Sound and Music

I had a meeting with composer Zach Abramson and sound designer Greg Sextro today. I love meetings like this. Two people who are working on very different aspects of the movie had to plan out together what each one of them was going to do so that they can be working in synch.

We watched the movie twice. First Zach and I went through it scene by scene and planned out where we think there should be music cues (not including the songs of course). Then Greg watched it with us. Zach and I presented our ideas for music cues, and Greg asked all sorts of questions as to our stylistic choices for the music. As you will eventually see once this movie is finally finished, it’s an odd thing, and it takes some talking through for everyone to understand exactly how we want to play out. There are places where sound design can do the heavy lifting, while in others music will be in the forefront. And in others still, the sound design and the music will be working together to create specific effects.

Sound and music are crucial elements for any movie. But for a movie musical with fantastical elements, they’re even more crucial. So sound and music really have to communicate well throughout post production to make sure they’re on the same page. Of course as the writer and director, I’m the arbiter of this, but I want to make sure that Greg’s and Zach’s impulses are also integrated. I chose them both for this movie because I know their work quite well and want to bring their sensibilities to the finished product.

On top of all of this, the movie is a comedy. I have specific ideas of how I want moments to play out for laughs, but comedy is very subjective. The way I see the jokes landing may not be the same as Zach or Greg. And who knows how an audience will really respond to this movie. So we also have to navigate that. One thing I really like about both Greg and Zach is that they’re open to just trying things. So we may go through several versions of moments before we find out exactly what works.

This is just one of the reasons why it’s taken me nearly two years to finish post production on this movie. We have to get everything exactly right, or at least as right as we’re able to get it given the circumstances and our resources.

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