Ric Viers: The Secrets of Sound Effects

After over a decade of bringing the noise to Hollywood, this Film grad is revealing the tricks of his trade.

Ric Viers

Ric Viers wrote the book on sound design. No, literally – his 2008 book The Sound Effects Bible has been praised by educators and industry professionals alike for its wealth of more than a decade's worth of information, tips, and tricks to recording and editing sound effects for film and television.

Ric has plenty of experience to draw from speaking on the subject. As the founder of both Blastwave FX (a high definition sound effects publishing company) and the Detroit Chop Shop (a post-sound production facility), he's the world's largest independent provider of sound effects.

"Teaching others the process behind what it is that I do has become a priority for me for the past five years," the Full Sail Film grad says. "I love independent film, but a common problem with a lot of them is that their filmmakers always forget to focus on sound until they've reached the post-production stages.

"The reality of filmmaking is that sound really is half the battle, half the experience," he continues. "And nobody realizes the soundtrack unless it's bad. If there's a problem with a film's sound, it will be noticed. But if there are no problems, it's just accepted as fact. So my mission right now is to really raise awareness for sound in independent films."

Besides his keen understanding of the importance that audio plays in a film, Ric is also driven to educate others by the memories of his own beginnings in the industry, as he strived to discover the process behind the sound of his favorite films, all while operating out of the decidedly un-Hollywood locale of Detroit, Michigan.

"I'm a family guy, and my wife and I made a decision early in our marriage to stay in Detroit, for family reasons. So I had to figure out how to get into this business without being able to apprentice under somebody," he says. "There's not a lot – if any – sound design going on in Detroit. So my learning process was basically a whole lot of trial and error.

"I really like giving back to the guys who are coming up behind me. 'Here are all the mistakes that I made along the way – don't do this.' It was hard at the time, because I didn't have access to any of the big studios, and the Internet was brand-new at the time so I couldn't jump on a forum or someone's Facebook page to ask them a question.”

Today, Ric stays busy with his multiple business endeavors, works on-set and in post-production for independent and big studio films, and continues to help guide others and answer their questions. He’s made frequent visits to Full Sail in just the past year, and he’s currently wrapping up a new book for MWP Publishing that covers the topic of location sound.

After years of hard work, he’s not only recognized as someone who has set a standard for his craft, but he also can go directly to the sound designers who inspired him to get into the industry in the first place.

“The guys who did the sound for movies I loved as a kid are my friends now,” he beams. “I can fire them questions about this and that. I just had a guy whose work I’m a huge fan of email me, asking me for one of my sounds. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Full Sail University
The Full Sail Film Grad reveals the tips and tricks to recording and editing sound effects for film and television.
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