Five to 10 years of experience is usually necessary to become a sound supervisor. This includes on the job employment in various technical positions to support sound crews, and may also involve formal training at a college or university. It can help to have skills like the ability to read music as well. Some sound supervisors are also tasked with budgeting activities and may need to have some financial skills to supplement their technical expertise, depending on the kinds of productions they work on.
This can be an important position on a film or television crew. The sound supervisor is responsible for the entire sound department, which includes people recording during scenes, preparing sound effects, and handling post-production. To become a sound supervisor, people need to be familiar with all the needs of the crew. These can range from familiarity with using equalizing to balance sound to knowing how to manage challenging environmental conditions that might interfere with smooth recording.
People often start exploring careers in sound early, using equipment at home or in their high schools to start learning about how sound is recorded, transferred, and controlled. It may be possible to become a sound supervisor by going directly into film and television after graduation. Entry-level gofer positions allow people to work their way up in the ranks through different positions on sound crews over time. Eventually, someone who displays talent and a facility for learning may assist a sound supervisor, and could be in a position to take that role on another production.
Some sound supervisors opt to receive formal training. Degrees in sound are available from some institutions, especially those focusing on performing arts, film and television production, and related topics. This training can provide an opportunity to work with state of the art equipment and pursue internships in the industry. An internship can help someone become a sound supervisor by establishing experience and professional connections.
College graduates may be able to skip some of the lower positions on the career ladder in favor of more senior technical positions because of their advanced skills. Several years of work experience will still be necessary to become a sound supervisor, because of the complexity and nature of the work. While developing skills, it can help to become known as someone who is easy and pleasant to work with, as this increases the chance of being called back for new jobs in the future.