Yes, It’s been a while, but I wanted to wait for something big. Winter kept me busy with tons of great stuff — an Adult Swim pilot, a documentary with the NYC Ballet, a verite-style feature with a Soprano’s cast-member (can’t say who yet), and many other shorts, pilots, commercial spots — BUT all are still in the arduous process of post-production.
SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY, directed by Drew Tobia, is the first feature I ever worked on as the sole location sound mixer, back in January 2012, and it’s the second feature film I mixed and sound-designed in post. I completed the final mix in the wee hours of March 5 and it premiered at the Chicago Underground Film Festival on March 10 to a very pleased audience who went on to vote and bestow it with the festival’s “Audience Award”.
I can proudly say I was the one-man-sound department from start to finish on this one! I found the post process fairly smooth, mixing the same dialogue I recorded one year prior. I certainly had all the inside knowledge as to why something didn’t work immediately, and where to find what I needed in order to patch things up. Though traditionally not a common workflow at all, a one-man sound department in the era of low budget independent filmmaking kind of makes sense.
I didn’t know ahead of time I would be the post mixer, but I always roll sound as if I’m going to be. Therefore, I was aggressive when it came to collecting sound effects on set. Ambiences and room tones were a gathered frequently, as well as highly distinctive sound effects that would work best in the final mix when recorded directly from the source on set.
A drama-slash-dark-comedy, there are tons of scenes that rely heavily on creative, almost eccentric sound design. And because the film frequently intersects serious and often over-the-top drama with raw (and frequently-nonverbal) humor, the sound design needed to act like a guide walking you through the constantly-dramatic lives of these three very-flawed principal characters.
Drew was insistent that certain scenes push the limits of abrasiveness, jarring-ness, bassiness, sometimes absurdity when humor was the focus. There are multiple “fight” scenes, for example. Some purely dialogue-driven, others very physical. For heavy drama we went with bass and heightened ambiences, to create a more point-of-view effect. Other times I simply added incidental sounds like sneaker squeaks and borderline cartoonish swipes. There’s even a scene where Mona, the main character, barfs endlessly on the sidewalk, after a meltdown at a party. But we don’t see barf everywhere; we mostly hear it splashing comically on the pavement. Sound design is the guide.
And I leave you on that note! Check out the trailer. (But please be aware it’s not intended for younger ears, not like any children follow my sound career…)