An Interview with Freja Printz owner of Printz Sound in Denmark
Jessica (J): You mentioned you run a company called Printz Sound, how did you get into that and what do you do daily?
Freja (F): I have a Bachelor's Degree in Sound Design. I started my own one-person firm so it was just me in the beginning and I got busier about half a year ago. I had too much work so I upgraded my business to allow me to hire more people to help with the work. I am the owner of the company, I am a Sound Designer, I communicate with clients but I am also a Sound Recordist so I go out on location, sometimes as a Boom Operator or as a Sound Mixer. I do a bit of everything. We are just so busy. There is just a lot of work. We have 3 people to take care of the assignments. There is me that works on-set and in post-production, there is Kristina and she also does both and we have Mathias who is a Musician, Film Composer and Sound Mixer. We all come from the same school and have a degree in Sound Design.
J: What’s something that you’ve been working on recently?
F: Every time I get this question I forget what I have done. Everything is rolling and going so fast but last week we closed a documentary we have been working on. We are working on a feature film right now called Asphalt which is about a father driving his truck neglecting his daughter. We have a lot of projects at the same time so right now Kristina and Mathias are working on the feature film and I have been doing the documentary. On Monday I start shooting a TV series, Kristina will start on a feature film so there are a lot of different projects running.
J: It’s good that you’re getting a lot of work.
F: It is good. Earlier we worked on some big Danish movies that are in the theatre now, we have worked on a documentary where I was the Sound Recordist which was well accepted by the critics. I was a Boom Operator on a big Danish movie that will come out in 2 weeks, it’s called Hvidstengruppen and it’s a movie about the Second World War and the Danish Resistance Group. I have worked on some pretty big projects here in Denmark that I am very proud of.
J: Do you prefer working on set or on post-production?
F: I prefer both. I get this question all the time and I can’t answer. I’m kind of a social person so I think I would go crazy if I just sat in a studio all day long by myself. I also think it’s so mentally heavy to be on set all the time. Physically and mentally I get drained and tired when I’m on set. It would be tough to be on set all my life so I think it’s good for me to have both, it’s the perfect balance for me.
J: It’s good to have a bit of a balance. How do you make sure to have a good work-life balance and make sure you have a social life?
F: I don’t. That’s crazy. I run a company so when I'm not on set I have to answer emails, take calls and make sure Kristina and Mathias are doing their part. I need to communicate all the time. Honestly, I am very bad at having that work-life balance. I know I'm very career-driven and I know in the future I want to have a family so I will need that balance at some point but why now? I am young and very driven and I want to be one of the leading sound houses in Denmark. I want to make the most of the opportunities we have right now. Right now I just work and I don’t see many friends. I have a lot of friends who work in the film industry so I get my social needs from that.
J: A Lot of people say they don’t have a social life but because they work in an industry that’s quite social it makes up for it anyway.
F: Yeah exactly, Honestly I really don’t want to see people when I get home from set, I just want to relax and sleep.
J: When you are working on-set, what is one piece of equipment that you couldn’t live without?
F: That’s a good question. I love all my equipment, I'm like a little geek, they’re my babies. I love love love my Sound Devices 833 and the Scorpio, I think they are so pretty and they work brilliantly. Also if I had to choose I really need my shotgun and my boom pole. I am not the strongest and I believe everyone can be a Boom Operator, it's just about the equipment. I have been on sets where they have been given a Boom Pole and a Shotgun which are so heavy and that is not something I can carry for the whole production. So the Boom pole and Mic are important to me as I know I have to carry them for so long.
J: What Shotgun Mic are you using at the moment?
F: My favourite to use is the Schoeps CMIT but I also like the DPA 4017 which I'm enjoying and sometimes it works better but my favourite is the Schoeps CMIT.
J: Good choices. How long have you been working in location sound?
F: I have been working professionally for 2 years, so for 2 years I have been making feature films. Before that, you have to do a lot of Freelance and short films. I have worked on-set for about 6 years. I also worked during education at the weekends for work experience. My education was a lot of Sound Design but I knew I wanted to be on set also so I had to teach myself so I did a lot of work experience during school. In school, you can learn such and such but you have to get out there, learn by doing.
J: I agree. It gives you good life experiences. Was there anyone or anything in particular that inspired you to get into this industry?
F: No. I knew I always wanted to work on films and I never really thought of it in terms of sound, I didn’t think it was a big part of the film industry. Before I have never been technical, I have always thought that I have never seen women in the technical aspect, I always thought I should be a producer or something and not technical. I started in a one-year film school to find out what I wanted to do. I got to try different departments but I got a feel for the sound department. In my head, I had it that I’m not technical and I wasn’t good enough. But then my friends told me that I was good in the sound department if they didn’t tell me I don’t think this is what I would be doing as I needed someone to tell me because in my head I was saying I’m not good at it I’m just doing this for fun.
J: Do you get to travel quite a lot with your job or do you just stay in Denmark?
F: I am based in Denmark and my work is here but with some films, we get to travel. The film I was talking about, the one about World War 2. We got to go to Riga in Latvia to do some filming. I have never worked on an international movie.
J: Is it something that you’d want to do?
F: Yes of course it would be cool. I want to do that in the future and I want to get better at English to feel more comfortable about travelling. I’ve always said I want to conquer Denmark as there is a lot of work in Denmark before I go anywhere else. For right now I am fine with Denmark.
J: When working in the industry have you ever noticed being mistreated or treated differently because you are a woman?
F: It’s hard to say because I don’t know how other people have been treated. The short answer is yes. I think people have spoken to me differently and have come onto me pretty strongly, especially during wrap parties, some colleges have been very forward and flirting. I think it is unprofessional. I am also pretty sure I have not been chosen because of my gender and that is a big problem. I know big companies in Denmark have the mindset that women can’t be Boom Operators because they are too weak. I know some of the big ones in Denmark don't want to work with women on set because they think that we are too short or too weak to handle it. That is crazy. In our school, where I got my degree, we had a guest lecture and he told the whole class that women are too weak and too short to be boom operators. There were women there that were wishing to do well in that business. He was not invited back the next year and now I'm teaching that class at that school.
J: That’s so good! Good for you, teach him a lesson. That’s a good story.
F: There are a lot of people out there that won’t want to hire you because you’re a woman but I don’t want to work with those people. There are people out there that will want to hire you, some will hire you because they want to change the industry. I also think I have been hired sometimes because of my gender. When Kristina and I are out on set together we get so many compliments and praise because they think it’s so cool to see women on set. Actors and talent are always pleased to see us because they have been so used to having men on set.
J: That’s good. Do you have any advice for women wanting to get into this industry or any other industry that is heavily male-dominated?
F: It’s hard to give advice but just do it. If someone tells you you can’t do it because of your gender then don’t listen to them because that’s rubbish. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do anything you want to do.
J: That’s good advice. I think a lot of people take a step back and I think you have to be quite strong in the industry anyway. You have to stick to your guns and if someone says something then let it go.
F: Yeah, that’s true. I feel like a strong person but I’m also a very sensitive person and I think there is space for everyone, also the sensitive ones and there has to be, you have to claim the space. I think there is a space for everyone.
If you would like to check out Freja's work then please click any of the links below.