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Episode 116 · 3 weeks ago

MAGNOLIA (1999) with Sound Mixer John Pritchett Part Two

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Parth and Trent talk about Magnolia with its sound mixer, John Pritchett. They also discuss the cute cat in Trent's room.

We are Tonight's entertainment. You can't handle the true the fire risals pizza time. You're a wizard, Harry, you know do you think that's are you're breathing groovy? I don't have friends, serve the suits, so Trent, so part Hello, We've good to see you. Likewise, we have a podcast. I'm seeing you here, um at a friend of the show Jordan's sicafoos is place, and you have a cute kitty with you. Indeed, I'm sitting crisscross apple sauce on the floor because the cute kitty that I showed on the webcam moment ago is occupying the bed and we don't want to disturb them. And then front friend of the show Duran Sicapoos from the Nope episode is seated far away in an adjacent chair, so that kitty has the bed all to itself. Nice. What about you any feelines or women nearby? UM? I guess too in the rooms next to mine, but um, they're not out and about there in their own rooms, you know that. Notwithstanding, UM, I am wondering what you've been eating most recently? Good question. Yeah, Um, I had two Halloween oreos and they have orange filling, But it says on the packaging that they taste the same, but somehow, because their orange, they taste a little better. Is that the cat? No? Is there a sound I heard like a sul It either sounded like a squeak or like a screech or something. I don't mean to to write out our friend off the show, but I think the squeak you hear heard may have been her undoing the cap of our yellowtail chardonnay that she is now pouring, pouring into a dinosaur mug. So that was not the...

...cat. That was just Jordan drinking white wine. But well, yeah, good white wine, though yellowtail famous, has a reputation that proceeds itself. What about you, though, I most recently went out to dinner with my parents and grandparents, the whole familia, because my grandparents are flying back to India next week. Didn't they get their green cards? Is that true? Other set of grandparents? But yes, oh, I heard the other day you went home to celebrate that. Yes, um to go see them. Tell them, I said, congrats, and don't worry. They asked about you quite often. I can't tell if you're kidding like not, I guess not joking, and that they do ask about the podcast, but I doubt, I doubt they asked about me at a personal level. It sucks that they have to ask because you can tell they're not regular listeners, because regular listeners would know what's happening with the podcast, and they would know that. Maybe right about now, we'd want to cue the intro. Welcome back to Craft Services, where we talk about the movies. Each week we talk about a film, it'll fully have a crew member of that film to talk with us about their work on the picture this week, where it's part two of a conversation we had last week with who with sound mixer John Pritchett. That's not what film Paul Thomas Anderson's nineteen nine film Magnolia. Wait, is there something special about the cast in Magnolia? Is there somebody, somebody interesting, somebody we might want to talk about on this podcast. I thought you were just referring to its ensemble nature, but I think to be specific about it, I think you're referring to um, the Tom cruise of it all.

I'm I'm blanking on on his character's name, but Ethan Hunt something Mackie, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that sounds right to me. Um, but yeah, we are finishing up our interview with um John Pritchett. He was super, super nice to us, had some cool stories. We talks about a bunch of the other movies. He talked, Oh, he ships on Robert Rodriguez. Do you remember that? It wasn't that off air? Was that on air? So that was that was on air? That's interesting I remember because I was like, Wow, this is crazy that he's being so open about this on air. And then we can't say who were what, but it was it was a different episode interview where we talked well, I mean, actually I shouldn't even say yes, but um, this is a pretty good conversation. I think that there's some fun little stories our listeners would like to hear, and I kind of don't want to keep them from this interview. Don't keep the Yeah, this is specific scenes and he's worked on some good ones that I'm sure we'll talk about thoroughly in the episode. Yes, And so I guess there's just time to queue the interview. Um, I guess one more scene that I wanted to ask about, another cruise related scene. Uh, so there's towards the end, there's the scene where he's talking to his father Um who's at the hospital bed, and listening to it specifically for the sound, I was like, there's it's like a weirdly simple scene, but like there's a lot of like sound elements happening, like he's you've got obviously the talking bits, but you've also got like the room tone. And I think he's like on a stool or something, and you can hear that like creaking. And I was wondering if you remember if...

