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Dundas man to walk red carpet with neighbours after ‘shock’ Emmy win for Odd Squad

John Smith said he was in bed, scrolling through Twitter on Sunday when he realized the Daytime Emmy Awards were happening. 

Five minutes later, the Dundas, Ont. man and his colleagues were announced as winners of the award for outstanding sound editing in a live action program for the PBS childrens’ show Odd Squad.

“It’s quite a shock actually,” he said, saying the win took him off guard since the days began to blur together in the pandemic. “It certainly woke me up.”

“I lost some sleep when I found out…[I was] excited because I knew my family would be,” he said.

While his parents and wife were thrilled, Smith said his six-year-old son didn’t quite recognize what the award means. His older boys are “living their own lives,” he laughed.   

This is Smith’s fourth daytime nomination and first Daytime Emmy win. He previously won a Primetime Emmy for his work on the CBS miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil.

“It’s nice to be recognized for your work because sometimes you’re working really hard trying to produce and create innovative sound and be cutting edge — all those things which I need to continue my career and stay on top of my game to be able to work on some of the bigger shows that come up from the U.S,” he said.  

‘That movie magic’

Smith was in charge of dialogue editing and ADR editing and supervision, which is when the actors come in after the shoot to redo lines, whether that be for voiceover or for performance or technical issues. 

Odd Squad, where kid agents use math to solve problems around the world, used a lot of wind machines on set that make a “heck of a noise.”

Smith said they would re-record the actors in studio, cut that into perfect lip sync, and added all the sound effects they wanted back in, like electrical hurricanes or thunderstorms.

Because of the hundreds of layers of sound, Smith said editors would spend around five days doing sound inventory on 20 minutes of program.

“It’s part of that movie magic people don’t even realize or recognize that it happens,” he said, describing sound’s ability to immerse an audience through eerie music or a tree limb tapping against a window.

“So you don’t really notice it. You just feel it.” 

Smith has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy before, and he laughed about his win coming at a time when he doesn’t get to walk the red carpet

Instead, he said he’s looking forward to acting out the moment with his neighbours, who will also give their own acceptance speeches.

“They think it’s hilarious that they have a neighbour that’s won an Emmy up in Dundas, Ontario,” he said. “That’ll be my red carpet…we’ll make some fun with it. “

A Genie and Gemini-award winner, Smith has done sound effects and sound design on David Cronenberg’s Crash and worked on Norma Jewison’s The Statement.

His work on Tiny Pretty Things  a series on an elite ballet academy shot in Toronto  and Ginny and Georgia will come out on Netflix this fall.

He also worked on Antlers, a horror movie produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Scott Cooper, which will be released in 2021. 

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