Recent question to the website: “How will a person go by finding a dialogue editor job rather it freelance or remotely? I did online searching but don’t know where to start.”
I offer some tips on this in Searching Online for Audio Jobs – how good gigs get tons of responses, there’s fake ads, and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. You have to be protective of your personal information – especially your address – and not lose hope if you don’t get a response to most ads you apply to. Here’s some more tips specific to dialog editing:
If you’re looking for work remotely
The good news is: In theory, you can live anywhere and do post-production work. There’s no requirement to be somewhere like Los Angeles or London. But, being perfectly honest: it will be hard to land gigs until you have a number of credits or have other professionals sending you work regardless of where you live. So, first priority is getting dialog editing credits (this applies to other roles such as mixing or sound design, too). It might take working for free or looking for student films but it’s still credits and building up your chops. Demo reels are rarely asked for but credits are like gold.
Then, keep your credits up-to-date on iMDB.com. This is where most professionals go to look up someone when you apply for a gig unless you are coming by personal recommendation. With the amount of tv and movies today, chances are anyone looking at your iMDB profile won’t have heard of most of what you worked on and that’s totally fine! The idea is to show that you have some experience as a dialog editor. You’d be surprised how many people apply for gigs and say they can do a job but have no credits to show for that role. Just having credits will move you ahead in the pack.
From here, it’s a building up process. I’d say the average person starts with short films, webisodes, and fairly short length projects. If your interest is feature films, your first hurdle will be landing one. The jump from shorts to features can take time. Once you get one under your belt, it’ll be easier to land more. If you’re interested in television, reality tv is a good way to get a foot in the door but you’re often expected to edit music, dialog, and light sound effects. But, reality tv dialog editing can be HARD. It’s a great learning experience because the quality of the dialog can be all over the place (since they can’t control if someone declares their love to another in front of an airplane propeller or with a pack of noisy flamingos… both real examples!) But, if you can handle reality tv dialog, you can edit anything.
Websites like Craigslist, Mandy, and Entertainmentcareers.net are good places to monitor for gigs. But, these shouldn’t be your only source of looking for work. Look at your local scene for opportunities – local colleges with film schools or courses, local filmmakers, artists who do visual work… anyone who might have audio to edit that you could get a credit is worth looking into.
Finding Your Team
If you can find someone (or a group of people) to team up with, that gives all of you a wider chance of landing work. Let’s say you apply for a gig on Mandy.com for sound for a short film – you could plan to bring in someone to do the mixing or the sound design. That way you’re not just applying for dialog editing jobs and you could be applying for sound packages.
If your interest is only in sound editing, there are people who’s interest is only in mixing. If you just want to do dialog editing, there’s people trying to be sound designers. Both of these are roles that work closely with dialog editor but you may not be competing for work. I’m a firm believer in helping people where you can and it’ll come back to you when you need it.
If you’re in Los Angeles (or another major entertainment city)
If you’re living somewhere like Los Angeles (where there’s a significant amount of local work), I would focus on relationship building over looking online. In LA, work really does come by word of mouth. If you’re new to the industry and a recent graduate, try to meet as many alumni as you can. Ask on social media if anyone has friends or relatives in the entertainment industry. LinkedIn can be another good way to meet people. The important part there is meeting people – not to be asking for work. Socialize. Make friends. Talk about plugins or your favorite thing about dialog editing. It’s not about proving what you know – it’s showing that you love the work and other people pick up on that.
When you’re meeting people and trying to make professional relationships, it’s actually not that far off from being a car salesperson. If you were working at a car dealership and walked up to a potential customer and said, “want to buy this car?” they would probably turn around and walk away. A good salesperson will say hi, ask you some questions about what you’re looking for, and leave room for you to ask questions, too. Everyone knows you’re trying to sell the car but no one needs to say it.
When you meet someone without the intention of asking them for a job, they may offer to help you. So, instead of looking for work alone, you now have two people doing it. If you can keep that up and form a circle of people, you can have a whole crew to help you look for work.
The Value of Social Media
I totally recognize it’s a struggle when you’re trying to do a job but you don’t have access to people in your community to learn from. Realistically, it can take a year or more to build up credits to start getting paid work. Even then, a lot of those gigs might be unpaid. But, when you look on someone’s iMDB page, it doesn’t say “unpaid” next to it; it doesn’t say “student project” either. Our credits don’t say “part-time dialog editor while I work at a store to pay the bills” either. All a professional will see is that YOU did the gig.
One of the advantages of social media now is there are support groups all over the place. SoundGirls.org has a fantastic Facebook group (for men, women and non-binary) to ask questions, vent, or brainstorm. LinkedIn has active groups, as well. It can be really hard getting started and sometimes you just need to know that someone is listening and you’re not alone in your challenge. This industry is a long game – it takes time to get started, time to build up a career, and it takes effort to maintain it. It’s not for everyone but for the people who love those aspects of the job, it’s part of the reward to land a gig that you’re proud of.