Backstage Interview: Sound Editing

Q. So MAD MAX: FURY ROAD has just become the most successful Australian movie at the Oscars ever.

A. (Mark Mangini)  Of course, because of us.

Q. Well, I was going to say how much of that was down to your work?

A. (Mark Mangini)  Did you see the movie?  There’s your answer.

A. (David White)  I think all of that is due to George Miller who creates a really fantastic environment where everyone can be creative, and in that environment around such an amazing guy everyone rises to the occasion and does their best work.  That’s my experience with the film.

A. (Mark Mangini)  I would add to that.  He’s one of the world’s great collaborators.  He’s not a micromanager.  He doesn’t say, “Do this.  Do this.  Do this.”  He asks.  He says, “Here’s what I’m trying to achieve with the film.  How does sound complement that?”  And then that gives us the room to be artists.

Q. Well, congratulations.

A. (Mark Mangini)  Thank you.

A. (David White)  Thank you.

Q. So talk about the role that sound plays in this obviously successfully recreated world of the future, especially when it’s just a fantastic chase of giant machines barreling through an empty desert.  What kind of soundscape did you have to work with and discover with your director?

A. (Mark Mangini)  Let me frame that for a minute by stating that rather than talk about the details of what we did, I think it is important to understand that because of the way this film was shot, there’s, you know, high speed cameras, and there’s wind machines, and there’s sand, virtually none of the sound that was recorded during production was very usable, so everything that you hear in MAD MAX was something that David and I and our team created.  I mean, down to the smallest little footsteps down to the biggest explosion.  That’s all from the minds and the creations of sound editors, designers, et cetera.  That’s a ‑‑ I feel like that is a pretty stunning accomplishment.

A. (David White)  Yeah.  The other thing I’d add to that is that everything had to be believable, because it was a world where, you know, civilization has crumbled, so the only thing you can resurrect is a combustion engine or whatever so it could be a very believable sound.  They are all very mechanical, basic things.  So they had to have an authenticity to them, which George was very serious about the whole way through.

Q. So what I wanted to ask you:  With all the success MAD MAX is having tonight when you’re all with George later celebrating, will all of you gang up and push him to do another MAD MAX?

A. (Mark Mangini)  That goes without saying.

A. (David White)  I would actually encourage him to do a really boring relationship drama set around a kitchen table ‑‑

A. (Mark Mangini) He’s been honing his skills for that.

A. (David White) ‑‑ that he can shoot in about two weeks, and we can do the sound posts in about three days.  That’s what I would prefer.

A. (Mark Mangini)  David and I were at a MAD MAX party the other night just for us MAD MAXers, and I dared him to go up to Kevin Tsujihara, the chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures and tell him, “I dare you to make another MAD MAX.”  Do you remember what he answered?

A. (David White)  Not really, but I did go and do that, didn’t I?

Q. Congratulations guys.  You swore on the Oscar stage.  Any regrets?

A. (Mark Mangini)  I’m going to hear it from my wife, so that’s about as big a regret as one can have.

A. (David White)  It is pretty intense up there you know.

A. (Mark Mangini)  I got excited.

A. (David White)  What’s a real surprise there actually is it’s typically Australians that do all the swearing.  So, you know, the fact that I didn’t swear, you know, I deserve the Oscar just for that; because I [inaudible].

A. (Mark Mangini)  Indeed.  Well done.

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