Bo Harwood is an award-winning American sound mixer, sound editor, sound engineer, music supervisor, composer, and songwriter. Harwood's sound work gained attention in the 1970s after his work on films directed by John Cassavetes. In the 1990s and 2000s, Harwood worked primarily as a mixer for several television series, including Felicity, and Six Feet Under.
In 1966, Bo Harwood was the lead singer and guitarist in a rock band. His first feature film score was for 1969's The Beach Train.
The Cassavetes films
Harwood began working with Cassavetes doing "a little editing" on Husbands (1970), and "a little sound editing" on Minnie and Moskowitz (1971). During the making of 1974's A Woman Under the Influence, Cassavetes fired the sound engineer, and offered the position to Harwood, who at the time had no experience with sound recording. Harwood accepted, though he is only credited as the composer for the film.
Harwood composed music for three more Cassavetes films, and was credited as "Sound" for two of them. During these projects, Harwood wrote several songs, some which he co-wrote with Cassavetes, only a few of which were eventually used in the films, such as "Morning Fields of Frost and Magic," which can be heard in the audition scene of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
During his work with Cassavetes, Harwood claimed that the notoriously unpredictable director preferred to use the "scratch track" version of his compositions, rather than to let Harwood refine and re-record them with an orchestra. Some of these scratch tracks were recorded in Cassavetes office, with piano or guitar, as demos, and then eventually ended up in the final film. Though Harwood was sometimes surprised and embarrassed by this, the technique matched the raw, unpolished feel that marks most aspects of Cassavetes' films.
The relationship seems to have ended amicably. When asked by documentarian Michael Ventura, during the making of Cassavetes' last film Love Streams, what he had learned from working with Cassavetes, Harwood wistfully replied:
I learned a lot through John. I've done a lot of editing for him. Picture editing, sound editing, music editing, shot sound, composed score, and I've learned a lot about integrity...I think you know what I mean. You know, thirty years from now, I can say I rode with Billy the Kid."
More recent work
Starting in 1986, with Pee-wee's Playhouse, Bo Harwood has done work mixing sound for several television series, including My So-Called Life, Malcolm in the Middle, and a couple of episodes of Entourage.
Harwood, along with two other musicians, was involved in a music group named "TRIO".
Selected work in Film and Television
- Cinema Audio Society Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television-Series", Six Feet Under (2004) - NOMINATED
- Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Mixing", Pee-wee's Playhouse (1991) – WON
- Genie Award for "Best Original Song", Ups & Downs (1984) - WON
- Genie Award for "Best Achievement in Music Score",Happy Birthday to Me (1982) - NOMINATED
- Genie Award for "Best Achievement in Overall Sound", Terror Train (1981) - NOMINATED
- Ray Carney, Cassavetes on Cassavetes, Faber and Faber Ltd., 2001: p. 349.
- Peter Rinaldi, SIN-E-FILE (Bo Harwood), The Boutros Boutros Follies, 28 April 2009. Accessed on 7 January 2010.
- Ray Carney, Cassavetes on Cassavetes, Faber and Faber Ltd., 2001: p. 349-350.
- Michael Ventura, I'm Almost Not Crazy:John Cassavetes- the Man and His Work, 1984.
- Bo Harwood at the Internet Movie Database
- Bo Harwood discusses microphones at Obama rallies (14 October 2008)