Its finally coming! The release of Skinford Chapter 2. This brings up many thoughts and feelings about my work as a sound recordist in Sydney trying to work on creative projects. I should acknowledge that though i will be exclusively talking about Chapter 2 there is an exciting story to be told about Chapter 1 that will be blogged about sometime soon! So since the release of Chapter 1 i have been biting my nails about another Skinford being shot. The thrill of working with an awesome Director like Nik Kacevski and having another opportunity to work out more kinks in my recordings whilst pushing my gear to even higher thresholds. Of course the whole team on the set of the Chapter 2 were amazing but there are a few key people that i work with closely that are an important to how we got a very tough project sounding good.
So i got the call! Chris Seeto who is a long time Producer and friend of mine said it looks like we are going ahead on Chapter 2 so get your self together.
My first thoughts went to my kit and how i was going to work even closer with other departments to get the sound needed to make an even tighter 2nd Chapter of Skinford.
I remember going on location scouts and listening carefully as Kieran Fowler [DOP] talked through with Christine Luby [1st AD], Damo [Key Grip] and Sparky [Gaffer] about what they wanted to achieve and how. On odd occasions i would have a moment with these departments if i saw a potential problem that might come about when shooting.
On a side note here when working on lower budgets these conversations have to always be meet with the idea that all departments are in many ways taking double shifts and on top of often having limited gear they more importantly having very limited time to perform the great feats that we achieved.
This concept is very important to me as sound recordist as we often have to keep our ear to the ground and try to be considerate that if for example a location has a creaky floor under a dolly track that though there might be ways to mitigate the creak there might also be a time cost and when a production is time poor then taking that extra 10 minutes away from the project might not be worth it.
So having conversations with key departments on lower budgets is more about bringing up problems so if it can be worked around then its more likely to be on the key departments mind and in turn be factored in upon setup.
So my next move was to bring a Boom Operator on. I went with Gareth Evans. He had his head screwed on in the Chapter 1 and knows what he is getting into for Skinford Chapter 2.
But first things first we had a meeting and chatted about how we were going to make this chapter better and more importantly I had an opportunity to do one of the things that I really was looking to make good on since the first chapter, communicate better with greater purpose.
At this point in my career I have gotten really good at getting sound without demanding to much from other departments and moving forward I was and am looking to include other departments in the madness of location sound recording and giving them greater opportunities to contribute to a better sound recording and in turn a better project.
So the reason I was able to pay so much attention to the fine line of getting this audio was all thanks to the glue in my department Gareth Evans. I think in many ways the boom operator makes more of a difference to the final audio mix then any other department [though i do believe every department in some way affects the sound department]. Gareth is probably one of the more cheery Boomies i have worked with. Gareth took the role to the next level with this one which allowed me to pay special attention to the recording this beast. I can safely say that i couldn't have done this without him.
Now the reason I am willing and excited to take on a project like this is that I get to work with the talented Nik Kacevski. If I know that I am working hard to get something right I know that Nik is working twice as hard and is completely invested in the project and not just his part in it. Before, during and post the shoot Nik and I occasionally find moments to talk about what we want from Skinford Chapter 2 and how I plan to achieve it and with this communication I know that I have Nik onside as long as i follow two rules. 1: what ever I need for my department has to contribute to the whole and 2: that i have not just a problem but a solution. This has never really been something we have talked about but more an understanding of how Nik works as a director. I can think of many moments throughout the shoot where we have been in really loud locations and i have asked for a pass with higher projection from the talented and generous actors [Charlotte Best, Jess Bush, Josh Brennan, Georgia Clementson-Scott, Ric Herbert, Coco Jack Gillies, Paige Horton, Ed McKenna, Lara Schwerdt, Lauren Orrell, Adam Saunders
] and unless he has had performance based reasons he has always met me there knowing that i would not ask if i didnt need.
Watching Nik work i have seen a strong passion and confidence that is essential in making such an ambitious project work. I have heard and watched him interact with every department and the acting team with a kind ear and a stern resolve and i cant wait to see what is coming next for him.
The reason i think a project can come together and be finished on time is through the mind of an Assistant Director and on Chapter 2 we had Christine Luby come back to tackle this beast again. I have a soft spot for nice ADs because like the sound recording department they are often there to bring the ambitious dream of the creative elements down to realistic goals. I have known Christine since one of the first productions i boomed on and i have always felt that she has found that really tough balance of adapting to her environment and subsequently wielding it to the benefit of the final product. On top of all that i have always felt that she can read my thoughts as she has often presented options or solutions to every problem i can throw at her.
At her side was Max Sharkley I dont think someone could have put more steps into a day them him [maybe Matt Bedford]. If Christine wasnt around Max was so quick to action that i also wonder if had adopted or absorbed Christine's power of reading minds.
And who could help me process this madness if the amazing continuity skills of John Duong. A man who i sat next to for most of my time on set and who i could always refer to if i needed to know if we had a line or if it will work in the edit. Also so many recipes!
There are so many people i got to work with and it is worth the time to go through and talk about every single one of them but when it comes to who i directly worked with to make this production [which i have been informed has no ADR] come together these are people that bind my experience. This production couldn't of happened without every single piece of the puzzle working at 100% and i am so very proud of every single one of the fine people working on Skinford Chapter 2.
Now i havent even started talking about BTS moments when on set and that was mostly intentional. I think you all should see Skinford Chapter 2 which is going to screen on the 21st of November at 630pm. I will be there so grab a ticket and come along have a drink and feel free to as away if you have any questions.
Till next time!