...that was yeah, if if you remember that was a you that was on set that was the sound that was happening, or if that was added in later. No, no, no, I don't. I don't think that they added any creaking, but they might have. I mean, it was one of those Albin didn't want to I mean, Paul didn't want to change anything. I didn't want us to go in there and oil up the chair like we normally would do. Normally try to try to deal with the elements of the said making noise, make oil something up. We may put pass underneath the feet of the chair. We're all kinds of things that we do to control the environment. Whether they're trying to control the act Um, but in that particular scene, wh didn't there was no but we're not going to interrupt anybody at all for anything. Jason Robarts were just gotten out of the hospital, come and do that scene. He's he says oxygen the scene. He really was on oxyten. Uh. He died. He died just weeks after we did that. So it was it really had to be sensitive about it because it was didn't Ah Tom too. I mean that was one of the times, the most emotional scenes. Uh, And it was it was one of those becomes up. It takes on the life of its own. The scene. We don't want to interrupt anything. Um, and you don't. You want to make it sure that that you don't have to go in and say I've got to change your macroone or something like that. You've got to really protect them. So that's what we try to do, and that scene is one the stands out is one of those days. It was just like very intensing. So you also worked on There will be Blood and inherent vice. I believe so. And uh, just as big fanboys that we are, what's working with pt A like as a director the best, he's just the best. That's kind of what I was saying before is he's his father was in the movie business, and Paul really wasn't in the movie business until he did his first movie at the age of twenty h but he had this relationship with his father's friends, actors, of the actors, all kinds...

...of people, so he was under the influence of all sorts of folks who've been in the industry forever. And he and Paul above all else is a story too. That's what makes a great filmmaker, not a person who's technically one way the other, but somebody who can tell a story. You can have all the technical Googles in the world and it won't be a good movie because it has no story. Uh. And Paul is a great story though, and that's how he uses his actors too. Makes a great story. Anything you can say about there will be blood. It's just like a masterpiece. So I feel wrong not to ask, well, uh, what can I say about it? It was extraordinarily difficult to do because you're out in and Marfa. You were shooting right next to no country for old men. That's like, uh. We actually we actually came in as they were going, as they were leaving. We all had dinner when that there. Last night we all had dinner as our first night there were to the very hotels that they were ably just gotta change room. Uh, that was one of those kidsm a moment. It's out in the desert, but that's uh, it was. It was a hard script to begin with, shooting the whole oil field, all that kind of stuff, very hard. And then there's the Daniel de Lewis factor. That was my second film with him, and I didn't even realize then as to what after the first week, what he's really about. Uh, everybody says he's a method actor. He's not really a method act. It's his method. It's not he's not a studying school in that sort of stuff. He does what he does because he's the only way he can do it. He said one day we're talking about I said, after there's always he was apologizing for his method and he said, he said, in problems, I just can't pretend. He kind of has to really live it on and off camera. You know the bowling alley scene at the very end of the building. We had a party, proof party at a bowling alley about a week before he shot that scene. I had to leave because these guys were out of hand. I mean, they're just they...

