CAS Quarterly

Winter 2019

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34 W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 C A S Q U A R T E R L Y INTRO This is a discussion of a constant debate that takes place amongst myself, colleagues, and co-workers: How much do we as the sound department want to be heard or seen on set? Is it a good or bad thing to be stealthy and never heard from? Do we need to remind them of our existence every once in a while? Do we need to dial ourselves back or constantly stay on the radar of our producers and directors? Though actors and fellow crew members factor into this thought process, this is a discussion of our perception to them, and if we can or cannot, or should or should not, control these optics. I have generally held the perspective that (whether correct or not), since we came onto the scene late as movies transitioned into talkies, sound department members are the guests in this collaborative art form. I wholeheartedly understand if anyone disagrees with this assessment. However, I have carried this ideology with me every day and I apply it to how I collaborate. Meaning that I feel I use this rationale as permission to be on the quiet, low-key side. I write this essay as I've been examining myself on this subject and am deciding if I should be earnest and true to my personality, or if I should emulate others in regard to my "volume" on the set. NATURALLY ALL BUSINESS Since my natural instinct is to air on the low-key side, I feel disingenuous when I increase my volume, and even sometimes regret it and realize I should have just kept it organically low key. My working style is closely described as "all business." It's not that I'm overly serious necessarily. I find myself working on fast-paced projects and feel like I'm just naturally on alert. The moment I let my guard down to socialize or take time to read anything, it's time to perform. This has caused me b y D e v e n d r a C l e a r y C A S to predominately stay "clenched." And as much as I manage to obviously stay pleasant, I don't think I necessarily carry a super "laid-back" vibe. However, this could just be my own internalized assessment. Thankfully, this often syncs up with certain directors I work with as they are "all business" as well. Sometimes I wish I was the life of the party, even though set is not a party. I wish I was that charming sound mixer who is delightfully entertaining the entire video village with war stories, pictures of kids, and tales of adventure. Although I will say that I do open up to a version of this if I'm working amongst friends. DEFINE BALANCE So why dig deep into the mind to write an essay about how present one should be while production mixing on set? Just like any other article's inspiration, I feel that there are several schools of thought on this subject, all with merit despite their differences. Is it a slipup just showing up and trying to be as efficient as possible in my job and never taking time to schmooze, smile, and just soak it all in? I've been unsure if I've been too quiet and non-confrontational in my approach to mixing. I've also wondered if this has caused me to be too vocal in other situations and potentially overcompensate. Examining the spectrum promotes balance. ON BEING LOUD OR EVER-PRESENT When I was a utility sound technician, I worked for several more assertive or "loud" mixers. There was always some sound issue we were involving the other departments in solving. On one hand, this could be considered obnoxious. On the other, it was extremely endearing and collaborative. Take this simple scenario for example: emailing the post-production coordinator a reminder to send the music playback session that shoots the next day. On one hand, you may not want to bother them and on the other, it's their job and who doesn't need a reminder now and then. A second assistant director walked up to me because SOUND DEPARTMENT OF THE THE "VOLUME"

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