|"No one knows who they were or what they were doing..."|
So I agreed to be the sound man/boom op for the trailer - for free (it was all last-minute rush-rush, and I figured it could be interesting). I arrive on location at an abattoir, somewhere in saaaarf Laaaandon. I'm the first person there... An hour later, I'm still the first person there. Hmm. Finally, the crew roll up in dribs and drabs; vans arrive and equipment is unloaded.
I meet the producer - my point of contact - and he thanks me for coming aboard at short notice. He leads me through to the equipment: There is a mountain of flight cases, tripods, dollys, jibs, mics, camera equipment...
Like a Terminator reeling off his shopping list of Uzi 9mm's and Phased plasma rifles in the 40-watt range, the producer had plucked every bit of equipment off the shelf. So why was I working for free, again?
|Termy buys up the shop; Dick Miller buys the farm.|
They were shooting on 16mm film.
After I explained that 16mm doesn't record sound as well as picture, things suddenly got serious. It was a Sunday; most hire companies were shut. The producer fled in search of a DAT machine whilst the camera crew shot the sequence - minus sound. The steadi-cam shot was rehearsed; I made a note of every sound I could hear... and waited for my DAT machine.
Eight hours later, the producer returns with a DAT machine. The shoot was drawing to an end, so I quickly got set up and ready to go. I re-created the route taken by the camera operator, recording all of the sounds (machinery, doors opening etc.) - but all I could hear was voices. People going home. Flight cases loading into vans. Pizza orders being shouted out. After the fifth time of calling for quiet, I managed one decent take of sound. Desperate to go home, I handed the DAT tape to the director and scarpered.
Monday morning, I received a call from the producer - 'Where's the DAT tape?'
Me: 'I gave it to Herr Director.'
Months later, I saw the trailer online: Minus sound, with b-movie 'horror' music playing over the images. Needless to say, it lost its impact and did not sell the film at all.
|"You want a Pepsi Free, Pal, you've gotta pay for it!"|
Equipment: You do not need to spend a small fortune on equipment for your film. Do your research; understand exactly what you need and don't need. Do not get a gadget fetish.
Sound: Its crucial. Bad sound will ruin your movie. No sound will result in dodgy library music.
Crew: Treat your cast and crew with respect, especially if they are working for free.
Finally: If you can pay for equipment hire costs, you can pay cast/crew expenses at the very least.