a word to the wise

“My feeling is that if somebody has got the imagination, they’ll figure a way to do something no matter what the limitations are. As I was saying before, when David (Lynch) and I worked on The Grandmother, we had nothing like we have now, and we still got what we needed, sometimes just out of junk lying around. For Eraserhead, we floated a big five gallon bottle in a bathtub with a microphone inside. We recorded the innards of an old Bell & Howell movie camera as it chugged away. David blew into an old metal heater and put a microphone in the bottom of it and got some kind of weird sounds, and then we altered them and slowed them down. You can do all this, and you don’t need a big budget or thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Sometimes that stuff just gets in the way. You just need to use your imagination.”

This quote is taken from an interview with Alan Splet, an eternally inspiring sound designer, published in a Americ@n Cinematograph3r magazine, December 1984. Sadly he skipped off this mortal coil back in 1995 but his creative spirit & unique sound library continue, thanks to his partner & sound recordist Anne Kroeber, who runs Sound Mountain. When I was working on the film The World’s Fastest Indian we needed to recreate the sounds of classic land speed racer cars & Anne provided us with some fantastic sounds that were both unique & perfectly suited.
The rest of the article about Alan Splet & his work on Dune is available here (apologies for the scan quality) and below is a list of films worthy of careful listening, thanks to imdb

Alan Splet Filmography

Rising Sun (1993) (music editor) (sound designer)
Wind (1992) (supervising sound editor)
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991) (sound editor)
By the Sword (1991) (sound designer)
Henry & June (1990) (sound designer)
Mountains of the Moon (1990) (supervising sound editor)
Weekend at Bernie’s (1989) (supervising sound editor)
Dead Poets Society (1989) (supervising sound editor)
Winter People (1989) (sound editor)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) (supervising sound editor)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) (sound designer)
The Mosquito Coast (1986) (supervising sound editor)
Blue Velvet (1986) (sound designer)
Warning Sign (1985) (supervising sound effects editor)
Dune (1984) (sound designer)
Never Cry Wolf (1983) (sound)
The Elephant Man (1980) (sound designer) (special sound effects)
The Black Stallion (1979) (supervising sound editor)
J-Men Forever (1979) (sound effects)
Days of Heaven (1978) (special audio assistant)
Eraserhead (1977) (location sound and re-recording, sound editor, sound effects)
The Grandmother (1970) (sound editor) (sound effects) (sound mixer)

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