Today we’d like to introduce you to Woody Woodhall.
Woody, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It was a bit of a circuitous route to my current place in life. I grew up in Connecticut and early on I was motivated by music and filmmaking. I attended college at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. At first, I was studying for recording engineering, it was the only accredited 4-year University that offered this sort of curriculum at the time.
After the first year, I wandered over to the school theatre and learned of their new double major called Cinema. It was a combined study of film and theatre and I embraced that.
This new major afforded me the opportunity to act, learn stage management and to make 16mm films. Digital video and audio were not yet in play at this point in time. Halfway through my junior year, I went back to visit family and ended at a local professional theatre company to get tickets for a show that I was to attend with my Grandmother that coming Christmas. It turned out that they were hiring for an assistant stage manager. I applied and got the job. I was to start immediately, and stage manages the show that I had just bought tickets for. The rehearsals were in Manhattan and would involve me leaving school to pursue this opportunity. I chose to leave college, get my Equity (theatrical stage union) card, and start working professionally.
That first show was a new musical version of “A Christmas Carol” with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and music by Michel LeGrande (Oscar-winning composer). Following that, I did a revival of “The Caine Mutiny Court Marshall” which landed on Broadway and received numerous Drama Desk and Tony award nominations. This launched my career as a professional union stage manager and I had the pleasure of working with Neil Simon, Christopher Walken and a slew of productions and professionals that I had admired.
I joined a company in Westport, CT called the Theatre Artists Workshop. I was working with some of the top people from Broadway, film and television. Many of the names are lost to history today but they shaped my work and my ambitions. One such mentor was a director, Morton DaCosta, who went by the nickname of Tec. Tec, directed huge shows on Broadway like “No Time for Sergeants”, “Auntie Mame” and the smash musical, “The Music Man.” He went on to Hollywood and directed the movie versions of “Auntie Mame” and “The Music Man.” We talked endlessly about theatre, movies and his hilarious experiences making movies for Jack Warner. At the encouragement of Tec, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career in the arts.
In LA, I joined a company called Theatre East and over my 10 years there I served as a board member, the secretary, the head of the director’s group and eventually the President. I workshopped, produced and directed plays including a one-act play festival of all new works. I was also acting at this time and was featured on “Melrose Place” and did several feature films, including “Bye Bye Love” with Paul Reiser and Matthew Modine. When reaching my early thirties with auditions dwindling as much as my hairline, it changed my “type” and I decided to make a career course change.
At that point, I started mixing several nightly news programs for the International Channel. These were foreign languages like Vietnamese and Mandarin international newscasts. After mixing the news for a couple of years I had the opportunity to join a fledgling network started by Sony, called Game Show Network, now known as GSN. I had the opportunity to really learn about production and mixing in this position. I mixed 3 to 5 live or live to tape programs each day. In very short order I had mixed hundreds of programs.
Working as a freelance sound mixer, shows came and went. I mixed a live to tape program for Travel Channel called “Travel Daily” at Hollywood National Studios. They installed another program on the stage next door and eventually I mixed “Travel Daily” during the day and a live to satellite show for GSN called “Extreme Gong” five days a week.
“Extreme Gong” was really a deep learning experience. With a house band, rock bands, singers, dancers, comics and everything in between, it kept the audio department on our toes! I actually performed on “Extreme Gong” with one of my original songs.
“Travel Daily” was where I met my wife Wendy and from there we moved ahead and started our first business together, an audio post facility called Allied Post. It was a serious leap of faith, but as we have found in our couple of decades together now, anything worthwhile takes faith, determination and hard work.
We built several studios in Santa Monica over the years, the last of which was on 17th Street and is now occupied by Smart Post West. Gutting a commercial space and working with builders and the city to create a new space was an interesting and challenging learning experience. Over time we moved from there and made a strategic partnership with another Santa Monica audio post facility called 48 Windows.
Allied Post is still very busy today with my work as a supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer for feature films, feature documentaries and television programming. I have a lot of great work on the books for 2018 already, including the third season of “Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour” profiling the adventures of rock icon Ozzy Osbourne and his family. I’ve also delivered multiple Emmy winner Bruce Logan’s feature film “Lost Fare” and a couple of outstanding documentary films “After Auschwitz” which profiles survivors of the Holocaust concentration camp and their subsequent lives, as well as “American Relapse” about the human costs and corporate business model of the opioid epidemic sweeping America.
