ASK A PRO: SOUND – PART 3 A Q&A WITH ARRAN MURPHY
Part 3: That Columbo Sounds Like A Real Peach
Welcome to Part 3 of our interview with veteran sound mixer Arran Murphy. In today’s episode, we hear lots of fun stories. Like that one about Mike Tyson’s promoter; and that one about the White House; and that one about Peter Falk flipping out over a piece of shoe foam.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you on a film set?
That’s actually a tough one to answer because I’ve had so many great experiences on set over the years that it’s hard to pin point a specific moment. In general, it’s the times I’ve spent shooting out-of-state because when a film crew from L.A is in a new town, they’re not in their normal environment or around their normal set of friends. So you become each other’s social life for that time and that’s where you form the best bonds with people. I can talk about a time when I worked with a film crew from Australia who were in the states shooting a boxing documentary. We spent five weeks on the road traveling around the U.S interviewing some of the biggest names in boxing. One morning in Washington D.C, we checked out of our hotel and drove to a small office to interview one of Mike Tyson’s promoters (or something) and then after an hour of shooting we packed up and headed for the airport. Whilst stuck in traffic, I realized where we were and I so hopped out of the van to get a quick pic outside The White House. Then it was back in the van, to the airport and then off to Las Vegas. That night we arrived in Vegas, checked into our hotel and then went across the road to the Wynn Hotel (which at the time had just opened). It was at that point I took in the days account and thought to myself “wow, this morning around 10.00am I was in Washington D.C having a pic taken out side The White House…now at 8.00pm, I’m Las Vegas having dinner at the Wynn” It’s at moments like that you think to yourself “it’s not a bad job!”
What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on a film set?
HAHA, well, just as there have been many great experiences; there have been some bad ones too. I could write all week about those! There was an incident that was actually more funny than bad now that I look back on it…I remember about eight years ago I was working as a sound utility on a feature film with Peter Falk (Columbo) and after a blocking rehearsal, I was asked by the mixer to put some shoe foam on his shoes to help cancel out the noise of his steps over his dialogue. I had my little tool kit comprising of shoe foam and scissors at the ready, but what I didn’t know was that our boom operator had got to him already and done it. As I approached him with my little tool kit ready at hand I asked (in the most polite voice possible), “Excuse me Peter, I would like to add this shoe foam to your shoes”, to which he replied, “What!? We did that already!” I then quickly picked up my little tool kit of scissors and foam and walked off saying, “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t know,” at which point he then followed me off set yelling, “That s#@* should be done first thing in the morning so we don’t waste time f*@#ing around on set!” I wasn’t sure how serious he was so I kind of just smirked and said, “ok.” Now, I assumed the mixer, who was several feet away, must have heard that, so off I went to craft services. As I walked back with a little plate of goodies, I saw the mixer walking off the set with Peter chasing behind him yelling “you’re the third f*@#ing guy who’s come up to me about the shoe foam!” HAHA oops!
Like I say, it was actually funnier than it was bad. We just had respect for the fact that he had been in this business since most people on that set were children and so he expected things done a certain way. *
What advice would you give someone starting out who wants to get into sound mixing?
The best advice I could give to someone who wants to get into sound mixing is to get out there and do it! Not that there is anything wrong with film schools, but there’s just nothing better than getting on the job training out in the field. True, often volunteering your time on sets involves working for free (which I don’t encourage much.) but before you decide to spend thousands of dollars and commit to a one or two year course, I would recommend spending some time on a set first to see if this is really the life for you. Some people may not like the idea of sacrificing their weekends to work twelve-hour days, or making big adjustments to their personal life. However, you’ll soon discover that working in this industry isn’t like working a normal job, and there are many positive sides. You’ll meet so many people working from project to project, forming contacts and friendships that can open up endless doors of opportunity, such as traveling nationally or internationally to shoot in locations and experiencing places in ways that not many people do!
Where can people see your work?
I’ve really worked across the board from feature films, reality shows, documentaries, webisodes, live events and so on. So, I guess anywhere from television, DVDs and the Internet. Earlier this year I worked on the feature God Bless America that will have theatrical release next Spring. Look out for it!
How can people get in touch with you?
People can contact me through the company I work for – Action Audio and Visual. Their website is actionaudioandvisual.com
January 11th, 2012 • No Comments