Hey everyone,

My name is Mitchell Kohen and I am a union Foley Artist working in Television. I just received my second Emmy nomination for my work on Cobra Kai! You may have heard my Foley on -

  • Bridgerton
  • Cobra Kai
  • Inventing Anna
  • The Stand
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Station 19
  • Big Sky
  • You're The Worst
  • New Girl

Feel free to take a look at my credits - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3800043/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

and here's some proof - https://i.imgur.com/RimJHfR.jpg

and please check out my Instagram - @ soundslikemitchell for more proof! (and a follow for more!)

"Foley is the reproduction of everyday sounds for use in filmmaking.[1] These reproduced sounds can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. The best Foley art is so well integrated into a film that it goes unnoticed by the audience.[1] It helps to create a sense of reality within a scene. Without these crucial background noises, movies feel unnaturally quiet and uncomfortable.

Foley artists look to recreate the realistic ambient sounds that the film portrays. The props and sets of a film do not react the same way acoustically as their real life counterparts.[1] Foley sounds are used to enhance the auditory experience of the movie. Foley can also be used to cover up unwanted sounds captured on the set of a movie during filming that might take away from the scene at hand, such as overflying airplanes or passing traffic."

AMA!

******Thank you all for the questions! This was fun! I tried to answer all the none repeaters! Please follow my IG [email protected] for more content and BTS!

Comments: 342 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

FridayMcNight355 karma

I asked a Foley artist once if she could tell who was the foley artist on a film she’s watching without looking at the credits. She said, not always, but a lot of time she can. She said it’s usually the footsteps that sound distinctive. Same question to you… since it’s a relatively small community of artists, can you tell who did the foley just by sound?

Oh, congrats for having one of the coolest jobs in the world.

soundslikemitchell253 karma

I had once hoped for that but I really don’t think it’s possible. More often than not our Foley is quite down in the mix so hearing it clean doesn’t happen a lot. I know which artists work as most studios so I can tell by the studio/production.

huh_phd325 karma

Have you ever eaten something and thought "whoa this sounds better than it tastes"?

soundslikemitchell254 karma

Haha! The sound of crisp lettuce really helps sell when someone bites something and the whole room goes awkwardly quiet.

GDJT154 karma

What drove you to become a Foley artist? What was your second career choice?

soundslikemitchell233 karma

I've been very lucky to have known for most of my life I wanted to be a Foley Artist. I've worked in audio since I was 13.

I always thought I'd be a good barber...

camillini149 karma

Have you ever heard something and gone wow,I haven't heard that before or that would take some time to recreate? Thanks for the AMA.

soundslikemitchell167 karma

Oh all the time. I love when that happens. I get jealous I didn’t get to work on it!

Acrobatic_Pandas114 karma

What show/episode have you worked on that had the most foley? How much of the show is recorded naturally and how much of it is foley?

What's the weirdest sound you've ever had to recreate.

Was there ever a sound you simply couldn't do and the plans had to be changed?

soundslikemitchell232 karma

Grey’s Anatomy has quite a bit of Foley. Lots of backgrounds walking. As I stated before, all that matters is dialogue on set. Most everything else is sound effects/Foley.

I had to do cunnilingus. That was certainly interesting.

If I can’t get the sound in my head out I chat with sound effects editor and we collaborate on it together.

Advantagefighter96 karma

If you only could use five items to make a short film sound as good as possible, what would you use?

soundslikemitchell97 karma

Well, since I can't answer that really I would say -

Boom mic

Pro Tools

A Foley Mixer

Shoes

Props

SaffronJim3480 karma

Thoughts on the Wilhelm Scream? Personally it always takes me out of the movie whenever I hear it.

soundslikemitchell98 karma

Haha, I agree, but it’s also like an audible Easter egg I love to catch.

casperrosewater76 karma

Do you see a difference between foley for film/TV and foley for video games?

soundslikemitchell102 karma

The approach is the same but the implementation is different. Games these days have lots of cutaways which are performed the same but once you get into character creation and repeated sounds it takes on a whole new life.

