Alex Reaper Goes From Bluey To Ed Sheeran
SAE graduate turns the volume up on her career.
Alex Reaper is a 23 year old audio engineer, and graduate of the SAE Creative Media Institute. The Queenslander’s five year career has already seen her working on over 200 live shows, including those for Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Lorde, Elton John, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, U2, Snoop Dog, Queen, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Bon Iver.
Most recently she worked on Ed Sheeran’s record-breaking Australian tour, earlier this year. “I was with the touring crew for eight days, and a team of us would be putting up six steel masts — working with almost eight kilometres of power cables — and we’d be doing everything from audio to lighting,” Alex said. “I got the chance to chat to Ed and he was lovely. He was so grateful for what we do, because he was well aware of how big the production is — it’s massive!”
Alex did the accelerated two year Bachelor of Audio degree at SAE Brisbane. The transferable skills that she learnt at SAE, helped her secure paid employment in the live music industry. “Learning about teamwork and organisation — you can’t underestimate how valuable that is,” she shared.
Alex also described how the growth of her audio and communication skills that she gained while studying made her the audio engineer and person she is today. “Aside from learning the fundamental audio skills that you need to be successful in live sound, being able to build on my interpersonal skills changed my life,” she said. “There’s no way I could have stepped into the industry, and have the career I’ve had so far, without those experiences at SAE.”
Learning from lecturers who have had first-hand experience of life in the audio industry has helped Alex to get where she is now. “I really loved talking to the lecturers about live sound, and networking,” she said. “They were really knowledgeable about the industry and didn’t sugar coat it, which was exactly what I needed.”
Alex went on to discuss how the opportunity to work on the hit TV series Bluey came up. “I wouldn’t have gotten that gig if one of my lecturers hadn’t recommended I attend an APRA meeting on ‘promoting females in the industry’, back in 2017. I was the only one from my cohort who went, and through it met a lady called Jazz.” The value of networking paid off in 2020 when Jazz reached out to Alex. Jazz was leaving her role at Ludo Studios to start work on a feature film and wanted to discuss the position that was about to become available there.
“She was so impressed by me at that APRA meeting that she put my name forward, recommending I step into her role. This position involved partnering with the animation and composition teams, mixing the audio, as well as session management between disciplines on the show,” Alex said. “It sounds simple, but networking is critical to building connections and gaining employment opportunities.”
SAE Australia General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan commented on the value of the skills SAE’s lecturers impart on their students, and commended Alex on her achievements since graduating. “SAE prides itself on having lecturers with strong industry connections, and who can provide current and relevant knowledge to students so that they can be work ready upon graduation,” Dr McMillan said. “It’s fantastic to hear of the successes of graduates such as Alex, and how she’s applied the learnings. She’s an inspiration to all our current students.”
Photo credit: Emma Kalcevic.