Tag Archives: Hal Ashby

Meet the Crew: Jeff Wexler – Production Sound Mixer

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JW-Elizabethtown

Jeff on the set of Elizabethtown. Picture courtesy of Jeff Wexler.

Jeff Wexler has been working in the film industry since he was an intern on Harold and Maude back in 1971.  His career spans more than four decades with such varied films as Foul Play, Being There, The Natural, Spaceballs, Independence Day, Fight Club and Mission Impossible III. We spoke on location working on his sixth film with Cameron, Aloha. 

Looking back on your 40 year career in the film industry, I read that you had no plans to follow in your dad’s footsteps (preeminent cinematographer Haskell Wexler). Tell us how working a summer job on Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude changed your life?

I had been on sets with my father probably since about the age of two. I was very familiar with what goes on when making a movie but when I started to think about what I would do “when I grow up” it never crossed my mind that I would work on movies. I spent 5 years in college preparing to teach sociology at the college level. One summer I think my father felt that I had been in school long enough and needed a summer job. Of course he got me a job on a movie, working as a production assistant in the Art Department on Harold and Maude. I had known Hal Ashby from times spent going to dailies with my father, visiting the editing room (Hal was an Academy Award winning editor on several movies my father had shot), so I was quite comfortable on the set again, with people I knew. What I was not prepared for was how I felt, for the first time, being on a movie, not as a visitor but as a participant. I fell in love with the movies. When the movie wrapped I made the decision: teaching was out — I would pursue a career working on movies.

Describe to our readers the duties of a Sound Mixer?

I am a Production Sound Mixer and it is the responsibility, with my crew, for all the sound that is recorded during production. This is primarily dialog recording, but we also record sound effects, ambiences, music (sometimes live performances depending on the movie). Many others will work on the soundtrack for a movie in post production (i.e. sound designer, sound editorial, foley, music composer, re-recording mixer, etc.) but the production sound recordings are the primary and fundamental basis for the movie.

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Jun 15, 2015

Harold and Maude Goes Criterion

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As you may know, Cameron is a big fan of Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby’s 1971 cult classic starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon. Criterion has recently released the film on DVD and Blu-ray and we wanted to bring it to your attention. If you haven’t seen it, we urge you to give it a look. The disc is also filled with some great extra features.

  • New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Optional remastered uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary by Hal Ashby biographer Nick Dawson and producer Charles B. Mulvehill
  • Illustrated audio excerpts from seminars by Ashby and writer-producer Colin Higgins
  • New interview with songwriter Yusuf/Cat Stevens
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz; a 1971 New York Times profile of star Ruth Gordon; and two excerpted interviews, one from 1997 with star Bud Cort and cinematographer John Alonzo and one from 2001 with executive producer Mildred Lewis
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Jun 13, 2012

Inquire Within: Inspiration

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Welcome to another edition of Inquire Within… Through your submissions, Cameron will answer your questions in his own words.

Leah Greenwood (Raleigh, NC): The first time I saw it, in the theater while in college, I walked out and decided to change my major.  Almost Famous (and therefore you) are single-handedly responsible for my renewed focus on writing/English/journalism.  What movies changed you? Shaped you?  Winds up in your DVD player every month?

Cameron: Thanks Leah.  I hope you stuck with it — journalism needs you.  It’s still a living, growing and important field… whatever the format, print or blog or online.  Nothing beats the importance of details, and the discipline that comes from checking facts.  Sometimes in the immediacy of online blogging, details sadly go out the window. But truth always still reads like the truth, and if you’re in doubt, the NY Times or The New Yorker and a number of other hallowed
publications are still touchstones for the timeless kind of journalism that will always need a home.

I was changed by a bunch of films and books.  The works of journalists Seymour Hersh and Jonathan Alter are simply great, as are the absolutely gripping Robert Caro books on Lyndon Johnson.  Most recently, Bob Dylan’s reinvention as an author and even a DJ (Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour) are big in my house.  Movie-wise, Carnal Knowledge is a timeless inspiration, along with the movies of Preston Sturges, and Wes Anderson, Jean Renoir especially Rules of the Game, Truffaut’s Day for Night, Stolen Kisses and of course, The 400 Blows.  Spike Lee’s first three films are still amazing, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is a reminder of a great writing and directing voice still in play… and Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin are aces for combining humor and wild surprise, and always a strong beating heart. And don’t forget Mr. Wilder and Mr. Ashby.

Please send in your questions for Cameron and maybe yours will be part of a future installment of Inquire Within…
Filed under News
Dec 5, 2011


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