Post-Production : When the post audio studio meets the director by JT Rieder

JT Rieder

When the post audio studio meets the director

Introduction stages are probably the most difficult and tense period for anyone in the industry. I have found the experience does mater greatly. Having a solid resume, samples of past work, references. Can all add up to a good first start.

I continually remind myself when discussing a director's project. This is their film, not mine. Park the ego off stage at all times. Being proud of your work is a good thing. But don't let that dissolve into ego once you start the project.

And invariably I get the two big questions up front. #1. How much am I going to charge to do my post audio? And #2. How long is this going to take? Response to #1? I have no idea how much this will cost until I see and hear your film. and to #2? See #1.

More often than not, I will answer the budget question with a question. What budget do you have for post audio and score? Then I can determine immediately if this is a serious project. Or someone fishing for a low-ball bid. Mainly because they didn't budget for post audio. But rather spent all their budget on production.

Too often when I have built a reputation for my work, my time for emerging film makers can be broken down to this: 85% of my time is devoted to education of my workflow and process. 10% of my time is devoted to relaxing tensions between producers, me and the director. and then finally, 5% is the actual work on the project.

A large part of the discussions of the sound with the director is about approach. Initially, my response is, I have no idea what I'll do to make your film sound like a movie. I need to have the director tell me the story of the film, characters, subtext, time period, etc. Not a logline. But in depth discussions on the story. As Hans Zimmer once said, "Story is everything".

The process of post audio is challenging for sure. And absorbing that challenge and making it into an award winning film is the supreme reward. And getting paid for what you're worth.

Karen "Kay" Ross

What a fantastic reflection, thank you for sharing, JT! Dude... communicating workflow is everything LOL! Yeah, planning for post in pre is so crucial. Do you ever review scripts in Pre-production in your planning process as well? Are do you only have the liberty to start planning once production is wrapped?

JT Rieder

Thanks Kay..

I believe that only a very small handful of projects I've done, afforded me the pleasure of sitting in on pre-production meetings and scheduling. On some occasions, I have had the luxury of being on-set during production. With a spare set of cans from the recordist to listen for obstacles in location,ADR issues and the eventual use of foley and SFX. Probably 95% of the time that I do get the project, it's after production and mid-way through the edit. When the editor says, "time to bring in the sound editor for the first 5 reels". And by that time I have already agreed to budget. With the written in contract, a contingency fund as well.

Diego Silva Acevedo

Audio is very very important, filmmakers should have a budget for it. but sometimes you have no budget even for production. I always try to have budget for post production, if I need some more money in production I'm taking from post. The difference is that I can do some of the post so I have a range of budget to play with. But definitely I will have a good person in sound and sound design doing it.

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