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Nurse Jackie’s Jan Mclaughlin

Showtime’s award winning Nurse Jackie is back again with another 5 nominations this year. Among them were the talents from the sound mixing crew for the episode Handle Your Scandal. Alongside re-recording mixer Peter Waggoner, was production sound mixer Jan Mclaughlin, CAS, who was kind enough to share her perspective in a sweet interview by Sound and Picture.

Sound and Picture: Nurse Jackie is your first nomination. What was your reaction when you heard?
McLaughlin: I had half-forgotten it was nomination day until a colleague texted me early in the morning with a, “Congrats!” Frankly, I thought the text must have referred to Edie’s nomination since her performances in season 4 are as good as anything she’s ever done, and as always had high hopes for comic genius Merritt Wever. I looked it up.My name was listed on the press release as, ‘Jan McLaughlin, M.P.S.E, Production Sound Mixer’ so I was then sure it was a mistake, since I’m not a member of M.P.S.E..Not.

S&P: What was it about the season finale (Handle Your Scandal) that made you submit it for Emmy consideration?
McLaughlin: I deferred to our gentleman Post Production Producer Brad Carpenter and Supervising Sound Editor/genius Steve Borne, figuring they know better than anyone what sounds and would best work for the Emmy process.

S&P: Was this the first time you’ve submitted?
McLaughlin: No. Showtime graciously put me forth for A.T.A.S. membership and submitted an episode for S3, but we didn’t get the nod. Certainly didn’t expect to my first year. Hell, didn’t expect to this time around either.Nurse Jackie is my virgin show as a department head. On some self-depreciating, chick-based level, I suspect the nod’s because I’m a girl. On typing that last sentence re-watched a couple episodes: 410 (our submitted episode) and 404 (with Ms. Perez) and they sounded really good. We do good work Mr. O’Brien, Ms. Mader and me, and everyone in the crew and cast, really, and I’m really glad the work matters.

S&P: Besides your fellow nominee, Peter Waggoner, who’s on your sound crew on the day-to-day?
McLaughlin: If we ever got any good Nurse Jackie dialog, it was because my excellent team–the unflappable Brendan O’Brien on boom and mess-with-Michelle-Mader-at-your-peril on 2nd boom–had earned the respect of the entire crew and cast in whose hands the quality of our work product ultimately rests.

S&P: You worked a bit on the The Sopranos with Edie Falco, is that how you landed the Nurse Jackie job?
McLaughlin: I’m guessing Edie had a say, but that’s only because when I popped my head in the makeup room day one she welcomed me by name, and I sense crew atmosphere matters a lot to her. She plays #1 with aplomb and leads by dignified, professional example. Daresay I owe this job to John Cameron Mitchell. EP Richie Jackson reps John, with whom I’d just finished a little movie Rabbit Hole. The evening of my interview with Richie, he and John were to dine together. I suggested Richie ask John if I’d be OK. It was a lock. John Cameron Mitchell is extraordinary in every way and a huge hero of mine.

S&P: Tell us a little bit about life on set of Nurse Jackie.
McLaughlin: Nurse Jackie has been in my experience an estrogen-based, ‘cooperative’ environment. If you haven’t experienced the difference, you have that to look forward to.

S&P: Most crews become family-like, what’s something behind-the-scenes you could tell us about Nurse Jackie the public may not know about?
McLaughlin: All I can figure is somebody above the line read Robert I. Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule and took it to heart. It doesn’t get any better.

Jan’s Cart Setup

S&P: The workhorse on Nurse Jackie looks like the Audio Developments 255 mixer. How else have you set the gear on your to help track the sounds of this Showtime hit?
McLaughlin: I wouldn’t characterize the AD-255 as my ‘workhorse’, even though it’s the thing through which all things must pass. Its reliability, transparent pre’s and in/out perfection for my setup make me confident and happy [knocking on wood].

If I had to pick a workhorse, it would be my Zaxcom wireless collection and new Nomad. I see Glenn Saunders’ TX-as-recorder solution to the increasingly-crowded RF spectrum as elegant; moreover, it fulfills my requirement that all gear function as anti-perspirant.

The Nomad with MicPlexer and two QRX units will act as a bagged remote receiver when set is too small or inaccessible because of stairs. Plop the bag down, run up to 3000 feet of cat5 cable and I’m good to go from wherever. As a woman, getting the cart into stair-heavy sets is a battle I’ve chosen not to pick unless I have to; grip department help costs beer.

(read the rest at Sound and Picture)

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