IPR has recently been in touch with Sound Design for Visual Media graduate Ando Johnson, whose sound editing credits include work on 007 Spectre, starring Daniel Craig; Burnt, starring Bradley Cooper; Concussion, starring Will Smith; The Space Between Us, starring Gary Oldman; and Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner.
Ando agreed to share a little about his recent success:
IPR: Where do you currently work?
ANDO: Sound Editors are contracted project to project, but I have been lucky enough to work for Sound Supervisors at Formosa Group since getting into the Editors Guild last March.
IPR: What is your job there? Can you explain what each duty entails?
ANDO: I work as a sound effects editor and sound designer. It depends on the project, but I usually receive a list of footages for FX that the supervising sound editor would like me to cut. The list is usually made from a spotting session with the film’s director and the creative input of the sound supervisor. Other times it could just be a specific task. For Spectre, I mainly worked with Sound Designer Ann Scibelli as well as Supervising Sound Editors: Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg. One day Ann just told me to go thru the film and cut all of the doors that I see. It was an absolute honor to work alongside such talented people. I hope to be back with that team as soon as possible!
Side note: Supervising Sound Editor Todd Toon once told me that “You can usually gauge the talent of an editor by the quality of their doors.” So make sure to listen carefully next time you enter a different room! It very much could make or break your career. For my doors, the only directions was to “Just make them the best doors possible.” Easy task right? Took me dang near an entire week to cut about 20-30 doors. Just gives you an idea how much work and detail went into that movie if that’s the amount of time that went simply to doors.
IPR: What are some key projects you have worked on so far?
ANDO: Concussion, Spectre, Point Break (the 2015 remake), & Short Term 12 were probably among my favorites.
IPR: Have you won an award or been part of a team that has won an award?
ANDO: Not yet! Rub it in why don’t you!
IPR: Did your time at IPR help you get to where you are?
ANDO: Absolutely! I would have never even known about post production audio or met my future Los Angeles Roommates (Grant Cornish and Sean Evans). I have no idea where I would be, or what I would be doing without IPR.
IPR: What was the favorite part of your time here at IPR?
ANDO: Meeting all of my fellow audio nerds. I made some of my best friends in the world at IPR. The program was really geared towards teamwork and collaboration. That I really enjoyed.
IPR: Which classes or teachers did you find most helpful for your career? Identify the classes or teachers and explain why.
ANDO: Jeff DesLauriers and Mike Brown. I learned so much from these wizards. Post Production Audio 1 (the Shoplift video I believe) literally changed the course of my life. After seeing how much work went into a film just to make it sound real was astonishing. I loved how we were thrown right into nearly every aspect of the post sound world. From recording fx, walking foley, designing and mixing was fantastic. It provided me with a great base that inspired me to move out to LA and really give it shot.
IPR: Is the training that you received from IPR still helping you today?
ANDO: Every day. I learned so much from the Pro Tools certification courses. I’d be slow as molasses without that class.
IPR: Are there any specific parts of the training you received at IPR you feel are very important for the job role you are presently in?
ANDO: Mike Brown and Jeff DesLauriers constantly stressing the importance of learning and using quick keys to develop a fast workflow. When you are on the mix stage and the director wants you to recut an entire FX sequence, you better be able to do it quick when the studio is paying $3000/hr for the stage. I use tricks those guys taught me every day.
IPR: What advice would you give a sound design graduate that is looking to work in LA on motion pictures and TV shows?
ANDO: Well it’s certainly going to take some time. There are thousands of people out here trying to be professional sound designers. Most of them are probably just as good if not more talented than you or me. The most important thing is to just be a good person. Be a friend before a co-worker. That’s how you will get hired. With the crazy 15 hour days, the tight deadlines and all of the collaboration that goes into this gig, you want to be around your friends. All of the supervisors and editors that I’ve worked with at Formosa Group have been some of the most humble, incredible people that I have ever met! Most of which I would call some of my best friends. After you become a rad person, then make sure you hone up on those quick keys!
IPR: Are there any new and upcoming things we should know about you or the facility you work at?
ANDO: Two movies coming out this month! Miracles From Heaven and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 should be in theaters in a few weeks! Be sure to go see them and make a habit of watching through the credits! You’ll want to see your name up there someday too!
IPR: Is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t asked?
ANDO: Always be willing to learn. Never think you are too good to learn from anyone. I have worked with guys who have won countless Oscars and Emmys. Each and every one of them got there because they never stopped learning and adapting to new technology. Never stop.