” he smiles.

Because Pond is still fairly new to the territory, having moved here only a few years ago, he usually receives contracts over the Internet.

This, however, hasn’t stopped him from working on a local production, a film that deals with violence North of 60. He is not yet finished but has already used over 1,500 sound effects and over 225 atmospheric sounds.

Working on a local project is helping Pond meet people in the industry but he still hopes to branch out and meet producers and other sound technicians in the community.

“I want to work with the studios here, there are some people with some really nice microphones in town,” says Pond.

For more information on Sean Pond check out his website at www.SeanPond.ca.

PHOTO: RICK MASSIE [email protected]

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