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Old 17th September 2015
Gear Guru
UnderTow's Avatar
Originally Posted by pethenis View Post
Totally forgot about my similar experience, I had the Dutch "Bob the Builder" for a VO. When I told him my four year old was a big fan, he improvised something using my sons name a lot. He did about 4 other voices on that show and switched seamlessly. The look on my sons face when i played it to him ;-)
Here is another story of a (VO) artist generously helping out or doing something nice and friendly:

My girl friend's sister had just made a "touch" book for blind children. (A book with all sorts of materials and textures stuck in for blind children to touch and feel while the parents read the story to them). We thought it would be nice if we also made an audio book of the story in which I would add sound design and atmospheres etc to bring the story to life.

She came round after work to one of the studios I was working at so we could record her reading the story. The day's session was running late so she sat in the control room while we finished recording VO's with a very well know Dutch VO artist.

After the session was done and we were just the two of us left in the studio she joked about how great it would be if she could have such a pro read the story instead of doing it herself. Two minutes later the VO artist walks back in to the studio because he had forgotten his glasses in the VO booth. My girl friend's sister promptly asks the guy if he could maybe help with her project. As it was a non-profit project he his more than happy to help.

The VO artist glances at the text and says let's go. He reads the whole story for the first time while improvising different voices for each character and adding in animal sounds (that fit the story). Perfect intonation on every sentence, great amusing voices for each character. Perfect one taker and all without properly reading the story beforehand. Generous and impressive!

Old 17th September 2015
Gear Nut

I'm mixing 'The Plague' (William Hurt, Robert Duvall) and the producer has got Vangelis to do the music. The Director didn't want Vangelis from the beginning but for reasons too long to list it was Vangelis's music that was delivered to the mix. We play the opening cue and the Director says he doesn't like it. The same goes for 1M2, 1M3 etc. We've mixed 4 reels of the film and not one note of the score has gone into the mix. On about day 7, a man we've never seen before comes into the studio and says he's the great composers lawyer. They've heard that none of Vangelis's music has gone into the film and he's come to find out why. The Director says "As far as I'm aware your client has been paid for the score" to which the lawyer says he has. "We will adhere to the contractual obligation that his name is of a certain size and duration on the front credits. But nowhere in the contract does it say that we have to play the music". The lawyer turned on his heels and we didn't see him again.
Old 18th September 2015
A few years ago, I was due to record a famous French singer who also sometimes acts in movies. Problem was that he and the director were clashing repeatedly. The actor had brought his salary as a coproduction value, and wanted to have his say. He had all the dailies sent to him on VHS (he happens to live in Patagonia) so that he could suggest edits.
So on the day of the ADR, actor shows up in his Porsche, walks into the building and comes across the director in the lobby. They talk, they clash. Actor walks back out and climbs back in his car and zooms away saying he was heading back to Patagonia (he had flown in just for the ADR). I think everybody was a bit surprised, even though we knew that things were tense.
The actor finally accepted to come back the next day to do the ADR, but at one condition: that the director not be present. It was a strange day but he was graceful to the crew and did all the lines that were needed.
What a waste of energy and time!
Old 18th September 2015
Gear Maniac

Had to record a VO with Charles Dance for a TV commercial. Charles was very busy shooting Game of Thrones, but he managed to squeeze it in, and we did set up an ISDN patch. Everyone was super nervous, because he's such a great actor and a big name. Well, he nailed it on the first take. It was a beautiful read, and everyone loved it, director, client - but this one agency guy who came in late to the session listens to the playback (he had no clue who the voice talent was) and felt like he needed to step up and say something (those people are paid to have an opinion) "That was kinda ok, but can you make it sound a bit more like... Anthony Hopkins?" Big embarassment in the room. Everyone cringed. After a few seconds of horrible, akward silence, Charles replied dryly through the ISDN patch: "I'm very happy to take directions, but you have to talk to me in adjectives - "faster, softer", stuff like that. Thank you."
We ended up using take 1.
Old 18th September 2015
Lives for gear
Fredo's Avatar

