My name is Dr. Neil Hillman, and this is my sound coaching website. Which makes me a sound coach… Something that’s quite unusual for film and television creatives to have at hand.
But whatever it is that I call myself, my ultimate goal is to help you become skilled at appreciating, understanding and utilising the medium of sound for conceiving, editing and mixing more 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 in karate. 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 made the Commonwealth Games or the European Championships as a karate competitor either, but I lost out along the way to fighters who did become Champions… And I gained more from my defeats than I did from my victories.
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 3 Olympic Games and 3 Commonwealth Games. 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; because I know I can make you a better professional, whatever your starting point, your 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.