3Ws – Shelley Roden


What do you create?

I create and perform sounds in sync to picture for film, television, and video games. For each project, as the Foley “Artist” I perform the footsteps of characters as well as anything they touch, handle, or fall and move upon. A Foley Mixer simultaneously records these performances using two or more microphones. Sometimes I use the actual prop that you see on screen to create the sound. For example, if a character picks up a drinking glass off of a wood surface, I pick up a drinking glass off of a wood surface. In this instance, the creative opportunities are in the performance and the finesse of that object. Other creative challenges are presented when I have to invent a sound from the found materials on the Foley stage. For example, I recently created the sound of a leg being sawed off using a pine cone and a wet chamois.


Why do you create?

Our Foley team (consisting of two Artists and one Mixer) breathes life into moving pictures by capturing organic sounds to sell the idea that what you are seeing on the screen is real. We also create larger-than-life sounds to give specific moments an intended emotional impact. I enjoy connecting with each character and helping bring to life the emotions and movements they are trying to convey. I thrive on the physical challenges of lifting and slamming heavy things, or running without being able to audibly breathe for a minute-long chase scene. I love trying to achieve the balance between focusing on the details of what I must mimic on the screen and letting go so that each performance flows seamlessly and naturally. My ear enjoys participating as the musical critic, analyzing the textures and rhythms of each sound created in the moment of each performance. Most of all, I love the fun of being active and making noises, as I have needed an outlet for that since I was a child.


What do you consume?

My desire to make noises to accompany pictures was first influenced by “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. The musical sound effects were sufficient in communicating emotions without using words. I found this liberating, because as a young child I felt as Charlie Chaplin did when he said, “words seem so futile, so feeble.” During my childhood, comedy duos Laurel and Hardy as well as Abbot and Costello were my heroes. Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton have recently joined that list. I do love words very much now, and if I went to Ithaca College twenty years earlier than I did, perhaps I would have taken Rod Serling’s screenwriting class and become a writer. My favorite reads are young adult novels because they convey complex ideas so simply and succinctly. I revisit “The Witch of Blackbird Pond”‘ “A Solitary Blue”, and “The Trumpet of the Swan” again and again. I also enjoy fables, myths, and fairy tales by Herman Hesse and Grimm. I am drawn to plays like Paddy Chayefsky’s “Marty” or August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”. I indulge in serious film works by Ingmar Bergman, Carl Theodore Dreyer, and Akira Kurosawa, yet I also thoroughly enjoy films that celebrate life and its joys, like “The Music Man”, satirical films such as “A Nous la Liberte”, and of course anything with Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin.



IMDB: Shelley Roden


  1. Kathleen Riley McMahon says

    My name is Kathleen McMahon and I am a recent graduate for Holy Spirit High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. For the past few years I have aspired to work as a Foley artist. However, I am still puzzled on exactly how to become a successful Foley artist. I am writing to you in hopes that you can answer some of my questions.
    For instance, I have read where many Foley artists get their start by interning for another experienced artist. Yet I have also heard that is recommended to receive a degree in sound engineering. To which would you recommend? If it is an internship, who would you suggest I contact? If I should focus more on obtaining a degree, which schools would be a good fit for an aspiring Foley artist? Finally, after I have gained the experience needed, where should I contact to begin my career as a Foley artist?
    I know you have a busy schedule so I want to thank you for taking the time to help answer my questions. By doing so you are really helping me get a better understanding of the career path I have chosen to pursue. I eagerly await your response

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