When we initially opened Allied Post on 17th Street in Santa Monica we decided that a great way to get people to see the facility was to host seminars specific to audio post. I wrote a textbook, Audio Production and Postproduction, for audio classes that is taught in Universities worldwide. We did a number of these seminars before Wendy and I decided to create another company called Los Angeles Post Production Group, or LAPPG, a professional organization that emphasizes networking and learning in the always changing field of post-production. Now, those companies, as well as a production company, are under the corporate umbrella of Allied Media, Inc.
LAPPG is about to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and Wendy and I have produced over 120 events to date. We’ve had sessions with blockbuster picture editors like Dan Lebental, “Ant Man”, “Iron Man” and supervising sound editor Mandell Winter, “The Magnificent Seven”, “True Detective.” We’ve covered workflows and the changing of post through computing power and evolving technology and we’ve partnered with the biggest names in digital content creation: Adobe, Blackmagic Design, Vimeo, Shutterstock, Zeiss, iZotope, OWC, LaCie and many more over the years. They share not only their expertise in using their products to our membership but also donate their wares for our monthly door prizes. We are eternally grateful for their support of our work and our member’s work.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Making the transition from student and young person to a career professional is a tough and unique path for just about everyone. Wendy and I started Allied Post when we had enough money saved to hang a sign and rent a small bay and buy the needed gear. Then you put the word out, buy advertising, do jobs for little or no money to get the ball rolling. It took us a couple of years to really reach a point where it seemed like we made the right choice in starting our own business.
When we first started Allied Post I got a call from a songwriter/musician who needed a small studio to record some demo songs that he wrote for an upcoming Disney film. All I knew was that this person, Lamont, might be interested in working at Allied Post.
Eventually, once booked, I found out that Lamont’s last name was Dozier, a member of a songwriting team called Holland/Dozier/Holland, they were responsible for writing the biggest hits from Motown records. When I engineered those sessions, hearing the familiar chord changes that I grew up with, I knew that Allied Post was ready to start the real work in Hollywood.
From there we booked feature films, TV commercials, voice recordings and television series. It took a number of years to build a clientele, and in that time, we learned how to run a business, how to get and keep clients, the legalities of employees and building out spaces and all of the things it takes to make a business run and grow. Now Allied Post is close to two decades old and LAPPG is about to celebrate its first decade of existence. Blood, sweat and tears are what builds a business and a business pedigree to keep growing and moving forward.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Allied Post & Los Angeles Post Production Group – what should we know?
Allied Post is an audio post production company where we sound edit and mix feature films, feature documentaries and television programming. We strive for excellence in all we do and hire and train engineers, editors and mixers to put the work and the client first.
I believe what sets us apart from other companies is our intense focus on the client and on the story. We always make sure that the client has whatever they need for the session and we try to make the experience as seamless and easy as possible on them. We also do everything in our power to help them tell the story they want to convey with sound. So many aspects of our lives and our stories are told by, with and through sound, and we help our clients find ways to do that.
Los Angeles Post Production Group is one of several similar groups here in Los Angeles. I don’t think of them as competitors since we are all providing networking and education in post-production. Leaders of those groups have participated in our events and vice versa. What we strive to do is stay on the leading edge of what is new in post and find individuals who have taken the journey and can enlighten us with their travels in post.
We have filmmakers and professionals in post speak about their specific projects and experiences since so many are dealing with the same challenges. We don’t want to simply show products and talk to the members about why they should use them, we’d rather show real-world examples and how they are used to create compelling stories.
Creating and maintaining businesses, particularly entertainment businesses in Los Angeles is a unique and gratifying challenge. Working with my wife is a bonus and we’ve created a life that we dreamed about when we first met. The successes that we’ve shared only happens with hard work, attention to detail and a commitment to the client. I can freely say that every aspect has been a team effort to make these companies succeed.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success can be an elusive concept. People who know me and all of the various things that I pursue often describe me as an ambitious person. I work hard and still do many of the things that I always done, I still play music, I still direct and edit content, I work with extremely talented filmmakers and enjoy what I do professionally.
There is always something up the road for me to get to. In those terms, I think success is a daily achievement. Be it a personal project or a client’s work, getting to the final edit and mix and seeing through to the end is a success in itself. I still have many ambitions and aspirations to conquer and I find deep satisfaction conquering those new goals.
Working with my wife Wendy, raising our daughter in sunny Santa Monica, and enjoying all the great things that Los Angeles has to offer is certainly a success in itself.
- Address: 1158 26th Street #272 Santa Monica, CA 90403
- Website: www.AlliedPost.com, www.LAPPG.com
- Phone: 310-392-8280
- Email: INFO@AlliedPost.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/woodywoodhall/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesPostProductionGroup/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Woody_Woodhall
- Other: https://www.provideocoalition.com/wwoodhall/