Matthew Wood


[ 00:00:19 ] You know I think I kind of like the fact that audio is placed second to visual in a way.

[ 00:00:25 ] I mean it’s a symbiotic relationship obviously. I mean you can tell a story you’re going to need both visual and sound but for me I like that audio has that sort of back door entrance into your mind. It’s an emotional response it’s something you can’t see. You can feel it. So sound can drive a story forward just by what you hear. And we can get away with so many things. Expanding What a scene looks like giving things depth pushing the story along it’s just the same kind of emotional quality that music has. But even on a more subliminal level.

[ 00:00:59 ] So I’ve always enjoyed that that sort of secret entrance that sort of Speakeasy feel of what sound is and what we can do with it. Certainly if sound is is not done correctly you’re going to feel that it’s going to it’s going to cheapen your project it’s going if something’s not miked correctly or or wind noise or room tone sound you know that it’s too much on the original soundtrack you’re going to feel that it’s going to be subliminally for you like that didn’t seem right. It seemed that with the production wasn’t done correctly but on the on the you know inversely to that if you do it really well you sometimes it doesn’t draw attention to itself and all it does is draw to drive the story forward so that that’s sort of a meter of success there.

[ 00:01:45 ] If you’ve done your job no one really paid attention to it. I mean of course Skywalker Sound would do a lot of tentpole films we were born out of Star Wars and Indiana Jones era and we do a fair amount of films from Marvel and Pixar and and and J.J. Abrams and a lot of animation and what we do. We also do Sundance projects and we do documentaries and so sound is equally important across all those spectrums.

[ 00:02:13 ] Star Wars being one of the projects that I work on and I specialize in so that that has a whole other scrutiny that that does. Fans who watch the films over and over and over and over again and just almost like we do when we’re working on it we want to feel like we’ve given something for them for each feeling that they have with little Easter eggs or audio that we’ve put in there that’s something that’s going to be appreciated for the multiple viewings sound gives that believability to your images on screen sound as your backup sound is going to have.

[ 00:02:48 ] Is this your wing man it’s going to definitely help your your story be driven forward. And we at Skywalker definitely source a lot of our audio from real world where we’re going out and recording cars and animals and backgrounds and machines and we’re going out and amassing this library we have a very unique library at Scott Walker for 30 plus years of material that we’ve accessed over the years it’s all catalogued in a way in a way that we can use and new and interesting ways and that’s part of the allure and the beauty of working at Skywalkers is that you know we have a fantastic library and a great group of sound designers that have come together to make this audio environment and people come to us knowing that Skywalker is one of those places that we really do care about sound. It’s not a technical process it’s not something to be slapped in at the last minute. It’s a craft that we can we can really help your movie in story earlier. We come on better. So that’s that’s one great thing about working there. Well sound has always been a mixture of technical and creative. And I have I’ve always had a technical background and then I’m also an actor by trade. So two of those things coming together right and left brain coming together and sound has been very satisfying for me so I can play with the latest tools and latest gadgets and come to any and just go on the show floor and just be like a kid in a candy store. And then also can really get into the script and see what’s going to drive story forward and merge those two things to create something that a director or a movie is going to need for their soundtrack.

[ 00:04:29 ] So it’s just that blend of technical and creative that I really love about sound.

[ 00:04:39 ] You know Ben Burks who is who created our Star Wars soundscape he was the gentleman who made you know the light sabers the sounds of the Wilkie’s and the Millennium Falcon and the lasers and everything. Here in the original Star Wars films are so iconic and we’ve been able to maintain that sacredness with those sounds. So they do feel special when you hear them in the new movies now. So I’ve had the luxury of remastering those old films with Ben directly working on the prequel movies with George Lucas and then also now this new and this Disney and Kathleen Kennedy Era be part of the new new Star Wars era. So George Lucas always pushed the boundaries with technology. He never pigeonholed us into it like this is what you do you don’t stay and stay within the lines you know so he financially backed a lot of crazy ideas that we had to do sound work and it’s still that same way at Skywalker we’re very pushing boundaries changing the way things might have been done before.

[ 00:05:35 ] And and and anything that can drive story forward and can do it with a good focused team and technology gives you that option.

[ 00:05:45 ] And we don’t ever just stay within the lines we usually try to you know push it as far as we can go and the fact that we have Star Wars films coming once a year gives us almost an educational environment to build upon each one and each one is built upon the max of what we’ve learned we can push forward and that’s super satisfying for me too that you’re not reinventing the wheel every movie and having to go back a step every time.

[ 00:06:07 ] So that’s that’s a very unique thing about public involvements Gallacher working on Star Wars you usually have the choice of the cream of the crop and a lot of people Star Wars mean something to them wherever they saw whatever era that was and that resonated for them be it in the 90s or in the 70s or even the animated stuff we’ve done recently. And I can take that enthusiasm and use it to to drive the new shows forward. I mean we have have a fantastic team of folks that have been there for a really long time and we have animated projects that are that are smaller quote unquote but still have to have that same level of competency and technical ability. So if you put an episode of Clone Wars or the rebel series up against the force awakens they need to actually sound like they’re in the same universe. But it’s it’s a great testing ground to bring people through. I have got great mixers that come through that that show and come all the way to the future so it’s just it’s it’s it’s the ranch is almost like a school and bringing people through is really satisfying to me because everyone went up their game with Star Wars. They love it. They want to be part of this thing that is bigger than us and the team is I want motivation and teamwork and very small amounts of ego if not if none half possible so to know that we’re working on something bigger than ourselves and it’s going to be experienced in the world.

[ 00:07:36 ] Like you know we have a lake Alex Lakey walk at Skywalker Sound and I always joke about like we make this drop in the lake of our work and it resonates out over the entire world. And we have this Star Wars is the biggest icebreaker in the world as far as conversations and meeting people and and we get to be part of that. And it’s it’s incredibly special and we’re very humbled by that.

Thought Gallery Channel:
Backstage Conversations
Backstage Conversation Season: 2017