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Lessons Learned: First Impressions for New Sound Mixers

Advice / Tips & Tricks Monday, October 12, 2020
I'd like to take a couple of minutes to run down a few tips for new location sound mixers. These are observations learned in over more than 30 years in both broadcast and location sound. These are not technical tips. Rather, they are lessons that I've received that made me a more professional, team oriented and in demand mixer.

Rules and tips for working with rented gear on your shoot

Advice / Tips & Tricks Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Let me tell you a short story. When Quentin Tarantino was working on The Hateful Eight, they rented an extremely expensive 145-year-old guitar for the purpose of shooting a scene. In that particular scene, Jennifer Jason Leigh's character was supposed to play the guitar, when Kurt Russel's character snatches it and breaks it on the floor. The idea was to cut the scene at the right moment, replace the guitar with a fake, and then break the fake guitar. However, that was not communicated properly to Kurt Russel, and the rest is history. As you can see, there are certain rules and tips for working with rented gear on your shoot. To prevent any similar mishaps, let's see what are the best practices you should follow.

What I Learned Shooting My First Feature Film on 35mm

Advice / Tips & Tricks Wednesday, September 16, 2020
In 2015, I started production on my first feature film, ANONYMOUS KILLERS. Shooting on 35mm was very important to me because the quality of film makes for a more natural, grainy look than filters applied to digital. I found that this choice also made me a much more disciplined filmmaker. During each stage of filming, a filmmaker must make difficult decisions. Shooting on 35mm added to these challenges, but the end effect was worth it!

Creative Culture Focuses on Diverse Storytelling with Blackmagic Design

Director's Cut Monday, September 7, 2020
Located in Pleasantville, NY, the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) developed its Creative Culture fellowship program to help champion underrepresented voices and diverse storytelling. Now in its fourth year, Creative Culture has helped 35 filmmakers create projects that have been selected by top tier film festivals, such as Sundance, Berlinale, and SXSW, and acquired by Fox Searchlight, POV, NY Times Op Docs, and Staff Pick’d at Vimeo. This includes recent projects such as Adam Meeks’ “Union County” which premiered at this year’s Berlinale, and Crystal Kayiza’s “See You Next Time” which was selected at Sundance 2020 and recently acquired by The New Yorker.

Why I’m Not Freaking Out About the Covid-19 Shutdown

Miscellaneous Wednesday, April 29, 2020
The Coronavirus really snuck up on me, like it did for everyone. I was off to a busy start this year, running up and down California, shooting content for several different projects, when I began to hear murmurs of this looming threat. One day, my barber was showing me an N95 mask that he had stood in line to purchase that morning. But…this was coming from a guy who has told me at length his theories on Big-Foot, and UFOs. So the truth was, like many people, I didn’t know how seriously to take all of this in the beginning.

Want a Great Sounding Film? Don't Skip These Key Details

Advice / Tips & Tricks Tuesday, March 14, 2017
If I had to pick one constant among independent film festival submissions it would be unintelligible dialogue. The cause of desperation of every director; the bane of every mixing engineer’s existence; the source of suffering of your friends and family, forced to go through a whole movie they don’t understand because the actors’ words simply can’t be heard. This and many other nuances of your film’s sound are the victims of a few often overlooked details, which in turn result in the delivery of a subpar soundtrack, driving your audio post team insane and wasting production money. Good news is these mistakes can very easily be prevented. You can start by tackling a few key issues often associated with your role.
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