Like many music and recording enthusiasts, I started out with dreams of recording that awesome album, writing that great song, and becoming the next Alan Parsons. So I bought a small recording studio, practiced my guitar, and quickly realized it wasn’t going to be all sex, drugs, and rock & roll! In fact it was the opposite. Long frustrating hours of “how the hell does this work” and no money to show for it! After 3 years I was defeated and ready to get out of the sound business – for the first time.
In the summer of 1989 a guy walked into my studio looking for a location sound operator. I didn’t know any? With a smirk he said he was looking for me – I’d never recorded in the field before? But when opportunity knocks, you jump. Three weeks later I was in Vancouver under a 747 putting together my location audio kit and embarking on a new career.
But this isn’t a “Dean lived happily ever after” story, it’s more of a “Dean gets more frustrated and disappointed” trilogy.
Coming from a studio/producer background, I was the guy who made decisions. Musicians and clients valued my opinions and appreciated my engineering chops. All of a sudden, I was being treated like crap! Everyone, including the guy who did nothing but push a dolly around was getting way more respect! The location sound operator was the enemy, an annoyance! I was behind enemy lines.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, it was impossible to learn anything! There was no information out there to teach me how to actually do it – “it” being location sound. The old-fart sound ops I met wouldn’t help at all – I guess they felt threatened. So after years of struggling and being treated like a second-class citizen, I’d had enough – for the second time.
I decided to go to school and learn about plastics. Not sure why, I just did. When summer rolled around, I was broke and looking for work when one of those “life changing” encounters happen. I bumped into the guy who walked into my studio years before. He had a children’s show coming up and needed a sound op. That show would change everything.
“I met the most wonderful people that summer. They loved what they did, worked together like a family, and best of all, understood the importance of quality location sound – hallelujah!”
So I jumped back into sound with a whole new vision of how my sound career was going to look. I decided to really get serious about every aspect of location sound. My work place was going to be an enjoyable one, and I was going to teach everyone else how to do it – in your face old farts!
Suddenly I was shooting for National Geographic, BBC, CBC, and World Vision to name a few. I helped other operators break into the biz, and shared my self-taught operating techniques with anyone who wanted to know. Then wouldn’t you know it, I was asked to create a curriculum on location audio for a post secondary tech school. For 9 years I learned how to teach location sound and in the process wrote Location Audio Simplified.
Today, I’m close to filling my 5th passport; I’m an author, a post audio editor, and musician. I’ve worked on numerous industrials, commercials, series, features, documentaries, even wedding videos. I record sound in the field, post audio in my home studio, write the underscore, blog, teach, and wallow in everything sound.
life is good.