At a ceremony in Los Angeles last week, Ben Burtt, legendary Star Trek and Star Wars sound designer, received the Charles S. Swartz Award from the Hollywood Post Alliance, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of post production. J.J. Abrams presented the award to Mr. Burtt.
Burtt’s film production career spanned thirty-five years, and included films such as Star Trek XI, WALL-E, the Indiana Jones franchise, E.T. and various Star Wars episodes. Burtt’s skills include: directing, producing, sound design, sound editing, editing, voicing and voice design in both motion pictures and television.
The video shows Burtt receiving the award from Abrams. “This gentlemen ended up one of my heroes,” said Abrams. “I first heard of Ben Burtt when in the eighties I saw a documentary about the making of Star Wars.”
“He became a hero of mine personally, not just as a fan, when we were working on Star Trek and we had a mix of the film and there were an amazing array of incredibly talented people working on the film. And we had a mix and the truth was that the mix, just for some reason, wasn’t working. And so…I asked if Ben Burtt might be available just to give us some perspective. And amazingly, he was, for this period of time. And I called Mr. Burtt and it was a like a rock star on the phone for me. And I got on the phone and I was nervous, and I was like so excited talking to Ben Burtt…And he was so kind and so nice and said he would come down and watch the film which he did.
Abrams went on to explain what advice Burtt gave him when he came down and saw the film and how to fix the problem. “Ben Burtt came in,” said Abrams, and he salvaged it [Star Trek XI]. And I realized that this man really does have visionary ears.