A Sound Effect: Interview with The Super Mario Bros. Movie Sound Designers Randy Thom and Jamey Scott
More than just a 'wooooop'
A Sound Effect, a website for hosting sound effects from independent designers, held an interview with The Super Mario Bros. Movie Sound Designers Randy Thom and Jamey Scott.
GameXplain has compiled a list of highlights from the interview, but if you’d like to read it in full, here’s a direct link the A Sound Effects’ website.
Q: How did you want to honor the sound of this iconic game series in the film?
Randy Thom (RT): I mainly honored it by hiring Jamey! I was first brought onto the movie to work on Bowser’s voice. The filmmakers wanted to obviously respect Jack Black’s performance but also try to make Bowser seem as big as possible and intimidating as possible. And so I was asked to see what I could do with that. Then, I started getting more involved in the other sound elements in the movie.
Q: Were the sounds high-quality enough for use in film? Or, did you have to recreate them? It seems like they are sprinkled throughout. For example, Mario slides down the pole in front of the burger place and it makes the ‘wooooop’ sound, and the coin dispensers in the Mushroom Kingdom have that iconic ‘bling!,’ and Mario eating the mushrooms have that power-up or shrinking-down sound…
JS: It was all of that.
Yes, I did use a lot of sounds as is. A lot of the sounds I enhanced, making them hyper versions of the original sounds, and then a lot of the sounds I created or reverse-engineered and recreated for specific purposes.
Yes, I did use a lot of sounds as is. A lot of the sounds I enhanced…and then a lot of the sounds I created or reverse-engineered and recreated…
As an example of reverse-engineering a sound, Randy and I were just talking about creating the sound of Peach lighting her fireball. Yes, there’s that power-up sound and that sound is iconic, obviously, (it’s one of the most popular sounds from the Mario Universe) but in this particular case, the music was really delicate and that sound is a musical sequence that runs through a different key. So I had to change it so that it stayed in the key of the music in the film.
Q: So as a fan of the games, and as a sound designer on the film, what were you most excited to work on?
JS: One of my first greatest memories was walking to the drugstore and playing the Donkey Kong coin-op machine. That’s where it all started for me. Growing up I had a Nintendo 64 that I basically wore out. My first job was in the game industry and we played Super Mario 64 every day at lunch for probably five years. Mario is very deep in my blood and I know a lot about it (not everything!). I’m not a super fan, but I had it in my life for so long that I know pretty much most of it.