Where are you currently employed?
A couple of weeks ago, we wrapped on Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful. Now I’m back at Warners working on shows like The Mentalist, Elementary and Fringe.
Describe Your Job.
A Foley artist creates the organic sounds and sound effects that we hear in a movie or a TV show.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I was an intern at a post house/music studio. A Foley artist was on the schedule to come in and work on a movie. I thought, "Hey, that would be cool job to have!"
Who gave you your first break?
That same post house had a low-budget film come in and they couldn't get their "go-to" artist. The owner of the studio, Michael McDonald, gave me a shot. It was trial by fire doing the sounds of a lady making cookies. To get the sticky and doughy sound of the cookie batter, I used baked beans and added sand. The smell really grossed me out.
What was your first union job?
It was a TV show at Warner Bros., but I can't remember what show. I think I was too excited to be working on a studio lot to remember what show it was.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
It would have to be The Hurt Locker. So much time was spent getting the details just right — especially the scene in which the main character systematically dismantles the interior of a car searching for a detonator. Foley editor John Sanacore and I got the sounds of ripping the seats, removing the car radio and going through the engine compartment. It was a big challenge that really paid off. It's a scene I'm really proud of. I worked with sound designer and supervising sound editor Paul Ottosson on that, and this year I worked with him again on Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
On Oz: The Great and Powerful, we did the Foley for an animated character made up of delicate, fragile material. There were many layers to the sound of this character. To get the final sound took patience and teamwork. In fact, teamwork is one of things I love about doing Foley. The mixer and Foley Artist have to work in tandem to get the right sound.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Doing a cloth pass! That's an inside joke for Foley artists and Foley mixers. We all dread having to do the necessary pass over the entire soundtrack of a movie to get all the noises of characters’ clothes right. The most fun for me is coming up with mechanical sounds. It's great taking pieces of plastic, kitchen items or metal — that might be considered trash by most people — and creating the sound of a robot, for instance. Really, the best part is playback. Then you get to listen with picture to see if it drops in. Love it!
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Hopefully, I'll still be a gainfully employed Foley Artist. It's such a fun, creative and collaborative job. There's nothing like it.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
My wife Vanessa and I love to take our dogs on road trips. We just got back from Oregon. My personal hobby and passion is the guitar. I don't think I could go too long without playing.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Old School... Funny movies. I like to laugh.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
The Mentalist, Elementary, Homeland, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Person of Interest, Modern Family… I like interesting and quirky characters. These shows deliver.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I don't have one specific mentor. I cop whatever I can from people who are doing it right. Whether they are in my field or not, if they're hitting it out of the park, I can learn something from them.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Find an internship or position at a studio that has an active Foley stage. Befriend as many people at the studio as you can, and let them know you’re interested in the field. Then...have patience. Who knows, one day there may be a circumstance where you get a shot.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Not yet, but it’s nice to know they're there.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Keep positive, keep networking and keep learning. Our industry is changing fast and it’s our job to keep pace.
Compiled by Edward Landler
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