Production mixer Darryl L. Frank, CAS, on set of Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is one of those shows when you start watching it, you’re hooked. You’re not exactly sure why you’re hooked, and when you start to explain to your friend why they should watch it too, you end up just saying it’s awesome, watch it. Production sound mixer, Darryl L. Frank, CAS, is just one piece of the puzzle that helps make this AMC drama about a high school chemistry teacher turned criminal so compelling. Now Emmy nominated, we sat down with Darryl to talk meth, explosions and one of the more giving characters in the show – Albuquerque, New Mexico.
S&P: This isn’t your first time being nominated for an Emmy, but it is for a television series. Do you look at it any differently?
Frank: Last time I was nominated for the miniseries Comanche Moon in 2008, it was such a surprise. Now being nominated for Breaking Bad, it’s even better. It’s just a different beast. We shoot 8 day episodes and it’s grueling so it’s very rewarding to see my name up there with everyone else’s.
Stephen Tibbo, CAS
Already shooting its 4th season, Modern Family’s production sound mixer, Stephen Tibbo, CAS, is once again part of the show’s Emmy nominations (fourteen in total). Oddly enough, last year, when we talked to Tibbo about his workflow on one of TV’s most beloved sitcoms, he was wrapping season 3’s Dude Ranch episode. This year, he’s been nominated for it.
S&P: You’ve been nominated every year Modern Family has been on air. That’s a great accomplishment.
Tibbo: It’s surreal for me. It’s really cool. What can you say? I mean… It’s an amazing experience and an amazing feeling to get those texts early in the morning from friends. That’s how I found out this year, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Homeland's production sound crew - Jack Hill, Matt Fann & Larry Long
Showtime’s Homeland stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, an analyst for the C.I.A., who is willing to do anything to prevent another devastating terrorist attack against the US. Taking personal responsibility for what happened during 9/11, she now believes a returning POW soldier, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), has been turned against America and is an intricate part of a new attack. Production sound mixer Larry Long gave us the security clearance to check out his behind the scenes mix of this political plot driven drama.
S&P: You’ve been working in sound since the 90’s. What drew your interest to sound in the first place?
Long: I would have to thank my parents for this. I have always been fascinated with capturing sound. We had a console 1/4 reel to reel when I was a kid, and we traded tapes with my dad when he was in Vietnam.
My folks also bought me a computer in the early nineties and my head exploded when I learned you could record sound on it. I bought the then badass Turtle Beach sound card that also included the Emu Proteus chipset. This helped my hatred towards MIDI as recording became very frustrating to sequence with the earliest versions of Cakewalk.
Before then, I was playing in punk rock bands in the 80′s, trying to record on 4 track cassette decks, and buying studio time when we could afford it. I even helped record a buddy’s band at Steve Albini’s house in Chicago.
When I got older, I decided to direct and shoot a movie about a dream I had on my roommates wind up Rolex. It was then I learned about sync and timecode. It was a huge setback for me at the time.
One thing led to another and my curiosity about the process drove me to look for an internship and learn more. I eventually worked for and learned a lot from Carl Rudisill and branched out on my own as a production mixer in ‘95.
In a mix with Steve Morantz, CAS
S&P friend and production sound mixer, Steve Morantz, CAS, was nominated this year for his work on NBC’s Parks & Recreation. Part of the Thursday night comedy lineup, Parks stars Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman and South Carolina’s very own, Aziz Ansari. While working on his latest project in Puerto Rico, Runner Runner, Steve talked about this year’s episode up for consideration.
S&P: Puerto Rico sounds pretty nice right now. Do you have any production budget left to fly me out for a face-to-face interview?
Morantz: (laughing) I’ll be out here for another five weeks if you want to come, but I don’t know about this budget stuff you speak of…
David MacMillan (centered) with a group of sound friends
The talented David MacMillan, CAS, saw his sound mixing work on HBO’s Game Change, a film that follows the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain, from his running mate selection of Sarah Palin to their resounding defeat, receive an Emmy nomination. While working on a new Harrison Ford movie, Paranoia, David spoke to S&P about the show and his career.
S&P: Congrats on your first Emmy nomination. Were you pleasantly surprised to hear your name get the call?
Macmillan: Yes. TOTALLY surprised. I know that last time we talked I warned against doing TV. But then, who wouldn’t want to work with director Jay Roach? He is amazing and totally understood all the problems we were faced with on set. He dealt with them as a situation that would prompt ‘music and effect’ cues to enhance the dramatic impact of things like AC units on the roofs of penthouse suites that couldn’t be turned off, etc. That’s just one example of many similar incidents. Jay was just unflappable and a pleasure to be around. I wish him continued success.