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Byron Shire
September 25, 2021

Making it Real: Get Your Dream Job after SAE

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Since graduating from SAE Byron Bay with a Bachelor of Audio, passionate music fanatic Leo Guardo relocated to Melbourne to become an audio engineer specialising in post-production sound for film, television, advertising and the web.

Leo talks with The Echo about working in
the audio industry and how his studies at SAE helped him get there.

What inspired you to enter into the audio industry?

I was inspired by a DJ mixer. It was 1993, a close friend and I started playing around with a DJ mixer we’d bought at the local electrical shop and a couple of old turntables we borrowed from our grandparents. We had no idea what we were really doing – but I remember loving it so much!

I was captivated by the knobs and faders, the way they could shape and mix the sound. A few years later we had our own custom-built sound system, DJ decks and lighting. We were doing lots of parties in town. I loved the combination of passion for the technical aspect, as well as being able to get people having fun and dancing.

My passion and knowledge for audio grows day by day, and it has pushed me to explore and experience different facets of the audio industry. It’s always been clear to me that my ‘everyday’ job had to be in the audio industry – and now I enjoy every second of it!

What are your fondest memories of your time at SAE?

Studio time at SAE – for sure! There’s nothing like being able to enter a professional audio studio and being able to explore, create and manipulate sound. The process of doing this is fascinating and incredibly rewarding.

What did you love most about studying at SAE?

On the top of my list there’s course studio time and the practical assignments. But I have to say that studying the basic principles of sound as well as all the technical aspects of audio engineering has been incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. Being able to understand the principles and use them to manipulate and create sounds has been fantastic.

Can you shed some light on how studying at SAE has led you to where you are now?

I think that studying at SAE has given me the solid basics and a clear understanding of sound application in different audio fields. This has helped me develop my skills a lot more quickly and extended my knowledge to many kinds of audio applications. It has also given me the confidence to be able to comfortably use professional equipment and easily learn how to operate new and upcoming gear, technologies and techniques.

What have been your career highlights?

Certainly being an audio producer at SBS Studios in Melbourne has probably given me some recognition in the industry. I think my career highlights have been mixing for TV shows including Luke Nguyen Street Food Asia (SBS), Tattoo Tales (ABC) and working on commercials for mainstream brands such as Nissan, Holden, Kikki K, NAB, ANZ, Medibank. I’d also like to give credit to all the independent productions that I worked on; they’re more challenging, which means you need to be more creative.

What do you enjoy most about working in your industry?

Riding faders and knobs, shaping sounds and creating soundscapes to hit people’s feelings. Whether it’s music, sound design, or any kind of audio production – I love to work in the element of sound. I enjoy that every project is different, knowing that I will always work with different people, and that I will never stop learning new things.

What projects/upcoming gigs are you working on at the moment?

In addition to my main work as post-production engineer, I recently decided to also produce, mix and master pop/dance music. As a result I’m currently working on a dance track with a fellow Italian musician and an incredible singer from Melbourne. Can’t really say much at this stage but the aim is to create a pop/dance hit. So stay tuned as you’ll hear it on the radio waves soon!

What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful their field?

Follow your passion because it will be the fuel that will keep you going. Don’t be afraid of failing because it’s a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Get as much experience as you can now because it will help you to grow stronger, quicker.

If you’re interested in studying Audio, Film, 3D Animation, Games or Graphic Design – SAE Byron is throwing open the doors to their state-of-the-art campus for an OPEN DAY!

It’s all happening Saturday 5 August, over 11am–3pm. Speak to their experienced team, tour the campus, jump in on an info session and take part in a series of interactive demonstrations using their high-end equipment and amazing facilities.

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