Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Traveling With The Triibe

I'm going to Spain on Thursday with a percussion troupe I've played with on-and-off for about 5 years now. It's called The Triibe. It formed in a prayer room at our church in Tulsa just before my family moved to Cali.

It's kind of 'stomp' meets 'blue man' meets God. My chops are feeling rusty, so I've gotten out the pad. I have been playing on a semi-regular basis, but this gig is very intense. I hope I'm ready.

The Triibe usually consists of a guy on a normal drum kit, then 2-3 other guys on percussion set-ups with instrumentation varying from conventional hand percussion to stuff we find in the trash. (usually the trash sounds better, don't ask me why!!) Then there's a guy or two on mics for spoken word (one whom was raised in Spain, so we're good on the language barrier), a guy with a sampler rolling loops (who doubles on perc), and if we're lucky enough to snag one, a DJ.

I don't get to play with them often, 'cause my schedule is crazy, and they don't usually have the budget to fly me in anyway. But the bigger gigs usually pay them enough to fly me in.

About a year and a half ago, I produced their "Raw" CD from recordings they made at local gigs without me. It IS raw sounding, but it's cool. They've talked to me about producing a studio album in the future. We'll see. The thing is, it's usually such a spontaneous vibe with this group, it would probably be hard to pull it off in the studio. Maybe we'll just make some concerted effort to record a few upcoming gigs REALLY well. That might capture the spirit better I think.

In Spain we're playing at the Contra Corriente conference. It's the largest youth conference in Spain and is celebrating it's 10th anniversary. They deal with the same teen issues our American teens deal with. The point of the conference is to empower them to overcome today's obstacles by relying on the help and power of Jesus to make better choices.

I'll be back in a week to report details and stuff. If I get a chance to step into an internet cafe, maybe then. Adios!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Another Visit to the Hollywood Surreal

The Daytime Emmy's - Creative Arts Awards show was last night. It was our fourth time to attend, and my third win. This year, our team won in the category "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation" for the Kids WB show, "The Batman".

It is a surreal moment when you are recognized for achievements on such a visible stage. The funny (and great) thing about it is that when you get home, the kids say "cool", and then want a book read to them, or some yogurt, or you to jump on the trampoline, etc.

The point is, it's nice to get nominated, nicer to win, but nicest to just be everyday Dad and Mom to some great kids who don't really care if you've won any awards. They just want US!

All of that said, we did take our wardrobe serious, as Chana had a killer new dress to showoff.

This is Chana with her friend Gina (another homeschooling mom). Her husband Paul was nominated for his camera work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

This is before we went inside for the show.

This is me with producer Ron Myrick. He was nominated for his show "Baby Looney Tunes". He was also the producer for the great animated shows "Ozzy and Drix" and "Static Shock". He is currently producing "Loonatics Unleashed". I really enjoy working with him.

We were the first award of the night. Here's a long distance shot Chana took from our table in the corner. I'm the blurry one. (Hey, at least we were the closest to the door!)

This is us after the show with the statue (big one and little one). Here's an interesting history (it's short) of the Emmy statue.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hoodwinked DVD Comes Out May 2nd

On Tuesday, May 2nd, one of the most clever animated films ever made will come out in the stores.

I might be a bit biased, because this is a movie I'm so proud to say I worked on from the beginning to the end of the process, and it was a GREAT journey. It's also the largest production I've been a part of, and my first feature. There will be a commentary by the directors: Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, and Tony Leech, plus outtakes, and many extras. (please get the widescreen version so you can see the whole thing!)

I started out editing the whole soundtrack in the beginning, but when the production of Hoodwinked grew (as did the budget), Blue Yonder Films decided to take the movie to Skywalker Sound in Marin County for the complete sound package.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to stay with the picture, so I moved up north for about four months to continue as one of the sound designers as well as to wear a few other hats. I also cut the dialogue (twice, but that's a long story of many new voices joining the picture last minute), and I cut the Foley (you can learn about what 'The Art of Foley' is in another blog entry I made the other day).

One other thing that happened was that I made a great friend in Tom Myers from Skywalker Sound. He is a fantastic sound designer and re-recording mixer with many huge movies under his belt, including Star Wars Ep III, Monsters Inc, Toy Story I & II, and many more. Needless to say, I learned a lot from him as well as from some of the other great guys around the ranch.

I'll not soon forget the experience I had at Skywalker Ranch, and I hope to be back some day soon. My family LOVED visiting when they could. McKenna (our 8 yr old) actually learned to ride a 2-wheeler there a couple of years ago!

Friday, April 21, 2006

One Night With A Rock Star

My wife Chana, (yes that's really my wife, and don't ask how I fooled her into marrying me - that's not the point here ..... she's hot though) ...anyway, Chana (sounds like Shawna) is in the editing stage of her first novel. The title is ONE NIGHT WITH A ROCK STAR. (Now, who ain't gonna pick that one up for a look-see at Borders?)

She's been writing it since last June, and after much prayer and many sleep-deprived nights, the 1st draft was finished a few weeks back. She's now going through the steps to prepare it for "the big pitch" to publishers, etc.

I'm so proud of her, and I'm really happy that she has discovered this creative outlet. If you don't know her already, she's a gifted actress and singer, but she's shelved those ambitions for now to concentrate on our family full-time (we have four kids). Now, she's doing that and has managed to complete her first book! What a woman!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dede Allen

I'm a sound editor/designer, but I am also interested in editing picture. So, I've been studying everything I can find about the art of cutting film/video and learning my Final Cut Pro software.

Last night I went to a Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group, (LAFCPUG) event featuring film editor Dede Allen. She is 80 years old now, and she still works from time to time. Her most recent film was in 2004.

