on his luck. He goes to a bank teller to
make a withdrawal and finds he has a
negative balance. Despondent, he bangs
his head on the glass partition. On screen,
the original sound is a light tap.
“Ready?” says Lara from the sound-
proof control booth to Costanzo’s left.
Lara plays the scene again. This time,
Costanzo bangs his fist on a thick piece of
glass he holds against his thigh, making
a loud thwack as Murray’s head hits the
partition. It works. The scene has taken
on a new dimension.
“Before, it was a boring sound,”
Costanzo says. “But in a comedy, you re-
ally want to hear a bong as his head hits
the glass. It makes a fuller, warmer sound.
With comedies, we try to find a slip-on-a-
banana sound when we can.”
Costanzo’s work has won the respect of
his peers. “He has a great sense of the sounds
that are needed, and the imagination to
come up with the right props,” says veteran
sound editor William Sweeney.
In New Jersey, Costanzo can afford a
larger space than he could in Manhattan,
where many Foley studios are located. His
soundproof space has double-thick walls
with a foot of air between layers. The size of
the room allows him to fill it with every possible prop he could ever need.
On one wall, there hangs an array of
rakes, brooms and swords. In a corner,
Costanzo piles shoes and boots. Coats hang
on a rack, and boxes fill shelves. Off to the
side is a pile of rocks, leaves, some branches
and a small potted tree.
Costanzo’s favorite project to date
is Life of Pi. “It presented many unique
challenges that I have never encoun-
tered,” he says. “A 30-foot lifeboat with
a tiger and an orangutan, a hyena and a
zebra all stomping around in one form
or another. A flying-fish attack, a floating
island with roots for soil and with meer-
cats as the lifeblood. Pretty wild stuff!”
A feature film can take Costanzo and
Lara 10 to 15 days to complete; lower-bud-
get films require five days or less, he says.
we try to find a slip-
when we can.”
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