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My supportive father


The perfect age is 10
Walter Murch Film-maker
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In retrospect, this dovetails with an observation that I made about my own kids and about the children of friends and looking at the world, which is that there is a developmental 'sweet spot' sometime around the age of 9 to 11. Maybe 8, maybe 12 but two years or four years centred around the age of 10, where you have enough experience of the world at age 10, you've been around for a decade, so you know certain things. You know what you like, you know what you don't like and there's still a huge amount that you don't know, but you have enough to give yourself a foundation of who are you. On the other hand, you are not yet caught up in the swirling rapids of adolescence where hormones and the opinions of your friends account for much of your behaviour. And I think if you can tap… later on in life, if you can tap into something, some aspect of what really made you excited at the age of 10, you have a better chance at being happy with what you do. Because what you like at age 10 is something that is deeply you because you know enough about the world to have an opinion and you're not yet swayed by the opinions of the world. So there's a little window that opens up around this time that gives you a glimmer of who you really are and in adolescence that window closes down and you become whiplashed by the hormonal events of adolescence. And hopefully you emerge not too… unscathed, not too scarred as a young adult.

Born in 1943 in New York City, Murch graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. His career stretches back to 1969 and includes work on Apocalypse Now, The Godfather I, II, and III, American Graffiti, The Conversation, and The English Patient. He has been referred to as 'the most respected film editor and sound designer in modern cinema.' In a career that spans over 40 years, Murch is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola, beginning in 1969 with The Rain People. After working with George Lucas on THX 1138 (1971), which he co-wrote, and American Graffiti (1973), Murch returned to Coppola in 1974 for The Conversation, resulting in his first Academy Award nomination. Murch's pioneering achievements were acknowledged by Coppola in his follow-up film, the 1979 Palme d'Or winner Apocalypse Now, for which Murch was granted, in what is seen as a film-history first, the screen credit 'Sound Designer.' Murch has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and has won three, for best sound on Apocalypse Now (for which he and his collaborators devised the now-standard 5.1 sound format), and achieving an unprecedented double when he won both Best Film Editing and Best Sound for his work on The English Patient. Murch’s contributions to film reconstruction include 2001's Apocalypse Now: Redux and the 1998 re-edit of Orson Welles's Touch of Evil. He is also the director and co-writer of Return to Oz (1985). In 1995, Murch published a book on film editing, In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing, in which he urges editors to prioritise emotion.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: children, decade, adolescence, hormones, young adult

Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 01 March 2017