What high school courses should you take if you're interested in this career?
Get your answers from the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Audio and Video Technology and Film pathway.
Education counts for little in the foley biz. In order to become a foley
artist, you're going to have to hitch your star to one of the handful of artists
already working in the business. Most are in the Los Angeles area. The rest
live in New York and San Francisco.
Foley artist Gregg Barbanell started out as a sound editor and, almost
by accident, discovered he had a knack for foley work.
Foley artist Lise Wedlock entered the field after spending some time working
at a community cable station and studying theater. Theater threatened to offer
a meager living, so when Wedlock discovered her teacher's husband was a foley
artist, she jumped at the chance to assist him. "You have to put yourself
in situations where you're going to meet people," she says.
There are a few things you can work on if you want to be a foley artist.
Train your ear. Have a listen to your favorite movie. Listen closely for sounds
and see if they work or not. Then try to figure out how you might make it
"If it doesn't sound right, you have to think, how do you get there from
here?" says Barbanell.
Learn a bit about physics. When you strike two objects in the air, that
will make a different sound than striking them together on the floor. You
also need to know how to make sounds bigger, smaller, thinner, roomier or
"That takes time to develop. The more experienced you are, the better the
results can be and the faster you can get results," says Barbanell. And speed
counts, because studio time can cost $3,000 a day.
In the United States, foley artists once belonged to the Motion Pictures
Editors Guild, but that has since changed.
"It makes you feel very insecure," says Wedlock. "I'm still scraping to
get money and begging producers for a job."
Schooling is another problem. Artists have to rely on contacts to get their
foot in the door.
"You have to find somebody willing to let you come in and hang out on some
sessions," says Barbanell. "It's a pretty closed deal. You've got to spend
a great deal of time sitting and watching. There's no such thing as a formula