July’s Featured Sound Designer: Bruce Tanis
New month and new guest! For July I’m glad to announce the visit of Bruce Tanis as our special guest. He is a veteran sound effects editor who will share his knowledge with us. We will have a fantatic month with several articles on sound effects editing and design. Hope you enjoy it!
Bio (written by Bruce)
I was born in Oakland, California in 1959. My father was in the Navy at the time so after a couple of weeks to get used to being on the planet, we moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. Several moves later, my family had moved to Reno, Nevada. I went to high school and college in Reno, ultimately receiving a bachelor of science degree in Forestry from the University of Nevada at Reno. Sadly, this was in the early 80’s after a decade of students deciding they wanted ecological jobs in the great outdoors so my prospects for employment weren’t great in an already full marketplace.
Fortunately for me, one of my professors in the Art Department at UNR was also the local film critic for the CBS TV affiliate in Reno and he was able to help me get a job there as a studio camera operator. This was an entry level position and quickly led to running the audio console for news broadcasts and specials. I like to think I was somehow drawn to the audio position as a matter of life choice but it was probably more a matter that no one else wanted to do it! I stayed at the station for a few years and it turned out to be a great education in sound work which allowed me to go on to the next step of my career. I already had a B.S. at this point but in order to get into film school in L.A., I had to begin again since no school I applied to wanted a student with a background in audio, whether I could recognize trees or not, as part of their graduate program. I began classes for a general film arts degree at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Ca. in 1989.
Our Department Chairman at that time was Jim Jordan who had directed a lot of the Pillsbury Doughboy commercials among other things and I always thought that was kind of fun. I spent one year there and my film editing teacher told me they were looking for an assistant editor at Cannon Films in the TV spot & Promos Department. I applied on a Friday and started working at Cannon on Monday. Cannon was a good place to work in one respect: being non-union, although they didn’t pay well at all, I could walk into any room and ask whoever was there to show me what they were working on. Sound cutting, mixing, & picture editorial; it was all done in the same building on San Vicente Blvd near Wilshire in Beverly Hills. The people were great about explaining what they were doing so it really was a great place to learn all about post production.
From there I went to Todd-AO on Seward Ave. in Hollywood to work as a department assistant. I started as a television assistant moving units to and from stages, both foley or ADR stages and dub stages, and helping with whatever the editors might need in the way of delivering materials to them or helping with cue sheets or whatever. Two years of schlubbing heavy two-inch multitrack tape cases around was enough so I spent my time after work learning how to run one a Synclavier which, at that time, was the workhorse of Todd-AO’s fx editing rooms. I never made a conscious decision to edit effects instead of dialog but that’s the way it worked out. Todd-AO had basically divided it’s department into one or the other based on the gear installed in each room so I went down the effects path. I started cutting as a real job in 1992 and now, in 2010, I’m about to start work on, approximately, my 87th feature, “Yogi Bear” for Warner Brothers. Whew!
- Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Television Long Form (Sound Effects & Foley) – And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself
- Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Domestic Features (Sound Effects & Foley) – Road to Perdition
- Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing (Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature Film) – Black Hawk Down
- Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Television Mini-Series (Effects & Foley) – Dune
- Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special – And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself
- Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special – The Shining
- Fringe (2009) – Sound Effects Designer/Editor
- The Pacific (2009) – Sound Effects Editor
- Watchmen (2009) – Sound Effects Editor
- The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Sound Effects Editor
- Rush Hour 3 (2007) – Sound Effects Editor
- And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003) – Sound Effects Editor
- X2 (2003) – Foley/Sound Effects Editor
- Road to Perdition (2002) – Sound Effects Editor
- Black Hawk Down (2001) – Sound Effects Editor
- Dune (2000) – Sound Effects Editor
- The Shining (1997) – Sound Effects Editor