When “The White Queen” was filmed in Belgium, we did post-sync for the series.
Most of the actors were staying for a longer period in Belgium, and some of them had other commitments to fulfill. That’s how we ended up recording Robert Pugh for a BBC series on Wales and doing Post-Sync for some episodes of “Shameless”.
On one particular episode, Robert plays a Magistrate who gets a blowjob from his maid/secretary.
The ADR cue showed:

Orgasmic yet constrained breaths mostly
with mouth closed unless opened in the
picture. Up to: 10:01:24:12

Since we mostly recorded late evenings and nights, I hadn’t seen that the ADR sheet was still on the desk the next morning when we recorded a French Voice-Over for a commercial.
After the job was finished and the clients left, the French actor approached me and asked with a silent-conspiracy-like voice:
“Euh … I notice that you also dub Hardcore movies … euh … if you ever need someone with my kinda voice … euh .. you know …” Wink-wink.
I told the guy –with a straight face- that we don’t do that kind of jobs, and that we had no intention of doing so. He gave me that “Yeah Right”-look and left mumbling something.
A few hours later, I found the ADR sheet on his desk, and I was able to put two and two together.
I immediately phoned the guy and explained why he got the wrong idea.
His answer was “That is the best excuse I have ever heard”.

I would like to take the opportunity –once again- to show my deepest respect to Robert Pugh. The greater the talent, the smaller the ego.
We became good friends and on his last day at our place, we emptied a good bottle of Single Malt together.
When he was to be beheaded in “The White Queen”, the hangover most certainly played in his favor for delivering a great performance.

Fredo Gevaert
Temple Of Tune
Old 18th September 2015
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by Fredo View Post
The greater the talent, the smaller the ego.
If it were only true. (Or true in the USA.)

Old 18th September 2015
Lives for gear
soundboy's Avatar
I hate recording ADR. I'd rather be staring down 500 tracks of audio than record a lav and a boom. At the very start of an ADR session with Cathy Bates, as a chair was being fetched for her, the first thing I hear over the mic is, "I hate ADR. It's like chewing glass.".............
She was lovely.
On another session, I was to record Brad Dourif for "Bride of Chucky". I was warned he was difficult and cantankerous. Well, at the time I was watching Deadwood, and thought his work was some of the best on the show. Before the session, I let him know in no uncertain terms, that I was a big fan of his work on that show. The session was very pleasant.
Old 19th September 2015
Lives for gear
ggegan's Avatar
Once, back in the 80's, I drove into the Angeles National Forest to visit the various gun ranges there to try to record some random gunshots for a low budget movie called "Remo Williams, The Adventure Begins". I didn't bring any guns myself, I figured I would just record people who were doing target practice. Like I said, it was low budget and there was no money for a proper recording session.

The first range I went to was pretty far back into the canyons and I drove down a dirt road that overlooked the range, parked. Down below were a couple of survivalist type guys in camouflage with military style weapons, so I started recording from a high angle up on the hill with a pistol grip rig and a mono Nagra (I think you can see where this is going). Everything was fine for a bit, but then one of the guys looked back and up and I guess he mistook the mic for a pistol that was aimed at them, so he swung his assault rifle around and took aim at me. I immediately dropped everything I was holding and raised my hands and shouted down that I was just recording sound. They motioned me down with their guns trained on me the whole time and proceeded to interrogate me about my intentions. Once I explained that I was working on an action movie and just needed to get some recordings of military type firearms they relaxed and said, "Well why didn't you say so?" The older guy, who was probably the father sent his son to the truck to break out the arsenal. They had everything from tripod mounted fully automatic high calibre rifles to vintage WWI and WWII carbines to probably 8 or 10 different kinds of handguns from WWII Lugers to US military issue 45 semiautomatics and they let me record them all.

