[Behind the Art is a special section of Designing Sound created with the goal of studying the artistic and creative aspects of sound design, featuring several interviews dedicated to explore the minds and creative approaches of professional sound designers from all sides of the world, with the goal of expand our creative worlds and learn what others do in order to tell stories with sound.]
If we want to talk about the art of fine film soundtrack and its aesthetics, there’s one man everyone needs to know: Pelayo Gutiérrez, a master of film sound in Spain with more than 120 titles on his backs, for which he has got three Goya awards (and three nominations). He has worked on films by directors like Pedro Almodovar, Bollain, among many others, and currently runs La Bocina post audio facility with two other partners.
I personally admire his work so much (Recommended: “Chico & Rita“,”Te Doy Mis Ojos“,”Lo que sé de Lola“, “After“). He’s a true director of sound who likes to get deeply into the smallest detail of the scene in order to enhance the story and create a rich soundscape. He combines the qualities of a prolific professional with a special vision and unique way to live his profession.
Designing Sound: Could you talk us about your philosophy as sound editor/designer?
Pelayo Gutiérrez: It is very interesting. One essential thing that I think is the backbone for any film that I do: the production sound. If I don’t have a clean production sound is difficult to create the atmosphere because they do not hear great in harmony. Then this is the first battle that I have, especially in this country, where sometimes a hard time doing ADR for certain sequences because we work with many directors that put all the production sound dialog in the film, they don’t believe that you can get much more from the actor in the dub, etc.
Luckily I’ve managed to convince many directors to make the actors do ADR, and especially to have this concept of going to the set and already record the dialog in a later stage. Of course that also depends on the actor. I have many excuses to convince a director and tell him how interesting is to do ADR that can coexist with the dialog and live for the film. not direct sound off and live for the film. Because what I do is put myself first for the film and then find is best for it.
Some time ago, there’s one interesting thing happening to me. I see the film as a whole, and the more I work on it, remains a global issue. In other words, there is a separate sequence, it’s all about harmony, about dynamics, which of course depends on the film we are doing. I built little by little, but the final point is when I have everything harmonized, armed in a central scheme.
You always start from a base, read the script and you get the idea. And then there are meetings with the director, who sets one thing or another. But with that basic structure, you can enter every day in the film. That’s why if you come and tell me if I do the sound of a film in 5 weeks, I say can’t, simply because it’s not enough time to get into the film, to dream about the film. I dream about movies. Some nights it takes me to sleep because I start thinking about how I can create an atmosphere and how to keep the film growing.