Career Spotlight: Caoimhe Doyle, Foley Artist

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Caoimhe Doyle Foley Artist outlines her career path. “I began my journey into sound in 1989 with a Diploma in Communications and Media Production, specialising in sound, from Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Dublin. At that time, film sound was in its infancy in Ireland. It wasn’t until 1995 that Paul Moore founded Ardmore Sound; a studio that specialised in film sound post-production which housed Ireland’s only Dolby licensed feature film mixing theatre.” “Paul had been in the film business since the 1970’s and his vast experience and drive brought Ardmore Sound’s facilities up to the highest industry standards. This was an exciting time for Irish film sound and Neil Jordan’s film, MICHAEL COLLINS was in post-production at Ardmore Sound. I took a train to Bray, asked Paul for a job and to my delight I was hired straight away. My first job was in the transfer bay, transferring location sound recordings from DAT to magnetic tape, for editors to cut on a Steenbeck; a flatbed film editing suite used to edit picture on 16mm and 35mm film along with sound on magnetic tape by hand. “In 2000, I met Canadian Foley Artist Andy Malcolm, (HAIL, CAESAR! AMERICAN HUSTLE, ALICE IN WONDERLAND). At that time there were no Foley artists working in Ireland and Andy had been invited over by Ardmore Sound to perform Foley on THE BORSTAL BOY. Watching him work was fascinating. His expertise, passion and creativity made a huge impact on me and directly inspired me to pursue a career in Foley. We struck up a great rapport and Andy was incredibly generous in the sharing of his knowledge of Foley. I spent as much time as possible on the Foley stage when he came to Ireland observing his highly skilled practice and performing many sound effects with him. He then invited me to train with him in Canada. “Ardmore Sound’s founder/director Paul Moore had the foresight to know that without an extensive history of film production in Ireland, crews would need to travel abroad for training with professionals in film sound and bring that knowledge back home. Paul had forged strong relationships with some of the best Foley artists, sound editors/ designers and mixers in the world. With these connections, he arranged unique training opportunities for Irish sound crews in film studios in Los Angeles, Skywalker Sound in San Francisco and Canada. “In 2001, with the support of Paul and financial support from Screen Training Ireland, I received a travel bursary to travel to Canada and begin my apprenticeship with Andy Malcolm at Footsteps Post-Production Sound Inc. Thankfully, Screen Training Ireland funded this apprenticeship, otherwise it may not have been possible. I got the opportunity to train with world class Foley Artists at the beginning of my career, an experience that I could not have gained at that time in Ireland. “Over the following seven years, I travelled back and forth to Footsteps Studios and continued to work with my mentor, Andy Malcolm. I learned various performance techniques ranging from performing natural sounding live action Foley to animated sound effects. I gained insight into how Foley sounds can enhance the emotive impact of a film. I learned how the performance and ‘shape’ of the Foley sounds could, in a subtle yet persuasive way, draw an audience into a scene to connect emotionally with a character and support mood and story enhancement. “I acquired some very practical skill sets including project management, workflow and the ability to prioritize different aspects of Foley for projects of varying budgets and time schedules. These projects included big budget Hollywood action movies, low budget independent films, animated films, period dramas, TV shows, and video games.  It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work at Footsteps and develop my understanding of film sound and best Foley practice. The high level of creativity, efficiency and focus that the team brought to the sessions was very impressive. Many of Footsteps’ key crew members have 30-40 years of experience at the highest level of film sound and are recognised as some of the most talented Foley artists and recording mixers in the world. Observing their communication skills and sound vocabulary was a masterclass in itself and their willingness to share their knowledge and craft was truly inspiring. “At Footsteps, I also learned the importance of clear and efficient collaboration practices between the Foley stage and other departments i.e. directors, sound supervisors/designers/editors/mixers. This whole experience set a standard for my own work ethic to which I continue to adhere. “In 2006, I decided to move full time to Canada and worked at Footsteps for two action packed years. As well as creating Foley sounds for film I also performed live Foley for theatrical shows. In 2006, at the Toronto International Film Festival, I performed live Foley with Andy Malcolm and Goro Koyama at the world premiere of Guy Maddin’s BRAND UPON THE BRAIN with live orchestra, castrato, and live narration by Isabella Rossellini. We performed a further 33 international live Foley performances in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Berlin, Buenos Aires and Mexico City with guest narrators including Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, John Ashbury, Eli Wallach and Guy Maddin. “In 2008, I was invited by Paul Moore to return back to Ireland to design and build a dedicated Foley Stage at Ardmore Sound. I continue to work there today with the very talented Foley mixer Jean McGrath who, in 2003, also received a travel bursary from Screen Training Ireland to train at Skywalker Sound, San Francisco. I was delighted to be able to bring back the skills and expertise that I had been fortunate enough to learn abroad and further help to develop film sound in Ireland. In 2009, I trained Eoghan McDonnell who continues to work as a Foley artist today. “Since returning to Ireland, I have been invited to guest lecture on both master and degree courses at University of Limerick; Dublin City University; Pulse College, Dublin; University of Liverpool; Lillehammer University College, Norway and University of the Arts, Netherlands. “In 2011, I was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and won a MPSE Golden Reel Award for GAME OF THRONES Season 1. In 2008, I was nominated for a MPSE Golden Reel Award, for my work on David Cronenberg’s EASTERN PROMISES.  In 2011, I directed and performed with an Irish crew, a live Foley soundtrack to Andrew Legge’s short film, THE GIRL WITH THE MECHANICAL MAIDEN at The Lincoln Centre, New York and The National Concert Hall, Dublin, with the RTE Concert Orchestra. “For many years now, Screen Training Ireland has helped create a host of opportunities for invaluable practical training and experience for many of my sound colleagues with some of the most talented sound professionals in the world. This collective of trained Irish film sound talent has a huge influence on the high quality of sound post-production being provided in Ireland today.” Caoimhe Doyle – recent film credits include: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (2017), MAUDIE (2016), ROOM (2015), MISS JULIE (2014), GAME OF THRONES, Season 1 (2011).