After a while they said they had to leave. As they were driving away a car full of blonde, waspy surfer type teenagers showed up with fully automatic Uzis looking to party. I recorded them for a bit, but because they were staggering drunk I figured I better get the hell out of there while I could, so I left.

On the way out of the forest there was one last range , so I stopped in and see what was up. This one was full of homeboys with semi automatic AR15's, etc, and they were only too thrilled to put on a show. The problem was with their idea of a show. After doing some rapid fire shooting they ordered one of the younger gangsters to go up and change the target. Once the kid was up on the hill the guy with the AR15 chuckles and says, "Watch this!" and starts shooting at the kid's feet like in a stupid western movie. At that point I grabbed my gear and got out of there fast. As I was leaving the range and turning onto the main road I saw a cop car stopped at the side of the road and pulled up to tell him that their were a bunch of gangsters up there playing fast and loose with their guns. He just laughed at me. "No way I'm going in there." he said, "Let them kill each other off."

I got some great recordings that day, but unfortunately they were all lost when the company I was working for went bankrupt and had all their assets seized. That was a drag, because those were some pretty traumatic experiences I went through to get them.

Last edited by ggegan; 19th September 2015 at 04:58 AM..
Old 19th September 2015
Gear Addict
Leverson's Avatar
This isn't as lively or entertaining as some of the stories above, but in 2005 when I was still pretty green around the ears in audio I got a series of jobs with a radio theater director/sound effects artist. I didn't really know much about radio theater prior to that, I was just trying to soak up as much knowledge about all forms of audio as possible (and get as much work experience as possible) and it was something that seemed interesting and kind of cool.

Luckily they threw me into the deep end to see if I could swim, which made for a fantastic learning experience as I was engineering or helping perform FX on some really amazing live performances, and working with artists like Peggy Webber, or Alan Young (known by many as Wilbur from Mr Ed, known by me as the voice of Scrooge McDuck!). But by far the highlight of it all was meeting Norman Corwin and engineering the 60th anniversary live performance of his famous 'On a Note of Triumph' WWII broadcast. The cast was full of all these Golden Age of radio greats like Yuri Rasovsky, and Corwin himself (who was a spry 95 at the time) was one of the kindest, wittiest, and most brilliant people I have ever met. Fewer people know who he is today, but he and Orson Welles were considered two of the greatest writers and directors in radio.

Anyways, there are fewer living links to that age of radio storytelling these days, and I felt fortunate to experience watching so many incredible classic performers at work. Their natural mic control was impeccable and their vocal techniques and delivery really something to behold. Not to mention their ability to cold read and deliver these amazing performances, as they were trained to do everything in one take live on the air. It instilled in me a deep love and appreciation for working with dialogue. (And I picked up a few odd things like stapling scripts on the bottom right corner instead of the top left so pages can be 'dropped' soundlessly). And of course the sound effects table was fascinating as well. Learning how to foley 'walk' into the microphone with shoes on hands, a crash box of metal and glass for when cars went over cliffs, an old school hand crank canvas wind machine (of black & white superman era), bending a box of corn starch for walking in snow, broing sticks and creak boxes, all timed out to the performances live. It taught me how to perform objects like playing instruments, and to really listen to all the different ways a prop can make a different sound. Overall it was a really amazing window into the art of a fading era, and one that I feel really fortunate to have been connected to.

At the end of it all the director gave me a custom built microphone he had made out of the guts of an old telephone receiver, for authentic phone futz effects. I still have it up on a shelf in my studio for its odd appearance.

Last edited by Leverson; 19th September 2015 at 04:45 AM..
Old 19th September 2015
Lives for gear
ggegan's Avatar
I'm really enjoying all these stories. We all have them, and the cool thing is that some of the best stories we come up with are from when we were relative rookies. I think that is true for a lot of us. There are also great stories from when we became established in our careers, but my point is that a great story has little to do with what kind of projects we are working on. All it takes is the ability to recognize either the ridiculousness or the grandness of the situation.

