Today marks the official start of the summer solstice, but movie fans have already been enjoying the fruits of the season with hits like Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Man of Steel. We just hope you’re caught up, as two more potential blockbusters arrive in theaters today – the zombie apocalypse World War Z, and Pixar’s animated sequel Monsters University.
While the two films couldn’t be more different from each other, one of the few things they do have in common is Recording Arts alum Judah Getz. Judah graduated in 2006 and has built his career in the audio postproduction industry as an ADR mixer for film, television, and video games. It’s a fascinating role, with Judah working with the actors to re-record dialog for certain sequences, and he recently spoke to us about his experiences on these two summer movie releases.
Full Sail: You’re having a pretty big summer this year, can you explain a little about your responsibilities as ADR mixer on these two films?
Judah Getz: ADR mixers are essentially re-recording dialog and replacing lines that have already been shot on set, namely for technical reasons. We also record additional lines by the actors for stuff that was written after production wrapped, to help steer the plot. It’s a unique position because you not only need to be on top of your technical skills, but also need to have a personality that makes the actors feel comfortable when you’re recording with them.
FS: What was the most memorable part of your experience working with the cast of World War Z?
JG: Well the chance to work with Brad Pitt was awesome. He was intimately involved in the postproduction process since he was a producer and knew the film inside and out. It was fantastic. He had intimate knowledge with every cut, every line. Very cool guy to work with, full of energy and humor, and ready to push himself and get great performances.
FS: Zombies have seen a huge resurgence in popular media, how do you think the film stacks up to other similar projects?
JG: Tone-wise it just feels grounded in reality, sort of like what Walking Dead has done. The difference is the zombies in this aren’t what we’ve come to expect. They’re coming full speed, so it’s a lot more scary in that respect. On top of that the visual effects are seamless, they really don’t seem like effects at all. It looks like they had had thousands of extras all running around during the big shots of the cities – pretty epic. I went the other night and saw a screening on the Paramount lot, and I think it turned out great.
FS: Then there’s Monsters University, which is a completely different kind of movie. What was it like contributing to such a beloved Pixar series?
JG: For Monsters I did a session recording pickup lines for one of the characters, which was a really fun experience because animation can often be more creative for us. I think the greatest part for me is that Doc Kane, who’s just legendary in the ADR industry, actually recommended me. This guy has done pretty much every huge Disney and Pixar animated film for nearly 30 years, and to have him validate me and my career, I don’t know if it gets any better than that. It was a milestone.
FS: Your recent credit list definitely features some grittier projects, with TV shows like Dexter and True Blood, and movies The Last Stand and Pain & Gain. Is it nice to have something you can share with your whole family this summer?
JG: (laughs) Oh yeah. I have a five-year old girl, and my son actually turns three this Saturday, so I definitely plan on taking them to see Monsters. I’m really looking forward to that. But working on both films, I feel really fortunate to have even been a part of them this summer. Both were great to work on.