Production Sound & Video

Spring 2023

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 43

22 PRODUCTION SOUND & VIDEO – Spring 2023 All in the Family But first a bit of context. When I was in my late twenties and first starting out, one of my first real jobs was to take day calls at Universal Studios— working on the lot when a production mixer would need a brief replacement, or a day of pickup shots would be added to a sitcom. They would call me the night before. I would always be quite excited, and of course as a novice, I was scared to death. Boom Operator Bob Jackson and I would go in early on those days and walk from stage to stage and try to glean what was going on with the various shooting crews. Bob had been in the business longer than I had, so he was trying to bring me up to speed and to show me the ropes. But at Universal, we would see these decrepit old sound teams, boom operators collapsed onto five-step ladders, mixers huddled over Perfectone mix panels, and we would think— oh my god, when we are their ages, we do NOT want to be doing this anymore! But then the years go by, and the business kind of gets under your skin. That place where the camera is rolling and the actors are performing is to me one of the most magical places in the universe. I'm actually probably a bit older now than those old guys we were aghast at seeing working at Universal, but I still absolutely love the set and the process of filmmaking. Notes on the Production Sound for The Fabelmans Back in April of 2021, while working in Los Angeles on a project for Disney, I started hearing rumors from the crew about a Steven Spielberg project that was in the early stages of coming together for later in the year. At that point, I hadn't worked with Steven since The BFG in 2016, so I wondered if I would be on the call list for an LA-based production. I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes it seems that the only real feedback we receive from a producing group about our work is that we get a call from them to bring us back the next time around. by Ron Judkins Since those days, I have been lucky to have worked on sixteen movies with Steven Spielberg, beginning with Hook in 1991 to last year on The Fabelmans. Each has been unique, with its own set of joys and challenges. I have often felt that with Steven, the entire production crew is often asked to work slightly beyond the scope of their normal abilities. In the moment, this can be intensely stressful, but is ultimately gratifying as you feel your capabilities and expertise expanding over time. As an example—when we were filming Saving Private Ryan in Ireland, the landing craft scenes at the beginning of the film had been scheduled to be filmed on stage with dump tanks and the landing craft mounted on pneumatic rams for motion. But toward what we thought was the end of a day filming on the beach near Cork, a storm was approaching. Steven decided to shoot the major landing craft scenes right then and there. The weather would provide a dramatic background to the filming. We only had a forty-five-minute window to get the entire scene in the can before the storm would arrive in full fury, so we raced to haul camera, grip, and sound gear onto the hero landing craft. There was no time to consult the script, so as I climbed on board

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Production Sound & Video - Spring 2023