Sounds good: Jacobs grad records audio for TV's top reality shows

  • Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows.

    Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows. courtesy of Adam Dobosz

  • Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows.

    Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows. courtesy of Adam Dobosz

  • Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows.

    Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows. courtesy of Adam Dobosz

  • Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows.

    Adam Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, works as an audio mixer and supervisor on reality TV shows. courtesy of Adam Dobosz

 
 
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Dobosz was not sent to Paris for work, worked in the camera department and not as a cameraman on “Starting Over,” and was part of a team who won two student Regional Emmy Awards.

Adam Dobosz modestly describes himself as "the guy that puts all the microphones on everyone and records the dialogue."

But his job as a TV audio mixer and supervisor is not that simple, since he records sound mostly for reality TV shows. That can involve capturing spontaneous moments in unusual environments. For example, for Spike's "10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty," Dobosz had to hike through remote, mosquito-filled woods in the Pacific Northwest and record tiny noises and knocks in the middle of the night.

"There were signs of (Bigfoot) everywhere," he said, seriously.

Dobosz, who grew up in Gilberts and West Dundee, has recorded sound on more than 80 TV shows including "The Hills," "The Biggest Loser," "Storage Wars" and "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

It's a demanding job -- working at least 12 hours a day, six days a week, and constantly traveling to different filming locations. Dobosz estimates he's only home for about 1 months per year. There's also intense pressure to capture the sound as it happens.

"Every time they say, 'Roll!' you get that feeling, that pressure, that everything's flowing right. I always double-check everything so I don't end up stopping an entire production," he said.

Dobosz knew he wanted to work in TV since he was a student at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. He went to Southern Illinois University specifically for its TV program, which starts students on professional video and audio equipment. He earned a scholarship and was part of a team that won two student Regional Emmy Awards.

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After graduating with a radio and TV production degree in 2003, Dobosz moved back to Chicago and got a job in the camera department of the locally filmed NBC daytime reality show "Starting Over." That led to another Chicago job, on Fox's "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss." On this show, most of the crew had been flown in from Los Angeles. They worked together well.

"The crew pretty much brought me back to L.A. with them," Dobosz said. "I had a lucky, blessed path. It's who you know in this business. Someone will get a call for a job, and if they can't do it, they'll say, 'Hey, my friend Adam can.' There's very rarely a place you send a resume to. They just call you back and hire you for other shows."

After he moved to L.A., Dobosz's big break came when a friend needed someone to take over the audio on "Laguna Beach." Since he knew how to work the equipment, he did it.

"I just fell in love with doing sound," he said.

He still loves his job because the subject matter changes daily, he gets to think creatively and he works with new people on each show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"One day I'm with Paris Hilton, one day I'm with Stan Lee, or chasing Bigfoot ... you never really get bored and it never really becomes stale," he said.

Constantly being on the road is getting tougher for Dobosz, though. Now age 33, he finds himself missing his family and friends, and sometimes considers moving back to Chicago.

"It's funny, you wait your entire life to go to California, and as soon as you get here, they send you to work somewhere else," he said. "It doesn't matter where I live at this point. I don't necessarily need to be based in L.A. anymore."

Dobosz says he's reached this point in his career because of the help of others.

"This is an industry based on people helping people," he said. "I'm very blessed and honored by everyone who's helped me along the way."

-- Jamie Sotonoff

• Dann Gire and Jamie Sotonoff are always looking for people from the suburbs who are now working in showbiz. If you know of someone who would make an interesting column, email them at dgire@dailyherald.com and jsotonoff@dailyherald.com.

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