Life after SAE Student Series: Shakeel Abrahams

31 Mar 2017



Life after SAE Student Series: Shakeel Abrahams

31 Mar 2017

Life after SAE Student Series: Shakeel Abrahams 

From a very young age Shakeel Abrahams found himself gravitating towards film and music and spent many hours watching movies over and over to identify the nuances of the craft.

Wasting no time he enrolled in SAE Cape Town straight after school in 2014 with his goals firmly set on being a sound designer and content producer.

Shakeel’s go-getting attitude and sense of team work saw him get involved wherever he could from recording and mixing the Youth Day Twitter Takeover for Lead SA to being the technical supervisor for the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference and much, much more.

As well as his studies in Sound Production, his passionate interest in cinema encouraged him to add on two more elective subjects to his studies, Digital Film Production & Digital Film Post Production.

In his own words;

 “I needed to know more, to be a better audio engineer”

Having now graduated, we tracked Shakeel Abrahams down to find out where life has lead him post-SAE…

How old were you when you first knew that you wished to study sound?

I grew up with a love for music and movies, as I would hope everyone else did. With my natural admiration for music and the cinema, I deemed it was necessary for me to pursue something that would allow me to continue this acclaim for this industry. It was not until the brink of the end of my high-school career that I decided to actually do it.

Did it take much to convince your parents that this would be a good vocational choice for you?

It took as much convincing as anyone with this career choice would try to convince their parents it’s a good idea. My approach was to convince them that it was a result-orientated life and career.

It was a case of helping someone to understand that every multimedia screen in sight and every speaker or headphone that plays “media” has the potential of you being a part of it.

Secondly, as this is directed at the individual interested in the vocational studies, I had to provide evidence for myself and parents that this was going to a great decision for me. If I wanted to study music, have I picked up an instrument?

How much of your success in your studies do you think came from natural aptitude and how much was down to plain hard work?

In a nutshell, plain hard work. Your natural aptitude can always be challenged by everyone else’s natural aptitude. It is then by default that your hard work is what’s going to separate you.

During my first year at SAE, I had been introduced to people that have been doing it years before me, and had classmates who had passion that exceeded my admiration.

I told myself that if I wanted to be good, really good, I would have to show up and do the time, that being the work.          

What made you choose SAE Institute Cape Town?

I chose SAE Institute Cape Town simply for its accreditation.

I had perceived that stepping in to an institute that offered me more than the vocational skills I needed, but the knowledge to be a better creative, would surely help me exceeded in the industry, and aforementioned career choice.

Students are encouraged to get as involved as possible in side projects and anything that can enhance your studies and future and you certainly did that. Choosing to do two electives in Film though is a really good example of ‘seeing the bigger picture,’ for your future. Do you find that aside from studying sound production this has been a great help after leaving SAE?

The decision to do those electives has certainly helped reach a wider spectrum of opportunities for me. Whilst film was not part of my original interest, the film industry was, and as a sound designer being able to communicate with superior knowledge surely has separated me from a few.    

You are currently in Singapore. Are you there to investigate work opportunities or simply taking a well-deserved holiday?

A bit of both. I do take advantage of the opportunities available this side.

SAE is an internationally recognised creative college. Have you found that this works in your favour when seeking overseas employment?

SAE Institute has graciously given me a great opportunity to get my foot further in the door. I was granted interviews for my accreditation from SAE Institute and no doubt if other factors had not hindered, I would have pursued them.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time, career-wise?

My interests in audio now have already developed to where I would like to be. I have been drawn into projects involving Web-Audio API & Mobile gaming, which I steer more towards as a prime-career goal.

In five years, I wish to be deeply involved in the audio post-production industry, specifically filling the local industry positions of Foley Artist & Sound Designer.       

One piece of advice you’d like to offer future/present SAE students?

I think the best advice to give anyone, granted that from the little experience I do have, is to not deny the knowledge from others. Most of what I have come to know came from outside the class conversations, with both lecturers and classmates.

Some of my heartfelt opinions and industry knowledge came from staying back one hour at SAE to chat to Dylan Ford [Head of Sound] or Adam Goodman (Lecturer, Sound Production].

LINKS SAE Cape Town – Full & Part Time Courses