Sharpendmoosic70 karma

Hi, I record Foley mostly for fun and sound design purposes to be later used in music and it's cool seeing a Foley Artist here! Do you have any tips for getting a convincing foot stomp sound? (like a big crowd stomping at the same time)

soundslikemitchell138 karma

Layers. Offset by a frame or two. Different weighted shoes (boots, sneakers, army boots.)

StarHen61 karma

Are most foley sounds actually made with the object/technique they are meant to convey to the audience, or is there a lot of coconuts-clanking-together-sounds-like-horse-hooves stuff? Are there certain foley effects that are more fun to create than others?

soundslikemitchell92 karma

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We use whatever is necessary to trick the ear. There’s no percentage of real or faked prop.

I love heels. I like gross stuff. I also really like paper.

exceptforanice_MLT61 karma

How fun! Thanks for doing an ama. I love to watch credits and see all those who put work into a tv show/movie, etc.!

My question: do you tally up how many distinct sounds you do for a project? Is there a "project sound count" that exists for what you do? I was just wondering how many sounds it takes...and I know it would vary wildly depending upon the project.

soundslikemitchell89 karma

My mixer and I like to count how many unique audio files we do in a shift. Normally for a 45 min show it's between 500-900 sounds.

asilagy55 karma

Hi Mitchell,

I am a composer/audio engineer that is often asked to jump in to assist on all facets of media sound.

For projects that cannot book a recording session, what resources can you suggest for building an initial core asset library?

Thanks!

soundslikemitchell103 karma

Grab a Zoom H4N and go record it yourself. Carry it with you and when something sounds awesome just record it and start building your own library.

BathroomInner203649 karma

How did you get into this field and what has been your hardest sound to create?

soundslikemitchell103 karma

Starting to make my own Foley at home and then getting into a boutique sound studio.

Hardest sound…hmmmm…butterfly wings used to be difficult. I’m trying to think of THE hardest. Getting the right consistency of a puke is always challenging.

GeneralOrchid38 karma

When watching movies/TV shows do you ever hear sounds and think... damn that was poorly done?

soundslikemitchell53 karma

Sometimes. I try not to focus on the audio.

Dontbecruelbro34 karma

What are the props for a punch or kick landing?

soundslikemitchell63 karma

Usually a boxing glove hitting a leather jacket, with a chamois to add a layer of fleshiness.

CarneTacos29 karma

Of your works above, what has been the most fulfilling / interesting for you as a Foley Artist?

soundslikemitchell116 karma

Honestly, they all present new challenges.

Bridgerton is my first period piece and I loved that challenge. I tried to have the footsteps increase in “clicky-ness” (something we normally avoid but for that time period was necessary) as the class order increased. Having the townspeople more dull and draggy and the royalty more precise and succinct.

tripswithtiresias31 karma

Man, I felt like the Duke always had loud and identifiable footsteps. Am I projecting or do you have consistent sounds per actor?

soundslikemitchell76 karma

Yes, for Bridgerton I assigned specific shoes for specific characters. The Duke commanded the room and I tried to help that with each step.

FridayMcNight27 karma

One more… why oh why is Hollywood so in love with laughably fake gun sounds. Actor moves a gun, racking sound, actor aims the gun, another racking sound, actor says something stern to show they mean business, and the gun makes another goddam racking sound. Then the actor chambears a round to show they really mean business, and another racking sound. It’s so overboard, and it seems to be everywhere (except for navy seal movies where stealth is part of the plot).

How much is that the artist, or the studio giving you notes on what sounds need to be in there? And can you tell them to chill on that?

soundslikemitchell47 karma

Haha, there are just some audio cliches that are standard now and we must do. Most of the time we do them because we "just have to." It's just what an audience has evolved to hear.

