Humber College Film and Television Production program graduate Katie Halliday recently won her second Primetime Emmy Award as sound effects editor for the popular Netflix series Stranger Things.
Humber Today recently caught up with Halliday to find out how it feels to win another Emmy, what it’s like to work on the hit show and how her time at Humber prepared her for her career.
HT: How does it feel to win your second Primetime Emmy for your work on Stranger Things in just three years?
KH: It’s really nuts! I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by the people I get to work with to make such fun content. It’s been surreal. I still don’t really know how I should feel, but I’m so proud of my peers and myself for what we’ve achieved on this show.
HT: Can you tell us about your job on Stranger Things and what you do?
KH: Sound effects editor is my title. I contribute to all the sounds that are created and edited for the show – from car engines to the slimy squelches of Vecna’s vines. I have other duties as well in this show. It’s a very quick moving and complicated workflow, so while I contribute to editing scenes in the editorial stage of post-production sound (which comes before we mix the episodes), I also sit on the mixing stage with the Duffer Brothers, for when they have notes of sound effects to add. For example, if something needs a little added grossness or violence, I’m there to sweeten what we have for them. I also edit in all the updated visual effects as they are sent to the mix stage, which, as you can imagine, is a full-time job on its own.
HT: Was the win for your work on season four of Stranger Things, episode seven "The Massacre at Hawkins Lab?"
KH: That’s correct! Seven happens to be my favorite episode from Volume 1. It has some very fun scenes with the Demogorgon, who I love both as a concept and from a sound perspective.
HT: Why did you want to enrol at Humber and how did it prepare you for your career?
KH: When I found the Film and Television Production program at Humber, I wasn’t completely certain I knew what I wanted to do. I took an interest in it because of my love for movies and television. Did I want to direct or be a cinematographer? I had no idea. But, by being able to learn the practical aspects of each department by doing them, I was able to find where my passions lay, which was in sound. In the final year of the program, I did my internship at a studio that ended up hiring me afterward and the rest is history.
HT: How did the Film and Television Production program lead to you working in sound?
KH: Humber gave me both the learning tools and support to recognize and pursue a career I love.
HT: How did the Stranger Things job come about?
KH: In this industry, it truly is about who you know. When I moved to Los Angeles, one of my first points of contact professionally was Craig Henighan. Funnily enough, at one of our first lunch meetings together when I asked what he was working on, he said “this wild new show for Netflix called Stranger Things.” Craig, a fellow Canadian, has always been a great supporter and helped however he could with my career. Around 2018, he reached out asking if I wanted to join the team for season three of Stranger Things. I immediately said yes, of course! I had been a fan of the show before I had ever known I’d work on it one day.
HT: What is it about your job that you enjoy, and do you hope to continue working in sound editing?
KH: What I enjoy most about my job is the creative, storytelling aspect. I’m a creative person first and foremost. While sound editing, design and mixing are crafts you can learn, they also require a creative intuition and storytelling drive. This work is also ever-changing. Every show requires a new approach and has new challenges and opportunities to get messy and have fun. It has its bad days, with the same stresses and downsides as any other job, but I go to work with a happy heart most days, which is something to be very grateful for. I imagine I’ll be doing this until I retire, or until my ears fall off!
You can find out more about Halliday’s career by visiting her IMDB page.