Getting Started in Film Sound with Mark Mangini

3 min read

Academy Award®-winning sound artist Mark Mangini shares his top tips for aspiring sound designers.

In this video interview, veteran sound artist Mark Mangini (Dune, Mad Max: Fury Road) shares the story of how he got started in the world of film sound, the importance of being true to yourself and cultivating a love of sound, and how practicing in your downtime can help prepare you to turn challenges into successes when you’re in the hot seat.


0:00 - Mark’s first job in sound
After dropping out of a completely unrelated university program, Mangini moved to Hollywood and landed a job as a sound effects editor at Hanna-Barbera Studios: creators of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and other popular Saturday morning cartoons. Eventually, he became part of a training program teaching new hires the art of cartoon sound design.

1:02 - Be true to yourself
“I took detours early in my career because I wanted to be a sound designer like other sound designers, and I didn't develop my own sonic voice,” says Mangini. “My success in sound didn't really start to blossom until I started to just think like Mark Mangini, act like Mark Mangini, and make sounds like Mark Mangini; not imitate sounds like another famous sound designer would make.”

2:38 -  “This is not a part-time gig”
Mangini stresses that sound is a complex, detail-oriented endeavor that requires a full commitment. His advice? Do it every day. “I would record sound if no one paid me to do it,” he says. “In fact, most of my library—I never got paid to record that. I did it because I got a giggle from being in a pen with an elephant or being in a Lamborghini at 150 miles an hour.” That enthusiasm and love of sound, he says, will translate to those who hire you, paying off throughout your career.

4:10 - Stretch your creative muscles
Mangini recommends doing sound redesigns as a way to practice your skills during downtime. “If you're not on a gig, go take one of my movies, strip the sound out of it, and cut some new sound for it,” he proposes. “Figure out what your take on a scene of Dune or Blade Runner or Mad Max: Fury Road might sound like.” Polishing your skills like this will keep you from being caught off guard when you come up against challenges on real projects, Mangini says.

Keep Learning

If you found this video inspiring, check out the PSE YouTube channel for more sonic wisdom from Mark Mangini and stop by the PSE blog for more tips on How to Learn Sound Design, How to Start a Career in Post-Production Audio, and much more.



Explore our newest library from Mark Mangini - Detonate Vol. 2

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Many thanks to Mike James Gallagher for leading this interview! Mike is an Emmy-nominated sound effects editor & sound designer (Weird, Selena) and creator of INDEPTH Sound Design. Check out his work here: