My name is Jim, and I'm a sound designer. I run a production company along with my partner Kevan Staples, it's called Rhythm Division. We create music and sound design, and offer audio production services to our clients. I'll tell you how I got here.
I was about 17 or 18 leaving a concert at the Gardens, totally blown away by the production and the atmosphere when it struck me that I would really like to be in the recording studio and production business. Coming from a smaller community and having no real exposure to the industry other than playing in various bar bands and our occassional forays into basement recording studios, I decided to go to Fanshawe College and study recording and music production.
I attended the Music Industry Arts programme for two years, and made some good friends, but wasn't really getting it, and decided to leave school early and try it another way. I took Horace Greeley's advice to "Go West Young Man" and travelled to Hollywood to learn the trade. I took some private studio recording courses, where I was fortunate to meet and learn from some great people. I got to hang around studios and learn the business enough that when I got my first chance at a job, I was ready. Or so I thought.
I got my first job from Ted Gardner at AT&T Recording on Melrose Avenue (now on Larchmount). This was a great place to learn the fundamentals of recording, editing, and mastering from the ground floor up, and I won't ever forget those experiences.
I returned to Toronto in 1981 and joined Morgan Earl Sounds, worked with some very talented people and learned the commercial production side of the business. After a few years I decided to go into business for myself as a freelance engineer/producer.
After some time I joined up with Don McDonell and formed Trax Sounds. We got into digital audio production in 1987 with the purchase of an AudioFrame 1000. This was the infancy of the digital studio-in-a-box era, which I embraced wholeheartedly. As a sound designer this gave me the freedom to do my work without being at the mercy of an expensive studio operation, and I haven't looked back, in fact I haven't had a mixing console in my room since then.
I was introduced to Kevan in 1995 and we decided to combine his composition expertise with my sound design and production skills to offer a full service production company to our clients. Kevan's encouragement and other developments convinced me to move to the Macintosh platform. I must tell you it was a great evolution. The computer became way more fun to work on, and the possibilities for sound design and media manipulation increased dramatically. We got into ProTools systems heavily at that time and that has been a very good creative and business decision.
We can work in our own sophisticated studio environment throughout the long creative parts of a project. This gives us great personal freedom and helps us keep a creative working environment. As well we can carry a hard disk to state of the art rooms for recording and mixing sessions as easily as you used to lug around a reel of 2" tape.
It's a tremendously interresting business with constant advances in technology and computing that means the learning never ends. Web programming, graphics, multi-media, music, sound, and photography in the digital domain have really opened up the creative possibilities for everyone.
What an exciting time to be in the media creation business, or "Noise as a way of life" . . . what could beat it !
1995 - 2007
Partner in Rhythm Division.
1987 - 1995
Partner in Trax Sounds
Music and Sound Design for TV Commercials
Clients including all the best and brightest young advertising creative people in Toronto. Work for advertisers such as: Ford Motor Co, Mazda, Sears, American Express, Ontario Place, Dow Corning, Nabisco, McCain Foods, Dairy Queen
"Chair Fright" (Robins Whitehall)
Cannes Award Best of Show 1994
"Two Schools" (Family Trust Realty)
Studio Magazine Award for Special Effects 1992
Playback Magazine 1995 Award for Sound Effects
1985 - 1987
Audio-post production engineer
Producer/Engineer Morgan Earl Sounds, Toronto
Radio and Television Commercial Production
"BulletProof" Kawasaki Motorcycles
CLIO Award, Marketing Award 1982
"Another One Bites the Crisp" Coffee Crisp
Radio Bureau Award 1981
Production Engineer AT&T Recording, Hollywood, CA.
Mastering, Radio Commercials, Location Recording
1974 - 1975
Fanshawe College Music Production, London, Ontario
1956 - 1974
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Small forward with good first step and post-up hookshot, no jump but lots of hustle. Los Angeles Laker fan since August 17, 1968, the day the dynasty started.
I've taken up tennis seriously for about 5 years now, and am an active member of my tennis club, serving on the board and designing the website.
Very relaxing activity. Don't forget to try my Seafood Gumbo.
My Meeting with the Champ
An interesting story from my early working days that I've told so many times I thought I should write it down.