Backstage Interview Transcript: Sound Editing

CATEGORY: Sound Editing
SPEECH BY: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman


Q.    Congratulations, guys.

A.    Thank you.


Q.    You've worked with Clint Eastwood for many years.  Can you talk a little bit about how he's changed over the years and how he's affected your process, especially with a movie like this with such a personal material?

A.    (Alan Robert Murray) Well, he's ‑‑ he's always been one to let the artist bring what they can to the table, and he doesn't ‑‑ he gives you specific notes, but he let's you create on your own.  And he respects the artists on his crew.  I don't think he's changed in all the years.  He's still the ‑‑ the great friend and just the general gentleman that he is.  So, no, he's been great.

A.    (Bub Asman) Thirty‑five years with him, 40‑something pictures, probably.  Early on, he used to spot the movie with us and say, "Let's do this, and let's do that."  For the last 10, 15 years, it's just basically, "Do your thing, and I'll ‑‑ I'll come to the sound stage when ‑‑ when we are ready to do ‑‑ look at the finished product," and ‑‑ and he makes a few changes.  And it's ‑‑ it's been a great relationship with him, let's put it that way.


Q.    Hi.  There's very little music in AMERICAN SNIPER.  And so the sound kind of plays the function that ‑‑ that the music normally would.  Could you talk a little bit about that, and the central part that sounds plays in the film?

A.    (Alan Robert Murray) Right.  Well, early on, the filmmakers decided to do documentary style because of the type of movie it was, and they didn't feel like it needed a musical score to carry the scene.  So, through intricate sound design that was all made out of tanks, and ‑‑ and treads, and all these war sounds, our ‑‑ our sound designer Tom Ozanich actually created the score; and I think by keeping it all natural like that, it ‑‑ it helped define the movie and make it more realistic, so.

A.    (Bub Asman) We don't think the plan was ‑‑ we don't really know whether the plan was to not have a lot of music throughout, but we did play the material for Clint early on, and he said, "Okay.  Don't need to do much."  So we took that as a great compliment, because what ‑‑ what we presented that he really liked and felt it ‑‑ it accomplished what he could have with music, so...  He may have a different idea.


Q.    Congratulations, guys.

A.    (Alan Robert Murray) Thank you.


Q.    You had told me earlier that ‑‑ you had told me earlier that he came to you early on and said this was going to be made in the editing room.  Can you talk a little bit about that?

A.    (Alan Robert Murray) In the editing room in terms of the picture or?


Q.    The picture itself, yes.

A.    (Alan Robert Murray) Oh, oh, yeah.  Well, I ‑‑ I think, like I said, it was keep it real and keep it more documentary style, show the pain that our hero was going through throughout the movie, and how it progressed.  And, yeah, we actually didn't see the whole sandstorm until the last day on the sound mixing stage.  So, it was, like, "Oh, my God, what a shock."  So, but most of it was, yeah, "This is the way we are going to do it."  So we had a general direction, and we had the great film editing crew that has also been with Clint for many, many years Joel Cox and Gary Roach.  So they're the best.  Thank you.


Q.    Gentlemen, congratulations.

A.    Thank you.


Q.    So speaking of the documentary feeling along with the collaboration with Eastwood and the fact that you've done war films with him, was ‑‑ does this war sound different?  I mean, are there specific ways that this war just sounds different than the other wars you have sounded?

A.    (Alan Robert Murray) Yeah.  And I think because of the modern warfare, we had to come up with a gun for Chris Kyle that was silenced, yet had to be powerful.  So when we did the other two flags and letters, it was go out and actually record the actual weapons.  This time it got a little more creative, because this weapon had to be powerful yet silenced.  So I think that was the biggest challenge in the movie.

(Bub Asman) And to maintain authenticity, Alan mostly recorded as much of the actual guns, I mean like 25 guns.

A.    (Alan Robert Murray)  25 guns, yes.

(Bub Asman) And all of the vehicles in ‑‑ in the show, the tanks and everything, we just recorded all that stuff new; and that was the best way to keep it authentic.

A.    (Alan Robert Murray)  Yeah.  And I got to tell you, until you've shot a Lapua, oh, my God, what a ‑‑ what a gun.  Jeez, wow.




These transcripts may not be reproduced except as brief quotes used in conjunction with news reporting about the 87th Academy Awards®. All content Copyright 2013 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Oscar®," "Oscars®," "Academy Awards®," "Academy Award®," "A.M.P.A.S.®" and "Oscar Night®" are the trademarks, and the ©Oscar® statuette is the registered design mark and copyrighted property, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additional information regarding the "Terms & Conditions of Use" and "Legal Regulations for Using Intellectual Properties of the Academy" may be accessed online at

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Communications Department
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972
Phone (310) 247-3090
FAX (310) 271-3395