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Day in the Life of… Zak Kurtha


Next up in the series from Creative Circle, the Gramercy Park Studios sound designer examines his typical day

Day in the Life of… Zak Kurtha
Day in the Life of… is a new series from the Creative Circle, celebrating and championing the diversity of talent across Britain’s creative community. Encompassing creatives from all areas of the advertising and creative spectrum, each edition will focus on an individual and their role within our exciting community.

Up next, Zak Kurtha discusses his role with the post production house GPS and keeping his head when faced with unique challenges as a Sound Designer...

My role...
I’m a Sound Designer at Gramercy Park Studios, working across many formats but mainly TV, cinema and radio.
How I got here...
I studied Electronic Engineering combined with Music and Sound at University with a view to creating hardware, furthering my skills in composition and audio production and ended up... working in a music shop! They both equally honed my problem solving and technical abilities and I moved back home to London to get into media. 
The first job that gave me a really good experience of sound design and dubbing was running and transferring for a company that created sync music for advertising. After a few attempts, I quickly realised that my abilities were more suited to the technical aspects of sound design and engineering. I helped adapt the studio for more post work and then helped set up a subsequent move into Soho to construct dedicated audio post facilities. It was a fairly boutique operation. I was quickly able to get hands on experience with the systems, and also engineering on voice recording, editing and sound design. 
My typical day...
I begin and end each day by checking my line to see what has been confirmed, what's coming up over the next week and who we will be working with. I then catch up with production and transfer to ensure we are all prepared for what we require and what we will be delivering for our clients. As we all know, sound is usually the very last part of the post production puzzle, I need to digest the project details quickly in the short period we have prior to the session starting. At GPS, where we have an end to end solution, we can really get involved much earlier on in the process. That’s great, but for a lot of other jobs where we are only managing the sound, you have to be able to think on your feet and bring your creative A-game to every job.    
Hardest part of my job...
The saying used to be "never work with kids or animals" but when you introduce a live aspect to any job there’s always the possibility for unexpected challenges.
Sound sessions are very often time-limited, and we’ll have only a few hours to record a VO, craft a soundbed and mix. In addition to this, there are a lot of small but incredibly important details to ensure you have covered as well.  So balancing out all the creative requirements of the job and getting it out on time can invite a bit of pressure. 
Keeping your head is a fairly vital part of the job description. So doing my part as smoothly as possible, backed up by the production team and the transfer department, means we can take as much pressure off the agency and the client as possible, and allow them to focus on delivering to their brief. 
Interpreting briefs and working alongside other creative people to breathe life into their creations can also present unique challenges. But finding the sweet spot and contributing towards exciting projects is always incredibly rewarding.

What I enjoy most about my work...
Everyday is almost completely different and brings a new set of people, a new brief and new challenges to fix. I’m lucky enough to work with both new and familiar faces and it can be hugely rewarding to meet people, build relationships and work with big personalities (of which there are plenty in advertising!). It's also part of the job to create a great atmosphere and keep the clients engaged. So whilst the stakes can often be high, there are ample opportunities to have a laugh and relax amid the anarchy.
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Creative Circle, Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:51:56 GMT