Gloria Pitagorsky is the managing director at Heard City, an audio post-production company in New York City that serves the advertising, film and television industries. A producer, philanthropist, mother, activist and eighteen-year veteran of the industry, Pitagorsky also serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Food Bank for New York City, a hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, David, and fourteen-year-old son, Jayson.
What is something people misunderstand about audio post-production? Some people think that audio is one of the last steps in the production process and they don’t have to think about it until later, but that’s not the case. We work with some of the best folks in the industry and they will often send us their boards so we can determine how much time it will take to sound design and mix, and how much time we’ll need in advance of the mix session. We’ll look for any potential production problems that could arise during post and we'll also start thinking of ways to enhance the sound design. Collaborating with our clients on pre-production and discussing ways to maximize productivity has always been key to the way we work.
Why did you start Heard City?
My colleagues Phil Loeb, Keith Reynaud and I had a very specific workflow philosophy and business model that we wanted to implement. We envisioned a company with a great profit-sharing model that would benefit our talented mixers and producers, so launching Heard City seemed like the natural thing to do.
Why do you feel it’s important to support women in film? A recent Celluloid Ceiling study reported that women accounted for only 16 percent of directors, writers, producers and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2013. We’ve seen progress in recent years but clearly there is still more work to do. We must continue raising awareness of gender disparity issues in the industry by supporting great female directors, executive producers, editors and mixers.
What personal influences or experiences have had the biggest impact on your work? My grandmother and mother raised me, and they both had a strong sense of community, so I learned that one of the most important things is taking time to create meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues and be an active member of the community. It’s a small industry and we’ve watched each other grow, move, change and evolve in so many ways. We are all dealing with similar issues and opportunities, so it’s exciting to watch co-workers and colleagues thrive both professionally and personally.
What has been your favorite client project, and why? This year we were fortunate enough to have worked on several great feature films. Three of them, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Jamie Marks Is Dead and Low Down, were selected to premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Blue Ruin, another feature mixed at Heard City, was recently released to rave reviews. We were honored to collaborate with such fantastic filmmakers and to see their projects come to fruition.
Do you have any advice for people just entering the field? Do your research and try to set up an internship with an established company or person. This can be invaluable when it comes to breaking into the industry. If there is a job opening at Heard City, we often ask our colleagues for referrals. People recognize talent, commitment and passion, and will be happy to pass your résumé around.