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Hollywood Sound Design and Moviesound Newsletter: A Case Study of the End of the Analog Age

Book Description

As film students and younger fans experience "Big Hollywood Sound" in Imax presentations and digital theaters, many are also discovering action and adventure movies made well before they were born. There is a legacy to be enjoyed in the sound of these films: Blockbuster movies of the ‘80’s, and ‘90’s are notable for the extraordinarily dramatic impact of their sound mixing, and the way in which it could immerse audiences in a surrounding space. During this period, a small group of sound professionals in Hollywood wrote and published a critical journal about the craftsmanship, new technology, and changing aesthetics that excited conversation in their community. Their work has been edited and compiled here for the first time.

David Stone is a sound editor, a veteran of roughly 100 Hollywood feature films, such as Gremlins, Top Gun, Die Hard, Speed, and Ocean’s 11. He was a Supervising Sound Editor for projects as varied as Predator, Edward Scissorhands, Beauty and the Beast, Batman Returns, City Slickers 2, and Dolores Claiborne. He has collected Golden Reel awards for Best Sound Editing five times, and won the 1992 Academy Award® for best Sound Effects Editing, for his supervising work on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In 2015, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Luis Obispo Jewish Film Festival in California. Stone is now a Professor and former Chair of Sound Design at Savannah College of Art and Design. Between 1989 and 1994, he was the editor of Moviesound Newsletter, which was published by Vanessa Ament.

Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament is the author of The Foley Grail, and a contributor to Sound: Dialogue, Music, and Effects (the Silver Screen Series). She is on the steering committee for Cinesonika, an international film festival and conference. A veteran Foley artist, sound editor, and voice actor from Los Angeles, she also writes and sings jazz, and is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity, and the Editors Guild. She worked on Die Hard, sex, lies, and videotape, Platoon, Predator, Edward Scissorhands, Beauty and the Beast, Noises Off, and A Goofy Movie, and many other films. Dr. Ament received her Ph.D. in Communication, in the area of Moving Image Studies, from Georgia State University in Atlanta, and is presently the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Endowed Chair Professor of Telecommunications, at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.


Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Preface
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Introduction
  10. How to Use this Book
  11. Reel 1 Short Subjects (Glossary, Trivia, Scoreboard)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction to Short Subjects
    2. Sc. 2 Welcome to It
    3. Sc. 3 Bits of Glossary
    4. Sc. 4 Trims and Trivia
    5. Sc. 5 Music Scoreboard
    6. Sc. 6 Postscript for the Scoreboard
  12. Reel 2 Exhibitionists (The Theater Beat)
    1. Sc. 1 Theater Beat Short Notices
    2. Sc. 2 Theater Beat Articles
  13. Reel 3 Sound Reports (Notices, News Articles, and Big News)
    1. Sc. 1 Notices
    2. Sc. 2 News Articles
    3. Sc. 3 Big News
  14. Reel 4 Rewinding (Articles, Historical)
    1. Sc. 1 Setting the Context for Historical Articles
    2. Sc. 2 Articles of Historical Note
    3. Sc. 3 Understanding SFX and Libraries
    4. Sc. 4 Rick Mitchell Research
  15. Reel 5 Talking Pictures (Interviews)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction
    2. Sc. 2 Patching Up Lawrence (Richard L. Anderson)
    3. Sc. 3 Jammin’ with the Cosmos (Mark Mangini)
    4. Sc. 4 Ben Burtt Sounds Off! (Ben Burtt)
    5. Sc. 5 Thoughts from E.T. (Elliot Tyson)
    6. Sc. 6 Sound Director Runs TV Academy (Leo Chaloukian)
    7. Sc. 7 The Washing Machine (Tim Hoggatt, Deborah Dobb, and Jim Cavaretta)
    8. Sc. 8 We Chat with DTS’s Jeff Levison (Jeff Levison)
  16. Reel 6 Active Listening (Reviews at the Movies)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction
    2. Sc. 2 “He Bugged Me” (The Fly II)
    3. Sc. 3 Dead Calm
    4. Sc. 4 Classic Comic (Robert Altman’s Popeye )
    5. Sc. 5 Lethal Effects! (Lethal Weapon 2)
    6. Sc. 6 Bear With Us (L’ours , a.k.a. The Bear)
    7. Sc. 7 The Hunt for Red October
    8. Sc. 8 Ben-Hur
    9. Sc. 9 Doors of Pretension (The Doors)
    10. Sc. 10 Digital, Schmigital! (Final Approach)
    11. Sc. 11 Gump Sounds Great (Forrest Gump)
    12. Sc. 12 When Dinosaurs Ruled The Box Office (Jurassic Park)
  17. Reel 7 Critical Listening (Reviews at Home)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction to George Simpson
    2. Sc. 2 Laser Discs and the Reviewer
    3. Sc. 3 Picks Disc Pix
    4. Sc. 4 1989 Great Vintage for Laser Sound
    5. Sc. 5 Golden Reels on Disc
    6. Sc. 6 And the Competition is Fierce Dep’t.
    7. Sc. 7 The West Side Kids
    8. Sc. 8 Laserblast: Surround Yourself
    9. Sc. 9 LaseReviews
    10. Sc. 10 LaserViews: Marketing Wars Continued
    11. Sc. 11 Laserblasts: Dep’t. of Suspicious Restorations
    12. Sc. 12 Laser Louie Looks at Musicals and Other Happy Type Stuff
    13. Sc. 13 Trekkers in Heaven
    14. Sc. 14 Pardon Me, But Your Fangs are in My Wallet
    15. Sc. 15 Sounds Your Father Never Heard
    16. Sc. 16 Home Video in Identity Crisis
  18. Reel 8 Sound Thinking (Thoughts and Analysis)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction
    2. Sc. 2 Indy Splits
    3. Sc. 3 Holy Split-Surrounds, Batman!
    4. Sc. 4 What’s Q-Sound ?
    5. Sc. 5 Cinema Digital Sound Introduced
    6. Sc. 6 Cinema Digital Sound Falters
    7. Sc. 7 Digital Editing Meets Mag- Dracula
  19. Reel 9 Sturm und Drang (Editorial and Opinion)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction
    2. Sc. 2 Editorial Notices
    3. Sc. 3 Opinion: Going to the Movies
    4. Sc. 4 Opinion: Colorizing, Restoration Standards
    5. Sc. 5 Editorial: The Colorization of Sound
    6. Sc. 6 Restorations and Re-Releases
    7. Sc. 7 Opinion: Labor Relations, Personal Standards
    8. Sc. 8 Busman’s Holiday
    9. Sc. 9 On the Abuse …
    10. Sc. 10 Editorial: Aby… Abbeh… Abbbah… Abbuh…
    11. Sc. 11 Opinion: Credit for Movie Sound Workers
    12. Sc. 12 Editorial: Eighty-One Out!
    13. Sc. 13 Thoughts from the Foley Stage
    14. Sc. 14 Editorial: The Foley Grail
  20. Reel 10 Unsound Thinking (Humor)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction
    2. Sc. 2 Humor Pieces
    3. Sc. 3 April Fool’s Issue
    4. Sc. 4 In Appreciation of John P.
    5. Sc. 5 New Equipment Roundup (Not Really)
  21. Reel 11 Reader Participation (Bag of Snail-Mail)
    1. Sc. 1 Introduction: Life before the World Wide Web
    2. Sc. 2 On the Bylines
    3. Sc. 3 The Mail (1989–1994)
    4. Sc. 4 Call and Response: The Johnson Letter
    5. Sc. 5 Concluding Thoughts
  22. Reel 12 Time and Tide (Concerns and Obituaries)
    1. Sc. 1 Recovering
    2. Sc. 2 Jimmy Macdonald: The Sound of a Spider Web
    3. Sc. 3 Ken Berger
    4. Sc. 4 Remembering Alan Splet
    5. Sc. 5 Murray Spivack Tribute
    6. Sc. 6 Three Lively Spirits
    7. Sc. 7 To the Trained Ear
  23. Afterword and Further Reading
  24. Appendix 1 Moviesound Newsletter’s Guide to Reading Materials
  25. Appendix 2 Extended Note: A Case of Blackmail
  26. Appendix 3 Personal Note: In Combat with E.T.
  27. Appendix 4 Extended Note: Auteur or Hauteur?
  28. Appendix 5 The Whole SFX Catalogue
  29. Appendix 6 Laser Discs as Transition and The Couch Potato’s Guide to Laser Sound
  30. About the Authors
  31. Index