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Sound is no longer respected on set?

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Jay, think of it as teaching an entire generation that thinks picture is the only element that matters in today’s production environments.

Your knowledge is screaming to pay it forward.

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 Like some of the others have said, it’s always been that way.

 

I’ll drive this in a new direction with the observation that in movie credits, sound department used to closely follow camera department. Now, who knows where they’re listed. Right behind the directors PA sometimes. Of course used to, only department heads were listed and credits were over in 30 seconds. Times change.

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Saw a movie recently where in the credits the sound mixer was credited relatively early ish in the credit roll but then everyone else in the sound department was right near the end! Bit unusual I thought to chop up the sound department like that in the credits. 

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Good stuff guys!

 

I care about my results after 52 years in the business.

 

You need to pass that attitude on when you are working

 

You are paid to get results and yes you may need to fight for them

 

I love it!

 

mike

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On 1/13/2018 at 12:58 AM, edward chick said:

Jay, think of it as teaching an entire generation that thinks picture is the only element that matters in today’s production environments.

Your knowledge is screaming to pay it forward.


Edward, thanks for the compliment.

 

Writing a book that's readable and useful is a serious undertaking; trying to do it as a background task can take a year. I developed the "Half the Movie" proposal with Randy because   1) he's got insights that I think need to be shared with a lot of people in every craft (but particularly producing and directing), and   2) the publisher we approached would market and distribute it widely enough that it would reach those people... and net us a few bucks for our efforts.  

 

Since that project doesn't seem to be on the horizon, I'm paying it forward with consulting for young filmmakers, free tutorials and occasional custom software gadgets on my websites, contributing to an inner-city kids' media workshop, writing for the CAS Quarterly (detailed feature on neural nets coming next issue), developing a course for one of the large Boston-area universities, and -- of course -- my other books. Those latter two activities also get me a few bucks... which lets me pay my mortgage and do a couple of other necessary things.

 

Besides, I've talked to people in our industry who've self-published. Not for me. The two websites are plenty.

 

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On 14/01/2018 at 6:04 AM, IronFilm said:

Saw a movie recently where in the credits the sound mixer was credited relatively early ish in the credit roll but then everyone else in the sound department was right near the end! Bit unusual I thought to chop up the sound department like that in the credits. 

An 'Above the Line' sound recordist perhaps :-).

 

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I'll contribute the old war story about lack of respect for sound here :). It doesn't happen only in professional movie sets. 

 

I was 16 (it was 1986) and I was part of an amateur theatre company (I did light and sound). We made an "Electra" with many modern elements, the only resemblance to the the classic Sophocles play was some dialogue and of course the whole story.

 

Setting up everything for the performance I thought I noticed some broadcast radio interference on the sound equipment (which was a glorified HiFi system, how I had to prepare the recordings and sound effects would merit long post by themselves). It had never happened to me but I was well aware that "there be shit". There was "talent" chatter all around of course, and I yelled "slience, we have a serious problem, I need to check it out!"

 

Guess what the answer was? Yes, "oh come on, stop playing with the toys, are you going to make us deaf playing loud or what?" and of course they didn't shut up. Turns out it was a false alarm, but, well, it was scary as hell! Sound was a very important part of the performance. I used some elaborate sound clips with which I managed to really scare the audience. I left the group a couple of months later. Not just because of that, but certainly the actors were a bunch of assholes.

 

The director was very good, though (he also left that group a year later) and I still stay in touch with him, helping when I can. Know what? A year after I left he told me, in laughter, "remember that incident when you mentioned parasites on the sound equipment and everyone thought you were nuts"? "Of course, I almost killed someone!". "Well" - he told me - "turns out the idiots saw that happening, we were watching a play and, suddenly, a football broadcast broke out, C.... really turned pale".  C... was the guy who had said "hey, going to deafen us?" and he obviously remembered. The director told me he said "Remember that incident with Borja? Well, seems to be exactly that". 

 

Sound is subtle, subconscoius even, and the more invisible it is, the more effective. Sadly the more invisible the less respected I guess. Is there a sound equivalent of the typical shot of a sunset that makes people say "hey, this movie has an amazing cinematography!"?

 

 

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Is there a sound equivalent of the typical shot of a sunset that makes people say "hey, this movie has an amazing cinematography!

 

Unfortunately, yes. And it's always music or BIG sfx added in post. 

 

I spot some amazing, had-to-be-production sound in some of the screeners each year. But most people don't hear it that way. The answer to your question is the old trope: "Nobody walks out of a movie humming a two-shot."  Maybe so, but that's not about production (or even post) sound. 

