The Edge of Show Biz

The Edge of Show Biz

His name was Lon Bender, and for the life of me I can’t remember how we met. I think, unlikely as it sounds, he may just have called me out of the blue. 

However he arrived, there he was one day, welcoming me into a little adventure along the edge of show biz, where my Hollywood adventures, such as they were, took place.   

Lon was one of the most successful young sound designers in Hollywood, co-owning a company called Soundelux with his partner Wylie Stateman. In addition to sound design for movies, they were investigating audio books, and Lon had heard that I produced children’s audio. 

He liked to move quickly, and before I knew it, he had invited me to Soundesign and was showing me around. I was reminded of that visit the other day as I read film director Ed Zwick’s wonderful memoir, Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood.

Zwick’s name may not be familiar, but his work will be. He and his partner Marshall Herskovitz created the TV series thirtysomething, then Zwick went on to write, direct, or produce a string of terrific movies including Shakespeare in LoveGloryLegends of the Fall, and others. 

I bring up these projects because Zwick and Bender worked together for years, and during a couple of brief visits to Soundesign they allowed me to look over their shoulders. 

The first time, they were assembling the sound for Glory, the story of the first all-African American regiment in the Civil War. I watched, awestruck, as they added battlefield sound effects behind Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. 

The second time, they were working on a scene from Legends of the Fall with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, and Lon showed me an inside trick. During a filmed conversation between Pitt and Hopkins, Bender and Zwick agreed to add a “comment”—a humorous horse whinny to emphasize a joke. Sure enough, the joke was better, and I wondered how many other little details they had added in a similar way. 

And, you may ask, what became of the children’s audio books? Nothing. But from the experience, I had an adventure along the edge of show biz.


Blog: Music