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American Tintype: Skywalker Ranch

Scott R. Lewis mixing American Tintype.

Two years ago, I visited Skywalker Ranch for the first time to meet with Bob Edwards and talk about the possibility of working together on Mr. Happy Man. Bob gave me a tour of Skywalker Sound and one of the people he introduced me to was Casey Langfelder. Casey was the sound effects librarian at the time, overseeing the hundreds of thousands of proprietary sound effects. It was his job to cultivate the growing collection, as well as tag the sounds with descriptors and catalogue them for easy search within the facility. 

Over the years, I caught up with Casey whenever I dropped by to visit. Last fall, I was excited to hear that Casey was transitioning to editorial work. When I decided to make American Tintype, I had working with Casey in mind from the beginning. Casey took a look at some footage and jumped on board as sound designer, bringing Scott R. Lewis into the mix (pun intended) to help out with the final assembly.

Scott was great in the room, getting everything done quickly and efficiently and working with us on further tweaks. One of the highlights of working at Skywalker Sound is meeting new people, so it was a pleasure sitting with Casey and getting to know Scott and his buddy Jeremy Bowker at lunch. We talked a bit about photography and I discovered that Jeremy's father, Terry, is a pilot who dabbles in photography as a hobby. The quality of his work is pretty incredible, I highly recommend checking out the photos on his website.

Casey and Scott cutting up in the D. A. Pennebaker suite.

Catching up with Bob Edwards, the coolest guy in any room. Bob mixed Mr. Happy Man and his recent work can be heard in Beasts of The Southern Wild.

With the mix finished, I had time to enjoy being at the Ranch. It was the first time I was able to stay on the property at the Inn, so I was excited about exploring. I'd never been in the main house before, and the lovely Eva Porter was kind enough to show me around. It's hard to describe how beautiful the house is. Every corner of every room is filled with gorgeous furniture, paintings, antiques, and the occassional Star Wars or Indiana Jones prop. 

Lucasfilm Research Library.

 The highlight of the main house is easily the Lucasfilm Research Library. The arts and crafts style room is filled with tens of thousands of books and other research materials. Everything has a soft, warm glow, thanks to the massive stained glass skylight above. Robyn Stanley, one of the librarians, helped me find a few books related to tintypes and took me over to the old Paramount archives to find some tintypes that had been kept on file as reference material for period films. 

Outside the Main House.

I spent most of my free time exploring the property on a bicycle. There are lush gardens filled with vegetables that are available to employees, vineyards, olive trees, lakes, and more wildlife than you can imagine. A small family of foxes were always around the Inn, and it's not uncommon to see large groups of wild turkeys intermingling with deer and quail. 

 There's also a barn area with horses, longhorn cattle, goats, and very free-range chickens (I spotted a few roaming in the woods).

Filmmaking, especially at a large scale, involves maintaining focus for long hours under intense pressure. Working in a beautiful, natural environment is so restorative, relaxing, and creatively inspiring that its easy to see the value of having post-production facilities nestled in the rolling hills of Marin county instead of the traffic-clogged streets of West Hollywood. That kind of atmosphere attracts the best talent and keeps filmmakers coming back with new projects. The Ranch has become one of my favorite places in the world, and the thought of working there again fuels my ambitions to make bigger and better films. 


Reader Comments (1)

That library is calling me. And the skylight. Damn. What a cool experience!

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

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