What Does A Foley Artist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Foley Artists

Foley Artists are responsible for reproducing everyday sounds using a variety of objects. They record themselves reproducing the sound effects while ensuring that the effects sync with the video footage.

No degree required

Foley Artists are often part of the sound department for film and television projects. They are typically involved in the post-production stage, helping to create the everyday sound effects that appear in the final film or TV show.

Working as a Foley Artist is an interesting job, as it involves reproducing common sounds using a variety of equipment and props. For example, a Foley Artist may crinkle a potato chip bag to reproduce the sound of a crackling fire.

The role is named after Jack Foley, a sound effects artist that worked on motion picture productions during the 1920s and 1930s.

What they do

Foley Artists are responsible for reproducing everyday sounds using a variety of objects. They record themselves reproducing the sound effects while ensuring that the effects sync with the video footage.

Reproduce and record specific sounds during post-production

Foley Artists become involved during the post-production stage, after principal photography wraps. They create the sound effects needed to represent the various non-dialogue sounds that you hear in a film.

The sounds that Foley Artists reproduce are divided into three categories. Each sound effect is used to represent footsteps, movements, or props.

For example, Foley Artists may need to reproduce the sounds of footsteps walking on a variety of surfaces. They may also need to reproduce the sounds associated with movement, such as the creaking of a couch as you stand up.

If the sound effect is not related to footsteps or movements, it belongs to the “props” category. This includes the sound of gunshots, water running, glass breaking, or thunder.

Find ways to reproduce sounds using ordinary objects

Due to decades of use in the film industry, Foley Artists have an extensive list of objects that can be used to reproduce specific sounds. For example, many Foley Artists know that you can crackle celery to simulate the sound of breaking bones. Using a rusty hinge can reproduce the sound of a squeaky door or drawer.

Foley Artists may also look for new ways to reproduce sounds. If a known technique does not produce the exact sound that the Foley Artist hopes to achieve, they may need to find a different object.

Break down scenes into a list of individual sounds

Before recording sound effects, Foley Artists need to determine which sounds are needed. During a typical recording session, the Foley Artist watches a scene and produces a list of the sounds they need to reproduce.

Foley Artists also need to determine if additional background noises are needed. For example, when shooting on-location with pedestrians walking around, the scene may need the sound of people passing by. In some cases, the background noises are captured in the field while shooting the scene. If the sounds were not captured, the Foley Artist adds them to the list.

Work with a Sound Engineer in the foley studio

Foley Artists typically work in a dedicated studio with a large stage. Foley studios often have storage rooms with thousands of objects available for recreating sounds.

The Foley Artist is part of the sound department, which includes the Recording Engineer. The Foley Artist reviews the list of sounds needed for each scene and begins reproducing them while the Recording Engineer records the audio.

Footage from the scene is typically projected onto a screen. This allows the Foley Artist to sync the sounds with the visuals.

A Supervising Sound Designer may also be involved in this process. After recording the sound effects, the Sound Designer may review the sounds and request retakes.

What is the job like


You get to play with random objects for a living

Working as a Foley Artist can be a fun experience, as you get to play with objects in a recording studio all day.

You may get to work on major projects

After you gain experience, you may get the opportunity to work on major film projects and hear the sounds that you created in a movie theater.

Working in a recording studio can be relaxing

Instead of working on a hectic film set, you get to work in a closed studio with a large assortment of objects of play with. The environment can be relaxing.

You may get to work on a variety of productions

Foley Artists are not limited to movies and television shows. You may also get to work in the video game industry or the advertising industry.


People rarely understand what you do for a living

Most people do not know what a Foley Artist does, requiring you to explain your job duties to people.

You may occasionally work long hours

If a project is facing a tight deadline, you may need to work additional hours to complete your recordings.

Where they work

Film Studios
Animation Studios
Advertising Agencies
Game Development Companies

Foley Artists are traditionally part of the film and television industries. They frequently work for film studios and production companies. The Supervising Sound Designer typically hires Foley Artists during post-production.

Foley Artists may work on animated projects for animation studios. Advertising agencies may also employ Foley Artists during the production of television commercials.

Game development companies may hire Foley Artists to create sound effects for video games. They help create the sounds of characters walking, vehicles crashing, or swords clanking.

How to become one

Step 1: Start researching the requirements of Foley Artists

Aspiring Foley Artists can learn more about this career by reading books on the topic, starting with a history of the foley arts.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s degree

There is no specific training for Foley Artists. However, some employers may still prefer to hire individuals with Bachelor’s degrees.

As you will spend most of your time in a recording studio, earning a degree in Sound Engineering, Sound Design, or Sound Mixing may improve your employability.

Step 3: Start shadowing experienced Foley Artists

You should start reaching out to experienced Foley Artists to ask if you can shadow them for the day. Watch how they perform their job while getting to know them and the Sound Engineers.

Step 4: Network with Foley Artists and Sound Engineers

Unfortunately, Foley Artists face tough competition for employment, making it difficult to enter this field. You will need to network with Foley Artists and Sound Engineers. Use your contacts to land small jobs, such as cueing a foley recording session, which involves making the list of sounds that are needed.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Foley Artists need great attention to detail, as they often need to determine what types of sounds are required for a scene based on raw video footage. Creativity is also essential, due to the need to find original ways to reproduce sounds using a variety of objects.

Foley Artists also requires patience, as they may spend most of the day trying to perfectly capture an individual sound. Along with these personality traits, Foley Artists require a keen ear for sounds and good hand-eye coordination for recreating them.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz