Before the job begins, the sound recordist must clarify the work-flow that the editor expects from him/her. Conversations with the camera department, script supervisor and sound designer are also useful.
Then, when the job begins comes the core task of recording clean audio with correct boom and lapel placement, and tactfully eliminating as many distracting sounds as possible. However, what is less understood is the importance that the script plays, not just as a technical guide, which it so obviously is, but in helping us feel for what the actors are going through.
The script is the core energy source of the movie.
The script provides me with understanding and with understanding (theoretically!) comes an accurate approach. The success of a movie rests on the actors being able to deliver the emotional punch needed to move their audience.
As a sound recordist, I work towards that end. I want that actor to produce their best performance. Of course it's not all so serious and once the shoot is over I don't really give it another thought, but while I'm there shooting I'm trying to give the film the best chance it has by being observant to such considerations.
Once I accept a job, I read the script once for pleasure and, from then on, for technical understanding.
There is also something rewarding about understanding what the actor has been through in the story to get to the scene. I believe there is a sympathetic rapport between actors and crew, and especially the sound crew purely based on their proximity to the actors – that is, dealing with their radio mics and booming them at a close distance. The more I understand about their space, the more appropriate my approach will be and the better sound I will get because I know what I am looking for.
Pre-production is where future problems are seen and eliminated.
Something that has to be understood by newer members of the film industry is the amount of effort that goes into a film's pre-production. The task of breaking down the script into a shot list, storyboard, and shooting schedule at the right locations, is in my opinion the single biggest feat in the development of the film.
Understanding how much effort goes into preproduction has helped me respect the tight time-frames on set. When I need wild lines or FX I make it known and ensure I am completely ready when the chance appears.
In terms of my own preparation for a job, I am inspired by how actors prepare for their role. When Tom Cruise was interviewed for The Actors Studio TV show, he said that he would practice for 10-12 hours a day learning to play pool for The Color of Money.