Interview With Midge Costin (Director: Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound) by Gerry O

Interview With Midge Costin (Director: Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound) by Gerry O


Hey guys this is Gerry Orz reporting for KIDS FIRST! and today you’re going to be watching my interview with Midge Costin, Kosta the director of the brand-new documentary Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound. Let’s get to the interview. What was your motivation to
make it? Okay well I started out as wanting to picture edit when I came out
of film school and then I got into sound very because I actually needed money and I took a job as a sound editor. And then as I started to work, on even
that first film, I started to realize how important sound was. And the more I
worked in sound the more I realized how important sound is. It’s so emotional. It
brings so much to the story; brings so much to the character; and yet people
don’t even think about it. Like nobody understands what we do. So I always
wanted to tell this story and and you know, it’s I just think that it’s so
important that people understand because the other thing what I want people to
understand is not just how sound works in film and the artistry of sound
but also how it how it affects them in their lives. So it’s like really
understanding; it’s becoming a good listener or just sometimes I feel like
I’m teaching students to listen and also did that you just realize how
important sound is to you. You know, can I just correct something – I’m not I’m not the head of sound right now since I started working on the
picture, but I was for over ten years. And the other thing is my work has
been Academy nominated for sound but I was not the supervising
sound editor so it was George Waters and CC Hall. You know I just want to bounce off
something you said. You’re talking about how sound affects us in our lives and I
loved the opening of your film where Walter Murch I believe was talking about
how in Embryo the first thing you experience in life is sound of the world
outside. Now was that improvised or was that actually your idea prior to that?
That comes from an article called stretching the sound to help the mind
seed that Walter wrote and it had such an effect on me. Even when I was editing. He was already editing. Like you know as a sound editor. I knew
important sound words but I never thought about it that way and I found
that so fascinating and I have all my students read it every semester. I
really always saw that film opening that way, but it was really funny because some
people said they were, you know, some people wanted to open it, but my editing
my producing partners were thinking more about the history of of Technology and
wanted to open it with George Lucas and talking about you know the artistry of
sound and that it’s like the tools change but you know you just – it’s really
about the tools and I was more into I really want to open this up. So we had
the two different openings and here’s something about high school students. It’s like they helped make the decision because we sent it out to people to say
what do you like and my editor sent it to a friend of his that lives in Indiana
and she’s a schoolteacher and she didn’t realize that you can’t send the film out
to you know let everybody see it before it’s distributed or whatever and she
she’s a math teacher and she said she had two different classes one had 39
students one had 40 students and they all looked at it and it was like 39 38
to 1 all said this opening and I was so happy because it was my favorite opening
but I want to credit the that class. I should find out who they are and invite
them all to the opening of the film so next question I want to ask you is when
you first started of course sadly there are very few women working in the
industry you’re one of the first definitely one of the first do you think
that’s improved over the last couple of decades? Well actually it was just a
little before me in the 70s when CC Hall or it was Kay Rose who the endowed
chair named after Kay Rose that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas named which
was cool because Kay was the first one to win a Academy Award for sound but Cece
Hall tells me in the 70s when she was there the late 70s it was only, she could
only see you know Kay and Kay’s daughter Vicky Sampson who I’ve worked with. She’s the one who edited Ordinary People who talked about taking out all the
painstaking work they did but so there really weren’t very many women then but
when I came up there were more women but there aren’t anymore there than when I was there. You know so that’s the thing is like I don’t
know there weren’t very many women editing effects. There are more women who edited dialogue and I think it’s because it’s seen as kind of you need a lot of
patience and you know you don’t get as much recognition for it and you don’t
end up being super well you now they’re they co supervise but it used to be the
effects editor was the one who supervised the show so yeah I think that
it could be I mean we have a lot of women I show a lot of women because I
you know knew them in the industry or they’re just well-known but it’s still
yeah it’s still not great it’s you know so. But let me say something about that I
used to think it was nefarious when I looked at numbers like oh the guys are
keeping the women out. You know what it is is I just think it’s like um you
