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Meet the… head of sound

1185 Films' Mark Hodgkin explains his journey from studying classic guitar and piano to working on the sound of TV adverts, films and documentaries

Talk us through an average day in your role

It can be quite varied depending on what job we’re doing at 1185 Films. If I’m taking care of sound post production for a feature film, for example, one day I could be doing dialogue editing or recording voice over, and the next day I could be doing sound design, which tends to be more creative and you have more liberty to explore new things. Or I could be mixing the film, combining all elements of sound together, which is great fun. If I’m composing, that is another completely different skill, so I could be doing different things each day of the week!

How did you get started in the media industry?

Being a musician, my first interest was to record and produce my music. To further develop that, I did a sound engineering course and in one of the assignments, we had to do all sound post production for a five minute war film –  that’s when I discovered sound post production for media. I suppose from that moment, I found out what I wanted to do. After finishing the course, I worked for sound post production TV advert companies, and that taught me a lot of different skills, not just in terms of sound post, but also in terms of composing music. All the jobs were so different. It was a great experience. After working for TV advertising companies, I moved on to working more on films and documentaries, but I still do adverts every now and then.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I have a background in classical music, studying classical guitar and piano for many years, even though I love playing electric guitar. I studied music in conservatoires so my composing side comes from that. Regarding sound post production, I did a sound engineering course in London. Those skills combined are really what I use in my work. I also have a degree in Computer Engineering … but I barely remember a thing!

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

I enjoy the creative side of it as well as the variety of projects it offers, which means you are constantly learning and evolving as a professional. We do a lot of different projects here at 1185 Films. We could be doing a broadcast mix for a programme, sound design for a feature film or something completely different. I also love meeting and working with different people as it helps give a different perspective to my work and new ideas on how to solve problems and be creative.

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

Study and practice a lot. You can, for instance, practice by completely recreating the sound of a scene from a film you like, be it sound design or composing music. That will bring some challenges and in turn it will give you experience. So you can still develop even if you have no work. The more experience you have, the better and the faster you will be in your daily work. Also, it is really important to keep updated with technology and how fast things are moving, which comes down to studying again. After I finished my studies, I started working for post production studios as an assistant, so my background helped me with that.