Actors of Sound parents guide

Actors of Sound Parent Guide

Budding filmmakers in your home may have their imaginations ignited by this peek behind the scenes of movie making.

Overall B

This documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Foley artists-- the amazing people who create the sound effects for movies.

Release date June 4, 2016

Violence C
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Actors of Sound rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Actors of Sound Not Rated

Run Time: 98 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

The photo above pictures Martin Langenbach, a Foley artist working in Germany. Although he appears still in this image, his legs are rapidly moving in an effort to create sounds that mimic actions happening in the scene of a movie. These noises are recorded and synchronized to images seen in a film. (He works in his pajamas because they are the quietest clothes.)

Helping kids discover the “magic” of movies means more than just watching a lot of them. It’s also good for young viewers to understand just how much “construction” is behind virtually every film they view. One of these constructions involves tinkering with a variety of background and foreground sounds to create an audio experience that is precisely what the director imagined.

Actors of Sound is a thoughtful documentary that opens the door to the world of “Foley” effects. The process was named after Jack Foley, a sound effects artist, who rescued a major shoot while working on the epic movie Spartacus by adding in background sounds that weren’t properly recorded during filming. Not only did he demonstrate how recording sounds made by some simple objects could save a studio the copious amounts of cash required for a re-shoot, the final outcome actually sounded better Within a few years, “Foley artists” were found within many motion picture studios and today film directors rely on these “post production” geniuses to make things sound even more stellar than they do in reality.

This lesson in history, plus speculation about this low-tech speciality’s future in the increasingly high-tech movie industry, are interesting. But the cool footage of coconut shells sounding like horse hooves will be what really excites most audiences. Many of these artists also have to be actors as they work in studios piled high with “props.” These tools of the trade look like the culmination of a lifetime rummaging through garage sales. Large rings of keys mimic the sound of clanking armor. Jello makes the perfect “squish” effect for E.T. and many other unreal visitors. Scads of paper, fabric and various other materials offer a virtual rainbow of sound support to what’s happening on the screen. And, not matter if you’re a male or female artist, you likely have a selection of “heels” that would make any shoe fashionista jealous.

Perhaps the need for Foley is most apparent in animations where an entire sound track must be created. Yet it is a staple for action movies too. Obviously, the characters are only acting out the violent encounters, so sound effects are needed to add authenticity to beatings and other brutal confrontations. This documentary includes a demonstration of how a turkey can be substituted to mimic the sound of a baseball bat hitting a man’s head, which is accompanied by a clip from the movie The Untouchables. This scene, plus the inclusion of graphic scenes from other R-rated films (like Gangs of New York and Saving Private Ryan) could be disturbing for some viewers, making this production most suitable for older teens and adults.

Budding filmmakers in your home may have their imaginations ignited by this peek behind the scenes. And there’s the added benefit that Foley work involves a lot of physical movement – even dancing – which will motivate sofa surfers to get on their feet. Just beware that your home may become a junk collector’s dream!

Directed by Lalo Molina. Starring Gregg Barbanell, Elisha Birnbaum, Leslie Bloome, Martin Langenbach. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release June 4, 2016. Updated

Actors of Sound
Rating & Content Info

Why is Actors of Sound rated Not Rated? Actors of Sound is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence: Excerpts from various movies are used to demonstrate how sound effects are created. One of these clips portrays a man being hit in the head by another man with a baseball bat, the shot cuts away after the impact but blood effects are seen. Some brief scenes from other violent films are included.

Sexual Content: A topless man is momentarily seen only wearing "brief" swimwear.

Profanity: Very infrequent, mild terms.

Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.

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Actors of Sound Parents' Guide

You likely have a few things around the house that could be used to make your own sound effects. It all begins by "listening" to the many mundane objects around you to see if they can be used to mimic other sounds. The pros at Epic Sound have a list of ideas to help you get started. Or roll back to 1998 and get some inspiration from this article. (Yes, videotape may be dead, but the techniques are the same!)

Martin Langenbach is a Foley artist working in Germany. Here's a short news interview with him that includes some of the work he does.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Actors of Sound movie is February 27, 2018. Here are some details…

Actors of Sound releases to home video on February 27, 2018.