Glen Ellyn Home to Previous Academy Award Nominee
Former Glen Ellyn resident and sound mixer Michael Herbick dishes about his Oscar experience before Sunday's Academy Awards.
Sound and music can evoke certain emotions from theater-goers while sitting in a dark theater, watching a newly released feature film. This Sunday numerous films are up for Best Sound during the 2012 Academy Awards and Glen Ellyn is home to a previous five-time Best Sound nominee.
Although Michael Herbick isn't nominated for an Academy Award this year, he has an impressive filmography that includes five Oscar nominations. Herbick, a Glen Ellyn native and 1967 Glenbard West High School graduate, was previously nominated for Best Sound for his sound mixing work in the following films:
But the road to sound mixing wasn't easy.
After graduating from high school Herbick was unsure about his future. He attended College of DuPage to study journalism but veered toward computer engineering after taking his brother's advice.
Back then there was no such thing as a laptop. Computers could fill an entire room and Herbick was charged with the task of repairing these computers. Then Herbick was on the front lines for computer engineering. In 1972 he was sent to Vietnam to maintain an Army computer.
"This is crazy," thought Herbick, while working in a battle zone during the Vietnam War. After a few months of war he decided it was time for a new job. Even when the industry seemed like a secure place to be, it was not fulfilling and Herbick decided to make the jump to sound engineering -- thinking it would be similar to computer engineering.
He took a few classes before eventually landing a gig in downtown Chicago with a group that worked on commercials. After gaining experience, Herbick left for California in 1975 with big aspirations.
His persistence landed him a spot working on records that included a Neil Young album, among others. After gaining even more experience in the sound mixing industry, Herbick decided to take his chances by moving to Los Angeles. Over lunch, a friend suggested Herbick walk into Warner Bros Studios to inquire about a sound mixing job. Herbick did just that and was later hired.
This was his big break.
From there he worked on major feature films with directors like Frank Darabont in The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption.
"Even when you're somewhat successful, you don't really think you are," said Herbick.
Herbick was later recognized for his sound work on an international stage. He was nominated five times for Best Sound and took home an Emmy for the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove and a British Academy Award for The Fugitive.
Although he won't be there this year, Herbick is betting on either War Horse or Hugo for Best Sound.
What's next for Herbick?
He just finished working on a documentary about the photographer that took Marilyn Monroe's last photographs.
This year's Academy Awards will air on ABC at 7:30 p.m.