Her biggest films she has edited would have to include:
The Hustler (1961)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Little Big Man (1970)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Reds (1981)
The Breakfast Club (1985), and many more.
You can see more of her filmography at

Her career has spanned around sixty years so far, and it seems everything she's touches turns to gold.

At the event, they showed several clips from her movies, and then discussed each one. It's very cool to hear someone speak about film when they've been in the business for over half of our industry's history.

One interesting thing she shared was, "go to as much theater as you can and learn story and scene, because that's where you'll really find out about the three act form and learn about (character) performance - even though it's very different on film."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hanging with Mr. Barbera

I've been working in the same building with an animation legend for four years, but just finally got a chance to talk to him and get a picture. Joe Barbera (or Mr. B, as we call him at the studio) turned 95 last week. He is 1/2 responsible (being 1/2 of the 'Hanna-Barbera' partnership) for classics such as: Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo, among many others. He still comes in to work a few times a week these days. That's pretty inspiring!
(photo courtesy of Chris L.)


Reserve Spy Training Corps

On my off-hours (ha-ha), I've been working on this "indie" film by a friend in OK City named Jon Baker. He's been putting this together for a couple of years now, and considering he has made it for almost ZERO dollars, it's quite an achievement. We should wrap up sound post production in June. It will go direct to DVD shortly after. Be on the lookout for it.
Go check out the trailer on his site, you'll like it. It's a fun kid-spy-movie-with-a-message.

Click here:

Dilettante's Dictionary

I'm not trying to drown you in "soundy" type things, but this is a fantastic audio dictionary I ran across a few months back.
Sandy Lerner (one of the founders of Cisco Systems) spent more than two years putting it together, just out of her passionate interest in the world of sound.

Click here:
Dilettante's Dictionary
If nothing else, her biography is definitely worth the read.


The Art of Foley

If you wondered what "Foley" is when you see it in the credits of a movie, or if you're on a production and someone says, "We'll have 'Foley' cover that", then here's a great link to give you just about all the info on the subject you'll ever need.

Foley is essentially the recorded sound of feet/footsteps, cloth/clothing moves, or specific props in a movie. 99% of the time it is recorded in sync to picture. (the artist records the moves while watching the scene) Notice the multitude of props and the variety of floor surfaces/pits in the picture. The more options a foley artist has at his/her disposal, the better the tracks will match what's on the screen.

A big difference in Foley and sound design/effects tracks is that usually the Foley tracks are meant to be more felt than heard. In most cases, if Foley sticks out, either you have a bad take or a bad mix. The point is that you want it to sound like they captured it on the set, not in a studio three months later. There are cases where Foley covers specific props that play forward in the overall mix, and that's cool - it's just not the norm.

Philip Rodrigues Singer has put together a great and informative site to educate you about Foley, starting with it's originator and first Foley artist, Jack Foley.

Here is the site:
The Art Of Foley

Go check it out. You can impress your friends the next time you go to a movie and you say, "The Foley in that movie was really well done!"

Fuel For Adventure

A friend of mine runs this site:

Fuel For Adventure

It's cool, and you can get great deals on camping and survival gear. These days you need to be prepared!
He actually took the picture in this entry. (better him than me) Commercial over.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

So, you want to know more about the art of sound design?

From time to time I will be posting links that I've found useful in my quest to become a film sound guy. This site might be right at the top:

You can read tons of info on Ben Burtt's legendary work for the Star Wars movies, very useful articles from Randy Thom, and mind stretching articles about the use of sound from Walter Murch. There's also much, much more.

I've had the privilege of meeting all three of these men. They were all gracious and generous with their knowledge.
(Ben Burtt also has a mean volleyball serve!)

Looney Tunes Golden Collections

I'm currently working at Warner Bros Animation. My duties bounce back and forth between cutting dialogue for the Saturday morning line-up, to creating sfx for special projects and animated show pilots, to restoring audio for the WB classics.

Right now, I'm on a project that has roots back to the early 30's. I'm supervising the restoration of audio for the Looney Tunes classic cartoon shorts. We're working on Vol 4, but this is only my second volume to be involved with. Each Volume has about 60 classics and a bunch of featurettes that describe the restoration processes we had to go through, and there are some great featurettes on the directors like Chuck Jones, Friz Freling, Tashlin, Clampett, and McKimson too.

Audio restoration is tedious and full of red tape, especially when you're at a major studio with film vaults all over the country, but I couldn't ask for material that's more fun to work on. If you haven't checked out any of the released Volumes yet, do it! I'll wager there isn't a person alive (okay, at least in the US) that doesn't know and love many of these cartoons.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kicking Off 'Miscellaneous Creativity'

Hello, and welcome. This blog will hopefully one day be interesting, as I'm interested in many interesting things. But for now, go read someone else's blog until I get the chance to post some thoughts, pics, family stuff, and news of what I'm doing in the movie business.

Until this blog is ready to change your life, I'd like to suggest these blogs to get you by:

Cory's Curiosities
A blog from a good friend of mine. A film director with more creativity than one person should be allowed.
His blog is very funny. Funnier than my blog will ever be (but bookmark mine just the same).

Dale Baker's Blog
Dale is one of those lifetime friends that you can go 6 or 8 months without talking, then one of you calls and it picks up right where you left off. We went to college together, played in some bands together, and tried to jog together. He is also a fantastic drummer.


Chris Lozinski's Blog - My Dumb Videos
Another good friend and aspiring filmmaker (though he already has several short films under his belt). I have worked with Chris at WB Animation for a few years. He doesn't seem crazy when you meet him in person, but wait 'til you get to his blog.
(warning: his blog is called "my dumb videos" for a reason - but I still enjoy everything he's done.)

There it is - my first post.

See ya around,