Last edited by ggegan; 19th September 2015 at 05:35 AM..
Old 19th September 2015
Lives for gear
ggegan's Avatar
Again, going back to the early 80's when I was working mostly on low budget projects.

A film I was working on featured a sequence with a character who went through a personal crisis and ended up driving his Posche into the ground until it died a very ugly death. The Supervising Sound Editor didn't have anything like this in his library so he hired me to record some sounds for him. He gave me the number of his driver who had a Porsche for me to record. I called him up and we met up for the session. I had a whole list of sounds I had to get, including popping the clutch at high speeds, a variety of crazy skids, bottoming out on dips in the road, fish-tailing into curbs, pushing the motor to ridiculous RPM's, basically everything guaranteed to destroy a car.

The driver wound up driving that Posche into the ground, just like in the movie. When I was in the car with him I was terrified the whole time. We were going around the curves in the Hollywood hills so fast that the car was just barely hanging on. Every time he shifted, the change in inertia caused the Nagra sync flag to flip into the red. If I asked him to grind the gears or pop the clutch or whatever, he complied with total commitment. He trashed the hell out of that car.

As I found out later, it turned out that the driver was a private mechanic for a number of movie stars who was surreptitiously borrowing one of his customer's cars. He even asked me if I was interested in Maseratis or Ferraris, because he had a couple of those that his clients had left with him.

Once again, all those recordings were lost when the same facility went bankrupt and it's assets were seized.

Last edited by ggegan; 19th September 2015 at 06:30 AM..
Old 19th September 2015
Lives for gear
Mundox's Avatar
Early in my career I used to do night shifts at a music rehearsal studio in NYC. With 23 rooms we occupied 3 floors in a 34th st building.
At end of each night we cleared the rooms and emptied trash cans and so on.
The trash was put out at the back of the hallway in an area where all the floors opened to exposed sky (what's that called??). Having no windows, that's where we would go to check outside temperature, or if it was raining etc.

Anyway, that night I was on the fourth floor, and we had internal access to 5th floor like a duplex. I went to the trash area and put the trash out. As I was putting the trash out, I felt that it was raining. I did what I had to do quickly to not get too wet, and went back to the office to let the other dude know about the rain. Then I heard some commotion coming from the 5th floor. We had drunk weekend warriors up there, so I assumed they had smoked in the room or something. Ran up the spiral stairs to suss it all out.
I asked what the hell was going on and the other dude said :

"I caught this a-hole pissing down by the trash cans!"

At that moment, every single drop of urine I felt on my head and face and everywhere else seemed like a bullet piercing into my dignity.
Old 19th September 2015
Gear Nut

I worked on a film where the producer and director didn't get on. At all. There were heated arguments during pre- production, production and editing. The director was a wonderfully calm and gentle person. We're mixing and the director and I are are going over a scene that involved some dialogue, music and the sound of an elevator. The producer had been sitting behind us all morning, without saying a word, but clearly thought that his will power could make us go faster. Eventually he can't keep it in any longer and asks why we were taking so much time over the section. The director stands and walks over to him and begins to explain what it was that he wanted. The producer began to say that he thought it was a waste of time but was interrupted by the director. With a punch to his face. The producer falls to the floor. The director takes his seat next to me and says, very calmly "Can we try the lift a little louder"? "I'd be delighted to" was my response.
Old 19th September 2015
Gear Nut

