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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  319 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trip Report: Big Bend

You know, I actually thought about my list of "annoying things I have listened to professionally." My first indication I was "different" was when my college roommate asked me to "turn the music down" and was annoyed to discover that the sound that bothered him was the pile driver of the research building going up across the courtyard. I actually found the ringing melodic and soothing.

We did have a cast member once who was such an abysmal death metal singer that he had perforated his larynx at some point. No one would believe me that's what we were listening to because just a few of us had any experience with death metal vocalists, let alone terrible death metal vocalists. We changed out his microphone three times, changed out his transmitter twice, put him on different channels... it probably took six hours to convince certain other people in the booth that no, he fucking sounds like that. Which ultimately was time well spent because when the memo came down from Corporate asking "why does he sound so ass" we could say "why don't you get in the room with him and ask?" But I mean... I used to create zombies for a living. What's a little vocal fry?

What tends to annoy me is "we know the audio sucks, you have to use it anyway." We landed a $10k noise suppression unit because the interior designer really liked the look of an industrial fridge. Worked out great for us, we ended up with an extra 8 channels of noise suppression. On low-budg stuff you have to deal with it because everyone's incompetent and in a hurry. Big budg stuff is just lazy. I worked with a great director on a tiny little project once where he took off his headphones and said "is that helicopter going to bone our audio?" and I had to say "not nearly as bad as the quinceanera singing Happy Birthday across the street." He rolled his eyes, we laughed, whatcha gonna do? I had another director literally fly from Belgium to bumblefuck nowhere Castaic to shoot a three-person short film for some reason. And because it was Castaic and hot, we shot under a tree. And because it was it was Castaic and hot, there were 25-30mph winds blowing the whole time. Director, idiot, looks at me and says "is wind noise going to be a problem on the microphones?" I respond "No, but the wind noise through the leaves that you're shouting over will be."

I worked on another show that really, really, REALLY wanted to be Big Brother. The contestants would, for inscrutable reasons, have a 90 minute meeting every day under a tree in the middle of the goddamn desert in the heat of the afternoon. And we weren't using nearly as good mics. And the wind noise on the mics was pretty bad? But the wind noise on the tree was a thumper. Super kept asking me "how would you guys deal with this on BB" and I'd say "we wouldn't let them do this." But that didn't fly because they would never manipulate the cast for audio, just for every other fuckin' thing.

I think the thing I hated the most was this one guy. Internet loved him. Still a legend of the show. Also a chain smoker. Also a pacer. Also relied heavily on expectoration to demonstrate emotional range. When that dude was pissed he'd cough like a cat with a hairball and spit everywhere and he was pissed 90% of the time. Nothing quite like listening to a chain smoker hack up a lung for sixteen weeks straight. It mostly only bothered me when I was eating, though - I tended to stay away from anything with a white sauce or gravy that season (we ate in the booth while we worked back then - pre-Union days). At one point the exec producer led a bunch of friends through the booth to watch a really crucial comp. This dude won, which led to him winning his season (eventually). But in winning he was... not gracious. He'd cuss at everyone else/spit. Yell at everyone else/spit. Scream at the sky/spit. One of the producer's friends asks "why does he spit so much" and unprompted, unrehearsed, unconsidered, as if God himself was channeling through me, I said "he hates the taste of his own soul." The producer looked at me and nodded.