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Jan McL

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About Jan McL

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    Sound. Motion. Stillness.
  • Birthday January 1

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  • Location
    NY Metro
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Indie film and television production sound mixer.

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  1. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    Happened upon "The Tale" yesterday, a true-story feature film written/directed by Jennifer Fox with whom I have a work history, which is why I watched. Had no idea that she is a survivor. That her reviews are 59% 5-star tells me that she's succeeded in your challenge @Philip Perkins. Bingo. It's happening. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07D8F7Q8D/ref=pd_cbs_318_7 She addresses many of the most important facets of working through recovered memories using the difficult-to-pull-off cutting of past/present/past together. She certainly pulls no punches in the telling. Some couldn't take the hits.
  2. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    Holy carp: "...there is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself." Yes, perfect suggestion @jt. Hannah Gadsby understands the import of story telling and articulates it well. She also understands the importance of dealing with the anger so it stops infecting others. Aw yes. Less cowardly for facing two intertwined betrayals of friends and owning up to them. Thank you--as ever--for your gentle and thoughtful hearing and feedback loop @Philip Perkins. XOXO
  3. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    I stepped into the middle of a "FB Sexist Sound Remarks" fight last week and was roundly trounced from both sides. In reflection, I deserved beatdowns from both sides. Didn't handle the exchange well. That badly-handled encounter's why I'm adding this section to my continued thinking about men and women together in the workplace: then and now. Here's a confession: I'm a collaborator and coward. Sammy Davis Junior podcast link from previous post for reference. I've been a "House Chick" for a very long time. To-wit: I laughed at the fellas' off-color jokes. Worse, in my heart I silently scoffed at the women who wore makeup, dresses and/or heels to set because I knew those things would make me appear 'weak' and I couldn't afford to be perceived as weak in a tough room. And worse yet for #MeToo me, the men would think I was inviting sexual attention. No. No. No. In 1973, during my first days in the formerly all-male University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band, a male upperclassman instructed me to do something onerous as part of ongoing efforts to make the six of us women to their 100 men quit. I loudly replied, "Sir, f*ck you. Sir!" They laughed heartily, let me off the hook, and I was thereafter one of the boys and less vulnerable to attack. Early lesson in managing male aggression. Flash forward two months. Our first Pitt Band road trip to NYC. The traditional mimeographed magazine was handed out to everyone on the bus. It included a condom tucked in the middle, and many offensive drawings of probably naked women. 'Probably' because I don't recall: the first image I saw caused me extreme distress. I said not a word. As I recall that 1973-vintage magazine now, seems it was a violent sexual image that included hand-painted red for blood. At least 100 copies of it hand painted by my band mates with "blood" on the woman. My responses then to most things sexual / violent / #MeToo were unconscious and debilitating. Experiences like that were for many decades completely wiped from my brain. Good "House Girl" that I was, I never walked into any room of mostly men spoiling for a fight. Even so, when somebody crossed the line with a sexual touch, I pushed back with a variation of, "Sir, f*ck you, sir!" or a hand-holding whispered promise to break a finger should it happen again. That kind of push back almost always seemed to do the trick. Key is being able to distinguish when the private whisper or the public call-out will prove more effective. When I reckoned words would not prove equal to the task, I was not afraid to escalate. Creepy passive-aggressive guy loft mate caused me to convince a husky grip with a hunting knife strapped to his belt to move in with us until creepy guy had turned in his keys. Creepy guy's sin? He walked into one of the women's spaces sporting boxer shorts and an erection. Banishment ensued with a physical deterrent to back us three women up. Another confession: until this week I've not defended female colleagues in FB fights over sexist images / language when the women have walked into the room with their fists flying. Nonetheless, I have been known to verbally bitch slap anyone who suggests publicly or privately they'd sure love to have my job since it involves getting into actress's clothing. Entering the room with your fists up is not a good strategy if your goal is to improve / change things. Per earlier thinking here about 'Rage,' those who enter the room fighting could benefit from compassion as opposed to the autonomic response to raise your fists too. As part of said FB tussle, defended a male colleague for a, "Slate, what slate?" comment because at this point in his life he may be incapable of change. Or maybe because I remain a good "House Chick". Either way, this makes me a collaborator, apologist and coward. I'm sorry. More compassion.
