Dan O’Connell deals with broken bones on a regular basis. Explosions, too.
As a foley artist at One Step Up, his studio in Burbank, California, O’Connell creates the sounds that make films such as and feel like real life (assuming swordplay and shattered glass are part of your life). O’Connell is now working on , and the 53-year-old says each day is full of challenges. “It’s almost like performance art,” he says. “We make things sound the way the audience thinks they should, even if that’s not how they really do.” – By Julianne Pepitone
Typical equipment used by a Foley artist:
(1) Broadswords and frozen food
O’Connell’s team tested 50 swords to find the perfect blade for Russell Crowe in . Then they stabbed frozen turkeys. “They made the most satisfying crunch,” he says.
O’Connell sets up five mics, including this Neumann U 87, to record. Sweatpants and sneakers are his work wear because his sensitive mics catch the sounds of clothing.
(3) Leatherbound books
In the recent blockbuster , Nicolas Cage shuffled beefy tomes in the Library of Congress. O’Connell settled on medical dictionaries and a history of film for the dusty thumps.
(4) Car doors and celery
Jason Bourne wreaks havoc in cars; One Step Up provides the sound. This car door was used for a scene in which Matt Damon destroys a windshield. And the celery? It’s for broken bones, since Bourne is destructive in hand-to-hand combat, too.