don’t if you don’t think about oh I can’t have everybody like myself who
looks and sounds like me or that I might feel comfortable with I have to you have
to stretch and you know say it’s better when there’s a balance like I loved
working on crews that were kind of 50/50 because men bring a certain thing
women and there are stereotypes and and then there are people who don’t fit the
stereotypes at all and I think it’s just so important to have like a mix of all
different types of people because it makes for – it just makes for a healthier
environment, honestly. I totally agree with that I really respect that and
another question to ask for people who are going into the industry now
you know women, men, anybody who want to go into Center go into any post
production room what tips would you give them you know to get into the industry
to get good at that craft? Honestly, it’s this is what I think that there’s a lot
of talented people so the the people who stay and who work are the ones who
really are willing to do with what it takes for the job or willing to show up
early stay the amount of time they need to and also help other people out so
it’s like who do you always say this to my students who do you want to work with
like someone who’s you know brilliant but just doing their own work and
doesn’t communicate well or whatever or the person who is going to be kind of
fun to be with and also helps you out so because there’s a lot of people who
are talented and the thing I think that you know you’ve got to kind of be humble
and just do whatever make the connections and then people will want to
help you and bring you up and so it’s more about starting out even for a
runner do you do your job the best you can you show up on time you do what you
say you’re gonna do you make your deadlines all that stuff that’s so
important and then you know be a nice person to be around I mean if that’s
hard food then you should go into some other line of work because filmmaking is
so collaborative you know that you’re always going to be working with other
people and who do you want to be with. I would say also work on – I say this to my students working as many other student films you just want to get the
experience it doesn’t matter like I work the same if I work on a feature film or
even a student film giving advice or suggestions it’s like I take it
seriously even if the script isn’t good I’m like trying to do the best job I can
if you do the best job you can you show up like with a good attitude and if
you’re a problem solver and not like a complainer or whatever. When we all
complain with each other you know at some point but you just want to have
that yeah I can do attitude and yeah and really just go for the do your best work
no matter what. A friend of mine who worked on both said she does the same
work whether it’s Amadeus or Earnest Ernie Goes to Camp or whatever that name is. She worked on both movies and she said she did the same same work she
approached it like I want to do my best here I’m gonna make it better. I
don’t think people realize that even you know the silly comedies and the big
dramas they’re both establishing worlds today you both have cinematography and
costume design and everything trying to establish those worlds and you know
speaking of world when you look at cinematography and costume design you
definitely see a lot of differences between where you go in the world you
know. Japan, their are cinema’s very different from American cinema. Do you
think the same kind of difference existence sounds like do you think
American sound design differs from Japanese or Italian or anywhere else? I
think because there’s a different sensibility with it really depends on
the style of the movie but you know I set out we set out to actually we were
thinking about making this international and then we did so much just in
California alone that we had to make it in in very California
centric but there was a lot of history here too but that’s what I would love to
study even more but it really depends on the style of the film like I love
Kurosawa and but you know Kurosawa almost has the same similar thing to
like Hitchcock because they’re very quiet kind of films and they just work
with plot and they’re you know very thought-out you know before and so I
think it almost depends on the filmmaker but I think also I have a student from
India this semester and we were just talking about the differences because
their sensibility is they do all ADR and I mean it looks good so the automated
dialogue replacement so the guide track when they like in American films you try
to get the best track that you can the best performance on the set but in India
it’s almost like just a guide track and then they come in and in in the studio
after they do the best you know that then that’s when they really pour on
their performance and and so that’s just a whole different thing. to me it feel I
can feel the the difference in in the films but that’s just a sensibility that
they have and you know and so it’s like it’s just different
you know but I would like to study that more because you know and in the last
few years like when I was growing up and you know and watching films in the 70s
and 80s we got a lot more foreign films I just don’t think we see enough foreign
films this is Jerry or supporting for This is Gerry Orz reporting for KIDS FIRST! Bye.

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