“Six Sides of Katharine Hepburn” Mix for M2M.tv

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 12.42.20 PM.png

Watch here.

A recent highlight from this Fall is mixing the 45-minute doc for M2M.tv about Katharine Hepburn’s enduring influence as an actor and style icon.  Her flouting of convention and unmistakeable charm are as appealing and visionary today as they were decades ago.  Featuring over 500 clips of cinema through generations, it’s a whirlwind crash-course on the evolution of style in cinema itself.  Directed by Oscar Boyson (Good Time), and narrated by Kate Bishe (Halt and Catch Fire).

Yet another essay on the importance of listening, from a freelance mixer’s stand-point.

I’ll confess: though I don’t consider myself a beginner mixer anymore, I’m sometimes struck by how new and different each mix feels from the last one.  This is, after all, what makes freelancing worthwhile.  But the reason this is a confession of sorts, rather than just an observation, is that every time I’m struck by the new-ness, it’s usually accompanied by a twinge of regret for not asking enough detailed questions before I’ve begun to work.  It’s kind of like the doctor asking the patient, “So what brings you in today?”.  Don’t we all agree the best doctors are the ones that really listen to us rather than proceed as if they’ve got our condition all figured already?

And this got me thinking:  Technique is arguably *the* marker of one’s prowess in his or her field.  And not just pure skill, I mean raw intuition, i.e. “getting it”, and having a wealth of references and experiences from which to draw inspiration and new ideas.  To be honest, I obsess over this.  I read tons of blogs and facebook conversations by pros, video tutorials, etc.

But this misses a huge point: if you work for people, your technique is only as valuable as your ability to listen.  More specifically, to what they envision but don’t have the technique (or time) to pull off themselves – and that’s exactly where I come in.  Sometimes people aren’t great at this, but luckily for mixers, there’s always the editor’s reference mix.  And I can’t overstate how valuable this reference mix is.

I’ve experienced more and more, quite humbly, that I’m hired to execute a specific vision and nothing more.  My input is obviously always necessary to some degree (obviously of a technical nature) but input doesn’t mean hijacking a mix.  It can just mean having the intuition to ask a question about a particular part of the mix.  It can simply mean knowing something special is needed at a certain part and inquiring about it, rather than plunging into ideas under the assumption that you “get it” or that you can pull off something better than what director would’ve ever thought of.

The irony isn’t lost on me – the “ability to listen” is precisely what I’m paid to do in the first place.  But there’s great maturity in humbly and patiently asking plenty of questions, and holding back the urge to take charge on something.

Of course, that said, plunging into ideas isn’t something I strive to repress – it’s all about the balance between unsolicited input and humble restraint.  What’s the ideal ratio?  Is this a new client?  Did he/she ask for your input in the first place?  All of these questions deserve a lot of thought before any work has even begun.

And back to the doctor analogy – I would concede that the best doctors can actually figure a condition out with minimal questioning, but the fact is, I have years to go before I reach that point, so until then, I’m going to strengthen this habit of listening and asking questions.

Ad of the Day: Hyatt Regency celebrates Hotel of Hope’s 50th anniversary

September! Personally I love September – I don’t lament the end of summer, I embrace the exhilarating cooling off of everything (I’m in NYC), the promise of a busy rest of the year, Oscar season, Halloween (yup, still enjoy Halloween) and sure, Thanksgiving’s pretty awesome too, but that’s a way’s off.

As summer comes to an end I wanted to share my audio mix highlights of this summer. The first one that launched online is called “Hotel of Hope”. Check it out here:

I feel very lucky to’ve gotten the call to work on this. When I first watched the unmixed reference I got that jolt of confidence and excitement to have the opportunity to do what I love to do – make things sound awesome – to a piece that had immense, inspirational potential.

Hyatt and the Atlantic teamed up to celebrate Hyatt’s 50th anniversary, whose auspicious beginnings intersected with the Civil Rights movement in the summer of 1967, when they became impromptu hosts to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s 10th anniversary convention.  Leaders of this convention were being turned down from other venues and so Hyatt opening it’s arms gave it the name “Hotel of Hope”, and even signaled the beginning of a subtle positive shift to the leaders of the movement.

In this inspired short, Tank Ball (from Tank and the Bangas – do check them out) visits the same lobby in which Hyatt warmly provided civil rights protestors to gather 50 years ago today (while they were still under construction!), and performs the spoken word piece “Come Together”.  It’s a powerful, classy, and eloquent tribute to the heros of the Civil Rights struggle, and it’s also a superb ad.

More about this piece can be found on TheDrum.com, where it was rated Ad of the Day shortly after it launched in late August.

The Return of Floodmix

Well, I never really went anywhere, I just got a new font and catch-phrase, and most importantly, a new STUDIO.   I finally have a dedicated mix room in my new apartment in Astoria/LIC, complete with Pro Tools 12 HD, Genelec monitors, a couple extra screens and faders, DIY bass traps (!), some miniature synths, and most importantly – the client couch.  I’ve even built some double plexi-paned sound-proofing panels custom-fitted to my windows to get it nice and quiet in here.  The final project is a formal VO booth.

And I’m officially dedicating myself professionally to Audio Post and Composition.  Yup, it’s official.  Of course I’ll still be still be working on set – I can’t quite say goodbye to Production, I love my long-time clients, and the friendships and experiences that set life brings.  But my ambition now is to put Post on the front burner.

And I’ve set another new goal for myself – weekly posts, either writing something or sharing a recording.  I’ll lean towards recordings over writing, because that’ll be more challenging (and possibly) more interesting.

Talk to you soon and thanks for checking out the renovations!

Nike HypervenomX Training

 

Early this year I was tapped by Brooklyn-based Production Farm to sound design and mix five super stylish and slick instructional short films for one of Nike’s latest soccer product lines, HypervenomX.  The link above is the trailer for the launch of the five videos, and below is my favorite of the five.

 

 

Crossing my fingers I get to spend more time mixing spots like this in 2017.  Thanks for viewing, and feel free to share.