The first time I recorded the Final Mix to ProTools -stems etc- was at a studio that had recently opened a second stage. I had strongly recommended that we use the older one as it was less likely to have any teething problems. That was ignored.
We are on the final reel of 6 when there is a huge cracking noise out of the speakers. The mix technician comes in about 1 minute later to inform us that Reel 6 Final Mix has disappeared into the ether and the PT's waveform on the recorder is gobbledygook.
He leaves but returns 2 minutes later to tell us that the news is slightly worse than he'd first thought. Reels 1,2 and 4 have been similarly affected. The Director, who hadn't wanted to work in this studio is about to explode when I calmly intervene with professional words of wisdom that will stop him from saying something he might regret. "Ah well, these things happen. We'll use the backup".
Unfortunately the response from the mix tech, which lead to the Director leaving immediately and never returning, was "We don't have a backup".
Old 19th September 2015
Very early in my audio career I was hired to do playback for a music video. All I had to do was line up a sync mark on the Nagra and when the director yelled I was suppose to start the tape for lip sync. The performer was not to "with it" and after many many takes we still had not gotten the performance the way the director wanted it. Then the unforeseen happened and the tape broke. It was a clean break but I did not have any splicing tape and we were in the middle of an industrial area far away from any Radio Shack stores or any stores that might have carried splicing tape. We also did not, at the time, have cell phones. The "golden hour" fading fast. I knew one of my friends had a recording studio not too far from where we were but the chances of him being there were slim to say the least. It was in his mother's house in the basement. I drove over to his house, convinced his mother that I "really need some splicing tape" found it and was back at the shoot (with a splicing block) in record time. I spliced the tape and in two takes we had the shots the way the director wanted them. I got paid, gave my friend a nice thank you note with some money attached and returned the splicing tape and the splicing block to his Mom. From then on I always carried a roll of splicing tape and a splicing block in my "to go"case. My friend called me later when his Mom told him what had happened and we both had a good laugh
Old 19th September 2015
Lives for gear

The first time I recorded an A-list Academy Award winning actor it was a wonderful experience. He (Sidney Poitier) was just such a gentle gentleman, with absolutely zero ego yet tremendous integrity. I guessed that my next experience with an actor of that magnitude would be the same...

The next time the actor in question walked in and behaved about the same. He was calm, incredibly polite, poised, just as I had expected him to be. I've seen his films and he's a wonderful actor. However, the director had warned me about the rumor that this actor could be difficult. Oh well I thought, he seems nice enough. The job was a documentary with pretty 'heavy' topic matter, and so I thought the match seemed good. The actor wanted to have the film roll and record his VO to it, one pass, beginning to end, "To get a feel for it first".

That first take was nice. It was sensitive and totally in a character I would have expected him to assume. The director then asks for a new take, and to go paragraph by paragraph, which of course isn't unusual in VO recording for docs. The actor does his first take of the first paragraph and the director gives his first note. The actor does his second take, and the director repeats his note - to be more assertive and... well... to my ears more 'Mr. Professional VO-guy'.

The actor takes a deep breath, is about to start reading, but turns to the director (as I'm rolling) and simply asks: "So why me? Why did you get me if you want somebody else's voice?" It wasn't a question asked out of curiosity, I could hear he was incredibly irritated. It's like the air density of the room changed in about 1 second. We got through maybe five-six paragraphs, which took a while, and he kept questioning each note. So the director in his wisdom decided to walk into the booth before I had a chance to recommend him not to. A heated discussion in the booth ended with "I just want you to be comfortable doing the VO. I'll do anything you need to be comfortable. What do you need?" "I need you to get the fk out of the booth, that's what I need"..... yikes.... Upon rolling again I'd hear stuff from the booth between the takes like "Oh, yeah, let's get Mr. XXX and have him read this voice. That's what he's known for. Yeah, that's right, Mr. XXX won an Oscar for this voice..... idiot!..."

After two more paragraphs they called it a day. To my surprise the actor was again really polite and offered to come back tomorrow after resting, so he'd have new energy.

The next day I thought - for a second - that maybe that day would be different. It took literally a few seconds of him reading before the sarcasm started flowing again. He flatly rejected note after note by the director. A couple of times I tried to re-phrase suggestions into something more neutral, like "Can I get one more just a little louder? I think it'll match that previous read which was great." "Oh, sure!" he'd say happily. And that louder take was him projecting more which sounded like more intensity which the director wanted. But his notes were completely insensitive. So in just two days they were like an old married couple where they just didn't listen to each other.

