Where are you currently employed?
The Formosa Group at The Lot in West Hollywood.
A historic rescue-at-sea feature for Disney called The Finest Hours, to be released early in 2016.
Describe Your Job.
My responsibilities consist of gathering all source material from sound editorial and preparing it for mixing. That includes incorporating these elements into a mixer’s mix template. If I am provided with a mix session then, along with our engineering staff, I make sure that all Pro Tools plug-ins are authorized and the session is set up correctly on the console and I make adjustments as necessary.
I need to be on the same page with the sound supervisors, mixers and post production supervisors as to which format (5.1, 7.1, Atmos) we will be working in and which stems (DIA, MX, SFX, etc.) they would like to record. I will take all of that information and build a recorder session that will be fed from the aforementioned mix units and the most updated version of picture. As we finish a project, I am also responsible for creating the final sound deliverables, which will become the masters of that particular show. Basically, I like to think of my job as trying to make the lives of everyone who steps onto my stage a little bit easier.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I’ve always been a huge movie fan, but when I began studying in college I was more interested in music engineering. Then, during the spring of my junior year, I came to LA to study for a semester and interned at Danetracks Recording Studio. That’s where I got to see the film sound post-production workflow up close. It was at that point I knew this was the path for me.
Who gave you your first break?
My first job was at Widget Post Production, which at the time was a very small post house. It began to expand rapidly soon after I began working there. Widget founders Brian and Anne-Marie Slack gave me my first job and I am forever grateful to them.
What was your first union job?
Widget unionized while I was employed there due to their rapid expansion, so I was sponsored by their people who were already Editors Guild members.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
I’ve really enjoyed working on The Finest Hours due to the massive scope of the film and sound job required to bring it all to life. An earlier career highlight would have to be The Tree of Life. Terrence Malick is unlike any other director out there; watching that film come together was an unforgettable experience that I feel fortunate to have had a small role in.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Working in Dolby Atmos has provided new challenges for all of us. We are forced to adapt traditional workflows to this new, immersive sound world. Every mixer and sound supervisor works a bit differently, so making them all comfortable on the mixing stage while incorporating this new technology into their workflows has been a great challenge. But it's exciting and very rewarding to see the power of what the Atmos system can do for a film soundtrack.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
On the comedy film Hot Pursuit with Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara, the entire crew was wonderful and hilarious — from director Anne Fletcher on down. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as heartily each day as I did on that mix.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to be able to take the next step into re-recording mixing.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I’m a music lover and have played the drums for over 25 years but, since I have a two-year old son, there isn’t as much free time to just bang around like I used to. I also enjoy watching sports and getting in a good workout whenever possible.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
My two all-time favorites would have to be The Shawshank Redemption and To Kill a Mockingbird. Each one had a profound impact on me when I was younger. I remember watching Mockingbird in middle school and it was definitely the most powerful film I had ever seen. Seeing Atticus Finch stand up for what he believes, and instilling those values in his two children while living in such turbulent times, made me feel the true power of cinema. Watching Shawshank in high school was as transcendent an experience as I can remember. The story, screenplay, performances, cinematography, sound and score were just sublime. It’s one of the first films I can remember that really piqued my interest in pursuing post-production as a career.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
I love Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad like everyone else, but give me reruns of Seinfeld and The Simpsons any day. The comedy writing on those shows still gets me every time.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
A strong knowledge of Pro Tools and audio signal flow is essential in today’s digital world. A lot of what I do is problem solving — and being able to do that quickly and creatively is paramount to a successful mix. It also helps to be organized. Since everything is computerized these days, file management has become the name of the game. On a large show, you can quickly get overwhelmed without having a good system in place to manage the appropriate media.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Being able to find that work/personal life balance is what I think those of us in post-production struggle with the most. The combination of trying to find consistent work and working long hours can take a toll on one's entire family. It’s important to have a strong support system at home and at work to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle.
Compiled by Edward Landler
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