Directors on working with Alan Splet

I stumbled across these 3 interviews with directors discussing the work of legendary sound designer Alan Splet produced for the School of Sound – wow, I never knew he was a cellist!

The directors interviewed are Peter Weir (Mosquito Coast, Dead Poets Society), Carroll Ballard (Never Cry Wolf, Wind & Black Stallion for which Splet was awarded an Oscar), Phillip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Henry & June, Rising Sun)

Director Peter Weir on Sound Designer Alan Splet from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Director Carroll Ballard on Sound Designer Alan Splet from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Director Phillip Kaufman on Sound Designer Alan Splet from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

A little note for anyone new to vimeo, if you scroll down to the bottom on the right is a link to download the source video file, rather than stream it… & frankly that is my idea of television = no ads, download it & watch it when it suits you!

10 thoughts on “Directors on working with Alan Splet

  1. greg

    thank you very much for posting these. they are amazing to watch. i think i’m going to make it a mission to check out a lot more of his work.

    1. admin Post author

      I found them fascinating too… & over the next month or so am going to re-watch all the films they discuss

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  3. Randy Thom

    I had the amazing fortune to have worked with, and to have been mentored by Murch, Burtt, and Splet in that magical time when the three of them lived within a few miles of each other near San Francisco. Alan was a kind and generous man, and a genius. The praise these directors give him is so well deserved, but I hope they realize the importance of the canvas they also gave him. As you watch and hear the excerpts from these films please notice that they are all written, photographed, directed, and edited in ways that give articulate and focused sound an opportunity to be heard. All these sequences were designed for sound before sound was designed for them. Notice the sparse music. Notice the use of subjectivity and point of view. The sparse dialog. These directors opened the door, and Alan walked through it elegantly and powerfully.

    Randy Thom

  4. tim

    Very true Randy.. & the same also applies to his work with David Lynch; what great opportunities those collaborations provided!

  5. Valerie Koutnik O'Conor

    Ah, Randy, I remember you, from way back when (1978?) when I worked with Alan making the horse sounds for TBS. He introduced me to a world of sound I’ve missed with intense passion ever since, and one of my few regrets in life is that I didn’t take the sound apprenticeship job offered then, instead of the “sucking up to Francis” job. Strangely, it was a far more satisfying experience designing that horse “belly mike” and the “nose mike” than was all the glam of FFC. It really doesn’t matter nobody knows about the little horse PA and the funky microphones; it remains the most extraordinary job I ever had in the biz or any biz, ever. The experience of the sound streaming from the horse’s feet right into my ears in real time was unforgettable (I was wearing a Nagra SN in a backpack). And of course, what Alan did with those sounds was unforgettable. I’ve been out of the loop a long time, so discovered his passing very late. I was surprised to find myself weeping, and I finally realized how affected I was by his exquisite work. It was so hard not to feel everyone was eclipsed by Walter Murch. I just didn’t get it at the time. Far too young and silly. Nonetheless, I have much enjoyed reading your very articulate articles online, also recently discovered. And I am grateful to see you speak well of Alan on this site, where we have these moving videos of directors singing the praises he so richly deserves.
    Thank you, Alan, and thank YOU, Randy.

  6. Francis Moriarty

    Hi Valerie,
    A very, very long time since I’ve had any contact with you and have always wondered what had become of you. I’m in radio, living in Hong Kong. I recall you well from SF and the FFC days. Hoping you see this and can find time to reply.

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