Anyway, an incredibly emotionally stressful experience, but they finished the VO and I got thanked by the actor for being "a pleasure to work with", no doubt "in comparison" to the director. I actually saw both of their points though: The actor's fame had arisen for a particular reason, and voicing the doc in his chosen character made sense seeing that it was he who was hired. On the other hand a more "Vo-professional" read fit the film better from a mainstream standpoint, and the director wanted exactly that.

Just goes to show how incredibly important casting is for a lot of reasons.
Old 20th September 2015
Gear Addict
Leverson's Avatar
A handful of years back I was directing Alex Trebeck for the Jeopardy home DVD game, and he had to record 20 episodes worth of content for the game disk, which was 1220 Jeopardy questions in total. It was a lot of material and we planned to have it recorded over a handful of days, but he arrived at the studio, looked at the pile of scripts and shook his head and announced he was going to do it all here in one sitting. We tried to explain it was too much and we were worried about straining his voice but he was adamant, no discussion. So finally we figured we'd start recording and when it inevitably reached a point where he got tired or his voice started to break we would call the session and resume it in our follow-up day.

He sat down at the desk in the recording room, took a moment to get himself into a position he was comfortable in, and then barely shifted an inch over the next 6 hours of continuous recording. He read everything with machine-like efficiency, and refused to take breaks other than refills of water. His voice never cracked or faltered, and you could see by the end of 6 hours constant talking he was starting to get a little physically fatigued but you couldn't tell in the recordings even in the slightest. The very last question and the very first question both sounded exactly like he'd sound on the show. He finished, nodded to himself, and shook my hand and left. The most incredible thing though was that in the 1,220 questions I think he only botched 2.
Old 20th September 2015
Gear Nut

The erase current on the RCA recorder we were using wasn't erasing properly so the engineer was called to fix it. After doing what he needed to do he recorded a 1K tone on the mag and then punched in to erase the it. I was standing behind him and thought it would be highly amusing if I whistled very quietly my approximation of a 1K tone which would lead him to believe that he hadn't done his job properly. He fiddled about for a few more minutes and then tried again. In hindsight I shouldn't have 'whistled 1K' again but decided to. Halfway through whistling I started to laugh which, as a brash 20 year old, I thought the engineer would find as funny as I did. To say I was disavowed of that belief by him would be an understatement. My boss called me in and said that he thought that what I had done was very funny (he wouldn't admit it publicly) but I had to apologise. Which I did - but still thought I was hilarious. Oh, the exuberance and precocity of youth.

Last edited by DEAN HUMPHREYS; 21st September 2015 at 08:05 AM..
Old 21st September 2015
Lives for gear
Mundox's Avatar
A few years ago when Bear Grylls was in New Zealand, they booked our studio to do some narration for the "best of Man vs Wild" series.
I think it was 4x1hr episodes, wall to wall narration.
He worked like a machine, took 5 minutes to eat some lunch but other than that it was 6 hours straight recording.
By the end of it I needed a cup of tea and a lie down...
But he dived on to the booth floor that was covered in A4 paper (from his scripts thrown around) , pretended to be swimming for a minute as a joke, and came out saying "off to the gym for some workout!"
Old 21st September 2015
Gear Nut