...were throwing bowling balls and the craziest in the route for real, just kind of practicing in their minds how it's gonna be Ah and Daniel days. He want he incredible and they have no doubt about that. But there's in that scene the bowling balls and all that stuff. It's all they're all rubber and he's not gonna hurt anybody with That's what what he probably could. But he's throwing the stuff like crazy. He gets he leaves, and then I said, okay, now you've got to do the sound effects rollers to bring out the real bowling balls and the real pans and all that were set up to do to throw them people to throw them and make all the noise. And he hears on the walkie talk us he walking across to his trailer. Here's what's going on, and nothing we'll do. But did he comes back to the set and do all the throwing himself. He didn't need to do that, but he wanted to. And also they also shout shooting one day, were shooting right at the end of the movie. Shoot we call inserts which are close ups of things like you pin on the paper cook. And we've got the scene where he's supposed to be signing a document. It's just the close up of his hands signing the document. He made them bringing hair backup and wardrobe and do him all the way d to toe so he could do this. It's not it's not the method. It's it's not a method. It's his method. It's his method. And and the fact is by working with Paul, he had a director who would tolerated. I mean it hung us up a lot of time. So it costs us time and money because of how Daniel had to approach the scene. Ah, there's some scenes were at at the oil rig and the sun is in one direction, it's going this way, and trying to stay up with the sun's always a huge problem. You're shooting something you have to get covered. Who said to shoot the whole thing from one direction on one set edge of the desert, and then to shoot the reverse. We had to bring the entire company everything around to the other direction because he could have anything in the shot, and the shots were big and wide. Now it sort of so we had all set up to do from this one direction and he comes out to the set and he goes, well, you always shooting the first, don't you. But Paul...

...said, of course sure. You know, until we pulled the company up drugs everyday to come in and move everything took an hour or more in an hour to just switch it around to the piece. I mean, he's great, he gets that, he gets that respe Uh. He says he's retired, he's he always says that, though, we'll just wait till a Marvel movie gets him. Yeah, you will, you'll ever do a Marvel. He's gonna be I think it's gonna be iron Man in the next movie. Yeah, he's wait, he was waiting for the next one. That he really goes, there's another Oscar. So you've worked on another really like iconic film, which is Dirty Dancing, which you mentioned previously. Um, anything you could say, which I actually I only just this year watched the film and it was really fun and it was fun on your house old it's twenty at the time. My point is, oh, absolutely, yes, absolutely, my daughter's favorite moves still a daughter nine years old now, but it would always been one of her very favorite moods because it it is that appeal. Uh and it's it's a story that just keeps going and feel quoted all the times. Just like they quote the milkshake line from their Theiry Blood they quote nobody puts baby in a corner. They get that stuff and then it stays, it stays. Uh. It was a miserable picture to work on, Jesus really was it like a chaotic No. We had a producer, a woman producer, who was just the worst. She just made everybody's life in miserable. So it's basically everybody just kind of tolerating her to get through the movie. And then well maybe it even worships. That was the beginning of the aids and so many people on that movie, the dancers and so forth, got aige that died and the director later later died, so it has that kind of a weird history. But it was in terms of it what would have happened about how what an amazing piece of work became was just like the legendary made that movie for six million dollars and made at the time...

...when it came out. It was the company that released invest best Front. They were They lived off of that movie for twenty years and then did not have another movie that made any money. All our stuff is based on that movie alone. And uh, you know, I still frizzled a lot of those people that survived on that movie. But I just remember that all that music that said that, first of all, it's all from that period. Uh, they couldn't get and it's all they brought it to me on quarter inch tape. They couldn't get approval for a lot of that stuff, so literally that they were going to shoot it and then they would bring it to you on table. And of course music back in that day, the songs were you know, a minute and a half long, seventy five seconds, eighty second and we had scenes in it where they wanted to have the music playing in the back and the scene was five or six or seven minutes. So I would sit there with about two recorders that would double over the song to the second recorder, do it again, and do it again. It didn't block up there, and I would go in and cut it, Yeah, cut it so they would be longer. Like a lot of lover So was doing that in the field well, making a movie to make it good to think and sorry, even in a dance oriented movie like that, are people dancing in silence because like I know that that's sometimes the thing in movies. A couple of those scenes they are or what they do is they would they would we have music on and would kill it and that they would continue dancing and then they would we bring to use it back up when if we're talking. So there was a lot of that in that movie. Yes, just you hearing about the complicated production of Dirty Dancing, but then also how it like became the legendary when you're working throughout your career, when you're working on a movie, when you have a sense of like, oh, this is one of the good ones, is that like do those become the ones that are remembered or is it funny that like you're often wrong, I'm often...

