Alumni Update: Sarah Buchynski, Professional Sound & Business (Studio Production Major)

Sarah Buchynski, a graduate of the Professional Sound & Business (Studio Production Major) Program, has been busy working as a freelance audio engineer under the trade name Polarity Audio Works, established 3 years ago. Currently she’s contracted by two television production companies based in Edmonton, Alberta, where she performs the post-production roles of dialog editor, sound designer, foley artist, and re-recording mixer for episodes that air on Wild TV. Other current clients include a production company in the U.S. for a feature length film, an independent game studio in the U.S., and a few talk show podcast companies.

We recently talked to Sarah about her career since graduating from Metalworks Institute, and this is what she had to say:

Have you had any other interesting jobs or worked on any significant projects since graduating?

“I’ve worked on many projects, big and small, in a variety of genres and media since I graduated including in-studio, radio, short film, feature film, podcast, audio literature, now television broadcast. I had a few interesting productions; mainly because they involved recognizable names in the industry. A few years ago, I worked on a short web series called Small Town Famous. One of the main characters was a character actor, Richard Riehle.

One of the larger projects was a web series turned feature film (I worked on both versions). I have to be vague, though, with details at present because of where the film currently is in the production pipeline. Let’s just say when it will be made available to the public in 2018, you’ll recognize several faces from classic horror movies. The web series version did screen a few times at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, which was exciting for me.

So far, I’ve worked on five different productions that have screened at six different film festivals in Canada, U.S., U.K., and Australia. I was also a finalist in the 2016 Audio Verse Awards, which is an annual international awards competition showcasing audio drama productions from around the world.”

What has been the most helpful aspect of your Metalworks education?

“The business side of my education has been super helpful as a freelancer. Contract law and the intellectual property law aspects have been especially crucial. Understanding the business side of the industry is extremely important for a freelancer for various reasons. Most important is to protect yourself legally by understanding the terms and conditions of your contracts.”

Any words of wisdom for current students or your fellow graduates?

“You don’t necessarily have to be in a major city to get work. The internet can be an amazing tool (when used properly and effectively) to collaborate with others, so get “out” there on the World Wide Web and network, but be aware there are scammers out there.

The non-traditional route is definitely scary with all the uncertainty, and the required investment in software/hardware can be taxing, but it’s worth it if you stick to a plan. Always have a plan…and don’t get discouraged. It takes many baby steps to make the leap. With my five year plan, I was performing the full audio post-production process right out of school, honing my skills with every little production I could get my hands on. Some of these productions never saw the light of day but it was ultimately the bridge that helped me transition into television because I had been completing all elements of audio post-production for four years.

However, probably the most important advice I can offer is to keep learning and expanding your knowledge base. If you want to go into audio post-production or video games you have to keep up with techniques, software and technical standards that are constantly changing.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“As scary as the freelancer’s life can be, it’s given me some amazing networking experiences and opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere at this point in my career. In 2016, I was invited to Phoenix ComiCon to talk on a panel about the audio post-production process and its challenges in low to mid budget independent film, and other topics in relation to a film I was working on and being promoted there. The awesome part of that event was that the majority of the audience were aspiring film students who were full of questions about audio. I was happy to give back a little something to these students.”

To get in touch with Sarah or learn more about her work check out her Polarity Audioworks studio page, and her IMDb Profile.

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