Jordan Feemster

Jordan Feemster

Sound Technician

Jordan's job title is Freelance Sound Technician in the film industry

What I do

I’m part of a team that records dialogue as cleanly as possible. I’ve done a lot of Disney and Marvel productions, including Star Wars, Men in Black, Outlander, Black Widow, Eternals, and I’ve also spent time working on Batman and Maleficent. I help set up the equipment, including the boom microphones, the radio microphones in the costumes that the cast wear and I make sure the mixer – my head of department who records the sound – is receiving everything. 

Around the set I listen for, and manage, sounds that we don’t want. I am also involved in setting up the ecosystem of communications, so that the producers and directors, etc, can listen to what we’re recording live. Ultimately, we record that and provide it to post-production, who combine it with the video.

I’m freelance, so work is never guaranteed. Films can take three or four months, and then high-end TV work, for example like the Star Wars series last year, can take nine months. I don’t have an agent. Once you work with someone, you will stay in touch and once they know you’re a good person, a hard worker and you’re good at your job, they will then ask you to work with them again.

Microphone on film set

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How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

Normally, it’s a very long day. I get to work pretty early if I’m working somewhere like Pinewood Studios, in order to set up the sound kit. Once all the kit’s set up, I try to capture the best sound possible, so I’ll put things like carpet under the actors’ feet, if they’re not in shot, so you don’t hear footsteps. Obviously, I often tell people to be quiet. I’m usually the ‘techie’ guy in the department, so I make sure everything’s set up and everything’s working, so if something goes wrong, then I fix it. There are a lot of departments that make up the whole, but my department has to be really up close and in the action.

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

When I work on films or high-end TV, for companies like Netflix or Disney+, I get to go into a different world every day. From the outside, that world seems really glamorous, with high-profile actors and celebrities, and you get to work on cool sets. No matter what you were into as a kid, you’ve watched a film and said “Wow, that’s very cool”. Every now and again, I step back and appreciate what I’m doing. The sets are amazing, there’s something new every day, a different location, access to places the public doesn’t have, you work in different countries, you go to work and you’re suddenly on a different planet (e.g. Star Wars). It’s very exciting.

The best bits about working in a team

In all the departments on a film there are different roles, and the lowest role is always a trainee, so you’re part of the crew and you’re learning, but you don’t need any formal qualifications for it. I’m normally part of a three-to-five-person team, which makes up the sound department, and there are other departments that are also involved in the making of any film. More women are now entering the industry. One of the assistants who I call my ‘work mum’ has been a boom operator for about 35 years. The last three trainees I’ve worked with have all been female. The good thing is it’s changing, and it is much more diverse – we come from all walks of life and it’s great, really good.

My favourite piece of equipment

There’s so much stuff, it’s hard to choose. We have a lorry full of gear, just for our department. My mixer, the head of our department, has a rig of four or five feet high that has racks on it, so all the audio gets processed into the right things. He also has monitors so that he can see what’s going on. Everything is portable as we can be set up in a studio for a while, but we can also be out on location. You learn it all as you go along.

My advice to
someone younger

You don’t need to know exactly what you’ll do for the rest of your life. I didn’t know I’d be doing this until I was doing it. Technically, you need no prior experience. It can be a very physically and mentally draining job, but as long as you come to work willing to listen and learn, then essentially anyone can learn how to do it. You start as a trainee with the rubbish jobs, and from there you learn. As long as you’re a likeable person with the right attitude and you’re willing to work hard, you don’t have to have an expensive media degree. 

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