...wrong. I Mean the thing was always say, if the move is a whole lot of fun to work on, it's probably not gonna do very well. Really, do you think that is true that it wasn't? The physically are mostly the hardest to do are the ones that the biggest critical success. But then again, when you're doing making the film, whether the movie is a hit or not, I make the same money, you know, I'm not. None of us make extra money because we had a big success. We're all ours, so so you just you wanted to be something that you can hang your head. I did that movie. Anybody loves that. But if it's if it's it's really fun to do. Sometimes it just doesn't do as well as you thought it was. But the oscars do reward like you sending your film crew to like freeze their asses off in like Alaska for six months, and so that's like where the suffering versus critical success comes in. You know, I'm watching a Game of Thrones for the fourth time after this thing, and what those able to endured to do that, to shoot those those those movies. Yeah, it's unbelievable to me. They got a lot of awards for it. But there's somebody that don't get those awards. I mean we did. I did both of the most recent jumanjis and the second one we went we were shot started off in Atlanta, g Or shooting on state and local area, and then we went from there to Hawaii for a week in the jungle, and then we went from there to a mountaintop in Calgary, Alberta, freezing our asses off for a week, and then we went to the southern part of the southeastern part of Mexico to shooting the desert there, and then we ended up in the sand dunes they as sand dunes that along the border Mexican Mexican California border for another week. It was just really, really difficult, and I thought, well, this movie was going to get to, you know, acknowledgement. We just made at the time, the most money in the movie they made. But you know, it was fun to say that I did it. It was great to say that...

I worked on that movie. I love everybody on that just the greatest people and the greatest cast and all that. But judging how hard it was to do it didn't get any kind of accolades that I would have thought. But it was fine. Dude, it's had a great time. So you have a you've done a few films with Robert Rodriguez, Um, you've worked on Yeah, I gets too. Since the Grindhouse, the Grand House was actually I didn't really we didn't really do much of Grindhouse. I was there for We did three weeks and was a major breakdown. Uh, and they shut us down and then I wanted to come back. I was I was pasted it. I didn't want to come back. It was really like, damn, that sucks. But like, what's he like to work with? Next question? No died um all, Like he's just he's really If you ever look at the first movies, look at the credits on the first movie, spack Is they look at the credits and you get an idea, who what right? Okay? Um So you also worked on Tree of Life with Terence Malick, another film that kind of has gone on to have kind of a life of its own. Um So, I'm not so sure. I mean, I remember walking out of the theater. Uh there was a test screen or something when there was a young couple in front of us walking out and heard the guys say to the girl, well, that's two hours I'll never get back. I've never seen the movie, but like a lot of people tell me, A lot of people tell me to watch it, and I guess Trent and I have the worldview of film school, so a lot of people are like, yeah, I guess, yeah, it's a there's a part of that. They're actually gorgeous and there's a whole oriented about the family.

The femist's also really good, Like my wife says, that's the part Chili because it could have been a movie all its own. But there's other stuff that is just silly. I mean, he's got scenes and prehistoric dinosaurs, scenes where you see a dinosaur going to crush the head of another dinosaur and then has second thoughts about it, goes, oh, maybe I don't need to do that. It's the beginning of altruism. You know. It's like bullshit, It's just it was. It was so good. Well anyway, I didn't do the whole movie. Uh uh. He's an interesting guy to do directly. Ah, there was a professor of philosophy at Harvard or someplace, very one of those kind of guys. Really great to talk to, really wonderful talking. Difficult to work with because his way of doing movies. Well, actually shouldn't say that. I think that he's best served by people who don't know much about the distance, you know, who knew because they don't have rules in their heads, they don't have experience tells that this is how you do this. He wants the people who don't have that. He wants people who just got because what I say, Okay, let's shoot over here that direction for this part of the scene, and the next thing to go, let's do the rest of what we're here somewhere and they're doing over there. Here go every to come back over here. Look at this thing chaos. Uh. For those of us who have been doing it for a while, it was not any fun. But the young people, I think it's great. They loved it interesting. Um. And I guess the last movies that I wanted to bring up just because they are two of the biggest movies of all time. Um, you worked on the latest two Avengers movies. Um, collectively they think, I think they've made like four point seven billion dollars, which I know you didn't get any of that check, but have to qualify that. I mean, uh, we worked a lot of hours and uh. And we worked and we went out of the country and did all kinds of stuff. So we didn't make some money even though we're our employees. We learned a lot of hours. Uh. But there...

