Where are you currently employed?
Digital Cinema, LLC, in New York City.
I’m re-recording mixer and co-supervising sound editor for The Americans on FX, as well as re-recording mixer on the post-production of Great Performances at the Met, and numerous documentaries.
Describe Your Job.
My job as a re-recording mixer is to present to the audience the sonic landscape that best represents the producer’s vision. This includes, but is not limited to, the balancing of all of the sound elements — dialogue, music and sound effects — of the final mix.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I, like many of my colleagues, came to sound through music. I’ve always loved music. I was a musician, studied music in college and, eventually, was drawn to the other elements making up a soundtrack that accompanies a visual medium.
Who gave you your first break?
The first was a talented and creative music mixer named Jim Vickers. He helped me get my first real job in the audio business at a facility named Regent Sound Studios, owned by Bob Liftin. This facility was one of the first to explore time-code synchronization for editing and mixing audio-for-video.
What was your first union job?
My first union job was not until many years later when I began to work on features and network series. To be honest, I don’t recall the name of the show.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
I have been mixing for over 35 years and have been blessed to have collaborated with many talented people, who allowed me to share in their vision for their projects. I am most happy to have contributed to a wide range of programming. For instance, I mixed the first season of Peewee’s Playhouse, remixed The Three Tenors for surround, mixed a great number of dramas, concerts and performances that have appeared on PBS as part of American Playhouse, Frontline, American Masters, Great Performances and American Experience, and mixed for specials and series for all the major and cable networks. I’ve also been post-production mixer on a great number of music-oriented projects with audio producer Jay David Saks, including Fantasia 2000 and the Metropolitan Opera on PBS, DVD and iTunes.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
When I was first starting in the business, the biggest challenge was to gain the trust of the producers. I really couldn’t blame them though. I looked young and was in a business — sound mixing and editing for video — that was in its infancy. We had many technical and procedural challenges. Television was broadcast in mono when I started in the business. I was fortunate to be a mixer at the advent of broadcast stereo television and, later, to see the advancement of cable television, home video (VHS, laserdisc, DVD), high definition and, eventually 5.1 and 7.1 surround.
How did I overcome these challenges? Mostly by devoting many hours to refining and improving my skills. I was fortunate to be surrounded by others who shared this goal. I was in a unique situation and welcomed the opportunity to work with artists who required audio editing and mixing for their projects.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Again, that is difficult to select one project. I believe that we have to enjoy our work. It’s part of the reason we do it. If I’m not having fun, it’s hard to be creative and collaborative.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
The same thing I’m doing now! Thank you.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I enjoy being with my wife, son, daughter and our granddaughter. I like spending time outdoors. I like to cook, especially preparing fresh vegetables and fish on the grill. Those who know me know that I have a passion for golf and improving my game.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
The Wizard of Oz. It scared me. Looking back, it made me realize the power of filmmaking. The combining of dialogue, music and sound effects that support and enhanced the stunning visuals drew me into another world. The world was in my head, and it was the same but unique experience for every member of the audience.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
I’ve always enjoyed humorous television programs. The early seasons of Green Acres still make me laugh. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle never grows old!
Do you have an industry mentor?
I had one — Jim Vickers, the music recording engineer and mixer who gave me my first break.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Be prepared to step up when the opportunity presents itself. It can be discouraging to not advance as quickly as you think you deserve to. Be patient, but be proactive. Say, “Yes,” if asked to work late or on a holiday or weekend. Those are often the times that present unique opportunities to display talents that had not been previously utilized.
As for advice on mixing: Remember, it’s not about you. When working with art — drama, dance, music and other performance-oriented programs — it’s all about the artists. We need to make them sound and look as good as possible, to assist in making their performance “work” and to translate it to the screen. As for storytelling (documentaries and drama), it’s all about the words. Everything else supports the story. If the audiences can’t hear the words, we will lose them.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Specifically, no. But to know that there is an organization that has the depth that it does is an asset.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
The entertainment industry is a special world. We get compensated to entertain, educate and inspire our audiences. We can have a great and lasting influence on our audience. We should respect the trust that they afford us.
Compiled by Ed Landler
Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on the home page of the Editors Guild website, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.