I mixed 2 films for the Director Michael Winner. The experience was the closest thing you could get to warfare but without the use of a gun.
In advance of meeting him for the first time I mixed the first reel and let the editor know that when Michael came in we could run it and then get his thoughts. The editor obviously told Michael this because at exactly 8.30am on the first morning of the mix the door opened, and his opening line was "I was working on films well before you were the twinkle in anyone's eye. I want 3 faders with the dialogue, music and sound effects". I tried to explain that it wasn't quite that simple but that didn't go down too well. He sat behind the console, looked straight forward and said "I'm waiting". After 15 minutes we managed to configure the console so that he had 3 faders under his control. He said that we weren't going to stop, none of this backwards and forwards stuff. Obviously he hadn't heard the reel in advance but that didn't stop him from mixing the reel 'live'. Surprise, surprise but when we got to the end of the reel it was a total disaster. Lines of dialogue were buried under music, FX and Foley. The whole thing was a total mess. "Right, next reel" said Michael. There was no point remonstrating because this is a man who wrote his own obituary 10 years previously with a self awareness - that was never index linked to contrition and humility - of the utter detestation that most people working with him had for him. He said something to the effect that if he was ever found dead there were potentially hundreds of people who might be guilty.
And so he mixed the entire film in a day. 94 minutes to be precise. He left and said that he expected to hear the married print in a few days time at the lab.
I, like everyone else was left stunned as to what to do next. The editor told me to wait until later that evening because he was fairly confident that Michael would call me. Which he did at 5.30.
"So you're doing the print master tomorrow"?
"Yes" but obviously thinking "But how can I when the mix is a total disaster"?
"I'm very happy with the mix as it is but if you want to make a few small technical corrections to make it fit on the optical track you can".
I tacitly understood this to mean "We all know that I have a fragile ego mixed with bombast but can't admit that I have ****ed it up".
I assured him that I would retain the integrity and essence of what he'd so brilliantly done.
I went back to my original mix automation for the printmaster. And that's what went out. And he didn't say another word about it after the screening at the lab.
Old 21st September 2015
Gear Maniac
PeteJE's Avatar
Back in the days of Faircraplight, our engineer pulled the final mix drive out of the sled before fully spun down, and, as many know, this means total loss of the file. This was 5 mins. in front of a very high profile show and final playback with all prod. execs and network exes in attendance and excited to see their flagship movie. My partner and I ran it on input, a virtual final mix. This was far before in-the-box mixing with total automation (manual dialogue chain and even a manual outboard fx console add on to carry all the extra tracks). Much of it was automated and much of it was performed live ( even sync changes made during mix were manual and not permanent because of the pos fairlight dubber set up where you moved things temporarily only ).
Old 21st September 2015
A few years ago I mixed an episode of a not-so-good French TV series. It happens that for that episode, the daughter of the writer/producer decided to get involved and "supervise" the post production process, including working with the composer and then with a music editor (not a common occurrence in France at the time) to get things as she liked. But I didn't know that.

I was mixing in a small room, with a POS old SSL 5000 with dodgy channels all over the place. As soon as I put up the music, it was pretty obvious that it was total crap, and I decided to drop some of the cues as they were just so bad and didn't help the already-poor script or acting one bit.

On the day of the review, the daughter/producer comes in, sits next to me at the desk, and lights up a cigarette after having asked me if I wanted some of the wine she brought. *cringe* I politely declined the wine, and asked her if she could abstain from smoking as the studio was quite small and I don't stand the smell. She looked at me like I was from another planet and said "yeah, well, I dont think that's going to happen".
We were set for a delightful session.

I started the playback, and two dropped music cues in, she asks me to stop and says something is very wrong. I explain that the music cues were a real problem and that I thought that the whole thing worked better without them. She then gets really upset, saying that she spent 2 whole days editing the music with this superstar music editor (not a surprise, trying to edit that sh*t) and that there is no way I was to remove the cues like that.
I said I understood, and told her that those were the only 2 cues I removed... ahem...
From then on we did the playback, and every time a music cue popped up on the horizon, I would glance over to the sound editor, who in turn would just give a very discreet nod if the cue had been, er, misplaced. I would just punch in and ride it on the spot. She never noticed, and turned out to be happy with the result.
Old 21st September 2015
Gear Nut

I was working on a rather ruthless tentpole project with a late oscar deadline (not that it would've mattered i don't think..) that ran 16ish hours a night, with anyone who lived more than an hour commute away was getting local hotels night by night. There were huge politics.. director is known for being a massive tit from this film alone but the way producers handled it was awful.. there were additional money-men who were heavily involved with the project in other ways that were coming in and dropping their 2 cents into the mix too.. one of whom actually conducted the mixer doing a music pass..

