Darryl L. Frank, originally from Conewango Valley, is currently working on the popular AMC television show "Breaking Bad."
Frank, now a resident of Albuquerque, N.M., has racked up quite a few high-quality gigs for his resume as a Cinema Audio Society (CAS) production sound mixer.
He has worked on projects such as "Terminator Salvation," "Legion," Disney's "Lemonade Mouth," "Comanche Moon," "Wildfire," "Into the West" and more. His most recent project includes the wildly successful "Breaking Bad" series, in which he was nominated for a CAS award for the last episode of season four, 'Face Off.'
Darryl L. Frank on the set of “Breaking Bad.”
Photo by Ursula Coyote
"Being a member of the CAS society is an honor because you have to be accepted by your peers," said Frank. "Then being nominated is an even bigger honor, and I had that happen this year. But, even though I didn't win, just getting nominated is a great honor."
Frank's education began at Pine Valley where he graduated in 1981. From there he moved on to a community college in Auburn and finally ended up getting into Eastman School of Music in Rochester. Then he moved out to Los Angeles to start his career.
"It's everybody from upstate New York's dream to move out west," said Frank. "My job is to record the best possible sound so that they don't have to replace it later. The idea is to go out to a location and get sound that you can use, and that is a big challenge. Everybody is out there trying to pull their little piece together to make it all happen. Even if you do manage to get a perfect recording it can sound too silent, and then you have to add noise to it."
Frank got involved with "Breaking Bad" on the pilot episode, then came back in season three, and has been with the project through the remainder of it. In the meantime, while not working on "Breaking Bad," Frank went on to get an Emmy nomination for the CBS mini-series "Comanche Moon." But, another recent project includes Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to the lead role in "Last Stand."
"It's his first feature film that he stars in (since 'Terminator 3')," said Frank. "He plays a sheriff in a little border town."
Being in New Mexico has opened the door for a lot of opportunities, Frank said. One of those opportunities includes his work on "Breaking Bad."
"A lot of shows will shoot their pilots in New Mexico then take it back to Los Angeles," said Frank. "Every year the producers of 'Breaking Bad' get offered to bring the show back to Los Angeles, but they won't because New Mexico is part of the character of the show."
According to the show's official website amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad, the series follows Walter White, a chemistry teacher who lives in New Mexico with his wife and teenage son who has cerebral palsy. White is diagnosed with stage three cancer, and is given a prognosis of two years left to live. With a new sense of fearlessness and a desire to secure his family's financial security, he chooses to enter a dangerous world of drugs and crime and ascends to power in this world. The series explores how a fatal diagnosis such as White's releases a typical man from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society and follows his transformation from mild family man to a kingpin of the drug trade.
"When I first got the script I was like, 'Oh boy, a show about a school teacher making meth,'" said Frank. "But, then while watching the show you realize the whole meth thing is in the background, and that it's more about characters and people doing the right thing. Really great writing makes that happen."
According to Frank, great writing is why the show is as popular as it is.
"Vince Gilligan, the lead writer and creator of 'Breaking Bad,' also the writer of 'X-Files,' is the most amazing writer," said Frank. "When you get the scripts it is like reading a novel, you can't wait for the next one."
Frank will also be working on "Wild Ride," a film based on a true story about a horse named Mine That Bird who won the Kentucky Derby.
"It's a New Mexico story about a horse that wins the big race that never should have even been in the race," said Frank.
According to Frank, those who are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry or in sound production should spend some time networking, and interacting with other talented people in the field.
"I think like anything you have to meet the people who do it and try to work with them," said Frank. "Usually everybody that you talk to in the business who knows you're interested in something is going to help you because you're sharing the passion."