People in association withLBB Pro User
Why Collaboration Is Key for Will Frances and Emily Thomas
Music & Sound
London, UK
Grand Central Recording Studios' Will Frances and Emily Thomas sit down to discuss all things collaboration

Will fell down the sonic rabbit hole as he hit his teenage years, with a strong love for drum & bass, house and techno which sowed the seeds for a career in sound. DJing and music production were a side hustle alongside his first career as a carpenter and after working on the tools for a while he changed direction completely achieved a degree in music from The London College of Music. Will has a raft of experience since graduating working on many projects and campaigns which have had success with many creativity awards. 

From soundtrack to sound design, Emily fell in love with the sound of cinema and TV during her Film degree at University of Brighton. Having been short-listed for the London Shorts Film Festival and the Infinity Film Festival for her work as a co-producer and director of photography on the short film ‘Lucky Penny’, she came to GC eager to start in the industry. Now part of the bustling front of house team as a production team assistant, Emily thrives in the fast-paced environment that commercial work brings. In her spare time, she can be found brushing up on her movie knowledge, or adding another soundtrack vinyl to her collection. Emily’s passion for baking has also earned her the title of resident GC Baker, making staff coffee time that bit more entertaining.

Q> What do you do at GC?

Will> I’m a sound designer and music maker.

Emily> I am a production assistant, working closely with the team to assist with scheduling, estimates and booking enquiries. I also oversee ADR, taking the other production assistants through the booking process for each production.

Q> How did you get into the audio post industry?

Will> I wanted to make music and DJ for a living from a teenager and stumbled across an industry some years later which allows me to take elements from those skill sets and apply them day to day, earning a living and working at a high level on a raft of content. I’ve worked at Bubble tv, Deluxe, Disney, and McCann/Craft.

Emily> Having come from a degree in Film, branching into sound was not a big stretch at all. My grandfather who was a session musician for John Williams and The Beatles so working in sound I believe is continuing the legacy!

Q> What has been your favourite moments during your first year at GC?

Will> Overall getting to know the team, sharing knowledge and problem solving. Hosting the world cup games on the roof terrace for our clients was fun. Recording the crowds down at Trafalgar Square for the Lionesses world cup victory parade with Tom. Seeing Miles move from Bay Manager into an engineer’s position. Working on a variety of content from games to ads to documentaries.

Emily> One of my favourite moments during my first year at GC would be hosting our networking events on the roof terrace. It was brilliant being introduced to clients and putting a lot of names to faces! I felt very welcomed as one of the team.

Q> Do you have any favourite pieces of work you have been a part of during your time here at GC?

Will> Each project brings its own challenges; some are still under NDA, however- human size talking puppets for ‘Meet Osmo’, Zen sound design with Hula Hoops ‘Puft’, a peppering of ADR for the Capture, Grime for Pepsi Max Christmas and some gothic-horror-action for ‘Castlevania’.

Emily> My favourite piece of work I have been a part of this year is a big project I worked on with Gary which is due to come out in March, so watch this space!

Q> What would you like to achieve throughout 2023 at GC?

Will> To continue pushing myself musically, creatively and technically. To support other more junior members of staff with their development and of course work on a variety of content.

Emily> During 2023, I would love to develop my producing skills and feel fully confident to carry a larger scale project from start to finish. I would also like to build up my network so producers and clients feel confident with myself on their project.

Q> What are you looking forward to in 2023 here at GC?

Will> I always look forward to getting stuck into new projects and working with people that care about what they’re doing and respect what we do.

Emily> I’m looking forward to working with our recent new starters Martin (head of production) and Kelly (senior producer); having Molly and them as my mentors will be a dream team for 2023!

Q> What have you learnt during your time at GC?

Will> Creatively it’s been interesting as everyone works slightly differently here and getting insight into other people’s attitude, approach, sound design and mixing mentalities keeps me striving to deliver the best product I can. When you work alongside people who are very good at what they do it definitely pushes you to be better.

Seeing how our team deals with bespoke technical challenges has been very interesting. The lengths that we will go to accommodate any client setup is very impressive. I’m talking multiple remote connections on various platforms happening at once, timecode locking, filming actors for post record animating, multi microphone, crowd, catch & field recording as well as atmos, immersive, music and the list goes on!

Emily> I have learnt much more than I can list! One of the best things I’ve learnt through my managers and my peers is to have confidence in myself and to translate that into the productions which I work on.

Q> How did you approach putting together our new showreel?

Will> Initially I gave thought to the content that we have all worked on in the past SIX months and listened back to previous showreels to see how we could push it into a fresh direction, then started getting some musical ideas down. Once I had something I fired it over to Emily to edit to.

I knew it was important for the sum of its parts to be brought together into a cohesive reel with some form of arc.  I employed various techniques- tweaking the stems from the spots to blend with the new music & shots, using time-based effects to blend cuts, filtering down, reverse reverbs, rhythmic gating and re-timing the Gym face vocals.

Emily> First, I looked through each of the pieces of work we were including and noted moments that stuck out to me both visually and audibly. Then working with the track Will had created, I used the beat to begin lining up clips that worked with each section of music. I find editing to a track really helps to bring pace in even if the work being used doesn’t necessarily rely on that.

Q> How did you work with each other to put together the showcase?

Will> After some early discussions Emily came up with a first pass edit, from there we began working in tandem to get the cadence right, teasing elements to add some spice, feeling and flavour. I moved some sounds to better anchor them to the music and then we would tweak the edit. We had a few rounds of back and forth.

Emily> Once I had a full rough edit in place with the SFX left in, Will and I sat down together and went through the edit with a fine-tooth comb! It really helped hearing his opinions on the edit and where he thought points could be reworked. We went through a couple of amendments, and Will’s keen ear for detail meant each of the pieces of work became a part of the music track, bringing everything together.

Q> Did you enjoy working with each other to put together the showcase?

Will> Certainly! Emily is multi-talented and an asset to the team. She’s always happy to chip in and work collaboratively.

Emily> 100%! I feel very comfortable working with Will and know we are both happy to constructively advise each other on changes we’d like to make. We also both made sure to keep the other updated with any alterations so there were no surprises when each of us worked on it!

Q> Do you have a favourite piece of work featured in the showreel?

Will> It’s all excellent work.

Emily> How can I choose? They’re all fab!! I think my favourite piece of work featured would be NHL’s ‘There’s Some Hockey In You’. There were brilliant SFX throughout this spot to pull into the mix such as the pinball machine. I shadowed Carole on the initial discussions with this brief and knew it would be packed full of key bits to use.

Work from Grand Central Recording Studios
Staycity Aparthotels