We had the good fortune of connecting with Karthik Mohan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karthik, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
I am just beginning my career as a Sound Designer. I am currently at that stage where I just want to learn as much as I can. Everyone around me has so much to offer and the best thing I can do is soak it all up like a sponge. I want to focus on Sound Editing and I aspire to become a Supervising Sound Editor in Film and TV. That is how I see myself in the future. I want to work on interesting projects that challenge my creative capabilities. These necessarily need not be big budget productions or have big names associated with them. I am more interested in collaborating with a good team and building strong professional relationships. Just like my role model Skip Lievsay, I want to constantly push boundaries and never settle for standard. I am not in this field because I want to be in the limelight or become famous. I am here because I love sound. What I will consider true success is to enjoy the process of sound design no matter what the outcome of the project is. At the end of my career when I look back, I want to be able to say the same thing again.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a sound designer and recordist, I get to work on both post-production and production sound. On the production side, I work on capturing and mixing sound on set while on the post-production side, I work on creating and mixing everything you hear in a film. I am just starting off in the industry and hence I am keeping all my options open. I have a lot to learn, and I am excited to see where this journey will take me. A few of the narrative short films I have done sound for have done well at film festivals. I was recently nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Student Film (Verna Fields Award) at the 68th annual Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards for my work on a short film titled Las Escondidas. The awards ceremony is happening next month and I’m looking forward to it. I was also one of the 5 finalists for the Cinema Audio Society Student Recognition Award, 2020. Shades of Indigo, a documentary I worked on, was picked up by a leading network. Birds Without Wings, another documentary I worked on, has had a great festival run this year and was also a finalist at the Student Academy Awards in 2020. I had the opportunity to intern for Quibi, founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, on a Beta Testing project at Dodge College. One of the most important things I have learnt is that we need to share what we know with our colleagues and in turn learn from them too. I look at them as my inspiration instead of competition. That way I know I will always have growth. I also firmly believe in putting the film and my director’s vision above everything else. I may have several ideas and opinions, but only the ones that take the director’s vision forward can constructively influence a film. This attitude makes me a team player and gives me the ability to tailor myself to the needs of a project, which I consider my biggest asset.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am not much of a traveller. But if a friend was visiting, I would mostly spend a lot of time just talking and catching up with them. And what could be better than a connect with nature during that process. I would definitely go to the beaches in Orange County. Huntington, Laguna, Newport and the list goes on. I personally love beaches since I grew up in Chennai, a coastal city in South India. I will also go for long walks and hikes in the numerous nature trails around here. Apart from that, one day will definitely go to Disneyland. I would also just take a stroll around Old Towne Orange and experience the heritage. Most importantly, I will take them around Hollywood and the studio tours there. When it comes to food, I will most definitely want them to explore the different cuisines here. Artesia has some wonderful Indian food. Orange has some small Mexican food places where the food is very authentic. Between Orange, Garden Grove and Irvine, we will also have a variety of Asian food like Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese. All of these are small places but the food is unbelievably tasty.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am here in the US today pursuing my dream of becoming a sound designer. That has been possible primarily due to the superb encouragement my parents have given me. I am grateful to have a strong support system in my friends, family and mentors. I would like to specifically give a shoutout to the Sound Design department at Dodge College, Chapman University. All my professors have and continue to shape my thoughts in the field of sound. When I came to Dodge I had little exposure to film sound. They not only have given me the skills I need to find work but have also encouraged me to think like a sound designer. That is something which I will carry with me for my entire life. As a program, we are a very small and tight knit group that is extremely passionate about sound. Between my professors and colleagues, I have some great friends and mentors with whom my association will continue beyond college.
E.C.Timmer Vijey Adithya Mohanraj Jing Xiang Zhang (Davis) Kellsie Domnitz