A Denver native, I was an East High Angel, part-time I attended Fred N. Thomas Career Education Center in the early Nineties, where we shot on the CP-16 and edited on the Moviola flatbed, we also recorded on the Nagra. I went on to film school in New Mexico at the College of Santa Fe (now the Santa Fe University of Art and Design). I spent half of my time in the music department, and became proficient in Pro Tools. After College, I landed a gig as a boom operator on a low-budget indie, being shot in Fort Collins. It started out paying zip; about halfway through the film they came up with a little money, and they offered me something like a couple hundred bucks a week. Then, after working on several sound projects of similar caliber, I bought a small package and relocated to Los Angeles.
I worked professionally in LA for five years. The great thing about that town was that I would find myself working on the gamut of film, video, music video, commercial, reality, ENG/EPK and documentary projects that were shooting at that time. It was a revolving door of random projects, and I was basically a day-player. That’s how you really learn the town, because you could wind up shooting anywhere tomorrow. I mixed several low-budget indies, the kind shot at Lacy Street Studios and on-location, not the big studios.. But, I still had this desire to work on the big shows. I was married in 2006. My wife and I moved to Santa Fe in 2007, where I had college contacts, and the feature film and TV series businesses were hopping. After a short time getting into the network of sound technicians, as well as the union, I began to get my first taste of the big budget movies and TV series. I fell in as a boom operator, even though I really wanted to mix, but looking back, that was for the best because I truly was not prepared for the desert and all-weather shooting, most people aren’t. In New Mexico, they say every show is a western, and that’s what they mean. It takes special experience and gear to work in those conditions. Scorching heat, 80mph wind gusts; then freezing ice and snow, not to mention the altitude. It’s a very unforgiving environment, especially when it comes to expensive sound equipment. The other sound mixers there had decades of experience before I came along; these guys were experts of movie production in New Mexico, and I wanted to learn from the best. So, I boomed. Turns out it was a good position to have because so few others wanted to do it, and many of those who wanted to, were just not able to give what’s necessary for the job.
I worked to establish solid relationships with the best sound mixers I could meet; namely Bayard Carey (The Missing, Crazy Heart), David Brownlow (Hoosiers, The Spirit) and Darryl Frank (Breaking Bad, The Last Stand). These were the local guys, but often, big LA sound mixers would come into town, and I’d get the opportunity to work with guys like David Macmillan who has won three Oscars for sound mixing. Over all, I’d say my best film is Crazy Heart, and my best TV series is definitely Breaking Bad. Although I worked on No Country for Old Men, I was a Second Unit Sound Mixer, and I was not credited. This happens often if you only do a short stint on a movie.