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The Work That Made Me: Jamie Thomas


UNIT's head of sound on the influence of 'Escape from New York', working with Andy Serkis for Ford Transit and getting the creative juices flowing

The Work That Made Me: Jamie Thomas

In his spare time Jamie enjoys disassembling and drilling holes in various instruments and household objects in order to record them for music projects. Apparently the latest victims of this include a piano, a food blender and a laptop. When not doing various things sound related he’s normally cycling somewhere, or eating. Sometimes even at the same time.

Jamie also likes cars. A lot. They go fast and make noise – two of his favourite things. He is also oddly proud of his collection of horribly coloured guitars which he can’t play very well.

Jamie Thomas sometime in the '80s

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

Jamie> Ooh, this is a bit of a weird one - music that stays with me: Van Halen ‘Jump’ ( I spent time in '80s America, what can I say?)

Music Video - New Order 'True Faith' - first time I’d seen anything like that on TV

Film - Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

Jamie> Growing up, I had no idea that this industry existed - I don’t know how I thought movies/TV got made?!

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Jamie> Have to keep coming back to a few things:

Film: Escape from NY - Carpenter is a genius and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t got a clue!! 

Album: Electric Ladyland - ‘and the gods made love’ is, for me, a very early instance of sound design and it sounded crazy to me as a 12 yr. old in the 90’s - I can’t imagine what people thought when it came out!! 

Poem/Book: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - ahead of its time, still relevant today and, as all good books should be, a love story. 

Advert: Chatback commercials from the 90’s - still can’t believe someone got paid for that music.

My first professional project…

Jamie> Dude!! It was so long ago - probably some terrible TV promo. My first memorable TV spot was a promo for Ford Transit - had a great time getting Andy Serkis to rhythmically say (rap) the script - and then we ended up using someone else!! Classic.

I had a very surreal moment during that campaign when I was outside the studio, having a smoke (I don’t do that any more, it’s bad for you, kids) and I heard the radio advert I’d done for the campaign coming from a car, not just any car - a Ford Transit!! Very surreal!!

The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Jamie> Hmmm, I’ve seen some absolute shockers HOWEVER you never know what state it was in before you see it - as well as not knowing what crazy client requests have been made in order for a commercial to end up like that. 

But let’s just say any commercial where it’s wall to wall VO with a 40” script that’s been shoehorned into a 20”.

An added bonus would be the client’s insistence that the SFX, music and VO all need to be the same level - with the helpful instruction just to…'mix it louder'.

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

Jamie> Literally anything I see that’s good - I’ve seen a couple of promos by friends of mine that are awesome (and jealous I didn’t get to work on) I saw GOTG3 the other day and the way they’ve mixed Radiohead’s Creep with all the other sfx in the intro titles had me blown away - in fact the mixing on that whole film is awesome!! 

Also, anything by Zelig Sound - those folks just make really nice sounds .

The creative project that changed my career…

Jamie> Working on the launch of NatGeo HD in the UK - won a PROMAX and thought to myself ‘I think I can actually do this!!’

The work that I’m proudest of…

Jamie> I loved working on this project for DOVE 'I’m Fine'. It was an animation showing young girls talking about their insecurities - their thoughts were then made into songs and animated into little stories. There was a heap of sound design, recording teenagers singing, different languages and all for a really good cause. 

I suppose I should also mention Gomorrah as it won a few awards…

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Jamie> Too many to mention!! (Trying to be professional here…)

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Jamie> Something I’m working on at the moment - a little animation that involves loads of character voices - we’ve been doing loads of auditions and sessions trying to find the ‘right’ voices and it’s been really fun being there from the beginning, suggesting accents and styles for the actors to replicate. 

It’s a lovely collaborative piece that’s got the creative juices flowing in a different way. 

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UNIT Studios, Thu, 25 May 2023 10:36:02 GMT