  4. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    "Serious" art / poetry is draped in a butt-ton of weighty institutional baggage that takes on a flavor of glee when it successfully confounds regular folks. Yeah. Popular culture goes to the other extreme in its desire to appeal to the maximum number of people. I think there are story telling geniuses behind these amazing projects on the subject: "13 Reasons Why" - Netflix original "Capturing the Friedmans" - currently available on HBO "The Keepers" - Netflix "Spotlight" "Patrick Melrose" - out this year on Showtime and a magnificently tragic / triumphant story of (barely) surviving childhood sexual abuse portrayed by that Cumberbatch fella. Frontline documentary "Hand of God" "An Open Secret" A film about the sexual abuse of children in the entertainment industry in Hollywood. "Girl 27" - Sexual assault in Hollywood "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" - Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican. "Three Billboards" The action-issue at hand is that everyday traumatized humans need to tell their stories. How do they find the right audience capable of hearing them? I don't think the mercenary (therapist) model wholly adequate to this task. I certainly censored my story when told to my family. Got into some detail with the private detective I hired to examine court records for me but fired after he said I should, "...just get over it and move on." Do you think bearing witness to others' stories well told is enough for the healing survivors seek? I have my doubts. This is the important and healing part of the work: saying it publicly and not being murdered for telling, but honored. There remain parts of my own story that have never been told.
  5. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    I'm sorry that you, your family, friends and especially your daughter understand Philip. I hoped you'd chime in though since it's been a while since we addressed our shared understanding. She's lucky to have you as her dad. You're correct that a high percentage of our generation's film culture adopted ambient rage as its signature emotion. [I'm keeping 'ambient rage' by the way. Thanks for that phrase.] You're also correct that the younger generation has evolved beyond and better. Brava! Bravo! Story telling is absolutely key. So is bearing witness. Those two go together. The victim / colluder story is eventually ready to be re-written and the new role of hero practiced. And practiced. And practiced more until you get it right. Problem is, the stories are so grim and some frankly evil that the people who need to tell them are reluctant to bring those things into the hearts and minds of those they love. The stories are hard to hear. Catch 22 / dilemma. Art and poetry are often obscure enough that difficult things may be said without actually saying them. That's how I got around the Catch 22 long enough to spew it all out in the presence of poetry reading, art-looking witnesses.
  6. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    I always forget that women make up about half the world. Thanks for the reminder. Despite much sadness and decades of near-full-time work to go through it, at this point experiencing any part of that struggle as other than joyous triumph doesn't serve me well. I'm not pulling any punches in the telling that's for sure. The most I can do is lead some horses to the water. This thread is a first step.
  7. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    Allow me to set the stage toward adding another layer of understanding what's happening with women in the biz'. S3, EP6 of Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History Podcast has profoundly changed my life in ways I can't yet fathom. Expressing emotionally confusing situations in sentences has been a successful growth strategy for me. Much thinking, ideas repeated (meditation), testing (publication/performance) The changes in our industry have me confused as I figure out a different way of being at work. So I write. Substitute women for Sammy Davis Junior. http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/26-the-hug-heard-round-the-world I have to deal with the fact that I have for my entire career been a collaborator, having done whatever needed to be done--short of sex--to get where I wanted desperately to go. Short of sex since my first industry-related advice was, "Don't f&ck where you eat," from Dennis Maitland in Washington Square Park during the shooting of "In Search of Bobby Fischer". First advice.
  8. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    The thought exercise above is meant to engender empathy / compassion for those individuals we encounter whose default emotional response under stress is Rage. An unusually high number of our colleagues will be working through this phase of healing in the coming years with the subject all of a sudden in the headlines again and again and no longer taboo. Fair warning. Forewarned. How we experience others' rage can -- with practice -- be a choice.
  9. Jan McL

