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Past Featured Members

Darleen Stoker - Sound Editor

October 2009


Where are you currently employed?

Warner Bros. Studios (15 years)
What are your current projects?
Men of A Certain Age for TNT, and ABC’s Happy Town.
Describe Your Job.
as a dialogue and ADR editor, I collaborate with the client to resolve sound issues
on a show. A scene with technical sound difficulties can be re-cut with alternate takes,
or the actors can be brought in to re-record their performance on a stage. Scenes with rain, heavy traffic and surf generally need extra love and care. Generators running on set
and machine noise need to be carried thru the scene to give it a seamless background.
With our ProTools system I am able to cut in an alternate word to help with a clunk on a line or whole scene. I can also make a loop from the heavy background to backfill a scene so the sound continues and doesn’t drop out. 
I also work with the sound supervisor to decide what can be saved by re-cutting from other takes or if the talent needs to revoice the scene. I also ask the dialogue mixer what magic he can bring to help out questionable sound. I then prepare the cut tracks so the mixers can take out hum and other sounds that make it difficult to hear the dialogue. The sound assistants need to be given a ton of credit. They prepare the picture, tracks and ready the session for my work. With multi-track recordings, their job is very involved. They are the gatekeepers to my job; it’s a collaborative dance we do. I love that aspect of my job.
How did you become interested in this line of work?
After graduating from LMU in ’84, I went to work as an intern at Cinesound, a family- run post sound company in Hollywood. When my internship ended, they started me in the machine room, loading 16mm and 35mm mag.   But I ended up doing anything there that was needed. I recorded ADR, scored effects, edited tape, walked Foley and painted the walls if that was what was needed. One day, they decided to add editorial to their list of services, and soon I was learning to cut on a Waveframe, an early digital audio workstation. At Cinesound, I was sitting squarely on the “hot seat;” no trial and error, you just did it!
Who gave you your first break? 
Bruce Honda, who was the recordist at Cinesound, was my entry to the wonders of post sound. 
What was your first union job?
Cutting dialogue for the TV series Weird Science, which went on air in 1985. Barry Snyder at Warner Bros. got me the job, and later on gave me what he called the “Fortunate Award” (as a joke) because of my luck with how I started in sound.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Working with my sound supervisor Walter Newman on ER--what a fabulous and wild ride! I was fortunate to work on that show for 13 years. The collaboration and rapport we on the crew had with each other was a once in a career experience. About two times each season, we would look forward to an action-intensive show that would allow us to highlight our skills. The whole sound crew from effects--dialogue, Foley and music-- would be abuzz with excitement; we’d show each other the sounds we created, and proudly attended the dubbing sessions to hear the mixers add their magic. ER is one of the few shows I’ve worked on where you can give and get feedback from the picture department, writers, producers, directors; really the whole cast and crew. We became a family, and attended parties with our children and co-workers. When I watch old episodes, I remember late nights cutting and mixing, and the great feeling of accomplishment in creating a soundscape that enhanced the impact of the show.
What was your biggest challenge in your job and how did you overcome/solve it?
Generally, it’s dealing with a show’s late turnaround. You’d ask your co-workers to pitch in, since the show was dubbing one day and airing the next. Everyone would do their best and was happy to help out. But with the time and budget constraints that have become more common today, there’s less of that kind of group effort.  
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Duct taping an editor’s door shut. Midnight brownie runs to Bob’s Big Boy. Photoshopping co-workers’ faces onto vintage Warner Bros. stars. My co-workers
are very funny. It lightens up the stress of our workload and the long hours.
Job-wise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now? 
Hopefully, I’ll be cutting more dialogue on TV shows. I enjoy my job and love making creative decisions.
Favorite movie?
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World--A collection of the funniest comedians and actors of its day. Just don’t “kick the bucket!”
Favorite TV Program?
All of KCET’s programming. I love the specials on current topics, art and travel. Tavis Smiley is always uplifting and Masterpiece Theater finishes my Sunday nights.
Do you have an industry mentor?  
Sound editor Karen Spangenberg. She has had a long and colorful career, beginning in San Francisco working with Saul Zaentz at Fantasy Studios. Her list of credits iså impressive, and she’s always there to give guidance and remind me that our job is a craft that is special and unique.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Wow! Do it all. Supervise, cut, mix and deliver.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
The Guild has always been there to clarify any questions I have had with regards to benefits.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members?
Fight the good fight!

--Michael Kunkes

Interested in Being Featured?

Tomm Carroll
Publications Director
323.876.4770, ext. 222