...there were great movies to work, and there was so much whenever you even want to have the hardest they work. They were fun because the cast was every superstar in America. It was the superhero now. Yeah, and and the directors are both really wonderful, sweet guys. Um and the eighties became a really was a good friend of mine, but he getting came a better friend of night. Uh. But it was difficult. I mean, you know, I was running I'd worried twelve people, but I co only put seven of them on tracks, and so we were constantly switching out about transfers. It such as was well. I tried to keep up with it and work because I just said, I said at the beginning, and a friend of mine who did the earlier ones of us, I said, how many tracks where you run out? It's all twelve Usually I'm not gonna do it. I said, I'm just not gonna do it. I'm gonna run eight tracks and that's it. And I figured out a way in each case to make it just that. And the editor loved our stuff. And when I got commiss with the adit throw literally every week talking about this is the greatest sting a lot of a lot and uh. And so after what we did it right. And then when the movie was over with, I figured they had to replace a lot of the audio because the sister was so annoysing uh. And I got a call from the assistant editor that editor after the move was over and out. He called them to say, this is this is the best stuff. We moved almost nothing on which to me that's you can't pay a bigger call. But that's not much to make their job easy. Yeah, yeah, we get given that so much of the movie is shot on a sound stage. Do you prefer working on sound stages or do you prefer being on location? Because I can see both pending their benefits. Well they do. I mean you think, for instance, I thought we're gonna be on stage. It's not gonna be all that annoysy No, that's not true. It was incredibly noise. You're the gigantic fans. And they even built a special air conditioning unit on the stage of what they called silent Wind because they wanted wind air bowing all the time. It wasn't really side,...

...but it was way better than these huge ridder fans that they used north. They still hadn't running all the time, and I thought they got to replace all this, They would have to replace it. No, it made it work. Uh, the stages you could, of course, you can shoot in the weather, but we shot a lot of stuff on locations too well. All the things outst about in fields. We shot the opening sequence and pouring down rain. But we ran for like two weeks. We just had to shoot one of those. You can so the budgets what it was, but the day well that big a budget. You can take weather days, no way to day shot, just get soaking wet and shoot. But the people that are working, they didn't were. It was just it was great. The food was great. It was it was even know, it's really a pleasure to be on. I was sorry when it was over. We shot for fourteen months and uh, we're all it was like the family and it was really sad for everybody. So it's time. I think I think it's time. I think it's time we released the Big Cahuna Final Question. So we have the Big Khuna Final question, and that is what is the last great, truly great film that you watched? And it could be a rewatch or a first time viewing. It wasn't one I met, No, no, not necessarily, but we'll say not Magnolia done. That's a popular answer. Well, we we've had. I guess that's uh, that's one of like the bigger in scale, uh movies that have come out. Yeah, and I have friends that were in that movie. Too, and I talked to him. They said, you just could you They couldn't believe what they were getting into. It was just so gigantic. Uh, so well done. I can't wait for the next one to come out. Yeah. I think they're shooting it right now. Ye. Dune was great. And they also uh television to be serious. You see I Foundation. No,...

