We speak to graduate Peter Hanson about working at Europe's largest and most comprehensive TV and film production studio.
SAE recently had the privilege of catching up with Pinewood Sound Designer and former audio production student Peter Hanson.
Peter, who is based at the Pinewood Shepperton UK headquarters, has forged a successful career since graduating from SAE, having worked with the likes of Beyonce Knowles and Florence Welch.
Now based in post-production, Peter provides specialist foley, ADR, sound design, mixing and mastering services for the world’s leading film, TV and game production companies.
As the 70th Cannes Film Festival kicks off in the Côte d'Azur, where Peter’s artistry will be viewed by the most respected filmmakers around the globe, we had the opportunity to speak to the alumnus and gain insight into his inspiring career.
What do you love most about your job?
The things I love most about my job are the projects and the people that come into my life every day, and there are many of both. Pinewood being Pinewood attracts high-level projects, which are just a privilege to be part of. But beyond that, it also attracts a certain kind of person, both on its books as staff and clients. Being part of the Pinewood team internally is amazing.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The first are always pretty special, regardless of the actual project. So the first gig that I engineered in front of ten people was a highlight for me. The first bit of foley cloth I edited that ended up on a small TV show was a highlight for me. The first bit of sound design I did on a feature film was a big moment. The first feature film I mixed was an incredible feeling. And all those individual projects may be forgotten in time, but the first time I do things have always been particularly memorable.
Did you feel SAE prepared you for the industry?
Yeah, it was funny how much the assignments I was given paralleled my immediate professional jobs. But beyond that, I found SAE quite intense. There was a lot of hard late work and that’s exactly what the real world is like. I was struck by how ready I was when I graduated to slot into the industry, versus a lot of my contemporaries who didn’t have that full-on experience. I think they found that transition harder and I think that’s down to how SAE is setup.
What would be your advice to someone wanting to enter the industry?
My advice for people wanting to start out in the industry is to start speaking to people, and it doesn’t have to be people who are already in the industry. I remember learning a lot from hanging out with guitarists, picture editors, directors. It’s useful to not associate with fellow sound geeks because you want to get a sense of perspective. I don’t necessarily advocate doing work for free, but as much varied experience you can get really helps because opportunities don’t come along that often.
To be slightly more specific on useful audio stuff - learn Pro Tools. That’s probably what broke me. I got called to a lot of sessions and I was only there because they knew I was competent at Pro Tools. I used to set myself touch typing tasks on the shortcuts and time myself to see how quickly I could do things and then ban myself from using those shortcuts and would do it again, trying to find a different way. If you can get to that level of competency, it does set you apart from everybody else and it makes your life much easier.
To find out more about the huge variety of creative careers our alumni have embarked upon, visit our online showreel.