    You & #MeToo

    Rage. Rage is an unproductive invisible yet screaming partner with whom to negotiate life. After any trauma, rage insinuates itself deep in the psyche. It's so powerful, I am terrified to let it show its face or open its mouth. It builds and explodes sometimes. Exceedingly messy and counter-productive. For survivors, it is the monster that hides behind and under everything. Rage was the first emotional red flag that something powerful and relentless was destroying my life from the inside out. I determined to study it under a microscope by becoming a detective. I sought clues to its origins. Chose individuals with the least control of the phenomenon to sidle up to. That invasion of personal / psychic space was dangerous. One rage-ous UPM uninvited me from the final season of a show because I addressed his rage directly. But I learned its workings. The, "You're a Perfect Assh*le" story is best told by voice. Let's see if I'm in the mood to tell it today on Sounderday. https://zoom.us/j/817979726 Rage. It comes with all trauma. It comes with #MeToo. Survival mechanism. Involuntary emotional response. Science has recently declared that trauma re-wires the brain and even DNA. IME as an amateur student of electrical signals and survivor, it does. To survive, one must perform a wiring repair job and re-route. I see a significant percentage of women (and men) in the industry who enter every "room" with their fists up. This puts the room into defense mode. Off the bat it's war. #MeToo brings out the Rage. It's given many permission to express it; as eventually it must be felt, expressed, and passed through. I chose to learn to express it in art / poetry / performance. When I wire, it's a dance and some of my best work. Sometimes I fail to control it, particularly when in the company of someone who's not yet learned to hold their open hands at their sides. The image attached is one piece of art I made. It was in an art show in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Entire segments of populations are repeatedly, predictably traumatized and their rage weaponized. My intention is to write at some length on the subject and as always anticipate your wise perspectives to add to our collective understanding.
  10. Jan McL

    HN-7506 or something else

    HN-7506 are my go-to cans for noisy NYC EXT's and otherwise. If I could tolerate IEM's suppose that's the way I'd go.
  11. Jan McL

    John Blankenship is officially a year older today

    Happy Birthday!
  12. Jan McL

    Advice for a novice

    Yup. The 416 is for sure my microphone binkie. I have two. Got used a bunch on the expiration of a CMIT5U this year.
  13. Jan McL

    Advice for a novice

    For some perspective Luke8 I've been doing sound for film/TV for 26 years and I still suck at it most of the time.
  14. Having agreed on the money etc., tabled negotiating prep days. Tech scout (there will be five days) and a day to confab with production designer / prop master / costume designer since period piece with possibility of period mics. I want to be well armed when the discussion resumes. The scout is sound's introduction to all the people able to make the difference between 'OK' and 'great' sound. If sound’s not on the scout the message is clear: our work doesn’t matter. Sound matters. Sound is subtle (unconscious) but here's a fact: 100% close ‘artificial’ sound breaks suspension of belief. Significant percentages of stories are told with words re-told by professional liars. It production’s duty to capture your expensive artists’ best performances for the project to achieve deep believability. $: knowing in advance where the carts may live saves production money in time and chaos reduction. Relative to cart placement, much depends on architecture. This is something no one but an RF SME (subject matter expert) can do. That teeny, tiny apartment may require the teeny tiny recording kit that wants attention the day before. Another SME situation. I begin real estate negotiations with locations and set dressers. There are questions to be answered: It's helpful to plan where actors may be privately / comfortably wired on set. Clap my hands and plan for the reverberant space. Ingress/egress addressed. Helpful to observe the relationship between director and DP, how they communicate. Essential to see the sketching out of coverage. What will not be seen. Knowing the equipment grips and electrics plan to bring tells me a lot about our work and how sound may need to adapt and/or form an alliance. I remain hopeful, especially with this estimable crowd to fill in the blanks. What else say you?