...is that on a streaming service? Yeah, that's on That's on the Amazon all right. I think. Uh, it's from the book Isaac Asimos book Foundations, actually three books. It's the basis for practically everything in science fiction, a little everybody everybody to do. And I thought, well, they they can't make it as big as the books. For they did. They made it on a scale like like doing just huge and very confused parts of the very computer. But if you get a chance to watch this Foundation, we'll do I'm gonna bring us that part. Thank you so much to our guest, uh sound mixer, John Pritchett. He's worked on such films as There Will Be Blood, Avengers, Endgame, and our film for today, Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. Thanks so much for your time. Thank you. Welcome back to Craft Services, where we talk about the movies each week we talk when he already did that? Fuck shit funked up? Um to keep this in sure? That broke my mind for a second thought. Okay, UM, this week we're talking about or we did talk about we did? We talked? This week we talked about path used the past tense Magnolia in part two of our discussion with sound mixer John Pritchett. Not not only have you heard it, but the listeners heard it. So Trent, how was that interview great? Um? I feel like past a month ago, Trent would be more of an expert on how it went. But hindsight and so I thought it was pretty good. Trying to pretty surely recorded this in July. Doesn't that fuck you up? When I look at the screenshots like that I store on my desktop, like one or two from every interview, I...

...look at them and sometimes I'm like, Wow, that was so long ago, or I don't remember this happening, or why I got what that person's face looked like, or I'm surprised that I looked like that on the webcam any of those things. I feel like all of our screenshots, at least one of us looks unattractive or surprised stupid. A little one of our eyes is like wandering in the version. Yeah yeah, yeah those at strokey. Yeah well, I guess the listeners don't know what I just did, but it was like one of my eyes was half of the kitten does that when she's sleeping, just like one I will be like glued shut. So he's cute. Yeah, well, um, I think it's time we allowed the humble listeners to continue on with their lives with us. Disagree with our humble little lives, and if all goes according to plan when this episode is released, we can we can post on our Instagram several photos of the very cute kitty. In questions since this is not a visual medium and we've been talking about it so much. Yes, um, but before you go to our Instagram to see some cute photos, maybe you should go to the podcast app that you're using to listen to this episode and give us a five star rating. Maybe give us a little review or an Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, any wherever, wherever, wherever you get your podcasts. Um and also, if you are going to go to Instagram, maybe go to our instagram and give us a like, give us a follow, go to our Twitter, give us Twitter's kind of a ship hole now, but um d wait, give me your fifteen seconds on Twitter being a shipthold now, like I know elon musk free speeches, Dad, you can elaborate on that for me. Is giving every everybody the ability to buy a check mark,...

Yes, and he's going to make it so that anybody that doesn't pay eight dollars a month for that check mark for Twitter blue will essentially have their tweets hidden mostly um or not prioritized. And so you're going to be filled with essentially spam. And anybody can buy a verification badge and for how much a month. So so it essentially means nothing because it used to me and that you were everyone's super No one super um wow wow. It literally is that yes, And not only that, but he he had a call today where there's a thing called Twitter Spaces where you can essentially like it's like a group call, people can listen in on it, and he said that he might use it um essentially to as like a you can add your credit card to it and use it as a crypto payment service, and he'll essentially shut down Twitter. Wow. Good, So maybe going to our Twitter doesn't matter, but definitely go to our Instagram. It's own by Facebook and they're doing just fine. Well anyways, I think it's time we let the listeners go and next week we will finish up our Magnolia Talk with our Magnolia Talk or Magnolia Discussion, and um, that'll close it out for Magnolian will be done with a third of Cruisi Pulooza. I feel like democracy is dying, but the least we can do is talk about a three hour movie. It's sort of pretentious vignettes. Um excited? Yeah no, Uh, first p t A. I'm ready. I'm ready to go. It will not be the last, hopefully. If if I just checked the schedule, we can accommodate another p t A. If we stopped doing this podcast before doing Poogie Nights,...

...it was all for not you can quote me on that.

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