meet STAN GINSEL
Stan worked in the entertainment industry his entire adult life, spending most of his time in the post-production world of feature films and broadcast television. But his career actually began in the music business after forming a band called “The Moonshiners” with his brother and some friends. They began playing weekly at a local but very popular restaurant / bar named the Hi-Way 290 Cafe, which had converted a corner of the pool room into a stage with small dance floor. The band soon developed a following of loyal fans who encouraged them to “make a record.”
The band saved their “gig money” and soon had enough to record a couple of songs. Stan perused the phone book and called the first recording studio listed, aptly named “Austin Recording Studio” and booked time with the studio owner, Wink Tyler.
Soon, The Moonshiners had their first 45 R.P.M. record, which was used successfully to book the band in new, ever-bigger venues. This recording session also sparked a friendship with Wink who taught Stan the art of audio engineering.
It was during this time Stan had his first exposure to the movie business when he agreed to be in his sister's college video production at the University of Texas. A short video titled "The Strike" for which she would be graded and one of the few times Stan would give acting a try. Although he didn't catch the "acting bug," he did become fascinated with the movie-making process, which would serve him later in his lifelong career.
After learning the ropes at Austin Recording, Stan and Wink reopened a recording studio in North Austin located inside the building of a film production facility called the “Texas Motion Picture Service,” or TMPS for short. The previous operator of TMPS Audio, as it was called, opened a new studio in Dallas, leaving the specially-built studio space empty and in need of an operator. Stan and Wink outfitted the studio with the latest tech in recording equipment and opened "TMPS Audio" under new ownership in the fall of 1983. With the guidance of Larry Seyer, an award-winning audio engineer Stan had met while working at Austin Recording, TMPS Audio quickly became a favorite with small musical groups and individual performers, including Lyle Lovett.
One afternoon while Stan was at the studio, Ivan Bigley, the owner / operator of TMPS, asked him if he could create an “explosive sound” for a film documentary he was working on. Of course, Stan said yes and spent the afternoon recording different common sounds which he combined with various sound effects to create the specific “explosion” Ivan wanted to hear. That job led to more sound effects work, which led to soundtrack mixing and music scoring.
It wasn't long before TMPS Audio transformed into a recording facility specializing in all aspects of movie and television soundtracks. As a result, Stan became increasingly fascinated with the physical processes involved in making a feature film or a television show. He soon found himself spending less time in the recording studio and more time on movie sets serving as a crew member in a number of capacities – Grip, Gaffer, Boom Operator, Projectionist and Production Manager. In 1996 the studio building was sold, prompting Stan and Wink to close down TMPS Audio after 17 years of continuous operation.
The following year Stan became the manager of The Austin Film Center, a downtown production facility providing screening and editorial space for Hollywood movies. During his time there, Stan also worked in the editorial and sound departments of several feature films including “The Newton Boys,” “Office Space,” “The Faculty,” “Varsity Blues" and “Where The Heart Is,” among many others. In the fall of 1999, Stan conceived the idea and co-authored the proposal to convert a portion of the abandoned Robert Mueller Municipal Airport into a movie and television sound stage facility. That proposal was unanimously approved by the Austin City Council the following year, resulting in the facility known today as "The Austin Studios." Stan served as the studio’s consultant during the initial year of operation while continuing to work on the movies “The Life of David Gale,” “Spy Kids,” “The New Guy,” “Miss Congeniality,” “American Outlaws” and “The Rookie.”
In 2001, Stan purchased a furniture semi-trailer and converted it into a mobile screening room, a traveling theater designed to review a days worth of filming or “dailies” while on location. Over the next three years he served as Dailies Projectionist, accompanying his screening room on numerous feature films beginning with the Disney remake of “The Alamo.”
After wrapping the movie “Friday Night Lights” in 2004, Stan left Hollywood behind to start a new career as an independent video producer. Along with friend Joel Sarchet, he created Bnex TV Productions and over the next five years, produced numerous documentaries for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center near Bastrop, Texas.
Once the M.D. Anderson contract was complete, Stan focused on his love of history and began writing the life story of the Baron de Bastrop, a little known but very influential figure in Texas history. In 2016, he produced a short video titled “How Texas Began” that highlights a pivotal moment in the Baron's life, one that would ultimately lead to the formation of Texas.
These days Stan enjoys spending retirement time with his wife Cindye and taking care of their small wildlife preserve in the heart of Bastrop County. He continues to write about the Baron's life story along with several of his own original science fiction scripts, all available to read and view on this website.
On Meeting "Captain Kirk"
Years ago, while working on the movie "Miss Congeniality," I had the opportunity to meet William Shatner. Well, sort of. I had been called to the set which was in the Sam Bass Concert Hall in Austin. If you're familiar with the movie, that set was used in all of the beauty pageant scenes. After finishing my task I realized I was running late for dailies, so I quickly headed for the door and back to my trailer which was parked at the street curb. On my way out I overheard the Assistant Director ask where “Mr. Shatner” was, so I assumed he too was running late. I hit the door and headed out across the already trampled-down grass toward my trailer. As I closed in the door on the trailer next to mine opened and William Shatner himself stepped out. He took the same route, walking very briskly right across my path – that is, if I slowed down and adjusted my heading a bit. Just as Captain Kirk would do, I had Mr. Sulu reduce speed and turn 18 degrees south. It worked. A few seconds later, one of my childhood heroes walked right past me, close enough to grab his arm and shake his hand, which I thought about doing but didn't. I did manage to utter some words, which were... “Good afternoon, Mr. Shatner.” He glanced at me, nodded his head and said...“hello” as he continued walking briskly. After a second, I turned around and watched him disappear though the stage door. I never saw him off the set again or ever got the opportunity to have a conversation. But, even though it was far from an engaging one, that acknowledgment made my day and left a lasting memory which I'm happy to share. Many years later my wife and I drove past the concert hall after visiting the Texas Memorial Museum. I pointed to that same spot and said, "That's where I met Captain Kirk!"