Dylan Clark Tuomy-Wilhoit [Interview]

Here at Trainwreck’d Society, we have always attempted to reach out to folks from all across the spectrums of the expansive artistic community. It is a known fact that it takes a whole lot of folks to make a great project truly work. We have spoken with not only writers and directors, but art directors, editors, cinematographers, choreographers, location scouts, and on and on. But, one profession we haven’t really gotten into enough, would be in the art of sound. Which is obviously something that needs to be recognized and respected.

So, why not go to one of the best to discover what it makes to create the art of sound within the world of film and television and even video games! Today’s interview subject is none other than the Emmy Award winning foley artist and sound designer Dylan Clark Tuomoy-Wilhoit. This young man is an incredible talent who has worked on some amazing shows and films of the highest caliber. He has won a couple of Emmy’s for his work on such esteemed projects like Black Sails and Game of Thrones, and has provided outstanding work to film projects like Furious 7, and a film that we have been raving about for months entitled The Glass Castle. He is a genius in his field, and we were so excited that he was willing and able to share a few words with us.

So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the great Dylan Clark Tuomoy-Wilhoit!

How did you find yourself in your line of work? When did you discover you had a passion for the world of sound design?

At first, I got into audio through my love for music. Growing up I was always singing and dancing, in choir, and going to music festivals and shows as much as possible when I first graduated High School. I wanted to make music, both acoustic and dance music- the two types of music that have influenced me the most. I had a few options for college- I could have majored in Music/Opera singing at UCLA, gone to CSUN for Computer Science, or join the Officer’s Academy to become an Air Force pilot… I took the year off and made my way into a Trade School called SAE Institute in Los Angeles. At SAE I learned the skills required to become anything I wanted to be in the audio world, only to find myself fascinated in Video Game Sound Design. Soon afterwards, my father Jeffrey Wilhoit began mentoring me in his studio as a Foley Artist.
And what keeps your passion going? You’ve obviously had some great success in this world, but what is it besides monetary triumphs that makes you want to continue working in your field?
 
In MEDIA I have the luxury of creating a sound and music atmosphere that engulfs viewers into other worlds and stories. Music and Sound Effects are such a vital part of creating these other worlds and experiences for people, and I am proud and excited to be a part of that. When people come up to me excited, saying “oh my god that episode was amazing! How did you make that scene sound so real?! I almost puked when that guy’s head exploded!”  Making people FEEL through sound… those are the rewarding moments of my job 😛
 

For those of us who may be ignorant to the oh-so-important behind the scenes work that goes into creating wonderful cinema and television….can you tell us what a Foley Artist really is? As a very experienced professional in the field, please let our readers know why a Foley Artist is absolutely crucial to a project.

 

When a movie has finished recording there is little to no sound in the movie because the microphones on set were there to pick up the actor/actress’s voices… So the actor’s footsteps, the sound of people drinking from cups, and even the sound of drawing and sheathing their sword are all lost. Even when some sound does stay after filming, actors and actresses often use props so their sword may actually be plastic, and we add the steel sounds to create realism. Additionally, many movies are filmed on sets- So everyone’s footsteps in a big cave may sound like they are walking on hollow wood instead of hard gritty stone, or dirt.

Now imagine a room full of microphones and random stuff like bicycles, bowling balls, swords, weapons, and ski boots. The Foley Artist Performs all needed sound effects to the picture almost like playing that game Dance Dance Revolution, where you have to stomp on the correct arrow as it passes the screen, but with Foley, your ‘arrows’ are human actions… And instead of stomping on a pad, you are wielding a sword, breaking glass, or stepping to rhythm of Jon Snow walking up stairs. The human quality ensures that there is a natural ebb and flow to every action and motion you can hear on screen.

Without a good Foley Artist, the project’s sound is unnatural… pulling people out of the world or story.
 
 

And how does your work in sound design differ between projects? Beyond the most obvious differences, what is the difference between foley work on a series like Game of Thrones to, say, a film you worked on featuring our old friend Dominic Bogart entitled, The Glass Castle? How does setting and scenery effect your work?

 

Every project is different- although some ‘tricks’ can be used to recreate similar sounds, there is an inherent energy in every story. Game of Thrones is a very gritty and violent world with lots of energy, therefore dirty texture is very important. Texture brings worlds to life, like the sound of a leather saddle while riding a horse, or adding wet dirt to a blade when it is picked up off the floor to make it sound connected to that gritty world.

In projects like The Glass Castle there are scenes that take place in very different places. There are very clean, high fashion type of scenes where everything must be very clean and almost “shiny” sounding. When people are at a nice dinner party, we use finer cloth when making the sound of dresses, harder shoes to make the sound of business shoes or heels, and we clean off all of our surfaces so that there is a very ‘clean’ element to every sound. During other parts of the movie, we are in poorer areas, where there is more dust, rough clothing, and softer shoes.
 

We always ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you keep your Emmy’s? And does their physical location hold any sort of real significance to you?

 

Both of my Emmy’s are on display at home where they are easily seen. I’m proud of my work, and they are fantastic decorations 😉
 

What does the future hold for you? Anything coming in the near future you can tell our readers about?

 

Through the end of this year and next year our team already has some really cool projects lined up, most of them I can’t mention or talk about. But for my personal future, I am beginning to move away from Film/Television and move into more Video Games/Virtual Reality work.  I may always do Foley, but I am looking towards a Sound Supervising and Design career in Video Games.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

This question made me smile, to be honest. What a great thing to think about right?!  I smile a lot, but I think the biggest smile i had today was when my cat woke me up by coming under the blankets and snuggling with me this morning. The simple things 🙂
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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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