Los Angeles, CA (September 29, 2020)—The Cinema Audio Society will honor multiple CAS- and Oscar-nominated sound mixer William B. Kaplan CAS with the organization’s highest accolade, the CAS Career Achievement Award, at the 57th CAS Awards on Saturday, April 17, 2021.
Kaplan grew up on the sets of MGM, where his father worked. He sat on the camera dolly watching Gene Kelly dance for Singing in the Rain, Bogart push the African Queen on stage, and Brando command the Bounty through a massive storm on Stage 30.
His high school years were spent at an experimental boarding school founded by Krisha Murti and Aldous Huxley. Rebellious at the beginning and student body president in the end, he remains an executive board member of this school that turned his life around. He then attended Cal Western University, University of Arizona, USC, and UCLA, majoring in psychology and pre-med. Ultimately, Kaplan received a master’s degree in film from UCLA.
The eager filmmaker’s hunger resulted in shooting and recording hundreds of training films, commercials and instructionals. He made his way to Roger Corman and New World and was DP on many low budget disco, race-car and Western films. He was eventually offered $600/week as a sound mixer, including equipment, instead of the $250/week he was making as a DP. The die was cast, and a sound mixer was born.
In 1977, John Landis hired Kaplan as sound mixer for Kentucky Fried Movie. He continued with Landis for eight more films, including Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Coming to America. Over the next four decades, Kaplan was the primary sound mixer for directors Robert Zemeckis and Tony Scott on more than 20 projects. On the film Top Gun, Kaplan recorded live dialogue between actors in fighter jets traveling at speeds beyond the sound barrier. Later, given his extensive experience with stop motion, he was hired on Avatar.
Kaplan has garnered seven Oscar nominations, including Tony Scott’s Top Gun and Crimson Tide and Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away and The Polar Express. He also has a CAS win for Forrest Gump as well as three other CAS nominations. He has contributed to 155 feature films and has recorded many well-known motion capture video games. Currently, he is working on The Morning Show for Apple TV.
Cinema Audio Society • www.cinemaaudiosociety.org