The best you can hope for is to win an Academy Award for Sound Mixing. And even then most of the people voting don’t really know quite what it is that you do. They probably just voted for your movie because there were a lot of loud explosions. Ah well, you’ll take it.
Recent Academy Award Winners for Sound Mixing:
• Slumdog Millionaire. What makes the sound in this film especially impressive is the incredibly small budget that limited and complicated the filmmakers’ efforts. Without access to any expensive soundstages, everything was shot on location, much of it in the slums of Mumbai. That means constant distractions, external audio interference, and even some degree of physical danger. To capture the sounds and feel of that atmosphere as well as he did, the film’s sound mixer was certainly deserving of the honor. And if you heard his acceptance speech, you know how grateful he was. He said the success of the film was “unbelievable.” And that’s his final answer.
• The Bourne Ultimatum. If an action movie like The Bourne Ultimatum was put together with inferior sound, you would know it. What if every scissor-kick was accompanied by a weak-sounding impact? What if, when someone was getting pistol-whipped, it sounded more like they were being hit by a fly-swatter? The production sound mixer for this film had to plan intricately for each scene, so that the right microphones were in place and positioned perfectly at every moment, so that each smack, deck, kick, punch, trip and blow could give an indication of the unharnessed power of the film’s protagonist. Of course, there was some stage combat at play there (meaning a lot of that stuff was faked), so the re-recording mixer had something to do with it as well.
• King Kong. Much of the sound for this film had to be created by the sound editor, as they couldn’t really go up to a ten-story gorilla and record what he sounded like when he was angry. But the sounds of the prehistoric jungle (shot almost entirely on location in New Zealand) prevalent throughout the picture made the audience believe that this really could be an actual place. That is, if Jack Black’s acting didn’t pull them out of it.