On Friday, January 11th, Monkeyland Supervising Sound Editor Steven Avila visited with students from Sparks Middle School in La Puente to share a little bit about his career in audio post production, as well as to demonstrate how he and his Monkeyland cohorts create a full sound experience for a film. Steve prepared clips from a short sequence of the upcoming tween action-adventure film, MICKEY MATSON AND THE COPPERHEAD CONSPIRACY, which served to showcase some of the different sound jobs we perform in post production: ADR mixing, ADR and dialogue editorial, Foley mixing and editorial, Sound Effects, Sound Design, Backgrounds, and the Final Mix.
MICKEY MATSON follows the story of a young boy who inherits a strange heirloom from his recently deceased grandfather (played by Christopher Lloyd). In true DA VINCI CODE fashion, the gift leads Mickey on a wild adventure filled with secret societies, magical ancient artifacts, hidden treasure, steam-powered mechanisms, a Civil War flashback, motorcycles and plenty of action. This project was a welcomed challenge to our editors, as the film was laden with moments for sound design to boost the storytelling. Post schedule and budgetary limitations aside, we erred on the side of awesome in order to inject the right amount of adrenaline into the MICKEY MATSON soundscape.
After playing clips of the different elements (including clips dedicated to production audio and music), Steve explained to the Sparks students how crafting each task can take lots of time, energy, and effort, and emphasized that communication between the sound team and a film’s director is of the utmost importance. Filmmaking, of course, is a highly creative and collaborative art form, and anyone hoping to pursue a career in filmmaking should definitely consider furthering their educations with courses in communications, speech, writing, business, history, art, music and film!
In his wrap up, Steve played the final mix of the film for the students to further demonstrate how the complex layers of sound can come together nicely with lots of drive, punch and power. The presentation was quite successful, and not only were the students excited about how the sound process worked, they can hardly wait for the release of MICKEY MATSON AND THE COPPERHEAD CONSPIRACY. Though most of the students’ follow-up questions were non-sound related (“Do you know the main kid in the film?” “Do you get to meet many celebrities?”), it was obvious by their enthusiasm that Steve’s presentation did make a strong impression. With any luck, a star director will emerge from the bunch, and perhaps one day, he or she will make a hit film.