It’s been a busy couple of months for Steve Baker Sound Guy. At the end of February my wife and I relocated a little north from the Emerald Coast. Actually, my wife was offered and accepted a great job a month earlier and moved up to Memphis, TN. I stayed on the beach to finish up some jobs and live out our lease which expired on the 29th of February… Starting with a 1 day deal on Mobile, AL Lundi Gras for Go To Team/MSNBC. Next up was a Film Makers Panel at Pensacon 2016. I did some scouting for Strong Films out of Orlando, for a shoot in March. Next up was a 3 day shoot on a Pilot for Left Field Entertainment in Canton, MS; then a 4 day stint working sound on an Air Force spot for York Productions/Media Monks out of NYC. Needless to say, it was a busy month, that included packing up and moving everything we owned into a U-Haul. The move was a rather quick decision… but so far, we’re feeling good about the move
I officially joined my wife in Memphis the first week of March. I spent that first week unpacking boxes, meeting with production companies, film commissioners and generally getting my bearings in Memphis. Then I had to head back to NW Florida for some more work. I worked a day in Panama City on House Hunters (well more like a 1/2 day) with Buck Shot Productions followed by a day in Pensacola working on a 5 hour Energy Commercial with the Uso Brothers. I had a couple days off then started 4 days on an inspirational documentary about the 1st integrated Little League game in history between a team from Orlando and a team from Pensacola. Strong Films produced this on and it included a couple days shooting at Studio One in Pensacola and a bunch of time at local baseball fields around town. It was fun watching these old guys pick up the bats and balls again and relive their glory days. When that one was done, I headed back to Memphis.
After a week of “recovery” I started work on a “big deal” shooting in Memphis. I can’t say much about the project due to NDA, but if you are resourceful, I am sure you can find out about a big TV show shooting in Memphis. Now… through out my career, I have avoided Feature Films and Episodic TV like the plague. But, as soon as I got to Memphis, I was offered a great job as a Utility Sound on this thing and I figured “new city, new opportunities… why not”. It paid about 1/2 my normal rate, but a lot of days and promised weekends off. After two weeks of long days, watching the mixer and boom op do what I normally do, I quickly realized… making movies and TV is hard! I really enjoyed working with the team and watching the process but I recognized pretty early on that I NEED to be “in the mix” (pun totally intended)… I need to be working. There is a big difference between being an A1 and a Utility. Don’t get me wrong, the Utility work is good work, but after driving a Mixer for 11+ years, it felt like a big step backwards… add to that the phone calls with full rate work I was turning away, it was a lot harder work than it looks. The money I was making was good, but it was a LOT of hours per week, to make what I would normally make in a couple of days. On my 9th day of 11+ hour days, I took a fall… and not a little stumble either. Someone said it looked like I was trying to “water slide” on the pavement. Wireless Transmitters went everywhere. I got no one to blame but myself and fatigue. I worked the next day, but the following Saturday, I woke up and realized “this is not good”. An x-ray revealed no broken bones, but my body was telling me something I already knew, I need to work smarter not harder. I respectfully bowed out of that gig and took a week off to recover.
While lying around the house icing my Ribs, the phone started ringing and I quickly booked 3 days working on another TV Pilot for Bodega Pictures. I’m not gonna lie, I was still sore, but it felt good to be driving the mixer and swinging a boom again. The team I worked with was great and the show content has great potential. I hope to be a part of the other 9 days they plan to shoot in Memphis later this year (all indications I will be). Coming up is 2 days working for Moonshot Productions with one of Pensacola’s well know citizens. Should be a fun one.
It’s my hope to be a little more diligent with this blogging stuff, so I won’t have to write these long winded missives. It is also my hope that there will be more work closer to Memphis. The phone has been ringing with enquiries… so we’ll see. Until the next time… Sound Rolls! Steve Baker Sound Guy