#MissMUFF: Jane Tattersall
#MissMUFF is our newest monthly feature. Think of it sort of like one of those wall calendars but instead of a different cute kitten for each month, we're highlighting a badass woman in film. Way better than kittens!
Jane Tattersall: Sound Editor
Vikings, The Tudors, Hyena Road, Penny Dreadful
I had the privilege to hear a group of successful and talented post production women speak in a panel discussion in November 2015. They were addressing a topical issue right now in the film industry: Women in Film: Behind the Lens. One of these talented individuals was Jane Tattersall.
You may have heard of her company, Tattersall Sound and Picture. Or perhaps you are familiar with her work.
If you have NEVER heard of Jane before, then this blog is for you. If you think the world of Jane, then this blog is also for you… really, it’s for everyone. Let’s start from the beginning: Jane Tattersall is a supervising sound designer and editor. She owns and operates a post-production company in Toronto.
Jane Tattersall’s career spans over 30 years, working on projects like Flashpoint (TV), The Tudors (TV), Beeba Boys, Hyena Road, Penny Dreadful (TV), and Vikings (TV). She even worked on one of our fave #MUFFapproved films, American Psycho!
The list of her nominations and awards is overwhelming, lending credence to her company’s reputation for being a premier post-production facility.
So what is a sound designer and how do they contribute to a film? A sound designer is someone who works with a film team to design the sounds of a film and generally does the sound mixing during the post-production process.
To explain why sound design is a critical component to any film, I turn to a Variety article recently written about Jane’s involvement with the hit TV show Penny Dreadful:
“The goal and the challenge in the pilot was to figure out how real the supernatural should appear. [Creator] John Logan wanted to make sure it seemed really believable. He wanted to root the story in Victorian London and all the sounds and mechanisms… It couldn’t just be fantasy. He wanted it to be believable for the audience, even though everybody knows these creatures don’t exist.”
She really hits on the key points above: a sound designer/mixer’s role is to allow an audience to connect with the world that is being portrayed—regardless of the content. If the visual images seem foreign then the sound is one tool that can bind an audience member to the fantasy world. Think Jurassic Park or Star Wars. All those sounds were created by mixing pre-existing sounds in our world to foster new “fantasy” sounds.
As quoted in a WSL article, Jane is a "Hunter and Gatherer" of sounds.
So why do only 1% of women in the Canadian film industry make up sound design? I remember one particular point that Jane Tattersall addressed at the panel about women in careers involving technology. She said that when industry processes became digital, more men learned the new technology and were thus able to advance. This left many women at a disadvantage, partially explaining our low numbers today.
Hearing about Jane Tattersall’s career sincerely makes me want to jump ship and learn her craft. Her passion, precision, professionalism, and gumption is inspiring.
Next time you are watching Vikings or Penny Dreadful, turn the volume up and think of this amazing and talented lady!
Do you know who our next #MissMUFF should be? Get at us! firstname.lastname@example.org.