Awards season has come to Hollywood and LMU’s School of Film and Television Recording Arts Department is being recognized for its contributions to the past year’s successful movies. Recently, the Motion Picture Sound Editors society held their Golden Reel awards banquet and honored some RECA faculty and alums. The Golden Reel Awards are to Sound Editing as the DGA Awards are to movie directors.
“It’s wonderful as it’s always nice to get some recognition, especially from your peers,” said Curt Schulkey, lecturer in recording arts at Loyola Marymount University. “It’s not the first time I attended, but it was my first time at the awards where I won!”
Schulkey was a nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR for “A Star is Born.” He also won the Golden Reel award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR for Animated Feature Film for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which he worked on as supervising sound editor along with fellow supervisor Geoff Rubay.
About 3,000 people attended and Schulkey said he knows, or has connections to about a third of them through his work over the years. Schulkey met producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord while working with Rubay on the movie “21 Jump Street.” While Miller and Lord went to “Lucas-land” to work on the “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Schulkey worked on “Hotel Transylvania 2” and “Hotel Transylvania 3.” Then Miller and Lord called to say they had “this Spiderman thing.”
“‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ was such a great opportunity to work in the trenches creatively: you do have an effect on the feature and there’s a lot of satisfaction in that,” Schulkey said.
Schulkey describes Miller and Lord as super-creative individuals and the “Spiderman thing” just looked “so different.” “It’s a remarkable movie which was fun to work on, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t challenging as well. There were constant changes to the look and content of the movie, but the changes always made it better.”
In the professional world, “Everyone puts an enormous amount of effort in on a show, regardless of the type of movie we work on,” Schulkey said, “or whether you think it’s going to be a hit. I’m always telling my students that they have the opportunity to broaden and open the sonic landscape of someone’s movie.”
Schulkey took a sabbatical from LMU SFTV while working on “Spider-Verse.” Otherwise, he acknowledges the hours would have been impossible to combine with lecturing. Towards the end of the project, the technical and creative challenges were joined by the physical challenge of long hours and little rest, when the crew worked six weeks straight, without days off.
“In our world of professional sound, there’s no formal training for new technology,” Schulkey said. “It’s all peer-to-peer teaching and learning, and it is constantly changing, which can be tough for academics to keep up with. I have been teaching now for 5 years and I love it. Having a foothold in each camp suits me as I combine technological know-how and creativity.”
Other LMU School of Film and Television alums, and lecturer Albert Glasser, were among the teams nominated for the Golden Reels, but for sound-editors and the like there’s an irony in such a large award ceremony as Schulkey explained: “The awards are held in a large hotel. It’s a noisy place with so many people talking, schmoozing and having a good time in the lobby. It makes it hard to hear each other. I’m pretty good at lipreading!”
Other significant Golden Reel 2019 nominations and wins:
Michael Finley ’14, recording arts, was a sound designer on “God of War” which won in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Computer Interactive Game Play.
Christian Buenaventura ’05, recording arts, was nominated for dialogue editing as part of the team on Marvel’s “Jessica Jones,” episode “Three Lives and Counting” and had another nomination as team-member supervising ADR/dialogue editor on Marvel’s “Daredevil,” episode “Blindsided.”
Albert Gasser, recording arts lecturer in LMU SFTV, was nominated for:
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Music, Dialogue and ADR for Non-Theatrical Feature Film Broadcast Media for “The Christmas Chronicles” (2018).