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I’m on a mission to Educate, Inform and Entertain…

You’ll never feel the same about sound again.

Where Body meets Mind

My name is Neil Hillman and this is my sound coaching website.

I am a sound coach, a trainer and a mentor… Something that’s quite unusual for film and television creatives to have at hand.

But however I describe myself, my goal is to help you become more skilled at appreciating, understanding and utilising the medium of sound for conceiving, editing, mixing and delivering exciting, expressive and emotive moving picture soundtracks.

Sound is 80% of the audience’s emotional experience. So we need to practice sound editing and mixing with emotions in mind. 

At the heart of my sound coaching philosophy is Emotion in Sound Design: the focus of my Ph.D. research and my Sound for Moving Pictures book, which was first published in 2021.

My back story is that I’m someone who enjoyed playing sport from a young age and I had a modest degree of success with the level that I eventually competed at, in soccer and as a karate-ka. I never played football for England, but I once had a teammate who was not only a FIFA World Cup winner but he scored a goal in a World Cup final. Few get the privilege to play alongside such genius.

I never reached the Commonwealth Games or the European Championships as a karate competitor either, but I lost to fighters who did become Champions… And I gained more from defeats than I did from victories. Even after 50 years, I’m still practising.

Other’s success leaves clues for us.

In a 40-year career in film and television sound, have I ever won an Oscar? No. Have I worked on films that have won Oscars? Yes. (As well as movies and television productions that have won BAFTA’s and Emmy’s.) My production experience as a location sound recordist, Production Sound Mixer, dialogue editor, supervising sound editor, Re-recording mixer and Outside Broadcast sound supervisor extends to over 1,000 IMDB entries. Along with being engaged by the Host Broadcasters for 3 Olympic Games and 3 Commonwealth Games, it means I’ve learned a lot; and it’s time to share that knowledge of working with some of the industry’s leading players with the next generation of filmmakers.

In this respect, the golfer David Leadbetter is my role model. Although never successful on the professional circuit himself, his interest in technique, psychology and in coaching others has resulted, to date, in his students winning 26 Major Championship titles, over 100 worldwide tournament victories, and 7 of his players have held the coveted first place in the Official World Golf Rankings.

My Sound for Moving Pictures academy aspires to deliver equally impressive results. I know I can make you a better professional, whatever your starting point, your current role or your age.

‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear.’  Tao Te Ching.

Achieve soundtrack goals more effectively? Of course. But what do you want your audience to feel? I offer training and mentoring that can be personalized to your specific needs.

Deep-dive sound design

Four Sound Areas workshops

Learn DaVinci Resolve

Sound editing and mixing

Supporting

  • Sound Coach
  • Online classes
  • Online academy
  • Group workshops

Training

  • Sound design
  • Dialogue editing
  • The Four Sound Areas
  • DaVinci Resolve Fairlight

Writing

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Commentary
  • Academic papers

Doing

  • Dialogue editing
  • Re-recording mixer
  • Supervising sound editor
  • Feature film sound consultant

Create effective soundtracks. Deliberately

My social media bio simply says ‘I mix sound, I write about stuff, I ride motorcycles.’ Because I’m passionate about all three of those.

I’ve ridden bikes on the road since I was 16 years old. When I ride, it’s therapy. I think of nothing but the road ahead and my relationship to it – at 70 mph I could touch the tarmac with my foot, it’s that close and that real. Cornering on a motorbike takes unconscious competence to another level: managing power, balance, braking and grip has a part of my brain working that I can’t directly access. You might say it was instinctive, but of course, that’s not true. I practiced diligently and I practiced regularly. Practice makes progress, makes permanent.

I learned and improved those skills over tens, then hundreds, then thousands of hours of practice. Author Malcolm Gladwell refers to the ‘10,000-hour rule,’ asserting that the key to achieving true expertise in any skill is simply a matter of practising, in the correct way, for at least 10,000 hours.

Mixing a busy feature film, or a live sports Outside Broadcast, has similar qualities to riding a motorcycle safely at speed: there’s a lot about feel and touch and emotion involved. Terms that are virtually impossible to define and describe – and many have tried. But these sensitivities certainly do develop when you practice using correct technique.

As AI increasingly becomes the arbiter of what is and is not good sound, I can teach you ways to pay more attention to the craft and artistry that makes sound editing and sound mixing such an act of human emotional expression…  There’s not a moment to lose.

Imagine the precision of Stanislavski applied to sound design.

Creative expression, time to take control

“Mainstream filmmaking needs to acknowledge that what we hear should influence what we see, just as much as what we see should influence what we hear. Sound is too powerful to always play the caboose.”

Randy ThomSound Designer and Screenwriter

“The ear is profound, whereas the eye is frivolous, too easily satisfied. The ear is active, imaginative, whereas the eye is passive. When you hear a noise at night, instantly you imagine its cause. The sound of a train whistle conjures up the whole station. The eye can perceive only what is presented to it.”

Robert BressonFilm Director and Screenwriter

better soundtracks

better soundtracks

better soundtracks

better soundtracks

better soundtracks

await you

await you

await you

await you

await you

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The Trailer

Learning to Listen

from £250

Season 1

Constructing the Soundtrack - 1 day course

from £250

Season 2

Deconstructing the Soundtrack - 1 day course

from £250

Season 3

Communicating the Soundtrack - 5 day course

from £1,250

Season 4

Conceiving the Soundtrack - 2 day course

from £500

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Shorts

Controlling the Soundtrack - 2 and 3 hour classes

from £100

With my one-to-one coaching, it means you are the centre of attention…

Start your journey by saying hello here

Dr. Neil Hillman MPSE

Brisbane,
QLD 4073,
Australia…

… And world-wide online.

I live and work on the lands of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and I recognise them as the Traditional Custodians of this country.

T: +61 (0)431 983 262
E: neil@drneilhillman.com