06 May past projects put to bed
Now here’s a project that’s been a long time coming. I must have shot it in 2000 or 2001. Back then I was going to SFSU and working in the Design and Industry Department office. Contrary to its portrayal in the short, it was actually a really great job. I enjoyed working with the students, it was on the 1st floor of the same building as most of my classes, I could do homework in my downtime and I liked the people that I worked with. Plus we were the best, most helpful department office on campus. IN YOUR FACE CINEMA DEPARTMENT!!! haha. But that’s another story.
One day, I decided to bring my camera to school and film something while at work. The last year I had made “Splicer 14,” a short about the Edit Cage – in which I also worked. So perhaps this was my follow up? Or maybe I was just feeling creative that day…(to see another project inspired by my time there, click here). With the help of my coworker, Arturo I shot this little short that revolved around my favorite tool in that office – the giant stapler. For some reason I really got a kick out of all the things you could staple with it.
We shot it and then I forgot about it. Around 2004 I found the tape, digitized it, did a rough cut, and then stopped working on the project. Then last summer, 2008, after having a series of projects fall through, I started searching through my old sketch pads for ideas and unfinished projects. I came across a note that said “Luke & Arturo Short.” I embarked on a massive search through my miniDV tape collection, but I couldn’t find the footage! Shit. No tape. No quicktimes on my hard drives. Then I remembered that I used to move things from my external drives to DATA DVDs. I started going through these old backup disks. And lo and behold there is was, not only the footage but the version that I had cut back in ’04.
For the most part I was pretty happy with that cut, it just needed a couple little tweaks. First off, I needed a higher quality Atomic Blast for the end. Luckily, I knew were to find it. I used the site archive.org that had served me so well for the Rotten Apples video. With a “new,” higher quality, shot cut in, the next step was sound design. Now, I could have done this myself. I have sound effects. I’ve done sound design before. But I’m trying to move out of the “does everything oneself” mode of filmmaking. It’s not really a sustainable mode of operation, especially if I want to continue working as a director. Projects are going to become more and more complicated and I’m going to need higher quality work than I can provide for every department.
So I set out to find a sound designer. The work shouldn’t be that hard, it’s just a basic office environment and the short is only 59 seconds long. I estimated that it would take me 3 hours. And I’m not a sound designer, so it should be even quicker for someone who was.
Here’s a quick run down of how that plan worked out.
Sound Designer #1: Never started. Was asked multiple times. Said he’d get to it, but never did.
so I pulled it and sent it to
Sound Designer #2: Super excited about the project. Took a couple weeks to send me 1st mix. Honestly, it was a pretty awful mix. Missing foley, errant sounds left in, notes ignored. Supposedly had 2nd mix done. Couldn’t figure out how to upload to FTP. Wouldn’t answer my troubleshooting questions. Wouldn’t burn a disc or put it on a flash drive. Then his equipment broke. Then he flaked on a supervised session. Then he never responded to emails/texts about when he would finish.
so I pulled the job AGAIN and sent it to
Sound Designer #3: Now I was paying a small amount. Before it was just dinner and my gratitude. Sent him the video and notes. In a couple weeks he sent me the 1st version. Some notes were ignored, other things needed tweaking. Not a bad 1st mix though. Emailed, called, emailed again. No response for a month. So I fired him. It must really suck to get fired from a micro-budget job. And with that sort of work ethic and commitment, I’m sure it won’t be the only time he gets canned.
The job was put back on ice. A couple of weeks ago my friend Angel Vasquez came into town. We ended up hanging with a mutual friend from SF, Patrick Bowsher who had worked with Angel on several projects, recording, mixing, and composing.
Sound Designer #4: I doubled the cash and sent him an email. He was down. It took him about two weeks to take the project from start to finish. And this included 3 versions of the mix. He was quick, efficient, creative, and responded well to notes. What more could a director want? I finally had a version of the sound I was happy with.
Ironically, in the end, I spent more time managing and emailing Sound Designers #1-3 than I would have just DOING the sound design myself. But that would be missing the point of looking for a Sound Designer in the first place. I’m on a mission to find the best people I can to collaborate with. And although it was a long and frustrating process, in the end I found someone great to work with.
See what all the fuss was about right here.