Success Stories

Louis Innis

Sound Recordist - Fresh Audio

''It was amazingly helpful to gain such practical skills, when I got a job in sound I had a lot of practical knowledge.

What have you been doing since you left MAMA Youth Project?

It’s been four years since I left MAMA Youth. Through MAMA Youth I met Cecilia Lawrence-John at the BBC, she put me in touch with a guy called Antony at Eastenders and he helped me find work. Through a connection of Antony’s I did 2-3 months on a show at the BBC called the Interceptor for which I got a trainee credit on the show.

After that I got a role at Fresh Audio as a trainee and have worked my way up to becoming a full sound recordist. Last year I went to Tuscany for seven weeks and was part of a three man sound department show called ‘Second Chance Summer’ for BBC 2 where I learnt loads. Over the past few years I have worked on loads of shows including ‘Celebs go Dating’, ‘Walks with my dog’ for More4 and ‘Don’t tell the Bride’ for Sky 1. I mainly do one day shoots, and have also done some commercials which is great experience.

Describe a typical day in your current role:

Through the years I’ve built up a good reputation, so clients will call and book me specifically for a shoot. I’ll find out beforehand what the shoot is, how many people are going to be there and what type of cameras are being used and then I’ll prep my kit the day before. I’ll check cables, charge up all my batteries, label up the equipment, put the frequencies into the radios and ensure I know what I’m doing. It’s the same prep whether it’s a day shoot or longer. From the call sheet I know what time to arrive, and so will arrive on set and the first thing is always to meet everyone. I then get my hands on the cameras and put audio and the time code on them. Then I wait for the talent, introduce myself and make sure they are comfortable with me. I mic them up and then after that I check the director is happy, and then I’m there to ensure that the recording is the best audio in the environment we’re in.

What did you do before MAMA Youth?

Before MAMA Youth I was working in a sound warehouse, but it was really boring and I wasn’t really learning anything.

At school I was a bit of a class joker, I didn’t get on well, so they took me out of school and got me a place at drama and arts centre called Wac. I did my main subjects but went to Wac two days a week. It was through Wac I found out that how I really wanted to get into the arts. I really took to it, I did a little local film and some music festival stuff.

After school I went to the Brit school for two years doing technical theatre and from there I knew that I wanted to get into sound.

What did you do at MAMA Youth?

I was a sound trainee at MAMA Youth. I was one of the youngest sound recordist there. I was quite shy before but MAMA Youth definitely helped with that. It gave me lots of confidence to network and talk to people.

What was the best bit about MAMA Youth?

The best bit about MAMA Youth was just doing it, the hands on experience. I didn’t really like school, I never got on well at school so for me MAMA Youth was great. I could see how it all [TV production] happened, having all the roles across production. It was cool to see everyone with their own bit, everyone was so enthusiastic.

It was amazingly helpful to gain such practical skills in sound, when I did get a sound job I really had a lot of practical knowledge.

What was challenging about MAMA Youth?

It was challenging at MAMA Youth working so intensely with people you’ve just met. It was long hours with new people and you didn’t get paid a training allowance back then, due to lack of funding.

What’s your advice to new trainees?

Really appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given. Get involved in as much as you can. Don’t just focus on your job, try and see what others are doing and put yourself in their shoes. Enjoy it!