Interview with Sound Editor Piero Mura (The Accountant, 500 Days of Summer)

piero_mura.jpgPiero Mura has worked in the sound department on over 100 films in the last 25+ years. His list of credits include Ben Hur, Fast & Furious 6, Skyfall, Warrior, War of the Worlds, and Training Day to name a few. It was an honor talking to him about his career and sound in general.

Matthew Toffolo: How would you describe what a Sound Effect Editor does in one sentence?

Piero Mura: A Sound Effects Editor directs the attention of the audience to what he/she believes is important in terms of story and entertainment.

MT: You were the Sound Designer on the the remake of Ben-Hur. A film that did not do well box office-wise. You work on months on a film that I’m sure you’re proud of and then it quickly goes away after it opens. How does that feel?

PM: Ben Hur 2016 did not go away after it opened. As I write it is still being released in the foreign markets and it’s doing reasonably well. There is always a bit of disappointment when a movie you work on doesn’t find it’s audience but it’s the nature of what we do. We put our work out there and we move on. If I think a movie is a good movie the fact that made money or not is irrelevant. I leave the commercial aspect of our industry to others.

MT: Were there some films you worked on that you thought would not do well financially and were big hits? Or, films you assumed were going to be a big success, but ended up not doing well?

PM: As I said I leave it to others to make this kind of considerations. But I was happy when “500 Days of Summer” was well received by a large audience. Probably larger than i thought at the time.

Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “500 Days of Summer”


MT: How has sound mixing changed from a technology and creative point of view from the year you started to today?

PM: Everything in post-production changed in the last twenty years.
I believe that they were positive changes. Today the line between mixing and editing is not as well defined as it used to be.

Quite a few sound editors now seat behind the faders and a number of mixers do not hesitate to do sound design or supervise.

Personally I like the opportunity to bring to the stage coherent tracks
where backgrounds, sound effects and foley are already balanced and pre-panned. Establishing spacial relations helps me to understand the sequence better and go a little deeper with my work.

MT: Where do you see the future of Sound Designing in film?

PM: Probably it will be a good future. It’s a fun thing to do and a lot of people would want to be part of it
MT: You’ve been working in the industry for 30+ years on over 100+ productions. Is there is a film or two that you’re most proud of?

PM: If I have to pick one I would pick Training Day. I believe is one of the best movies of the last twenty years. The late George Simpson was the sound supervisor. I cut the sound effects together with a few other sound editors. There’s an important creative line that connects Training Day with Harsh Times,Street Kings and Sabotage.

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in “Training Day”:


MT: What makes a great sound designer? What skills does he/she need?

PM: Patience and endurance. Also humility helps.
Never go for the esthetic qualities of a sound.
If it is not helping the story it’s beauty is useless.
As far as skills needed I believe that the best skill to have is to be open to learn from others.
Actually this is the same advise I was given when i started.

MT: What film, besides the ones you’ve working on, have you watched the most times in your life?

PM: The Godfather. Characters and story are incredible in this movie.

MT: Where did you grow up? How did you get into working in the film industry?

PM: I was born and grew up in Rome. I started as an apprentice in the Sound Department of the Cinecitta’ Studios. After a couple of years I I got the chance to edit something. It felt good and I liked it.
And I still do.


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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