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Sheldon Kahn, ACE and Dana E. Glauberman, ACE pick the pieces to director Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day

Kevin Costner stars as Sonny Weaver Jr.

Kevin Costner stars as Sonny Weaver Jr.

Though I recently discovered a flair for fantasy football, my knowledge of the actual sport leaves much to be desired. But after watching Draft Day, I have an appreciation for what goes on behind the gridiron, especially on a day where any one of the thirty-two NFL teams can change the careers of young athletes forever.

Director Ivan Reitman pulls back the curtain on the NFL draft, as experienced by Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), general manager (GM) of the Cleveland Browns. Editors Sheldon Kahn, ACE and Dana E. Glauberman, ACE collaborated with one another to chart a masterful story that whirlwinds us into the high emotional stakes and tension of the draft’s first day.

As the narrative unfolds, we find out team owner Harvey Molina (Frank Langella) has witnessed Cleveland’s misfortunes for far too long. He makes it clear to Sonny that if he can’t turn the team around, his tenure is in jeopardy.

With the pressure mounting, Sonny’s draft day starts with Seattle Seahawks GM Tom Michaels (Patrick St. Esprit) offering the first overall pick to the Browns. The trade gives him free rein to choose undisputed top selection, Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), or other possible picks like outside linebacker Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) and legacy running back Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), whose father played for the Browns.

Sonny’s left facing tough choices not just on the draft board, but in his personal life as well. A romance with his football savvy colleague, Ali (Jennifer Garner), takes a baby-bump turn, and he copes with the grief and guilt of his father’s passing, made worse by an unexpected visit from his feisty mother, Barb (Ellen Burstyn).

Thanks to unprecedented cooperation from the NFL, Draft Day is filled with real life aspects of the football world. This includes actual teams, logos, and a star-studded roster of current players, Hall of Famers, analysts, and sports media figures. Principal photography even touted Radio City Music Hall in New York City during the real 2013 NFL Draft.

Using Avid Media Composer, Kahn and Glauberman instinctively shaped their artistic storytelling with the guidance of their director and the assistance of their team. The two sat down with us to share their craft.

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“D-TEC” Creators Develop a Second Screen Narrative – and it’s Awesome

dtec4Tech advancements in the entertainment industry introduce “first of its kind” in more ways than we think – especially when we’re speaking in terms of image resolution. But the creators of D-TEC, a TV series that integrates narrative second screen content to expand the viewer’s experience, is a remarkable progression in how we could consume content in the near future. The idea is for viewers to watch on a TV in conjunction with a secondary device like a tablet or smartphone, which introduces new storylines and interactive materials that are synced to the main content. With its premiere in New York last October and another one in Los Angeles April 3rd at Regent Theaters, it’s an idea networks and studios should keep their eyes on.

The creators, Stephen Interrante, Joseph Saroufim, and Peter Saroufim, were presented with developing content for a second screen when Samsung introduced a contest at the New York Television Festival. After securing a spot as a top five finalist, the team pitched their pilot and won the $300,000 grand prize to produce their show. The narrative is a futuristic, neo-noir crime thriller about two partners at Outlook PI, a high-tech private detective agency. Andy Dearing (Casey Graf) has finally achieved his dream of becoming a private investigator. However, when assigned to his first murder mystery, Andy is forced to team up with the legendary Frankie Powell (Marguerite Moreau), an instinct-driven detective with a strong distaste for new technology. Ideologies quickly clash and the two gumshoes find that working together will be as complicated as the mysteries they face.

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“I’m a Mitzvah” DP Sing Howe Yam Lenses a New Take on Death

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David (Ben Schwartz) and his deceased travel companion

Some people travel light, and others lug piles of heavy suitcases to the airport. In the short film I’m a Mitzvah, available to watch on Vimeo, we see a more unconventional baggage item: a dead body. Directed by Ben Berman and lens’d by Sing Howe Yam, this dark comedy offers a sincere, unflinching look at the grieving process.

Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies) stars as David, a young man coping with his own feelings of loss and loneliness after one of his close friends passes away. Stranded in the dusty depths of rural Mexico, David finds himself fighting language barriers and delayed flights as he undertakes the task of escorting his friend’s body back to the United States. We’re kept in the dark about the details of his friend’s death, but, to us, it feels better not knowing the cause. It allows us to focus on the minutia of David’s emotions as we share the experience with him.

I’m a Mitzvah is a beautifully shot, introspective gem of a short film, and was an official selection at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Cinematographer Sing Howe Yam took the time to talk with us about working on the project.

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David and a morgue employee (Erick Chavarria) share a quiet moment

How did you first get involved with I’m a Mitzvah?
My good pals, directors Josh Forbes and Hank Friedmann, recommended me over to director Ben Berman. We met and talked about the script, and we definitely had the same taste in mind for his film.

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Trailer: The Giver

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Sit back for a moment and imagine a completely peaceful world. No war, no road rage, not even any trolls leaving nasty comments on internet threads.  If you grew up in the 90’s, you may remember a concept like this in The Giver, a sci-fi novel by Lois Lowry. I recall my middle school self wondering: “When’s the movie coming out? Why aren’t they cashing in on this?” Now, more than 20 years after its debut, a film adaptation is on the horizon.

Directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt, Clear and Present Danger), The Giver paints a portrait of a conflict-free society. People are mellow and stable — 100% drama free. So what’s the catch? Everyone is required to take regular injections of a serum that numbs their emotions, keeping them docile and predictable.

All adults receive “life assignments” from a committee, led by Chief Elder Meryl Streep. A young man named Jonas (newcomer Brenton Thwaites) is deemed worthy of being the next “Receiver of Memory”. This may not sound like a thrilling job, but it’s crucial to the society’s success.

“The Giver” is the only living soul who remembers life before the drugs wiped all emotions away. This coveted role is filled by “The Dude”, Jeff Bridges. As his title implies, the wise, old Giver will pass his memories on to the new Receiver, who will now protect the memories of a vibrant, unpredictable world. As Jonas learns the dark secrets of his dystopian society, he’s faced with tough choices about his future.

DP Ross Emery and camera operator Grant Appleton captured the film’s visuals. Mark Breakspear of Method Studios Vancouver was tapped as VFX supervisor. Mixer Nico Louw teamed up with boom ops Brendan-John Allen and Nate Aylor on the production sound side. Press play on the trailer below for a glimpse into this “perfect” world. What will Jonas do with his dangerous collection of memories? Find out when The Giver arrives in theaters on August 15th, 2014.

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SXSW: Music to Watch For

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  • March 20, 2014
2014 - SXSW Cloud Nothings at Cheer Up Charlies - Backstage with Pottymouth - band1

Cloud Nothings at Cheer Up Charlies

Heading back to SXSW for my second time, I thought I was better prepared for the festival.  I was sure I’d see everything I wanted to see and probably more.  But after two years, I’ve learned it’s impossible to see everything you want.  However, you can adjust your ever-changing schedule to make sure you get to the concerts you need to see.  And that’s what I did this year.  And now I’m telling you which bands you need to see when their tour comes to your town!  Check your local listings!

CLOUD NOTHINGS
During the two live performances I saw, the Cloud Nothings stuck to playing new tracks off their new album Here and Nowhere Else (Carpark/Mom&Pop).  The power trio from Cleveland did not disappoint at either performance with their hard, driving rock that left the enthusiastic crowd calling for encores.  Led by a screaming, and more confident than ever, Dylan Baldi (on vocals and guitar) and his backing duo of TJ Duke (bass) and Jayson Gerycz (drums), the band is really coming into their own and it’s time to pay attention if you haven’t checked them out yet.

PROTOMARTYR
Another band from the midwest — Detroit to be exact — Protomartyr’s new album is out on Hardly Art records and they’re another band to look out for if you like aggressive punk rock with nice hooks.  Lead singer Joe Casey may have lost his mustache, but he didn’t lose any of his “Crazy Uncle/Dad” swagger — all button up shirt tucked in to Dockers with hand in pocket.  Snarling the lyrics over a fast and loud guitars with a driving, hard hitting beat, this a great band to see live.  They also happen to be playing some dates with the above mentioned Cloud Nothings.  Definitely a nice show if it happens to come to stop in your town.

