It’s Sound Check!

with Ric Curtin

What’s been your most memorable project?
That’s a hard one. I was a music engineer before moving into film mixing, and worked on the Queen album A Night at the Opera and the single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’—that was definitely the highlight of that part of my career. More recently, I mixed a four-part documentary series, The War That Changed Us, which had a lot of re-enactments cut into archival footage and felt more like a three-hour film than a four-hour documentary. Each film I do seems to push me more, with expectations and budget, so I hope my most memorable project is still to come.

If you weren’t in this industry what would you be doing?
When I left school I wanted to be an architect and applied for a scholarship to go to university. Unfortunately, the scholarship didn’t come through, so I don’t know whether I would have eventually found another way into architecture. But in the meantime, I got a fill-in job at a commercial TV station in videotapes and telecine, and I discovered that people mixed sound as a profession. This blew me away: I had always tinkered with sound but hadn’t realised it was actually a job! I was accepted into the ABC as an audio trainee and the rest, as they say, is history.

If you could have worked on any soundtrack in history, what would it have been?
I would have loved to work on the original Star Wars film. The soundtrack was so original, and all the sounds had to be created from scratch. It would also have been done on tape and sprockets.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Allocate time in your diary for a holiday at least a year in advance—and don’t change it. If you wait for the right time it will never happen, and you’ll work yourself into the ground.