by Hollis Byram
(B.A. Public Relations & Strategic Communication and B.A. French ’18)
SMU film alumna Lauren Hadaway’s résumé is impressive.
Since graduating from Meadows in 2011 she has made a name for herself in Hollywood as a sound editor, working with remarkable teams on movies such as Justice League (2017), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Hateful Eight (2015) and several other popular films. After arriving in Los Angeles shortly after graduation, the award-winning alum worked hard, set goals and never settled.
It was as a film student at Meadows that she discovered the answer to that daunting question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Hadaway found her niche in sound editing freshman year after watching the clip of a film project in which the students replaced all the sound of an actual movie. She was hooked.
She says she moved past focusing on images because “sound influences us more than we realize. Walk around the world with earplugs in. It’s almost as disorienting as walking around with a blindfold. Sound brings images to life.”
She appreciated the small community that the film department provided, got involved in the Student Filmmakers Association and took her classes very seriously.
Hadaway says she owes her success at SMU to how much effort she invested. “I strongly believe that you get out what you are willing to put in. It’s karma, in a way.”
Road to Success
Hadaway arrived in L.A. and became frustrated with the lack of clear direction. She quickly created her own. “I began by asking myself a few questions such as, who is my favorite director? Tarantino. Who does the sound for Tarantino’s films? Wylie Stateman. Where does Wylie Stateman work? Soundelux.” She contacted the general manager of Soundelux and accepted an internship only a few days after arriving in L.A. She heard the filming of Django Unchained and thought, “Damn, it would be cool to work on this! The next one! I’ll work on the next one!” The next thing she knew she was working on Stateman’s crew supervising a voiceover session for Quentin Tarantino. She is currently working freelance for various companies and has worked on popular films such as Unbroken (2014; Golden Reel Award winner, Best Sound Editing/Dialogue and ADR), Whiplash (2014) and Pacific Rim (2013), just to name a few.
Hadaway works with other Meadows film alums on occasion, the most-recognized project being The Wedding Party (for which she was supervising sound editor), written and directed by Thane Economou (’10), shot by William Kamp III (’10), and produced by Ryan Hawkins (’10) and James Lentzsch (’10). The 2016 film, which was shot in one continuous take, is now showing on Netflix.
Being an SMU alumna, it wasn’t too long ago that Lauren Hadaway sat in the same seats as current SMU film students. She is certainly a Meadows success story and a role model for those wanting to become filmmakers. Her advice for current students? “Take classes and relationships with professors seriously. Don’t settle. Be patient.” These small, but important, reminders definitely paid off for Lauren Hadaway.
Ready to apply to SMU Film & Media Studies? Here’s how.