Door 17: Bo Harwood

That a certain push out of the comfort zone is often needed to learn something is known, but it is easier said than done. It comes in handy if you have someone that regularly pushes you. That was the case for composer and sound engineer Bo Harwood with the director John Cassavetes.

Born in 1950, he started out playing the guitar and 1966 was guitarist and lead singer in  a rock band. In 1969 he scored his first film called The Bach Train, a trippy 16 mm feature. While working on Husbands, John Cassevetes saw the movie and took Harwood on board.

He never worked as a sound engineer before, but Cassevetes had a knack for pushing people and as Harwood said about Cassavetes that "he enjoyed putting you on ground that was completely unfamiliar". Harwood then became sound supervisor on his next film Minnie and Moskowitz, then sound designer and composer on A Woman Under the Influence.

A similar situation occurred while working on the movie A Woman Under The Influence, Harwood only played the guitar, but Cassavetes wanted him to play the piano. So they put a piano in the actor Peter Falk's room and Harwood autodidactly learned to play. Generally Cassevetes mainly preferred the scratch versions of the songs, not being orchestrated, which lent his films the rough characteristic.The duo also worked together on Cassavetes' last film Love Streams.

After his work with Cassevetes Harwood mainly worked as a sound engineer and mixer for series like Pee-wee's Playhouse, Felicity, Six Feet Under or Malcolm in the Middle. Recently he self-released all the unused material from the Cassaevetes movies, which are now available online.