I was a novice when it came to sound. Yes, I knew that films need a sound designer to have the right noise when a door closes, a foot steps, or pencil taps. But I hadn’t really thought of the importance of timing: the light switch needs to click exactly with the first frame of light coming on; or of tenor: the voice on the phone needs to be just so deep; or of small extraneous noises: the man with a crushed windpipe makes small guttural gasps. Nor had I considered clarity. It is essential that any dialog that is unclear either have additional dialog recorded or be cut.
Angel convinced me that sound is a critical aspect of the film and that we needed to find the very best possible for the price we could pay. And I hoped, but didn’t expect, that the someone would be local so that I could work with them in person.
The very first person we interviewed was someone who cost more than we’d budgeted, but was the right professional for the job in every other respect. He was Johnny Marshall. To be truthful, I didn’t have the expertise to judge his capabilities, but I could see from his resume that he’d done enough films, and high level ones at that, to do a great job. So what interested me was the person.
I am a feelings person and my antennae are both long and sensitive. Johnny immediately struck me as being both a relaxed hippie and a highly demanding professional. What an interesting combination. Supple yet rigid, quick but thorough, both staid and outgoing. I knew that I would do whatever I needed to do budget-wise to get him onto the movie.
Johnny turned out to exceed my high expectations. He did a superb job with the sound on the movie and I feel like no one in the whole world could have done it better. Also, he was masterful in guiding my input and helping me do my part of the job better, which made it much more fun than arduous. I thoroughly enjoyed going through the film step-by-step to review the sound and tweak it to perfection.
Also, Johnny became a friend from whom I could seek advice. There were many issues that came up that were not sound-related, but on which he gave me help. I consider myself a very lucky girl to have had him on my movie.