Skip Lievsay spoke about his work as a sound mixer as part of the Film Forum at Montclair State University on Tues., Oct. 2. Lievsay is known as one of the most accomplished sound technicians in the film industry today, and he has worked on more than 150 feature films. He has worked with famous film directors such as the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese and Terrence Malick. In 2014, he won an Academy Award for his work on “Gravity.” Montclair State students had the fortunate opportunity for this famous sound mixer to speak to them.
The audience was shown the first 10 minutes of “Gravity” and told to pay more attention to the sound of the film, rather than just watching it. After we saw the introduction to “Gravity,” Lievsay shared that it was a film that the sound mixing and editing crew put a lot of work into.
He said they used all kinds of equipment and ultimately, the hard work payed off. After giving his short presentation about “Gravity,” we saw clips from other films such as “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “No Country for Old Men,” “The Hudson Fink” and “The Hudsucker Proxy.”
While watching these clips, Lievsay was explaining the kind of work that his crew did and how well he got along with the directors. He also expressed that he was known as the “the Coen brothers guy” in Hollywood since he worked with the Coen brothers in so many of their films. He spoke about the Coen brothers films and how exhilarating all of them are.
He said that they incorporate an array of music composition and he admires them for being able to direct a variety of different genres. Lievsay ultimately discussed the creative process behind their films and how he had a collaborative relationship with the Coen brothers.
Within the presentation, students asked questions about his experience with other filmmakers, and he praised them all for being able to establish a working environment in which people were all working together pleasantly.
Additionally, he talked about his journey of becoming a sound technician. Lievsay first went to school to become an architect, and somewhere along his path, he did some technical work for films. He later realized that he wanted to work on films, and now he is one of the most successful sound engineers in the film industry.