Scrotchety23 karma

Do you think the foley artists for BBC nature documentaries go a little overboard with their enthusiasm and inventiveness?

soundslikemitchell22 karma

I’ve never done a doc like that but I can only imagine they are quite the undertaking. Generally speaking, bigger is better in Foley.

chicmofumbee20 karma

Is there a certain type of project you've always wanted to work on?

soundslikemitchell51 karma

I'd like to do more animation. It can be super challenging but also really rewarding -there's no production sound to reference.

blippityblop17 karma

How do you feel about foley being sampled? A lot of projects I work on are low budget and I have to sample a lot or use library. I still do a cloth pass though.

soundslikemitchell61 karma

Normally Foley is the bottom of the totem pole. I understand that lower budgets just can’t account for it and so sometimes it’s cut in. Just don’t call it Foley at that point, it’s sound editing.

waiki324314 karma

Hi, thanks for the AmA, I find foley fascinating! Two questions:

  1. What are your favorite pieces of equipment (technical or otherwise)?

  2. What are some surprising examples of sounds that cannot be faked, and you need to record 'the real thing'?

soundslikemitchell32 karma

Equipment wise you need a shotgun microphone, notably the Sennheiser 416, but a large condenser is also fun to play with.

For hair I use a wig. Keys are keys. Dice have to be dice. Marbles are marbles.

itsCatFluff13 karma

If you aren’t on tiktok, you should be! I follow a few foley artists there and they get tons of engagement, the videos are so cool!

What’s a sound you had to make that was unexpectedly difficult?

soundslikemitchell33 karma

I’ve got an IG listed above. I don’t have TikTok yet, I feel like it’s saturated enough haha.

Sometimes the littlest thing can take a while. Took us quite a bit of time to create a chess piece falling over on an extreme close up. It was very detailed.

mind_the_gap10 karma

I always think of celery being crushed and twisted as the consummate description of Foley. How often do you use celery to create your effects? Maybe for bones breaking or something? Do you go through a lot of produce?

soundslikemitchell15 karma

Yup! We still use em! I did an episode of a cooking show, I can’t remember the name, and I went grocery shopping. Watermelon, cantelope, grapes, celery.

GeneralOrchid10 karma

How much creative control do you have when it comes to adding in sounds? You rarely hear natural body sounds like a stomach grumbling.

soundslikemitchell10 karma

When it comes to the Foley, generally speaking, my mixer and I have the final say. If the re-recording mixer doesn’t like it they can call for a pickup or redo.

7_Constanza8 karma

Hey, recently graduated film sound major here,How can I break into the industry as a Foley artist?any tips and advice I could follow?

soundslikemitchell25 karma

First, make sure its Foley you want to get into and not dialogue editing, sound editing, re-recording, etc.

I always suggest start by downloading videos off vimeo and Foley them yourself, build a little reel, get familiar with pro tools, and try to get a foot in at a boutique sound studio and learn the ropes.

Designdiligence8 karma

What’s the hardest sounds to convincingly make?

soundslikemitchell13 karma

Generally speaking, Footsteps are the hardest to learn and therefore making them sound convincing to the scene.

thevectorvictor6 karma

Do you use any semi-automation for repetitive sounds like footsteps of a main character or is it always manually placed audio for every step even if the feet aren’t in frame?

soundslikemitchell4 karma

I try to be as frame accurate as possible. If I'm off my mixer (or a Foley editor) will place in sync.

nogills5 karma

Do you edit your own foley in a DAW, or just send the raw files straight to the engineer?

If you edit yourself, what DAW do you prefer?

soundslikemitchell7 karma

Post audio is almost exclusively Pro Tools.

Most of the time a Foley editor edits my work.

Acer46664 karma

Can you please explain the difference between the "sound editing" department and the "sound mixing" department and why they are called that?

soundslikemitchell3 karma

Sound editors find the sound effects. Sound mixers choose at what volume those effects play with one another, with music, with dialogue, and chooses what the audience will hear.

Acer46662 karma

So is recording Foley and ADR in the sound editing department?

