Director’s Journal: Postproduction, Part 2

The status of postproduction for Triumph67 has advanced to a place much closer to finishing by our self-imposed deadline of the end of the summer.  After working with Reid Kruger at Waterbury Music for an intense week pouring over every scene of the film, I have signed off on the score of the film, and am leaving him to mix it to perfection.  Reid is a master at dynamic piano playing and sprucing up a melody with a luscious symphony sound from his string machine.  The music brings a sweetness and sense of hope to the film that will serve as counterpoint to the heaviness of the content.  It also beautifully brings out a sense of inevitability that compliments the themes of family cycles and the father-son relationship.

Reid’s energy and expertise were a windfall for our project, and I should probably thank Dena Gad (who played Doctor Elfouley in the film) for steering us in his direction.  I met Reid at Dena’s house gathering over half a year ago.  Dena had mentioned him as as someone she respected the first time I met her in 2009, and believed that he could do a good job with the score.  I was impressed with his work from scoring the Listening Project, as were Mohannad and Jeremy, and we were lucky that he could squeeze us in before our deadline when we were finally ready to address the score.

Meanwhile, Dominic Hanft is working on mixing the sound, which covers everything from smoothing out the dialogue to adding the distant sound of waterfalls and the faint chirping of crickets.  Dominic is recording foley into a handheld Zoom recorder, making fixes and replacing mic noise.  His most important job will be to make sure the dialogue is even and clean, and the audio transitions from scene to scene are smooth.

While Dominic works on sound mixing, we will spend today at Crash and Sues in downtown Minneapolis, where the film will be spruced up with state of the art color correcting technology.  Sue, herself, is working on the color.  Her job will be to bring each shot to life, making it pop where it is supposed to pop, and settle into the background where it is supposed to settle.  My job will be to sit at the polished wooden desk in a thousand dollar office chair, eating muffins and sipping a bottle of orange juice and coffee.  They really know how to take care of you at Crash and Sues.  I’ll be sure to be on time.

By Dan | Posted in Postproduction | Comments Off on Director’s Journal: Postproduction, Part 2
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Director’s Journal: Scoring Triumph67

It is the last week of July, 2010.  One year ago we shot Triumph67, and now, I’m staring at the footage that has been seared into my brain and scrambling to finish the film in time for application deadlines for Sundance and Dubai.  I have been meeting with the talented and personable guy who is scoring the film, Reid Kruger, who operates out of his home studio, Waterbury Music.  Reid agreed to take on the job, and we have been watching each scene, marking the places where music should and shouldn’t appear.  Given the time crunch, I am apprehensive about whether the score can be finished with the level of quality that the film deserves within the deadlines that we have set for ourselves.  That being said, the alternative is to miss the regular deadline cycle for Sundance.  Between producers we have been debating on the role that music should play within the film.  Though we love the idea of a sparse, understated score, the question becomes how sparse can we get away with, given the deliberate pacing and several dialogue-free scenes.

Though I think Reid initially anticipated drawing from previously recorded material from his extensive collection of recorded work, we end up playing live along with the film after initial attempts to drop in canned music leave me wanting.  I am much happier with the live music, and much of it is piano based.  After the third day of meeting, we find a sonic mood that suits the film.  The music varies from apprehensive, slow tempo R&B progressions to minor key classical harmonies that evoke a moody, baroque vibe.  At the right moments, reflective, almost childlike melodies are sprinkle throughout.

This morning we work on the opening sequence and Reid tries three or four different themes that have already appeared in the film.  We lean toward one that seems to be emerging as the film’s main theme (a melody taken from one of Reid’s older songs that I felt worked with the Sami character), but discover that the rising piano run of the last idea that we try is perfect for the transition between the title sequence and the memory sequence that introduces us to our narrator, Mohannad.  After this development, we move quickly through the first several scenes with relative ease, laying down the appropriate music where necessary.

We break at lunch for giant Chipotle burritos which we breathe down in about five minutes.  No time to dilly-dally, and we jump back in the car for the second half of the day.  My stomach is killing me as we drive back.  Reid doesn’t seem to be phased by the brick that is sitting in his stomach.  We resume work, and make as much progress as possible before I have to leave at 7:15pm to make it home for a meeting with my parents and Lisa’s parents about our upcoming wedding in exactly one week.  After scrambling all day to try to at least get something down for the whole film, I am tense and jittery.  The burrito has worn off hours ago, and is replaced by the jitters from the cold press I had at around 3pm to stay conscious.  My mom takes pitty on me and brings out a plate of food.  Tamales.

As my brain transitions from score mode to wedding mode, I accidentally eat all of the tamales.  My mom asks: are you okay?

By Dan | Posted in Journal, Postproduction | Comments Off on Director’s Journal: Scoring Triumph67
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