David Goodall Under the Spotlight

Mediaspec put a spotlight on David Goodall

Apr 07, 2020 - 10:49

David Goodall is a violent man. But he hides it well. Too well.

On the surface, his smile is benign, his face open and expansive, his eyes kind. And yet, knowing what you know, you can’t help but smile nervously and fidget somewhat, as he tells you about one of his most recent projects: composing music for a piece of modern dance choreography.

“The piece is called ‘Four Go Wild In Wellies’ and it’s by InD4, an inclusive Scottish dance company,” says David. “InD4 are four professional dancers, two of whom have Down’s Syndrome. I was commissioned as composer, along with director Anna Newell and choreographer Stevie Prickett. The music is all live, acoustic instruments from recorders to clarsach, and from ukulele to rubbing sheets of paper!”

David is a man of many talents and with many fingers in many pies. In fact, looking at his list of skills, it’s easy to wonder if he has too many fingers: actor, producer, award-winning director, composer, photographer, not to mention doing a fine turn in sound design and foreign language overdubbing in French, German, Spanish and Italian. And then, of course, there’s the skillset we’ll get to later when we have the gumption: violence.

The dance composition utilised an Avid S3 desk with Pro Tools, acquired from digital audio specialists Mediaspec. Eric Joseph, MD of Mediaspec, explains what it’s like being David’s ‘go to’ guy for audio support.

“David is the modern day equivalent of a one-man band or a jack of all trades,” says Eric. “He does everything. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up! One day he’s producer, then he’s director, then he’s doing post or composition, or sound design. You name it, David does it. For a company providing technical support and digital solutions, it’s always a fascinating challenge to see what hat David is wearing and what new kind of support he requires.”

Whatever the hat, the S3 has been able to adapt to his needs.

“I recently completed the sound design and score for a sci-fi short called Perfect Worlds by AJ Sykes about a woman who confronts her past and is dragged into a parallel world,” David continues. “There were issues with the location sound and so I was really left with stripping out everything, bar the dialogue, and going back to scratch with Foley, spot fx and ambience. The S3 was a dream on account of the scene memory – with over 100 tracks, it was great being able to work just on Foley or ambiance by recalling a scene.”

Dream? Yes, to look at him, David Goodall conceals his violent proclivities well. But this is a man who knows full well just how to karate chop you in the neck, knee you in the man bits or insert a finger sharply into one of your eyes. Perhaps he’s even skilled in garrotting with a cheese wire – and let’s not even talk about his likely in-depth knowledge of the head-butt.

Eventually I gulp and ask the question that thus far has dared not thrust its way forward. The dead head in the bed, so to speak. How did mild-mannered, affable David Goodall add fight scene director for TV and film as another string to his crossbow?

“Well, I’d been doing various martial arts from an early age,” David explains, “and, when I was acting in one of my first professional productions, it was suggested I might use that experience to set a comedy fight. It was a rapier fight, so not really too connected with martial arts, but it all went well, and things built up from there.

“The fights and stunts that I’ve done range from full-on martial arts fights, for example with the lovely Miltos Yerolemou (Syria Forel in Game of Thrones) to helping Celia Imrie torture some poor soul. I’ve also been fight director on Rebus and Taggart.

“I know what you’re thinking: the violence. But what becomes apparent in this line of work is that doing fights is neither macho, nor – oddly enough – violent. Violence might be a necessary thought process for the actors in the final rendition, but my job is to make it fun, make it safe and make it look convincing. Physical action is, like singing, an area where many actors feel vulnerable, and where they put great trust in the fight director to ensure they don’t look daft at the end of it. I respect that trust and try to honour it.”

Oh, the joy of violence?

“Oddly enough, this philosophy of making work fun and respecting a client’s trust pervades through everything I do: getting clients in the studio for voiceovers, or recording their own demos. The important thing is that they relax and enjoy themselves. Writing music and doing sound design means you will always come up against opposing views and differing opinions, and not always presented tactfully! So, doing the fights – and martial arts in general – has taught me to be patient, and to remove my ego from the equation.”

The answer is reassuring. Fight scenes, it would appear, are just another form of artistic struggle, and one where diligence, selflessness and equanimity can win the day. And, it seems, the first instincts about this multi-talented gentleman is the correct one: David is a Goodall round guy.

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