From College of Arts and Sciences audio technology to an international career in sound editing
How AU alum Rebeca Lindenfeld combined her passions for sound and science
Growing up, Rebeca Lindenfeld was drawn to the magic of film and television.
“From a very young age, I was passionate about sound, music and motion pictures,” Lindenfeld said. “I remember in the beginning … I wanted to be like a lead singer or an actress in a movie but then as I grew older I realized I wanted to be more behind the scenes.”
Lindenfeld’s interests extended beyond music and movies — she also had a curiosity for science and wanted to find a career path that involved both. This led her to the world of sound engineering and audio technology.
Lindenfeld is originally from Caracas, Venezuela but decided to pursue college programs in the U.S. She discovered American University’s audio technology program in the College of Arts and Sciences, which allowed her to engage her creative passions, while making use of her knowledge of physics and sound behavior to edit audio.
During her time at AU, Lindenfeld said she took advantage of internship opportunities and got to experience a little bit of everything within the field of post-production work.
Associate Professor of Audio Technology Paul Oehlers met Lindenfeld her freshman year and said he immediately noticed how seriously she took her studies. Lindenfeld scored the highest in Oehlers’ Fundamentals of Audio Technology class that semester, he said.
“She was very self-started,” Oehlers said. He added, “She looked for every opportunity she could possibly get to further her higher education.”
Lindenfeld knew she wanted to go to Los Angeles after college, in hopes of finding work at a post-production company. During her last year at AU, she started contacting West Coast employers and took a trip to Los Angeles over spring break to meet with companies.
Less than a week after graduating in 2018 with a combined bachelor's and master’s degree in audio technology from the College of Arts and Sciences, Lindenfeld moved across the country and began working as a summer intern at UGOSOUND Studios.
By the end of the summer, her networking efforts had paid off and Lindenfeld received an email from her future boss at The Walt Disney Company saying they were interested in hiring her.
“To this day, I really don’t know how they got my resume,” Lindenfeld said. She added, “That’s why I always say to students, always contact, just send it. It doesn’t matter if they don’t reply or they say no, you’re not losing anything.”
While at The Walt Disney Company, Lindenfeld worked on the audio heard in advertising spots for TV shows on ABC like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Good Doctor,” “American Idol” and the “Oscars.”
Lindenfeld’s student visa only permitted her to stay in the U.S. for one year after graduation for Optional Practical Training. OPT gives international students the opportunity to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months during or after their studies.
In anticipation of leaving The Walt Disney Company when her student visa expired, Lindenfeld began applying for jobs and sending out her resume to post-production companies all over the world.
In June 2019, Lindenfeld was hired by Deluxe, an American media creation-to-distribution company with locations globally and moved to Madrid, Spain, where she has been working for the past two years.
Some of Lindenfeld's titles include “Veneno” on HBO Max, “El Cid” on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix’s “Sounds Like Love” and “The Mess You Leave Behind.” She is currently working as dialogue editor and supervisor for an upcoming Netflix series “Tu No Eres Especial.”
“One that was very important to me was ‘Veneno’ on HBO Max,” Lindenfeld said.
The HBO Max original tells the powerful story of transgender Spanish singer, actor and icon La Veneo. Lindenfeld said working on “Veneno” was so special because it allowed her to discover her strength as a dialogue editor.
Another project Lindenfeld is particularly proud of is Pedro Almodovar’s “Madres Paralelas,” a drama following the stories of two mothers who give birth on the same day. The film has been nominated for a number of awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
While her time in Madrid has certainly been affected by the coronavirus, Lindenfeld said she had a lot of work to do because shows that were recorded before COVID-19 still needed to be edited.
Lindenfeld has high hopes for the future of audio technology, on both a personal and industry wide level. She said she has noticed more women being elevated to positions of leadership and wants young women to feel empowered to pursue their career goals.
As for her own career goals, Lindenfeld’s dreams of Hollywood movie magic are still alive even as she works from Spain.
“Eventually I would like to move back to the U.S.,” Lindenfeld said. “My goal is to work in Skywalker Sound, which is where they do design for Star Wars, Marvel, Disney. I think the best in the industry work there.”
Oehlers said he thinks Lindenfeld sets a great example for other students.
“It’s really encouraging for me to see her doing so well,” Oehlers said. “She came in with not much of a background in audio … so it shows that just putting in the hard work will pay off.”