Biography

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Stephen Altobello
NYC Producer / Post-Production Supervisor

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Having worked in film and television for so long has made Stephen Altobello a man of a thousand skills. And he’s able to call on this experience to save money and time.


It began with an intense education at the Film Conservatory at SUNY Purchase in the late 1980s. Besides being a very hands-on program, Purchase suffers the indignity of being an under-funded state college, which means they had only old and broken equipment. Here he learned McGyver-like skills to make anything work, under any circumstances.


After moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he joined the staff of the legendary Spin Cycle Post. Working in one of the few post houses in the 1990s with a staff devoted to sound-editing independent films, Stephen paid his dues editing, engineering and mixing all shapes and sizes of projects. Being pretty obsessive, he was naturally drawn to the attention to detail necessary to design sound for film. He also learned a valuable lesson for working on a tight budget: to get the job done right means to get it done on time. Perhaps best of all, he had quality face-time with dozens of filmmakers, working closely with them to support their visions.

In 2000, thanks to his love of film and music history, he was given a golden opportunity: to produce the added value for the DVD of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz. He set up shop in his apartment, becoming the East Coast wing of LA production company Automat Pictures. Scorsese liked Stephen so much that he requested his services for another seven Special Edition DVDs, including GoodFellas and Mean Streets. (All told, Altobello’s conducted over ten hours of interviews with Mr. Scorsese.) For these DVDs and others Stephen made the budgets, booked the crews, conducted the interviews, supervised the edits, and--thanks to his strong background in sound editing--edited and sometimes mixed the audio commentaries.

 

Next, Stephen settled into a staff position at Giant Interactive. He was a DVD producer, the middleman between the client and the technicians. As before, budgets and time were tight, and once again his prior experience in sound came in handy.

 

For a few years Stephen has worked for the prestigious Nick Davis Productions, in a handful of capacities. He had the unique title “Coordinating Producer” for the nonfiction TV series Making News. Besides doing the field research that helped land the show, he was in charge of the day-to-day business for both the production—two tight crews shooting in small TV newsrooms in Texas and Georgia—and post-production. He ran a tight ship, and for two seasons he and his crew never missed a single deliverables deadline.


For most of 2009, he was the coordinating producer and post-production supervisor for the mammoth Faces of America, which aired in February, 2010, on PBS. It was a logistically complex production--four edit rooms, in four locations, spread over two boroughs--but, again armed with a solid crew he assembled, it was all handled without catastrophe.

 

Since 1998 Stephen has used his natural teaching abilities to teach sound editing. This includes a two-semester course at City College and lectures at SUNY Purchase and Columbia University. Also, being a strong supporter of the apprenticeship method of learning a craft, he’s eagerly hired inexperienced assistants and taught them necessary skills.

 

Attention to detail, years of experience, an eagerness to instruct, a natural ease with high-profile talent and tremendous passion: Stephen Altobello is an invaluable addition to any production.


In early 2010, he finally joined the blog-bandwagon and began Peel Slowly, where he can go on and on about all kinds of music and film.


Stephen works from his home studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and son, and he’s also available for staff positions.