Mark Weingarten is a sound designer and four time Academy Award nominee in the Best Sound Mixing Category. Find out more about his life, his work and his overall net worth.
Who is Mark Weingarten?
Sound Designer on ‘Dunkirk.’
You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize the films he he’s worked on. What do ‘She’s All That,’ ‘Snakes on a Plane’, ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Dunkirk’ have in common? Mark Weingarten was the sound designer on each and every one of these films. ‘Dunkirk’ just landed this sound designer his fourth Academy Award nomination for Oscar 2018.
Weingarten, 59, grew up in the Bronx, New York and by pure coincidence, he attended the same high school as Ed Novick, another Oscar 2018 nominated sound designer. After graduating from Horace Mann High School, Weingarten spent two years at New York University but dropped out to pursue an internship in film editing. His focus turned to sound after friends told him that he seemed to pay unusually close attention to sound when editing. He worked on student films and then continued to mix sound for small productions before moving to Los Angeles where he was able to work on bigger productions. Weingarten’s rise to fame in sound mixing came when he worked with well known directors like David Fincher and Christopher Nolan on the film ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ for which he received his first Oscar nomination in 2009, followed up by another nod for ‘The Social Network’ in 2011. Weingarten was nominated in 2015 for his work on ‘Intersteller’ and this year he’s up for Oscar 2018 for his work on ‘Dunkirk.’
The Job of a Sound Designer
Weingarten is a production sound designer, meaning he mixes sound on set during the actual filming of a movie. Sound re-recording mixers then alter the sound in post production. Sound designers are nominated for awards as a team, which includes the production sound designer and the sound re-recording mixers. Weingarten was nominated with Ren Klyce, David Parker and Michael Semanick for ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and ‘The Social Network,’ and with Gregg Landaker and Gary Rizzo for ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Dunkirk.’ As a production sound designer, Weingarten’s primary focus is capturing dialogue and in the case of ‘Dunkirk’, this was challenging. Not only are the characters in the middle of a battlefield with gunfire and explosions, but Christopher Nolan shot the film on an IMAX camera, which while visually stunning, is extremely loud. Weingarten’s job is to figure out how to record clear dialogue while surrounded by noise. Other challenges on the set of ‘Dunkirk’ included running motors on boats, getting drenched by the sea between takes and high winds. The goal of a production mixer is for there to be no need for ADR, or Additional Dialogue Replacement, which is recorded after the completion of filming and dubbed into the film in post production. One of the reasons Weingarten works so well with Christopher Nolan is that Nolan prefers to do very little re-recording and Weingarten is able to capture excellent sound during production.
Best Picture Nominee ‘Dunkirk’
‘Dunkirk’ has been nominated for eight Academy Awards including Weingarten’s for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. Other notable nominations include Christopher Nolan for Best Director and Hans Zimmer for Best Original Score. The film is about a group of allied soldiers in the midst of a brutal World War II battle in France. ‘Dunkirk’ received mostly positive reviews, many of which noted the lack of dialogue and relentlessness of the action in the film. It aims to immerse the viewer in the experience of war, switching between land, sea and air perspectives. ‘Dunkirk’ stars the previously unknown Fionn Whitehead as well as big names Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy. One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles also has a small role in the film.
At this year’s Academy Awards, Weingarten will be up against the sound designers for ‘Baby Driver,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘The Shape of Water,’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’ The ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ sound design team includes Weingarten’s former collaborators Ren Klyce, David Parker and Michael Semanick, all of whom have also been nominated for multiple Oscars. The sound editing team for Dunkirk, Richard King and Alex Gibson, was also nominated for an Academy Award. Although sounds were recorded during production, King and Gibson opted to use only the dialogue recorded by Weingarten and create the rest of the mix themselves. They layered the sounds of warfare over the score by Hans Zimmer to create a tense, dangerous atmosphere.
Although he is now a four time nominee, Weingarten has never won an Oscar. In 2001, he won an Emmy for his work on ‘The West Wing’ with re-recording mixers Gary Rogers and Dan Hiland. In addition, the team also won a Cinema Audio Society award for ‘The West Wing.’ Weingarten has worked in both television and film, recently, he mixing sound for popular Freefrom sitcom shows ‘The Fosters’ and Fincher’s Netflix series ‘House of Cards.’
Weingarten’s Net Worth
Weingarten’s net worth is $1 million, which will likely increase with his latest Oscar nomination. A net worth of $1 million is typical for an award winning sound mixer. Here’s hoping that 2018 is Weingarten’s year to win a well deserved Academy Award.
Weingarten himself does not have any social media, but you can follow ‘Dunkirk’s’ progress on the film’s Instagram account at instagram.com/dunkirkmovie.