A group of technicians working across production and post-production of film and television sound have founded the Black Sound Society (BSS) – a not-for-profit organisation aimed at supporting newcomers and assisting the more experienced technicians with strategies for a successful career progression.
A number of the BSS members boast careers spanning over 30 years and identified a key goal for the organisation of offering help and guidance to the next generation of sound technicians, via regular networking events and industry specific workshops.
BSS aims to increase the visibility of black technicians in the Sound Department and to be role models and mentors to new entrants to help ensure a promising future for talented individuals.
The Society’s Chairman, production sound mixer Ron Bailey (Cinema Audio Society member and RTS winner, pictured), is currently working on Warner Horizon’s Pennyworth and recently finished working with Steve McQueen on his Small Axe film anthology series for the BBC, which explores the experiences of London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s.
Bailey said: “The one thing we have in common is unfortunately our multiple stories of racism in the workplace. BSS provides a safe space for honest conversation, which includes our love of what we do. We want to work with our industry to recruit and retain black technicians who believe that working within the Sound Department is indeed a viable career.”
The BSS says it aims to increase the visibility of black technicians in sound and to be role models and mentors to new entrants, create more opportunities with more extensive apprenticeships for black trainees and further work experience or internships for more established technicians who want to advance their careers or make lateral career moves
It will also encourage producers, line producers, heads of departments and post-production houses to hire more black personnel on a regular basis (and not just on ‘black’ productions), address the issues of implicit and unconscious bias and establish measurable outcomes.