Monday, February 25, 2013

Stirring the Pot, Keeping It Interesting

In an earlier post this year, I concluded that every day in 2013 has been its own unique adventure, and after the events from this year's Golden Reel awards, my assessment of the current calendar year continues to hold true. The night was memorable for me on both a personal and professional level, and I'm still reeling from the events of the evening. Here's an update, plus a few other things:

The Golden Reels: Inspirational Tributes
First of all, the MPSE celebrated its 60th year with a spectacular Golden Reel Awards celebration. This year's show honored filmmaker Ang Lee and Foley Artist John Roesch, both individuals I admire for their artistic sensibilities and tremendous contributions to film. In addition, special tributes were held in memory of sound pioneer Norval Crutcher and sound designer Mike Hopkins. Though I'd never met either Norval or Mike in real life, their work was an enormous influence on me, and I am grateful for the roads they paved; roads which I travel down regularly. Thank you Ang, John, Norval and Mike for pursuing greatness in your careers, and for serving as perfect examples of what I hope to achieve in my own.

SEAL Team Six's FX/Foley Crew
The Golden Reels: SEALed with Thrones!
I was nominated for a Golden Reel this year for my participation in four different projects, and I am very excited to report that I brought a statue home that evening.  The hard working Monkeyland sound crew and I were honored with a the prestigious award for our contributions to the film SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, an independent, meagerly-budgeted film with a whole lot of guns.

Monkeyland and Soundelux sharing a cheer!
And as if winning weren't amazing enough, the results in the Television Long Form Category actually produced two winners that evening, resulting in a tie between our crew and the sound crew from Game of Thrones, for their work on episode "Valar Morghulis."  Now, I've always been one to try and stir the pot wherever possible in order to "keep things interesting," but never would I have imagined an outcome like this.  I'm still stoked that we actually shared the stage with the talented folks from Soundelux responsible for one of my favorite shows!  Talk about a memorable win!  Talk about keeping it interesting!  The events from last Sunday's show were definitely one for the history books (at least for my history book, anyway), and I am truly grateful for the attention and recognition that SEAL Team Six has received from our peers.

Of particular note, a similar situation occurred last night at the Oscars, where Bin Laden film Zero Dark Thirty tied with Skyfall for the win in the Sound Editing category.  I'm interested to see what conspiracy theorists think!

My continued thanks go out to SEAL Team's director John Stockwell, Zev Foreman and Nicolas Chartier (the producers from Voltage Pictures), our post supervisors Larry Ferguson and Eric Bergman, the Weinstein Company, Stuart Berkin, producer Megan O'Hara, our re-recording mixers Kelly Vandever and Mark Rozett, my consigliere Mark Lanza, Trip Brock and the editorial & support crew from Monkeyland Audio, and lastly, but certainly not least, the voting community from the MPSE who helped make this dream a reality for us that evening. I feel truly honored and blessed, and wish you each a strong and successful 2013.

2013: Picking up Steam
Workwise, things are look up. I've spotted a film called 10 Cent Pistol, which will hopefully turn over sometime next month.  There's another AFI thesis short film called Interstate that we'll be starting on soon, and I'm currently preparing backgrounds for an indy drama titled Beyond Paradise (starring Daphne Zuniga, Yareli Arizmendi and Francia Raisa). I'm grateful to be working and hope the trend continues upward!

What's Next?
I march into March with a clear head, a focused mind and a water-like attitude.  I wear appreciation and gratitude on my sleeve, mindful of all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.

My goal is to continue putting forth my best effort in everything I do, and to find stronger, more effective ways of contributing to the projects I participate in.  As a Monkey, I look forward to continue making strong "music" with my co-workers.  As a freelancer, I look forward to stretching my wings more often and collaborating with other industry comrades on their projects. In short, I want to keep stirring that pot and keep life interesting!

I wish my fellow sound editors and mixers a strong and productive year.  May it be filled with insightful and creative projects. Many blessings!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Eric Heisserer's HOURS

In my latest article for The Post Lab, I share some thoughts on the approach to sound design for an amazing film I did last year, HOURS.  I've gushed about this film ever since I first met writer/director/producer Eric Heisserer, and I know there will not be a dry eye in the house when HOURS makes its big premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival in March.

As a father of a three-year-old daughter, I can fully relate to the emotions that drive and torment our lead character, Nolan, and for most of my editorial time on this film, my eyes were a well of tears.  Thankfully, I've never had to experience the series of unfortunate events that Nolan does.  Hopefully, I never will.

Please watch the latest trailer for the film, hot off the press (below).  If you can make it out to Austin this March, I highly recommend you try and catch a showing of HOURS.  I wish our filmmakers lots of luck at SXSW, and I hope the film finds a good home with strong distributor!


Monday, February 4, 2013

2013: Off and Running

The first month of 2013 has started off interestingly enough, setting a unique tone that fills me with excitement, anticipation, a little apprehension and lots of drive.  Fruitful yet oddly tiring, the 31 days of January were twister-like in nature, with my time split between family duties, a few Monkeyland projects, a hefty freelance sound design job and, like most Americans, a wicked case of the flu.  It was a long month to say the very least, but each day was an interesting adventure in and of itself, and if the daily adventures keep comin', then I'll definitely have lots to report on in 2013.

The projects that have kept me busy this year include:
  •  MANHUNT, an HBO documentary that chronicles the decades-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden.  The film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, and is scheduled to air in May on HBO.  Read my article about MANHUNT on The Post Lab!
  • SNAP, a psychological thriller set in the world of underground dub step.  The film will debut in March at the SXSW Film Festival.
  • SAGA: THE SHADOW CABAL is a Tolkien-inspired, fantasy-based independent film shot entirely in Utah.  I believe it will be premiering online this year.  I'll post more as I find out more!  This was my hefty freelance gig, by the way, courtesy of my long-time sound comrades, Carlos Sanches and Josh Eckberg.

Golden Reel Nominations

In addition to the above, January also gifted me with four MPSE Golden Reel nominations, much to my humble elation.  Two of these noms were for projects I did with the Monkeyland crew (CLIMATE REFUGEES and SEAL TEAM SIX: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN), but the other two resulted from my collaborations with sound buddies Carlos and Josh.  If I've learned anything from 2012, it's this:  Make the most out of every situation because silver linings DO exist.  In post sound-speak, that translates into: Don't turn down ANY work!  There were a number of times last year where I found myself in between projects, but fortunately, the freelance gods were there to give me something to do.  Thankfully, a little downtime turned into some freelance work, which resulted in two MPSE nominations.  And once again, I've got Carlos Sanches and Josh Eckberg to thank for that.  Thanks guys for letting me be one of your guns for hire.  I'm glad you thought of me for 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS: THE GREAT PUPPY RESCUE and OSOMBIE!

I will shimmy into February much the same way that I do  everything: Even-keel, mild-tempered focused and alert.  I look forward to being challenged, tested and enlightened, while savoring every moment of the journey.  Many blessings to my fellow sound editors and post production friends.  May 2013 rain down steady and satisfying work!
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