Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Toronto Bound!

Re-recording mixer Mark Rozett on "Everything Must Go"
Festival season can be an exciting yet extremely hectic time for a post house, especially when you've got more than one film under the gun to meet that deadline for final submission.  This year, Monkeyland was lucky enough to be working on two Toronto-bound dramas - - "Everything Must Go" and "Dirty Girl" - - both of which feature strong and poignant storylines, excellent casts and solid direction.

Check out what the Hollywood Reporter has to say about them!

The two films came to MLA via post production supervisor Beau Genot, who pretty much set up shop at the studio for the entire summer.  We got to know his dog Buddy pretty well too!

We had very little time to get these films in shape for the mix, so it was uber important to that all editorial be as tightly prepared as possible.   

"Everything Must Go" spent all of last week on Stage A, with Mark Rozett and Trip Brock serving as re-recording mixers.  The film, a story about a down-in-the-dumps business man trying to come to clean up his messy life, was  written and directed by Dan Rush, and based on a short story by Raymond Carver.  The film stars Will Ferrell in a dramatic role and he does not disappoint (though you secretly hope he'd break out into some of his  Burgandy-esque shenanigans).   

I cut all backgrounds in this film as well as a good helping of the foley.  Though I wasn't available for the initial spotting session with the director and picture editor (Sandra Adair), I was nonetheless enthralled by the fact that most of the film takes place on Ferrell's front yard (I'll say no more so as not to spoil the story).  I knew immediately that the challenge was to build the sounds of a neighborhood that evolves from morning to mid-morning to noon to afternoon to early evening and late into the night.  It was a beautiful challenge for me since I enjoy the opportunity of enhancing the mood and feeling of a film via the environments natural to a film as well as those within a character's mind (which can evolve organically from the day-to-day sounds).

As the story evolved and the hero progressed through his arc, so did the sounds of the neighborhood change in response.  The wash of the distant traffic became the serene lull of swaying trees.  The hustle-and-bustle of a noisy yard sale transforms into a zen-like sunset, complete with the distant lullaby of peaceful birds.  

The mix went well and everyone was happy.  I'm sure it will do well at Toronto.

Some of the editorial and mix team for "Dirty Girl."  I'm on the far left;
Abe is wearing the hat.
"Dirty Girl" follows the lives of two hapless teenagers (the school's "dirty" girl and her in-the-closet pal) who struggle fearlessly with their identities.  The quirky duo make a cross country journey in which they discover much about friendship, love, life and most importantly, about themselves.

UCLA alum Abe Sylvia  wrote the script and directed the all-star cast which includes Milla Jovovich, Juno Temple, Tim McGraw, Dwight Yoakam and William H. Macy.  I first met Abe about four years ago when he brought his student film "My Mother's Hairdo" to Monkeyland.  We're happy he enjoyed our work and decided to come back!

I supervised the sound effects and foley editorial on this film, and was also responsible for the editorial on the film's backgrounds.  Abe is a stickler for evolving and interesting environments that convey both a literal and poetic interpretation of the landscape as well as the moods of the character, something I wholeheartedly agree with and strive to achieve on each project I work on.

After comping, prepping, smoothing, tweaking, building and leveling all the sound effects for this film, I scheduled a review session with Abe and picture editor Jonathan Lucas ("Corpse Bride").  We all hit it off well and had quite a productive and enjoyable time in the process.  We flung around lots of ideas and shared a few laughs too.

While "Everything Must Go" mixed away on Stage A, "Dirty Girl" set up shop on Monkeyland's newly refurbished B Stage.  Re-recording mixers Tom Marks and Kelly Vandever mixed dialogue and music, and sound effects, respectively.  Both films have been printmastered and have left the building, and should be in the final stages before heading off to Toronto.  

Great things can definitely come out of a good sounding film, and both Abe and Dan get it.  I thoroughly enjoyed working on both their films (despite the breakneck editorial schedule!) and wish Abe and Dan the best of luck in Canada.  I'm sure they will go on to do even greater things in the future.

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