Employee Spotlight: Nia Hansen

As a Sound Effects Editor at Skywalker Sound, Nia Hansen’s work takes her out into the field!

Meet Nia Hansen, a Sound Effects Editor at Skywalker Sound

Do you remember the moment when you decided that you wanted to enter your professional field?

Before I decided to attend a technical school, I had a variety of interests that didn’t seem to intersect: music composition, psychoacoustics and psychology, linguistics and cognitive science, writing and storytelling. When I explored careers that included these interests, I quickly realized that sound for film (and other storytelling media) was right at their intersection.

How did you first come to Lucasfilm? Do you remember your feelings when you joined the company?

The day before I graduated from film school I got a call from the Head of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound, and within three weeks I had packed up and moved back down to California to start work. It was incredibly exciting to be able to work at one of the best prost-production sound facilities in the world and alongside legendary figures in the business. Everyone at Skywalker was kind, supportive, and enthusiastic—the perfect place to start learning new skills and filling out the gaps in my knowledge.

Could you briefly describe a typical “day in the life” in your position?

I get into my studio just before 9AM. My work varies depending on what stage of post production we’re in, but I’m usually either editing sound effects or designing new sound for the film. Field recording sessions happen anytime we need fresh material, and are a nice break from the office. Lunch with the crew is an hour around 1PM, including a mile walk around Skywalker Ranch. We take a coffee break around 3PM to relax, reset, and get organized. Work finishes at 7-8PM.

How is the environment and setting at Skywalker Ranch inspirational or stimulating to your work?

I often get asked how I can stay inside and work at my desk when it’s so beautiful outdoors. Don’t I want to get out there? I feel like the opposite is true—the beauty outside makes me content to be indoors. The quiet and the view of forest, hills, and Lake Ewok makes it easier to focus for long hours. I get into a creative mode faster and deeper than if I had to battle a frenetic environment with concrete views and loud traffic. A lunchtime walk around the Ranch “loop” is great for both mind and body, and as an added bonus, the quiet makes it ideal for recording sounds outdoors: we don’t have to fight against traffic and city noise.

Do you have a favorite film or project that you’ve been involved in?

This is a tough question. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a project that stands out in my mind both because I’m very proud of how that soundtrack turned out and because it was so much fun and flowed so smoothly. The core sound crew that came together on that film has continued on Captain America: Civil War and most recently Doctor Strange. Both those films have also become favorites for the same reasons: a fun film, a fun crew, fantastic clients, and a great-sounding track.

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