Posted tagged ‘film’

How not to use a soundtrack…

May 13, 2008

As an independent film maker, I am also a student of film and the techniques used to create it.¬† Subscription based video rental is one of the most useful tools I’ve ever seen for this, like Blockbuster Online or NetFlix.

I use NetFlix for one simple reason: instant online movie watching. Granted, it’s not their entire catalog, and many of the selections are old, but there’s still plenty there to keep my second monitor at work buzzing with distractions.

Today, I watched 9 1/2 Weeks. Not a bad little erotic/romantic romp. If Mickey Rourke being an asshole is your thing, you’ll be in heaven, although I was a little disappointed to find out that all of Kim Basinger’s nude scenes were performed by a body double.

If I had one real complaint about the movie, though, it’s the soundtrack, and if you’re a budding sound designer I’d strongly suggest you watch it to find out how NOT to create one.

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Movie Diaries 10

June 10, 2005

The Basement of the Hall Of Waters, 2

We left the boilerroom and returned to main area. Personally, I was mentally and emotionally escaping from the place; buried memories from a past life maybe, or just a simple empathy reaction of the plight of drowned persons everywhere, had wound me tight and I was ready for a fight, any fight.


Any fight but the one I got.

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Movie Diaries 9

June 8, 2005

In an earlier entry, I noted my belief that we are making a better movie than PD wanted. This is largely because he brought in a group of actors who were given the mandate to create their own collective universe and individual characters. We’ve taken the premise of the film seriously and refused, out loud, publically and more than once, to lower ourselves to the level of campiness that PD seems to want from time to time.

Changing The Tone

Had a scene go down one day that is some of the proudest work I’ve ever done. In just ten minutes Kate and I changed the entire tone of the movie, possibly the whole series (there will be three more films – as Evil Dead evolved to Army of Darkness, this series probably will go down the humor road, but that’s later).

My character, Bill, is met and phsically and psychically branded by the Bad Guy – BG shakes his hand and leaves his mark. Bill knows deep down that because of the contact he’ll eventually be used to betray the team. He wants to tell them in the worst way, but is under a compulsion not to that is excruciatingly painful. (He’s in a van a mile away, communicating with them via audio feed)

The person who confronts him is Kate, the empath. The two are very close – he’s the only “family” she’s got and she knows something’s wrong. When she tries to ask him directly what’s going on she can hear the pain in his voice, so they have to work their way around to it.

As you see it on screen, Kate’s in the scene, talking to the camera; I’m off camera.

K. Bill, what’s wrong.
B. (trying to keep it together – he’s still in real pain from the handshake) It’s okay, Kate.
K. Has something happened?
B. (panting. No answer)
K. Are you alone, Bill?
B. (pause) Now.
K. What happened?
B. There was someone…(gasp) I had a (panting, now, close to tears)
K. I retract the question…don’t answer…
B. Kate, you like medieval art, right? You’ve got all those books on your shelves…
K. Yeah Bill, that’s right.
B. Art books…Okay…okay…The Last Supper…you remember the last supper, right..? You know how all the painters put Judas on the other side of the table from Jesus..? He was always on the other side…you know?…okay…now Leonardo Da Vinci changed that…he painted Judas (almost crying now, torn between despair and rage) on the same side. Judas was on the s-s-same s-s-side…
K. I read you, Bill. Looking at those paintings, I’ve always wondered…
Both. What made Judas turn?

long pause

B. The devil shook him by the hand.

Realization dawns on Kate’s face

K. Fuck.
Gunslinger. (who hasn’t been in on the conversation) Kate..?
K. We’ll talk later.

The director gave a beat or two, said, very quietly, “Cut….very nice.” Silence. Nobody moved for damn near ten seconds. Then there was this collective intake of breath – I guess everyone on the set had stopped breathing – and applause. Big applause.

It’s been the only scene in the movie that we did in one take, on purpose anyway. Took me almost ten minutes to calm down from it – I’m glad we didn’t need a second take. What’s truly fun is that we made up the dialog – Kate and I, with input from GunSlinger – moments before the shoot; PD didn’t know how the scene was going to play out, only that we needed to convey what happened, and the depth of it floored him.

I was behind the microphone during the shoot, so my voice in the scene is muffled some. Since most of my dialog will be re-recorded in post-production anway, that’s alright. There are scenes that actors remember, that define their best and worst moments in their Craft. In a body of work that’s been little more than fluff, that moment was a good one, and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to have had it.