From his Nostalgia Night spoof of Star Wars to his work on a film about iconic sounds on the big screen, David Turner’s (’04) passions have come full-circle.
Turner played a crucial role in the editing and sound production of “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound.” This film follows the evolution of sound in movies by sound producers Ben Burtt of “E.T.,” Gary Rydstrom of “Star Wars” and Walter Murch of “The Godfather.”
The film has already been named New York Times “Critics’ Pick,” was nominated as “Best First Documentary Feature” by the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards and is rated 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Although he loved documentaries, Turner first attended grad school at the University of Southern California (USC) with an interest in directing. However, through the program, he discovered his true passion was sound production.
“When I would just sit down (to) do sound editing or picture editing, I just felt peace,” Turner said. “I just loved it.”
In his final semester at USC, his professor of advanced sound production reached out to Turner for help with a side project. In 2011, he edited proofs of concept trailers that would eventually become “Making Waves.”
The movie credits Turner with editing, sound production and sound mixing. While he was originally worried about doing the film justice, its reception has been incredibly rewarding.
“It really was the most wonderful footage I could imagine working with when I could release the pressure and simply let the creativity flow,” Turner said.
One of Turner’s biggest wishes was to aid young film students. He helps the film department by offering his resources to Taylor’s semester program with the Los Angeles Film Studies Center.
“He sometimes hosts the class in his home, offering hospitality to our Taylor students and sharing the story of how the Lord has helped him in his career,” said Kathy Bruner, associate professor of film and media production and art, film and media department co-chair.
In the spring of 2019, Turner’s students attended the LA premier of “Making Waves,” already fulfilling his dream of using his work as a teaching tool.
When advising young students, he acknowledges that not everyone gets their dream job right out of school. However, he encourages everyone starting out in the industry to define their passions and to put their energy into pursuing those goals.
Steve Austin, associate dean of student leadership and director of student programs, worked closely with Turner. He also believes that distinguishing interests and passions is what ultimately drives students like Turner to success.
“I think for students to continue to foster a passion for creating, bringing things to life you have to have this ‘why,’” Austin said. “This strong purpose that you're developing that helps you continue to move towards the room that you eventually want to be working in.”
Turner credits his success to his hands-on experience at Taylor. Many of his projects were outside of the classroom, such as productions for Nostalgia Night.
For Turner, those invaluable experiences have truly paid off, and he is appreciative of everything they have culminated to.
“The way the film has been received has been so incredibly gratifying,” Turner said. “It’s really exceeded all of my expectations, and I’m just so glad that people have been connecting with it in the same way that I did when I first heard about the project.”