Monday, May 04, 2009

Hi, Remember me! And Thoughts on Sound

May 5, 2009

I am off the road for awhile. Moses and I returned home a few days ago. It was a long 10 weeks. I’m almost caught up on my sleep (not really) and I’m back in front of the computer. I do apologize to those of you who regularly read the blog, sometimes it gets really hard to post from the road consistently. I do my best, but there are times when I am just too tired. At that point I am just working towards survival. Every time I hit the road I tell myself I’ll be better at posting… maybe next Fall.

A special Thank You to Bill Dever and the Indy Film Co-op. Bill worked with me on a lot of new venues and he and his family always had their home open for Moses and I. Thank you. (Next time I’ll bring more wine.)

A buddy of mine just sent me this link that I thought you would get a kick out of. I don’t know how old this is, but enjoy…

And you think I’m Angry!

The BIG news is I finally saw a proof of my book, The Angry Filmmaker’s Survival Guide from the publisher and it looks great! We have a couple small things to correct and I am hoping to have it up on the site available for purchase within the next couple weeks. It has been a long time coming. This has been a bigger ordeal than making any of my films. Go figure. Anyway, it will be available shortly. Stay tuned.

Once again one of the things I have learned on this tour is how little most filmmakers and film students know about sound. I can’t figure this out, sound is really not that difficult and yet it’s the thing that separates amateur films from professionals. Too many people don’t think about sound at all and if they do they feel like they’ll go out and shoot and deal with it later. You don’t go out and shoot with a bad camera, why are you going out and shooting with bad sound equipment, or none at all!

Check out my work book, 58 Things You Had Better Know About Sound Before Making Your First Feature. It’s The Dialog Stupid!

This is a companion to my other work books on independent filmmaking. It is available on my website,

What good is it you ask? Well, it tells you about the 3 different types of microphones, (ribbon, dynamic, and condenser) and the 3 basic microphone pick up patterns. It gives you helpful hints about sound design, and tells you that I will threaten you with physical violence if I ever hear you utter the word “sweetening” when you really mean MIX! (Sweeten is what you do to ice tea, not audio tracks!)

Other things in the book include:

8.) There are three basic microphone pickup patterns, omnidirectional, cardioid, and hypercardioid. Omnidirectional is a microphone that picks up everything in all directions. A cardioid microphone picks up in a single direction, like a lavalier, or a wireless mic. A hypercardioid is a “shotgun” mic. It picks up everything in a cone-area of about 50 degrees in front of it.

30.) If you hire a good location recordist, you won't need ADR. You don't want to use ADR. ADR is not, and will never be, as good as the original audio take! The sound quality won't be quite right. The performance will be close but not as good. There are all sorts of new software programs that can match the words to the lips, but just matching the words to the lips is not what's important. It's the feeling of the entire scene.

47.) There is a trend, not to clear music for your movie if you're going to send it to film festivals to find a distributor. Then WHEN it's picked up for distribution, you get the distributor to pay for the music rights. If anything, WHEN should read IF, because the odds are, it's not going to happen. A lot of distributors won't pick up a film if the music rights aren't cleared.

You can pick this work book up for a mere $10 plus $4 S&H. How much are you spending on a camera?

Be the first one on your block to own it. 58 Things You Had Better Know About Sound Before Making Your First Feature. It’s The Dialog Stupid!

There is a rumor that all of my work books should be ready for downloading soon.

Until then you can still buy the hard copies on my site.

On to other stuff.

If you want Moses and I to come to your college, university, media art center, high school, theater or even to your house for dinner this summer or Fall send me a note,

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Show Biz Software, (, Film Baby (, Pollard Design (, Zoom Studio (, and The Indy Film Co-op ( If you haven’t checked out their sites and their services, you better.

The first two Workshop DVDs are selling well. You can find them at,, and at

As always, feel free to link to my site and you can subscribe to my blog. So what are you waiting for?

Talk later.



Blogger MaxMarois said...

I have to agree with you. Most filmmakers do not understand sound. I work in the sound department and I'm just amazed that 95% of the filmmakers out there don't have a clue of what sound does to a film and its importance.

Because they don't see it, they don't care for it.

5:12 PM  
Blogger tim prebble said...

"If you hire a good location recordist, you won't need ADR."

There are a lot more reasons why ADR is done than purely because you didnt have a good location recordist.. Obviously thats very important, as is having a good boom swinger, but if you dont budget for some ADR then it will become a problem

heres just a few reasons:
- changing a performance
- dialect problems/intelligiblity
- changing lines
- additional lines
- breaths
- radio mic interference (electrical or clothing)
- shooting in locations with noisy backgrounds
- noisy lights/generator (buzz, light gel rattle etc)

1:18 PM  

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