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How to Become a Foley Artist

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In the film and television industry, the microphones used to record dialogue often don’t pick up background noises that could be integral to the plot. Foley artists recreate and add these sounds to the finished product by using props and techniques to mimic the original noises. For example, they might add the sound of rain so viewers know that a violent storm is brewing outside, or footsteps so the audience knows the character is about to be approached by a stranger.

Education and Training

There’s no set educational pathway to entering this field, and no formal training program or academic degree dedicated solely to becoming a Foley artist. In fact, a degree is not required. However, coursework in audio production, sound recording or film and television production can provide a helpful foundation. You’ll also need strong computer skills and know how to operate the equipment used in sound production.

Getting Started

Connections have more influence than education when you’re trying to get your foot in the door. Foley artists typically start out as assistants or apprentices to established Foley artists, and it’s crucial that you find a mentor who can introduce you to the industry. Many Foley artists have a background in the industry, either in a technical capacity or in performance. Having previous sound or technical experience can make it much easier to make this leap. To gain steady employment, you’ll need to go to cities with vibrant TV and movie industries, which includes not only Los Angeles, but also New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.

Photo Credits

Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images