Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Good, The Bad and the Sad

I haven't blogged in a little while because I had my kids staying with me so it was a busy time. But lucky you, I am back- broke, and on the wagon.

This afternoon I just finished a voice over for a corporate video. It was a serious topic (involving death), so I had to sound suitably sombre- kind of like being a mortician. Wait....isn't that what we now call a funeral director? I'll have to look back at one of my Six Feet Under DVD's. Whatever. So this morning I was perfecting my lugubrious look and slightly clammy handshake. I think I got it right- the handshake and the look I mean.

Anyway, I actually did the music for this video- a heartfelt piece of  hopeful sadness (that's where I got the idea for the handshake...) The client wanted to be in on the voice session, which is fine by me. She said, "Oh you're the one who did the music too!" Indeed. And, I went on to tell her, I was the cameraman, the editor, built all the sets and wrote the script too! Laughs all around! I really am so damn funny sometimes!

Seriously, though. it was nice to get to do the VO- and have young Ty (a very talented young man who is becoming quite the jack of all trades) man the board. Usually I have to do that too. Not this time. Just the music and the voice over. The last VO I did was for an Islamic Cartoon (The 99) on which I am a regular character. An evil doctor or something with a slightly mid-atlantic accent. Yes, kids, I can do it all. Call me and I'll make you a deal on music and VO and a mix. Really. I'm not kidding.

So I was reminded of something while doing the session. (I am reminded of things in bizarre ways all the time. Usually something dirty...but not on this occasion) In a studio I once worked in there was a Dolby 5.1 mix being done for a TV special. The mixer was a very talented but extremely taciturn fellow. He had a 'tude probably due to the fact that he has been stoned for most of the last 28 years. Or maybe it's just when he isn't baked that he's an asshole. One never knows. But the guy can mix. Just keep him away from the clients.

The show in question began with a very large airplane coming from behind as it lands. This mixer, whom I will call "Eddie", set up the 5.1 deliciously well. You sensed a rumble and then felt the jet coming from behind you and then over your head. It was fabulous. The room shook and you physically felt the air from the speakers push you as the plane touched the ground. The men in the room- including one of the clients listening to this playback for the first time- collectively exclaimed a chortling  "FUUUUUUUUCK!" (or at least I said that. I'm pretty sure the other guys did too, and we all felt the need to change our underwear right after.) The one woman, notably the other client. turned and said, "I don't like it. It's too loud".

It was as if the air that had been in the room was now completely sucked out. We guys, for whom 5.1 was invented, who grew up genetically pre-disposed to making cool mouth sounds for cars, machine guns, planes, bombs and fast boats were devastated. But my main worry was Eddie. I was waiting for him to erupt in indignation, and it wasn't going to be pretty.  I feared for the woman's safety with her being seated no more than 5 feet from a rapidly simmering engineer. I was praying NOOOO! Don't tell her what you are really thinking! She's the CLIENT!!! To Eddie's credit. He said nothing. or not much anyway. I heard some mumbling; and maybe words like 'fuck', 'douchebag' and 'Chevrolet'.

The remaining playback was an exercise in turning down every cool effect over the course of the 48 minute show. All of them. Every time. The other client tried to explain that it was a good mix- and would play well. But we had all been spanked. And not in a good way. We were done. Eddie left the room, still mumbling ('nosebleed',,,'dickhead'...'republican'...),  leaving me to do the dirty work. Oh yes. I was the hatchet man. And I tried every trick I knew to avoid the inevitable: do nothing and pretend you did and maybe they'll "hear" the non-change as a change. No; Carry on a distracting conversation about the Maple Leafs while you work and not pull things down as much as they wanted. No; Press a button (with great gusto and ceremony) that's not connected to anything. No; We were defeated.

That was then.

So today, humbly, gently and with suitable regret I read the sad words to my sad music. Maybe I can stick a plane in there somewhere...

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