A Christmas Story
Presenting this production in Cleveland presented a unique challenge. The audience in Cleveland was intimately familiar with — and proud of — this story about Christmas dreams and BB-guns (which was filmed mostly in Cleveland). Since the stage script was slightly different from the movie, the production team needed to be careful not to lose the love the audience had for the film while making their own creative statement. Taking advantage of the differences between the film and stage scripts, Jim developed sounds that would have been familiar to fans of the movie to underscore the new staging of the production.
• For example, the “Old Man” in the basement battling with the “clinker” in the furnace required some creative processing to match the quality of the voice with the sound cues. The audience would hear his creative invective over these sounds, all of which would come from behind a grate that billowed smoke. In this case, Jim mirrored the sound of the film in a scene that was staged differently in the production.
To hear this cue, please click here.
• Another example involves the fun-filled daydream scene of the shootout with “Black Bart”. Along with this sequence there were lights flashing, pictures and wall sconces spinning, and the general mayhem of a midway carnival game combined with an old Bally pinball machine. In this case, Jim created sounds very different from those of the film.
Return to the Forbidden Planet
All about 1970s camp, this play offers a pastiche of the science fiction motifs the films and television shows from the 1960s and 1970s. The director wanted to emphasize this playful mood, so Jim created almost all the sound cues for this production using a vintage analog synthesizer — a Yamaha CS-80 — to parody sounds associated with such television shows as Star Trek, Lost in Space and (on occasion) Space: 1999. These include such sounds as asteroids, starship engines and console beeps, planets breaking up and ships crashing.
To hear an example of a starship console, please click here.
To hear another example of a starship console, please click here.
To hear an example of a starship airlock, please click here.
To hear an example of an asteroid sound, please click here.
To hear a sound layer of a planet breaking up, please click here.
To hear another sound layer of a planet breaking up, please click here.
To hear an example of a starship crashing, please click here.
Ariel the Robot also presented another opportunity to play with the science fiction stereotypes of the production. Jim processed the actor’s voice through a simulated time delay and phase processor, which gave Ariel’s voice an edge of metallic distortion but still allowed the actor to be clearly understood. Various "robotic" sounds also were created for Ariel when he was damaged or malfunctioned.
Further examples of Jim’s sound design work are available upon request.