Alex Bullick: The Fun And Vibrant Sound Of The Mysterious Benedict Society

DGC Ontario Production The Mysterious Benedict Society (Post Only) premiered on Disney+ last Friday. We spoke with Sound Editor Alex Bullick about the fun and vibrant series (based on the charming 2007 book anthology), finding the balance between funny and silly, and his ongoing work with his Sound Dogs team.

How would you describe the sound and mood of The Mysterious Benedict Society?

The show’s mood is definitely fun, so keeping it sounding fun and vibrant was the name of the game. While the setting is in an imaginary time and place (it feels a lot like 1960’s America but with electric cars), our approach to the sound was to make it feel real and alive in a natural way. When appropriate, we tried to match the show’s bold and colourful visual aesthetic by giving even the most mundane sounds a bit of exaggerated character.

What was the most challenging aspect of designing the sound for the show?

It’s a funny show, so helping the jokes by choosing the right sounds for the right gags was important. The showrunners wanted to avoid being too cartoony with the sound, so there was always a balance being sought between funny and (too) silly. Joe (Bracciale) did a great job on the dialogue side of things ensuring all the quick-delivered, clever writing was clear and landed as intended.

A scene from The Mysterious Benedict Society

Can you describe your creative collaboration with your fellow Sound Dog team and DGC Ontario Members Joseph Bracciale, Gerald Trepy, Tyler Whitham and Kevin Banks? 

I’ve been working on & off with these ding dongs for ages! As such, when it came time to share ideas or notes, it was all very familiar and comfortable. I’m fortunate to work with them. They’re as talented as they are delightful.

What do you love most about working in Toronto/GTA? 

The people. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many different Sound Editors all over town. In addition to being incredibly talented, everyone’s very down-to-earth and just generally nice and supportive.

Oh, and there are some VERY funny people working in post production sound here. I love funny people, and Toronto’s full of them.

Where do you turn for inspiration when you need to get the creative juices flowing?

Being anxious or unsure about creative work comes with the territory. Anything I can do to help alleviate that and approach the job with a better perspective is a good place to start. An early morning run clears my mind and removes some of the anxiety, leaving room for ideas (good and bad) to surface. 

Reading fiction helps get the creative seeds to germinate. So much of my job is imagining, and reading books is a great exercise for that.

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