We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark T. Laurent and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark T., is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand would be to always keep thriving to work well with others, along with keeping up with my professional technical skills. Both are equally essential to stay competitive within my TV Production career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an On-Location Production Sound Mixer for Television (aka: Sound Man). Since 1988, I have had the opportunity to record Sound for some of the biggest TV shows and celebrities in Hollywood. A job that is definitely a dream come true. As a child, I had always dreamed endlessly for years to work in show business. Not ever thinking it would come to light. But it did. And I adore it. Many times, I honestly can’t consider it work. It’s both challenging and exciting. And they pay very well too. To watch a Nationally broadcasted TV show on the air that I recorded Sound for, still gives me chills. Even bigger is watching my name scrolling in the credits for the world to see. I’ve been able to travel the country and even the world for work. And they have the nerve to pay me too? Somebody pinch me!!
What sets me apart from others in my industry? Well, I’m pretty humble. I really don’t think I’m all that special from others. Although, what probably sets me apart the most in the “Bizness” is that I don’t consider myself to be “Hollywood.” As expected, you can bet that we have to deal with a lot of inflated egos in our industry. Not only the celebrities, but the technical video crews as well. From Directors to Producers, to Cameramen to Lighting, to Hair and Make-up. Egos run wide in TV Land. To this day, I can say I’m most proud of the fact that Hollywood hasn’t corrupted my sincere love for people and friends. I never think I’m better than anyone that might not be happy with their lives or their jobs. I stay pretty grounded. A trait that was passed down to me by my family. Mostly, Mom!!
Secondly, I’m most proud that I’ve been able just to sustain a career. Because so many of my colleagues had to give it up for lack of opportunity. It’s not an easy occupation. It will spit you out as soon as it chews you up. There is a lot of luck involved too. And I received it many times. But I still had to shoot my shot at the same time, many times. I busted my ass. And with that, I was rewarded. That makes me proud. Because it wasn’t easy at all. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly were full of challenges. But you just have to push yourself and persevere. Nobody will give you anything in the industry. Well, unless you Father is an Executive. But the biggest lesson I tell younger folks wanting a career in the business is to stay hungry. Everyday you have to push hard to achieve your goal. Get noticed. Be available. Get along with people. And always thrive to learn to be excellent at your job. And tell everyone in your earshot that you are here to help. Not everyone will be so eager to help you, but sometimes, it only takes one to give you a chance. My biggest want for the world to know about me, is that I care about you as much I do for myself. Many times I will do more for you than I would actually do for myself. Which isn’t always the best for me. But if your heart comes from a good place, I will always have your back. No one does anything alone. We all need each other. Just don’t take me for granted.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend visiting from out of town and wanted to show them a good time, (not during a COVID world) being the big kid that I am, I would definitely want to go to Disneyland. “The Happiest Place in the World” of course!! On the following day, I’d most likely drive through the Hollywood area. If it was during summer, I’d love to check out any available Jazz or R&B concerts at either The Hollywood Bowl, or The Greek Theater. I love The Playboy Jazz Festival at The Bowl. On a smaller level, I love “Pips on LaBrea” Jazz Club, or The LUXE Hotel for more LIVE music. Living in Southern California, we have the best weather in the World. So, we have to definitely hit any of our great beaches and marinas. Lunch or dinner in Marina del Rey, or Long Beach Shoreline Village are my favorite hot spots day or night. Did I mention that my cousins own a Cajun / Creole’ & BBQ restaurant in the Long Beach Marina? It’s called Louisiana Charlie’s. Better bring your appetite!! Being a huge sports fan, grabbing a Dodgers or Lakers game is always at the top of any L.A. experience. I own 2 bowling balls and shoes, so we might have to hit the lanes to knock down those 10 pins for strikes. You better bring your A Game. Cause I’m very competitive.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Actually, I do have somewhat of a guided path that is responsible for my TV production career. But it doesn’t include just one person. It includes several. And all are equally responsible for introducing me to the next person, organization, and eventually a career for which I am still doing today since 1988. Along with a huge bit of my own perseverance, they all deserve the credit for my eventual direction. But it’s kind of a long story.
So, in chronological order…
While on summer break attending Cal State University, Northridge, I needed an Internship to graduate. So I literally walked off the street right up to the Melrose Gate at Paramount Studios where I met Brian the Security Guard. He just happened to be a CSUN Alumni. From that, he decided to introduced me to the Head of Research, Lee Brower of Entertainment Tonight, where I soon started an internship during my Senior year. There, I became legendary film critic, Leonard Maltin’s personal assistant. Also there, I met office Asst. (and eventually my eternal big sister) Hedrena Martin. She introduced me to her fiance’ and future husband, and Mentor, Cameraman, George Ellis of Movietime / E! Entertainment Television. Once I started working with him (as a non paid Production Asst.) on video shoots, I eventually was given the chance to do Audio in the field. I also became a videotape editor. But my first love was Field Audio. This was the beginning of my exciting career in TV Sound
Each one of these organizations / people (in this exact order led me to the next) are responsible for my current 33yr career as a TV Production Sound Man in Hollywood today.
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