Anyway.. my boss was hearing all about the nightmare of a job.. but kaching for him because overtime rates don't apply to staff, but the room gets a hefty OT rate.. great for business.. so he doesn't mind it's doing all hours in the day but apart from that he knows nothing of the show.. none of the team etc.

He walks down the corridor our studio is down, on the way to the kitchen, and see's a gentleman standing outside the studio door with his head in his hands, crouching down. Assuming this is a member of the sound team that has had one of the infamous bollockings from our director and was dreading going back into the studio, my boss walks up to him, puts his hand on his shoulder and says 'dont worry about it, i know the directors a **** but it cant be that bad..'

No guesses given here.. that chap was the director. All he gave was a blank look to my boss as he waltzed off none-the-wiser. He didn't realise later til he IMDB'd the director and saw the face.
Old 29th September 2015
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
We thanked him for his kindness, went out for a few beers after work and just laughed it off. He meant well. When is the last time anyone here received a tip of any amount?
A couple of years ago I mixed a short that a colleague passed my way. It was a freebee. After spending a day or so mixing it I received a $20 bill in the mail as a thank you.

Should have framed the card and the $20 for the studio wall.

On the other side, some 30 plus years ago I told a client of mine that I was going to Hawaii in a week...He sends me $400 and tells me to have a good time.
Old 1st October 2015
Gear Head

I worked on a feature, or more accurately, was tricked into working on it, where I did an edit and mix in two weeks. The studio that hired me told me it was just a temp, but it rapidly became apparent that the filmmaker and producer thought it was going to be their final product. So I did the best I could, including, amazingly, a fairly chaotic conform in the middle of this two week process. Of course, all they got was a very rudimentary piece of work.

Flash forward a few months, and they want to do a few tweaks. I would have thought they'd have wanted to do, you know, the actual job. But they just had a few things.

The producer told me that the first line in the film, for which I had only a very distant boom, had in fact a lav and they would be able to find that mic for me. Since it was one short line, I told her I could even sync it by eye if they got me the correct file. She assured me this would be no problem. There were also gong to be a few music changes. They booked 4 hours, from 6-10 in the evening.

At 6:30 on the appointed day, the producer shows up. She taps her watch and tells me, "We've only got 4 hours", of course forgetting that now she only has 3.5 hours. She is carrying a cardboard box. She proudly pulls out a drive and puts it down in front of me. I should mention it's an internal drive, wrapped in plastic. No case. She says "Here's the sound we need", and waits for me to spring into action. Remember, it's 6:30, and she would like me to find a case in a facility that's basically closed for the night, install the drive, mount it, somehow find the correct file and put it in her film. And then she repeats her line about only having 4 hours, this time tapping her watch meaningfully, as if that will get me moving a little faster.

I stare at her for a few moments, unable to muster even a semblance of my normal client speak. After my brain tries a few false starts, I finally move the drive to one side, and say, "Lets leave that for the moment. What else have you got?". She pulls out a list of 40 or 50 changes. The first fix is the opening cue. It covers a pretty elaborate montage, dipping for moments of dialogue, and ending as a futzed source cue in a barbershop. They have picked a piece of music, but they have not thought to edit it to fit this montage. I do so, and go through mixing it into the film. At the end of this process, the director, who showed up at some point, gets an email that tells him he can't have the rights to the song I just edited and mixed. The music supervisor hands me a dat, and honest to god, we spend 20 minutes listening to some cues to pick one that will go in as the opening to this film. I then edit and mix it into the film again.

I'm pretty sure I did all their changes, although I think we might have gone over an hour or so. And, no, we didn't get to the line on the mystery hard drive. But through all of this I would occasionally get a glimpse of the producer, still looking at me and tapping her goddamn watch.

-Evan Benjamin
Old 1st April 2019
Gear Maniac

Bumping this thread. Great stories!
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