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Contenders-Scarabosio&Wood-Sound-Blood

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With its eight Oscar nominations, nine BAFTA and host of guildnominations, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is one of thisseason’s most recognized films. Its sound editing team, soundsupervisor Matthew Wood and sound designer Chris Scarabosio, talk hereabout their part in the film’s success.
“It sounds corny to sayit, but sound is very much a character in the film,” says Scarabosio,who along with Wood, has worked at Skywalker Sound for almost 20 years.”It’s not one of those ‘in your face’ tracks, but it’s so intertwinedin the story that it becomes part of the story itself. That’s what wetry to do in our jobs as sound designers, make the sound become part ofthe story and tell that story better.”
Scarabosio went on severalsound-finding missions for the movie, primarily hunting for early 20thcentury oil and mining machinery to make the sound design as authenticas possible. He struck gold at the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft,California—the site of one of the biggest oil gushers in US history.
“It’spretty hard to find working derricks that are the old type,” he says.”They had a couple of old engines that run the derricks and I was ableto fire those up and get some really great creaky wood and metal soundsthat gave a sense of the size of these giant structures. And they hadan old blacksmith shop, huge wheels, cables, furnaces, and workingreplicas of a what it would have been like in a boomtown much like theone in the film.”
Other sounds were discovered closer to home. “Mykids have a swing set in my back yard and after winter last year, itstarted making this horrific but interesting sound of metal and woodwhen the kids started swinging. So I processed it and pitched it downand it became one of the signature sounds of the rocker arm of thederrick going back and forth.”
For ambient sounds, Scarabosio sayshe also spent a lot of time lowering mics down holes, to try and createa sense of being in a shaft, as well as recording wind in variousplaces. “The locations in the movie are so desolate, so you end upcreating this sense of non-life. There are certainly insects, but thereare very few birds, so it’s a lot of winds, and trying to createsomething that’s very sparse.”
The movie’s opening 20 minutes inwhich prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis) runs into troublepick-axing at the bottom of a pit, runs entirely without dialog, andbarely any music, which leaves primarily sound to support the visuals.That first reel, agree both Scarabosio and Wood, was the film’s biggestchallenge in terms of sound editing.
“Finding a balance between thereality of the production sound and integrating the Foley and sounddesign, and having it still feel real was key,” says Wood. “Then tohave it carry on for that long without any music or talking… it wasboth exciting and challenging. We didn’t want to go over the top withall the noises he’s making down the pit but we wanted to convey hisisolation and how hard he’s working and get that across convincingly.”
WhileScarabosio had worked with Anderson on an earlier movie (Punch DrunkLove), this was Wood’s first experience with the filmmaker, and onethat he’ll never forget. “Of all the directors I’ve worked with, Paul,and his editor Dylan Tichenor, are the most focused on sound,” he says.”They had real specific things they wanted to come across,” says Wood.”There was minimal looping, so all the ticks and pops in the productionsound are maintained in the film. Paul went into minute detail abouthow the oil derricks worked. In the mix he’s totally into the sound andvalues it as 50 percent of the experience. That was intimidating but atthe same time wonderful to be working with someone so aware of whatrole the sound plays in the movie.”
– Sam Molineaux
Matthew Wood
2008 Nominations
Oscar, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, There Will Be Blood
BAFTA, Best Sound: There Will Be Blood
2006 Nominations
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Sound Effects & Foley, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
2005 Wins
Satellite Award, Outstanding Sound (Mixing & Editing), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
2003 Nomination
MPSEGolden Reel, Best Sound Editing in Domestic Features – Sound Effects& Foley, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
2001 Win
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Animated Feature, Titan A.E.
2000 Nominations
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Dialogue & ADR, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Effects & Foley, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Satellite Award, Best Sound, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Christopher Scarabosio
2008 Nomination
Oscar, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, There Will Be Blood
BAFTA, Best Sound: There Will Be Blood
2007 Nomination
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR for Feature Film Animation – Ice Age: The Meltdown
2005 Wins
Satellite Award, Outstanding Sound (Mixing & Editing), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

2003 Nominations
MPSEGolden Reel, Best Sound Editing in Domestic Features – Sound Effects& Foley, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing in Animated Features, Lilo & Stitch
2002 Nominations
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Animated Feature Film, Domestic and Foreign, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Dialog & ADR, Domestic Feature Film, Artificial Intelligence: IA
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature Film, Artificial Intelligence: IA
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature Film, Pearl Harbor
2001 Win
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Animated Feature, Titan A.E.
2000 Nomination
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Effects & Foley, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
1998 Win
MPSE Golden Reel, Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects & Foley, Titanic
1993 Win
Emmy, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Editing for a Series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Written by Sam Molineaux

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