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Disrespect for sound is one thing.  Been going on since mixers wore ties.  It's the complete on-set madness I can't handle.  And thus. . . .retired. :)

 

I remember Jim Webb saying to me (on a huge Hollywood job we were doing in the 1980s somewhere) "Ya know Doug?  They just don't make movies the way they used to."  I remember thinking, I hope I never say that.  Well. . . .

 

D.

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my theory on this (not only on set, but in post and other situations as well) is because sound is abstract enough that folks outside of the discipline just have their eyes glaze over when they attempt to think about it.  

 

you can't show anyone sound on set, and so everyone just kind of puts it out of their minds.   Further, most non audio folks don't really know how to trust their ears, or even really what to be listening for.  This type of mental distance can quickly lead to a dismissive attitude.  

 

I honestly think that (at least in the context of production sound) if we'd communicate more in the context of speech rather than sound, we'd have an easier time getting people onto the same page.  IOW, no one really cares if you've got a problem with the sound, but they may care greatly if they've busted the recording of the dialogue.  Its really all a matter of framing the work into a context that they higher ups actually care about. 

 

An example: "hey there, we caught a noise about 30 seconds into that take" vs "hey there, a cell phone ringing busted our actor's second line in that take" 

 

imagine if people took 'noise on the take' as seriously as 'boom in the shot' - I could probably happen if it was more like 'noise over the actor's line' in their heads.

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On 1/10/2018 at 10:22 AM, Ed White said:

Soooo........ there were these 3 great looking gals from the mid west who decided to hop on a bus and go to Hollywood to see if they could "break in to the biz" during their first summer before college. They got a room at the YWCA, answered an ad for 3 weeks of 100 extras in a big studio picture, and abracadabra, they were extras on the set of a blockbuster movie. At lunch towards the end of the 3rd week, one of the girls confessed to the other two that she was sleeping with the producer of the movie who had already promised her a leading role in his next project. Well, said the second gal, I'm sleeping with the director, and he has promised me the leading role in his next movie. The 3rd girl then said, well, if we're kissing and telling, I'M sleeping with the sound man. "WHAT?!" the other two said. What the hell does that get you? You obviously haven't been paying attention around here said girl three. Everywhere you go on this set, everyone is always saying, fuck sound.


For a second I bought this one... then, I went.. Heeeyyy.. I know this one..

LOL

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On 6/22/2018 at 7:26 AM, rcoronado said:

my theory on this (not only on set, but in post and other situations as well) is because sound is abstract enough that folks outside of the discipline just have their eyes glaze over when they attempt to think about it.  

 

you can't show anyone sound on set, and so everyone just kind of puts it out of their minds.   Further, most non audio folks don't really know how to trust their ears, or even really what to be listening for.  This type of mental distance can quickly lead to a dismissive attitude.  

 

I honestly think that (at least in the context of production sound) if we'd communicate more in the context of speech rather than sound, we'd have an easier time getting people onto the same page.  IOW, no one really cares if you've got a problem with the sound, but they may care greatly if they've busted the recording of the dialogue.  Its really all a matter of framing the work into a context that they higher ups actually care about. 

 

An example: "hey there, we caught a noise about 30 seconds into that take" vs "hey there, a cell phone ringing busted our actor's second line in that take" 

 

imagine if people took 'noise on the take' as seriously as 'boom in the shot' - I could probably happen if it was more like 'noise over the actor's line' in their heads.


Good point about how you phrase the context it makes a lot of difference, and make it about being there for the speech

I often describe my role as being there to "protect the dialogue"

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"Protect" does seem like the apt word, as sometimes it seems I spend half my time preventing sabotaging of the dialogue. 

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On 6/22/2018 at 5:26 AM, rcoronado said:

imagine if people took 'noise on the take' as seriously as 'boom in the shot' - I could probably happen if it was more like 'noise over the actor's line' in their heads.

 

Recently had to defend the decision to cross a light and cast a boom shadow over B cam (wide reactions) in order to get the hero dialogue of A cam that didn't work on lavs. All while focusing on if all the crew noise was between words and trying to do the mental maths of what post could clean up. 

 

Sometimes I feel like flicking a torch on and off during moments that I know won't make the edit.  

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52 minutes ago, Nate C said:

Sometimes I feel like flicking a torch on and off during moments that I know won't make the edit.  

hahaha! That would be very evil.
But also a handy analogy to remember! Useful for explaining to others some of the context of what we do. 

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