Close this search box.
Exclusive Interview with Peter D. Lago: The Sound Design Process Behind American Born Chinese

Exclusive Interview with Peter D. Lago: The Sound Design Process Behind American Born Chinese

We visited Peter D. Lago, WB Sound Designer at his sound design suite on the Warner Bros. backlot and he shared with us his experience creating custom magical sound design for the new Disney+ show ‘American Born Chinese’, based on the graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang.
WB PPCS: “Peter, we are so excited for this new series you & your team have worked on. Could you please share with us a little bit about it?”
Peter: “This show is based on Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel of the same name. I love how Kelvin Yu and Destin Cretton remain true to the essence of the book, as well as its themes and lessons, while expanding the story into exciting new directions. And the cast? Absolutely stellar casting!! I’ve always wanted to work on a project starring Michelle Yeoh, Daniel Wu, James Hong, and Ke Huy Quan. Big checkmark on my bucket list!”
WB PPCS: “Could you share with us how you and Steven Avila worked together on this series?”
Peter: “I split sound effects duties with Steven Avila. He handled mostly all background elements and hard effects, while I focused on the custom magical design and action sequences. We have an awesome working relationship, having been in the audio trenches on dozens of film and television projects over the last 20 years. I was fortunate to have him on the team.”
WB PPCS: “Please share with us which sound tools you used to create the sound effects & sound design for this show.”
Peter: “Radium, Soundminer’s built-in sampling program, was the perfect tool to create and perform sound design for the wildly entertaining action sequences in American Born Chinese. I experimented with everything from flanging, ring modulation, phasing, saturation, pitch and doppler capabilities, bending and whipping super sharp whooshes across the spectrum. Simultaneously, I was able to create awesome magical staff impacts with a lot of heavy bass, crunch, resonance, sharpness and character. The magical staff has a personality all its own, both elegant and powerful at the same time.”
WB PPCS: “Before we end this Q&A, could you share with us a behind the scenes story from working on this show?”

Peter: “Before officially starting on American Born Chinese, I received a test video which featured the show’s stunt team engaged in a high-octane chase/fight sequence.  It was fast, energetic, well-shot and edited, and SUPER fun to watch!  The potential for what we could do on our end with sound was enormous, and I was immediately hooked and began planning out new design approaches.  I also read the graphic novel the show was based on, and immediately identified with the themes of the story. It is all about self-awareness, loyalty, family, friendship, magic and heart. I put a lot of myself into this show, and I am proud of the end result. Can’t wait to watch it soon!”

We can’t wait for you all to check out Peter’s amazing Sound Design work! American Born Chinese is available to stream now on Disney+.

Congratulations to the rest of the team who worked on American Born Chinese! Well done on your hard work and contribution to this project.

American Born Chinese WB Sound Team:

Supervising Sound Editors: Charlie Crutcher & Vince Tennant
Re-Recording Mixers: Rick Norman & Michael Solano
Dialogue Editors: John Creed & CJ Carpenter
Sound Effects and Design: Peter D. Lago & Steven Avila
Supervising Foley Supervisor: Clay Weber
Foley Editor: Jacob Houchen
Foley Artists: Sanaa Kelley, Adam DeCoster & Matt Salib
Foley Mixer: Arno Stephanian
Mix Stage Technicians: Chuck Hamilton & Mike Jimenez


Recent Posts



View the Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services Look Book.