10 Days In A Madhouse sound designers Andrew Williams and Steven Tarabokia collaborate to make infamous Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum come Alive

“”The sound is a character in itself. We had to develop and personify the asylum environment so that it supported the story.” – Steve Tarabokia.”
10 Days In A Madhouse, which follows the true story of Nellie Bly as she embarks on her undercover journey into a New York City mental hospital, would not be the same without the work of accomplished sound designers Andrew Williams and Steven Tarabokia.

10 Days In A Madhouse director Timothy Hines is known for being very involved with his projects from start to finish. He hand-picks his team extremely carefully and always dedicates as much one-on-one time as possible, even if it means long hours and little sleep.

When it came to choosing his sound designer for 10 Days In A Madhouse, it almost seemed like fate. He had been familiar with the work of Andrew Williams, and when they had the opportunity to meet, they clicked right away.

“Timothy’s eagerness to tell me about the movie made me excited right off the bat. His energy was infectious, which is super important to me. Art is collaborative and when you’re working with people who believe in the work and are passionate, you become passionate with them. And that’s what happened with Timothy. I could tell he really wanted people to know about Nellie Bly, and when he told me her story, I was amazed. She just has such a crazy story and not enough people know about it.”

Hines recognized Williams’ talent when he watched horror film A Haunting at Silver Falls, which Williams sound designed, and the thriller movie The Speak, which he composed the music for. “I knew I wanted to work with Andrew when I heard his original composing. I remember watching the movie and thinking to myself, okay, I need to find out who did the music for this, find him and convince him to work with me. It was that good.”

Williams brought along his partner, Steve Tarabokia. Williams, Tarabokia and Hines made a great team. The trio spent long hours together in order to get the sound design just right. 

“The sound is a character in itself. We had to develop and personify the asylum environment so that it supported the story. There’s a lot of different elements that go into creating that horrific backdrop,” Tarabokia says.

“We had to sit down and ask ourselves, what kind of world are we trying to create here?” adds Williams. “The biggest thing we worked on was making the insane asylum as real as possible, and keeping in mind the era. A big part of creating that sort of manic chaos vibe was adding voices to the background since that was something Nellie experienced. Hearing different people talking to themselves, whispering, laughing, yelling, crying.” 

For the different voices, Hines had come up with a list of 150 things actual patients has said pulled from Nellie Bly’s original manuscript. Instead of using a random person to create these different noises, veteran casting director Jan Glaser hired six actresses who then spent a day recording. They wanted to make sure that the voices were coming from trained actors like Sidney Pollack’s daughter, Rachel Pollack, who could put emotion into their lines, even if their work wasn’t going to be at the center of people’s attention.

Andrew Williams is a graduate from the Los Angeles Recording School with a degree in sound engineering. His first job out of school was at a music studio called The Mix Room where he started out as an assistant. The prestigious studio has worked with big names such as Usher, Hilary Duff, Eminem, Madonna, Kid Rock, Marilyn Manson and Ben Folds. Concurrently Williams built a studio with his father in Chatsworth, Los Angeles where he engineered and produced music for local bands. 

Williams eventually got into post-production for film and television. Over the past decade he has added many impressive companies to his resume, including Disney, NBC, E!, National Geographic, DC, MTV, Lifetime, Comedy Central, Direct TV, Discovery Channel, The History Channel and A&E Networks. He worked on the broadcast promotional spots for highly popular films such as You Don’t Mess With The Zohan with Ben Stiller, Shrek The Third with Mike Meyers and Cameron Diaz, Kung Fu Panda with Jack Black and Jackie Chan, Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears A Who!, with Steve Carrell, Drillbit Taylor with Owen Wilson and Made of Honor with Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan, to name a few. He’s also worked on the broadcast mixing for several reality shows and specials including Bridezillas and E!’s highly popular series Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.

When Williams is not busy sound-mixing for movies and television shows, he is in the studio working on his personal projects. He is the lead guitarist for country/blues band The Topwater Music Stop, which he also sings, writes and produces for. The Topwater Music Stop produced music for the film The Cursed, which has aired on the SyFy Channel during Halloween for the last seven years in a row. He also lent his voiceover and sound mixing skills to the movie.

Williams also produces music for a Los Angeles reggae band called Pachamama Estela, whose music can be found on iTunes.

Tarabokia’s past credentials include The Walking Dead: Webisodes, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and Skin Wars. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he moved to Los Angeles and met Williams. They’ve been working together ever since. “Andrew’s expertise never ceases to amaze me. He’s really really good at what he does, and I learn a lot just by watching him work. Collaborating with him and Timothy on 10 Days In A Madhouse was a great experience.”


Audiences can check out Williams and Tarabokia’s sound design talents in 10 Days In A Madhouse – The Nellie Bly Story when it releases in US theaters on November 20th. The film stars the unabashedly talented Caroline Barry as Nellie Bly, Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Mortal Kombat), Julia Chantrey (Mama, Mean Girls) and Kelly Le Brock (Weird Science). As the film is picking up Oscar and Award buzz, it would not be surprising to find Williams and Tarabokia nominated for Best Sound Design.

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Keep updated about 10 Days In A Madhouse – The Nellie Bly Story at http://www.10daysinamadhouse.com, on FacebookTwitter IMDB and Instagram.

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