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Whiplash – Winners’ Press Conference interview, Sound, EE British Academy Film Awards in 2015

8 February 2015

Winners’ Press Conference interview with Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann (Whiplash) for Sound

Winners' press conference interview with Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann (Whiplash) in the Sound category


Q. I will start off with a very difficult question: how does it feel to win the BAFTA?


THOMAS CURLEY: It is unbelievable, it is amazing.


CRAIG MANN: As humbling and very exciting.


Q.  This movie must have been an incredible challenge. What was the biggest technical challenge that you faced that Damien posed to you?


CRAIG MANN:  First of all, timeframe. Five weeks start to finish including mixing, ten‑day mix.


THOMAS CURLEY:  19‑day shoot.


CRAIG MANN:  19‑day shoot. And the mandate was: make everything as real as possible.


Q.  And finding the perfect drum sound as well, I imagine, was quite difficult. How did you go about managing that?


THOMAS CURLEY:  It was a multi‑layered process.  We had period chords, we had onset drumming, and blending it all together, you know, just created a realistic sound, you know. Everybody in the music editing and pre‑recording department just knocked it out of the park too, so I couldn't ask for a better team.


Q.  And any questions from the guys? Yes, please, over here.


NEW SPEAKER:  Did it help to have a director who used to be a drummer?


CRAIG MANN:  It helped and it made it harder. There was not one thing you could slip by him, everything had to be right spot on, because he would call you out immediately. So it definitely helped, and it was painful at times, so ...


NEW SPEAKER: Did you get on the drum kit?


CRAIG MANN: No, certainly not, no.


BEN WILKINS: Our Foley artist did.  One of our Foley artists used to be a drummer and we actually destroyed almost an entire drum kit recording the Foley, replacing the drums.


Q.  Where are these going to go?  Where are you going to keep these?


CRAIG MANN:  Straight on the mantle at home.


Q.  Fantastic. We have one more.


NEW SPEAKER:  Guys, I think it is an astonishing achievement throughout the film, but particularly the mixing (inaudible) at the end blows it away, but also the editing.  I was wondering if you could tell us about the challenge of that specific portion of it?


CRAIG MANN:  Tom Cross, picture editor.


TOM CROSS:  You know, Damien Chazelle was very prepared going into this film and he storyboarded every scene and he even had drawn and created crew animatics for every big music scene, including the finale. So that's what I used when I first assembled the entire movie and the finale. And when we watched the first assembly, it really didn't play. It really had no soul. And so what Damien and I had to do is we really had to find places where we needed to inject our characters.  And that was the biggest challenge is how to bring soul and bring life to something so that it didn't just seen like pyrotechnics or a music video. 

So I think the biggest challenge was to try to inject our characters, Andrew and Fletcher, into the scene and really focus on their looks between each other, their dynamic between each other and also show their character arcs, how they start at the beginning of the song and by the end, they are supposed to reach a completely different place, a place of euphoria and transcendence.  And you know, basically Andrew's character has become the next Buddy Rich, and Fletcher has found his Charlie Parker. 

So we really had to show that, and without their performances, the scene would be pretty empty. So from my point of view, those were kind of the biggest challenges.


Q.  Fantastic answer.  Please give it up.  Congratulations to the team from Whiplash: Tom Cross, Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann. 

Thank you so much.