If we were to say “Don’t Think Of A Pink Elephant”… what would you think of? Well, now you’re going to think of Mark Bailey.

Since graduating from the Creative Sound Design Degree at ACM Guildford, Mark Bailey has followed his passion of creating sound for film and games, and has recently been rewarded with a nomination for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing’ at the Motion Picture Sound Awards!

We caught up with Mark to find out more…

What have you been up to since graduating from ACM?

“After graduating from ACM’s Creative Sound Design Degree I decided I wanted to further my education and enrolled on a 2 year Masters Degree in Sound Design for Film and TV at the National Film and Television School. I graduated from there in February last year and have since been working as a freelance sound editor for various film post production houses and game audio outsourcing companies.”

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Is Sound Design something you’ve always wanted to get in to?

“Not exactly. I started making hip hop at around 15/16 years old. I took a risk and dropped out of ‘normal’ college to come and do a higher diploma in music production at ACM to sharpen up my production skills (much to my mum’s despair at the time). At some point I realised that although I loved producing music, everyone wanted to be a producer (and they were making better tracks than me!). My grandfather once told me ‘You need a trade Markie!’. Whilst I’m sure he was referring to something more traditional, I took it onboard and decided to broaden my skills into other creative areas.”

“At the time, ACM had just introduced the Creative Sound Design course and it immediately grabbed my attention so i decided to enrol. It was on this course where Adi Winman (my then tutor) got us to take a clip of the opening scene in Bioshock (my favorite game) and redesign it. That was when it clicked for me really. It was my first ‘to picture’ piece of work and I had so much fun and realised I was actually quite good at it!”

Congrats on the (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards nomination, how did you get involved in the ‘Don’t Think of a Pink Elephant’ project?

“Thank You! It’s still not quite sunk in yet! In our second year at the NFTS, we mainly work on our graduation projects. These consist of short fiction, short animation and short documentary films, a TV show and a video game. The school puts together teams made from each discipline (directing, editing, cinematography, composing, sound etc). I was fortunate enough to be teamed up with some great people, and we all put our heads together and tried to deliver something unique and special.”

What was your involvement? Talk us through the processes involved.

“Initially, there were meetings. Lots of meetings. We would all get together and view rough cuts of the film, give our thoughts and ideas and go away and think some more. I’d go back to my studio and experiment with creating sounds I thought were suitable for the film, slowly building up a library of sounds that fit the tone of the film. Once the film began to take shape visually I got stuck into my sound edit. This started off with ensuring the dialogue was clean and in sync with the characters on screen. Then I would move on to the atmosphere tracks (backgrounds and ambience). These sounds can help make a visually unnatural animation feel more real, suspending the disbelief of the audience. I’d then record and edit Foley for all of the characters movements, such as footsteps and handling of props. This film is quite violent and had lots of gory moments (like stabbing flesh). I would spend time designing each one individually by layering up sounds I’d created through earlier experiments or from my sound libraries.”

“Throughout all of this the composer for the film would be sending me his ideas for music cues (finished or not) and we’d work off of each other’s stuff. After two weeks of editing, the final part of the process was the mix. I transferred the edit over to a dubbing theatre where I spent 10 days balancing all of the different elements of the film, having lots of reviews with our team and our tutors to try and make the sound as emotionally engaging as possible.”

Find out more about the film here…

How did your course at ACM prepare you for life in the music industry?

“One of the biggest things I learnt whilst studying at ACM was the importance of networking and building relationships. Most of the work I’ve got since being a freelancer is from meeting people at industry meet ups (such as Develop). That one chance meeting you have with someone could secure you work further down the line and get your foot in the door. First impressions count, ask the right questions (not “can I have a job?”). Being approachable, friendly and polite will get you far!”

Find Mark: Website // LinkedIn // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter.

If you’d like to study at ACM and follow in the footsteps of our Alumni like Mark, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

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