Book Review – Beneath the Boom Pole by Patrushkha Mierzwa

Beneath the Boom Pole: The Art & Science of Boom Operating for Movies & TV is the 2nd book written by veteran production sound professional Patrushkha Mierzwa. Whereas the author’s first book focused on the role of the Sound Utility / Utility Sound Technician (UST), this recent release focuses on the more widely known Boom Operator role.

While there are various books that discuss aspects of production or location sound, few focus solely on production sound and there are none that I am aware of that specifically focuses on the boom operator role.

The author, with several decades of experience on production sound teams in the USA on some top Hollywood productions (including a number of Quentin Tarantino’s films) takes on a mentoring role throughout the book, helping guide boom ops, both current and emerging, through what is crucial for a successful and healthy career in the role. Mierzwa is very open and sharing in the book, which includes some great anecdotes from her career in the field.

Mierzwa notes that “it’s not easy to explain how to boom” and that “for every instruction, there are exceptions.”, so while there are some tips about booming techniques and methods, the main focus of the book is on all the other aspects of the job that are just as important, but more able to be taught without your hands on the equipment.

This includes aspects such as personality traits that are useful for the role, pre-production including negotiations, interactions with other teams on the crew, and just how to be a good team player for the better of the film and the crew overall. Mierzwa is from the USA and so some aspects such as details around unions are more relevant to those in the USA, but she also includes some details relevant to the UK film industry, and most other countries have equivalents, or could learn from industry practices in the USA and UK.

A large section of the book is dedicated to occupational health and safety considerations, including general safety on shoots, weather considerations, gun and special FX hazards and more. This content is important for people undertaking such a physical job as boom operating, where there are many potential risks depending on what the production presents.

This book is valuable reading for all current and aspiring boom operators. We can all learn something from others in the field, and Mierzwa has decades of experience distilled here to share. It also has some great info for anyone involved in production sound, but would have limited appeal outside of that.

Beneath the Boom Pole: The Art & Science of Boom Operating for Movies & TV is available in eBook and hard copy formats from Amazon and other suppliers.

My review of Mierzwa’s first book Behind the Sound Cart: A Veteran’s Guide to Sound on the Set can be read here:


Beneath the Boom Pole: The Art & Science of Boom Operating for Movies & TV

Patrushkha Mierzwa

Published by Mark and Patrushkha, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-7362900-4-0 (print) 978-1-7362900-5-7 (ebook)

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