Placing noises into a soundscape is one thing, placing them so they sing is quite another. Dave Howe, who played in a band through college, approaches his mixes as if he’s playing a song. “There’s musicality involved in any film,” Dave says. “There’s an ebb and a flow with words in a script, the actors and the camera. It helps to have that innate sense of timing and melody to create an emotional quality to what I’m mixing.”
Dave’s been doing just that for dozens of years now and his credits include Oscar-nominated films, award-winning television programs as well as corporate videos, advertising spots and interactive projects.
He came to Bad Animals in 1994 after spending years working in Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Orlando. Five years later he became a co-owner. “We bought our jobs,” he admits with a laugh. “More than that, though, it’s made us all more driven and conscientious to do good work. I’m really proud of where we are and where we’re going.”
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Mike McAuliffe got his start at Bad Animals® in 1992 answering phones. “I moved up to do some engineering and things started to turn around,” Mike says. “There was a point early on when I said, kidding, that I would probably own the place in five years. It took seven years, but I did it. I guess you could say it was a childhood dream.”
Mike originally started at Bad Animals® because the facility was (and still is) working on everything from films to games, television shows to radio ads. “I never wanted to work anywhere else, because nobody else was doing the projects that we do. I’m always interested in what we’re doing,” he says. “It feels like I’m always learning something that makes me better at what I do.”
The Bad Animals® resident sound design expert, Mike has worked on hundreds of television shows and advertising spots as well as dozens of films. His credits include “San Quentin,” “Bounty Hunters,” “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and the film “Outsourced.”
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When Tom McGurk was five years old he marched in front of his mother, announced that he had written a song and then hummed it for her. The problem? “I had just heard it on the t.v.,” Tom admits laughing. “I was sure that it was my idea.”
Ever since then Tom has made sure he’s original by pushing the envelope and dropping music cues that run from classical to hip-hop. “I’m not interested in being pigeon-holed,” he says, “and I love writing a ton of music that can be used in a hundred different places.”
Tom came to Seattle in 1990, bringing with him a music education from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and a collection of ideas ready to go. His work at Bad Animals® has included Emmy Award winning work on the television programs “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and “Many Faces, Many Voices.” He’s also added music to films, corporate videos, infomercials and dozens of kid’s video games.
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Northwest native and entrepreneur Charlie Nordstrom became a partner in Bad Animals® two years after purchasing Studio X, a renowned music recording studio located next door to Bad Animals®.
Much like his time at Studio X, Charlie enjoys being surrounded by talented people. “Our crew and the people they work with are so creative and have such an ear for detail.”
He is confident that Bad Animals® has been successful because “we make the process very simple and straight forward. We have great talent and we have the best gear, and above all else our level of service is unparalleled.”
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From her seat as studio manager, Wendi Wills has a hand in every project that comes through Bad Animals®. “I love it,” she exclaims. “There’s such a variety of jobs that come through our doors. The challenges are always new, plus the personalities that come in here are just great to be around.”
Wendi serves as the Bad Animals® liaison between producers and the studio, setting the schedules, creating the budget and handling the billing. “Every project has a flow and I manage that,” she explains. “What’s consistent is that everybody wants a smooth and seamless process, so that’s my objective.”
In addition to managing the studio’s organizational work, Wendi handles any vocal casting needs for interactive, corporate video or advertising projects. Her most prominent voice casting projects include work with Nintendo and Sucker Punch Productions.
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David Gallander takes one second to reply as soon as you notice he shares a birthday with one Elvis Aaron Presley. “Stephen Hawking, too,” he says with a laugh. “Elvis always comes up first, but I dig the Hawking link.”
So, add rockabilly and black holes to the list of things you can talk to David about while working at Bad Animals®. Alternatively, you can ask about his stint in Hollywood mixing radio and television spots for features such as “Taken,” “New Moon” and “Invictus” or recording catchy announcer copy for the blockbusters “Avatar” and “Green Zone.”
No matter the project’s grandeur or simplicity, David’s sole aim is to create an attention-grabbing track. “I love the challenge of finding just the right blend of sounds,” he says.
“Ultimately that’s what makes it a successful project.”
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“Be nice to everyone!” is Julie’s first piece of advice to anyone looking to break into any industry. Julie is the latest addition to the Bad Animals team after her mentor and executive producer Larry Estes (then a professor at the University of Arizona) recommended her. Her appreciation for audio started with short films during her time in Tucson, joining a ragtag group of students in an independent study course. “It was just me and a couple of guys just trying to figure this whole ‘sound thing’ out,” she explains. Julie moved to Seattle early September of 2014 and since then she hasn’t been short on learning opportunities as the Production Assistant. “Since so much of what I’ve done in the audio world has been from a self taught trial-and-error, I feel like I learn so much just from breathing the air here.”
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