And a production sound mixer does the recording on set?

soundslikemitchell2 karma

Yes and yes.

soccerd13 karma

Is the work hard on your body? The first time I learned about Foley was seeing it as a challenge on the amazing race and it looked pretty physically demanding.

soundslikemitchell12 karma

It really is. Mentally and physically. I often ice my knees after work. Sometimes I’m running for hours in heels, holding my breathe so it doesn’t get picked up by the microphone.

ArlieTwinkledick3 karma

What's a Foley Artist?

soundslikemitchell19 karma

We physically replicate the actions performed by an actor on screen. Footsteps, props, hands, and cloth movement.

ArlieTwinkledick-21 karma

What's the point of that?

soundslikemitchell21 karma

The only sound that is important to capture on set is dialogue. Most everything else you hear is put in post. That's where I come in.

Dont_Wanna_Not_Gonna6 karma

I thought the actors dubbed their lines after filming because the on set sound quality was poor. Are we really hearing their audio from the filming of the scene most of the time? TIL.

soundslikemitchell14 karma

Depends on the set/location. Sound stages have better control over ambient sound than day a location shoot outside.

Fifi06013 karma

Which sound took you the longest to perfect and on which show/movie was it from?

soundslikemitchell13 karma

Took a little to get the cop belt right in The Rookie. Right combination of keys, leather squeak, handcuffs movement.

gnex302 karma

The lead character in the show Togetherness, played by Mark Duplass did sound for movies. Was he portraying a foley artist?, and how well do you think he represented the art?

soundslikemitchell3 karma

Sorry, I'm unfamiliar.

damian202 karma

Why not use the actual sounds of said objects? Always been curious...

soundslikemitchell15 karma

Sometimes those objects do not make a sound. Walking on a cloud, butterfly wing vs moth wings. We enhance the story by enhancing sounds as well.

Gulag_boi1 karma

Is there any genre you particularly enjoy working on?

soundslikemitchell2 karma

I really enjoy comedies. I like being able to elevate a joke with a squeak, or a bigger sound.

MoogleKing831 karma

This might be something really simple, but what do you use to replicate the sound of someone being punched? Cobra Kai being a perfect example, I don't recall any "over the top" impact sounds like you'd hear in older fight scenes. Is it as simple as punching your hand and enhancing the sound, or is there some kind of material/object that works better?

soundslikemitchell3 karma

The sound effects editor handles the punches on CK. I enhance the sound by adding a thick, succinct, cloth movement for every punch and kick.

dudewheresmysock1 karma

Are there particular genres that need more Foley?

What percentage of scenes typically have Foley added. Is it usually every single scene or more sporadic?

I always notice the over-the-top sounds added to reality tv shows for dramatic effect, but is there also more subtle Foley work I'm not picking up on? Is it the same amount as television/film?

soundslikemitchell3 karma

Animation.

There is Foley in every scene, even if it’s just cloth movement.

Normally all Foley is subtle, used to enhance the scene by allowing the audience feel more within the space.

quinncuatro1 karma

For something like Station Eleven, did you take any inspiration for the foley from the source text?

soundslikemitchell2 karma

I worked on Station 19, 8 more.

Mageever-1 karma

Why do foley artists have such a hard time with firearm sounds? Especially sound suppressors? The mechanical sounds of the guns are always over the top rattle-y and sound suppressors end up sounding like laser guns. For those of us out in the real world who have actually used guns, it really ruins the suspension of disbelief.

soundslikemitchell3 karma

Bullet shots are sound effects editors, not Foley Artists.

PoopPhorPrez-6 karma

Realistically, this seems like a very niche skill to have. I am playing the devils advocate 100%, but what do you do that I can’t get with a library of sound clips?

soundslikemitchell12 karma

I can match the actions specifically for an actor. Draggy footsteps on glass, slamming a cell phone on a wood table and it bounces onto concrete several times, etc. I can all produce the sound much faster than searching a library.