Post Magazine

February 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 51

independents say A C.O.G. in the apple machine By JENNIFER WALDEN Creating a natural feel via sound. The film was mixed on a 36-fader Avid ICON console at Puget Sound in LA. 10 L OS ANGELES — For the second film of his career, director/writer Kyle Alvarez adapted the David Sedaris short story, C.O.G., for the big screen. It's a big deal because this is the first time Sedaris has allowed his work to be made into a film. The story is based on Sedaris's experiences in his early twenties, when he left his East Coast urban life to work as a laborer in the apple picking fields in Oregon. In C.O.G., the main character, Samuel, finds himself at odds with the locals, but their interactions ultimately change his life. C.O.G. premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the US Dramatic Competition. Alvarez (winner of the "Someone to Watch" 2010 Independent Spirit Award for his first film, Easier With Practice) feels the audience will find this film full of surprises that will keep them interested and involved. "It's risky in a lot of ways," he says, "and I think that's something that people are going to like about it. It has a certain edge to it and its humor is something that is unique to David Sedaris. This is my interpretation of David Sedaris, and I hope that people like it." MULTIPLE ENVIRONMENTS The film takes place in three types of locations. The first part is outdoors, in an apple orchard. The second in an apple-processing factory. The third part has a more intimate feel, and takes place in several small interior locations. Alvarez says, "Both visually and audio-wise, the feeling of the movie changes a lot. The sound plays a huge part in the pacing of the film. It makes sure we feel like we're in these new places every time, and they feel distinct from each other." Wildfire Post's ( sound designer/re-recording mixer Martyn Zub created distinct sonic environments for each of the three locations. Overall, his main objective was to make sure the sound was smooth and natural, distinct yet not over the top. "We want it to sound like it was all captured right there on the day, and it's all sitting Post • February 2013 Post0213_010-independentsRAV4finalread.indd 10 there naturally and perfectly. We pulled a lot of the sounds back in the mix so you hear the dialogue, and the natural sounds of the world that we're actually in." In places like the apple orchard, which was a working farm, Zub used the real sounds of the farm, including Spanish workers off in the distance, tractors going by, and even the subtle sound of insects flying by.The sound is very airy and open. In contrast, the second part of the film, in an apple factory, is a noisy, busy, environment cylinder sound as possible.The sound was tied into the production dialogue. "A lot of it is tied in together, but we wouldn't want to do it any other way because it just works so well," he says. "That's a credit to re-recording mixer Paul Carden because he was able to keep that dialogue. Then we added sweeteners and extra drag sounds to give the audience the perception of how heavy the cylinder is." Carden, who handled the dialogue and music in the mix, was able to make a large portion of the original production dialogue C.O.G.: writer/director Kyle Alvarez with Wildfire's Martyn Zub. where the sounds of the machines are overbearing. "You can see the machines on screen pushing the apples down the processing line," Alvarez says. "They weren't actually that loud but it's scripted to be very loud." The humor of the scene comes from the characters not being able to hear each other well over the machines. In the mix, Zub had the challenge of balancing the machines against the dialogue so that it felt very loud, but the audience could still hear what was being said. "Creating that space in the factory to be overbearing and noisy, and to have that contrast with the open and airy feel of the apple orchard was a crucial element to the sound," says the director. To keep the sound effects natural, and unique, Zub used production sound as much as possible. For example, in one sequence, the main character is sent to fill a propane gas cylinder. Without access to a car or truck, he drags the cylinder through the farm and down the street. Zub used as much of the original work. "The film has minimal ADR in there, and that is a testament to Paul," says Zub. "He was really able to find words and letters, and get the dialogue through to the finish line. I think that's the best way for the film to go, with minimal ADR. It just feels so natural, and it just plays so well." The film score is a combination of prerecorded music from composer Steve Reich and original music inspired by Reich's tracks. Alvarez chose music from Reich's minimalist percussion work in the late '60s/early '70s. "It was about creating the balance between Reich's music and the original music to make it feel like it's all coming from the same world," says Alvarez. The score plays in short spurts for specific scenes instead of continuously throughout the film, acting more as a punctuation than an underscore. "It's usually trying to play to the humor of the scene. For me," explains continued on page 43 1/23/13 6:35 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - February 2013