CAS Quarterly

Spring 2018

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MEET THE WINNERS 42 S P R I N G 2 0 1 8 C A S Q U A R T E R L Y Silicon Valley "Hooli-Con" by Devendra Cleary CAS HBO's comedy series Silicon Valley follows Silicon Valley engineer Richard Hendricks as he tries to build his company, Pied Piper. Production sound mixer Ben Patrick CAS and re-recording mixers Elmo Ponsdomenech and Todd Beckett brought home the award in our Television Half-Hour category for the ninth episode of Season 4, "Hooli-Con." Ben Patrick CAS: Production Sound Mixer I sat down with Ben Patrick on a quiet Tuesday at his house nestled in the hills above Laurel Canyon. We settled into his cozy reading room and started our chat. Talk to me about where you are from and some of your upbringing. I'm from Iowa City, Iowa, where both my folks taught at the University of Iowa in the art department. I went to school in Saint Paul, Minnesota, at a school called Macalester College, [but] I didn't study sound or film there. What did you study in college? I was a humanities, journalism minor. It's basically literature, philosophy, and art history. I did do a lot with the radio station and also mixed live bands. I was a musician, too. I grew up playing piano and then played in a lot of bad punk rock bands in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. What sparked your interest in getting into this field? When I finished up school, I interned and then worked at Minnesota Public Radio and at KFAI, Fresh Air Radio, which was another community public radio station up in Minneapolis. I did that and painted houses for the next two years, and then I went back to grad school in my hometown of Iowa City in the film department. I went to study film theory and film history to become a teacher. But then I got really into the production side of it and making 16mm films and having access to their facilities was really great. The business hooks you in! I really thought I was going to go be a teacher but the last year of grad school, I ended up being a PA on a movie shooting outside of Chicago and I met the sound mixer there named Chat Gunter who teaches at NYU, still to this day. He was still mixing things in the summertime. He sometimes sends his students my way and I try to help them when I can. Who are some of your mentors? And he sounds like he's one of them. Chat was definitely a big mentor and he had such an easy way about approaching work. He would say, "Just try to keep it simple and keep in mind what's important for what you're doing at the time." So, I sold all my stuff and then came to Los Angeles with three phone numbers that Chat gave me. He's a great teacher and just a good person. Any other mentors that you'd want to bring up, like maybe once you got to Los Angeles? The first people I met were at Location Sound and Coffey Sound. John Coffey was super-friendly and very supportive as was Lee Strosnider. Lee was a mixer who also rented out gear. Sadly, he passed away not too long ago. Lee was great. He used to say, "Come on in and I'll show you how to wire stuff up and solder it." I used to rent his Vega wireless because I had really no equipment and I would try to rent exactly whatever a little job needed, and just eventually try to build the sound kit. Also [there was] Rick Waddell, another mixer here in LA. He used to quiz me, asking questions like, "So what are you gonna do if this happens and what are you gonna do if you get all the way out there to the desert and this happens?" Production sound mixer Ben Patrick CAS Re-recording mixers Elmo Ponsdomenech and Todd Beckett

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