How much on average does a sound assistant make in the film industry?

I'm curious and am considering this as a career path. Though I am aware that you start as a sound trainee and then after a few years you move up. I'm wondering about the pay and how, basically, to get to that point education wise.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    The Production Sound Department usually consists of three people: the Sound Mixer, the Boom Operator, and the Utility Sound Person, otherwise known as the Cable Puller. While it doesn’t necessarily sound like much, the presence of a third person on the Sound crew helps to ensure that a day of production will go smoothly.

    The Union Cable Puller makes only about $2 less per hour than the Boom Operator yet has around 80 percent less responsibility. But over the course of a twelve-week feature film, the Cable person will make roughly the same amount of money as the Boom Operator because of the overtime accrued by being the first to show up and the last to leave. Expect to bring in around $40,000 on an average union feature film.

    Your primary responsibility is in taking care of the equipment by helping to keep it clean, well maintained, and safely stored when necessary. While you theoretically don’t have to know anything before starting out, you’ll be far more valuable to the Sound crew if you have some idea of how to repair cables and clean expensive recording equipment properly. Apart from that, just a general awareness of proper set etiquette and a likeable demeanor will be enough to get you going.

    For absolutely everything you need to know about the Sound Department and working in the professional film industry, I urge you to read "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood." Go to for more information as well as countless additional resources that will help you with sound and the industry in general.

    Good luck!

    Brian Dzyak


    Los Angeles, California

    IATSE Local 600, SOC

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