PUSHA T
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Pusha T.  Or at least heard him rap before — on Kanye’s “Runaway” or back when he was in Clipse.  I’ve been a fan since the Clipse days and have wanted to see him live for some time.  I finally got my chance at this SXSW and he did not disappoint.  Rapping some of his biggest hits, the crowd at Mohawk was at capacity and bumping during his entire set.  He even gave a shout out to the Odd Future Crew/Tyler the Creator who were in attendance before launching into “Grindin” from the Clipse days.  It was a great show and a lof of fun all around.  It also reminded me I need to get back out to more hip hop shows.

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Mean Creek at Vahallah Old Flame Party

MEAN CREEK
No matter the venue, these straight up anthem rockers from Boston perform like they’re playing to a packed stadium. The new record is filled with quick pop punk songs that fit in nicely with their older material when performed live.  And this is a band you have to see live, whether it’s opening for the likes of the Counting Crows, or headlining a show at your local indie club, Mean Creek are a band not to be missed.

POTTY MOUTH
These young ladies also hail from Boston, but have a little more rough punk in their sound.  That being said, they have plenty of poppy hooks that you’ll catch your attention and get your head bobbing.  The band is young and still finding their stage presence, but lead singer Abby found more confidence during each SXSW performance I saw and the rest of the band is surprisingly tight for only being around for such a short time. Potty Mouth are fun up and coming band to see live and you should be on the lookout for when their tour makes a stop in your city.

Other Up and Comers Worth mentioning
SW/MM/NG
Indie Dream Pop band from Arkansas with their song “Younger” featured on NPR’s top 100 recommendations for SXSW.  On tour now.  Big, full, dream-like pop sound live.

BIG UPS
Heavy art-rock from Brooklyn (of course).  Loud, interesting, and aggressive, they’re interesting band to see live.

NO
These dudes hail from LA and sound a bit like The National but they have a happier and poppier overall sound.  Plus, they managed to put on a fun live show early in the day in the rather sterile Radio Day Stage at the convention center. Expect to hear more about these guys.

DEAD STARS
Super poppy rock with that ‘90’s sound is what Dead Stars are all about.  They do it up, they do it out, they do it loud, and they do it well.

You can follow me on Twitter @localwakko

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50th CAS Awards: Gravity, Frozen, Game of Thrones among Winners

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  • February 22, 2014

casAs we live tweeted tonight, Warner Bros’ Gravity was honored for Best Sound Mixing for a motion picture and Disney’s team for Frozen took the award for animated feature film as the Cinema Audio Society awarded prizes for sound in six categories plus separate awards for technical achievement in production and post.

The storytellers for Behind the Candlelabra grabbed the nod for TV movie/miniseries, and Game of Thrones won in the one-hour TV series category. It was a blissful evening for Thrones‘ production sound mixer, Ronan Hill, CAS as he flew over from his hometown of Belfast for the first time in three years he’s been nominated to celebrate with post mixers Richard Dyer and Mixers Onnalee.

The statue for mixing in a half-hour television series went to production mixer Steve Tibbo, CAS and re-recording mixers Dean Okrand and Brian Harman, CAS, the team behind Modern Family for the second year in a row.

The 50th Annual CAS Awards were hosted by Doug McIntyre at downtown LA’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel.  Oscar winning Edward Zwick (Shakespeare in Love) was presented with the CAS Filmmaker Award. Past honorees have been: Quentin Tarantino, Gil Cates, Bill Condon, Paul Mazursky, Henry Selick, Taylor Hackford, Rob Marshall and Jonathan Demme.

18 time Oscar nominated re-recording mixer Andy Nelson  received the 32nd Career Achievement Award from composer John Williams (which a lot of us geek’d out seeing him), Ted Gagliano and CAS President, David Fluhr. “Receiving this award from the CAS is such an honor because it’s from my peers…” said Nelson, “people who love this craft as much as I do, and I am humbled by their generosity and commitment to excellence.”

The society also paid tribute to one of the legends in sound Ray Dolby. His pioneering work in noise reduction and surround sound will be greatly cherished.

The complete list of winners follows:

Live Action Film:
Gravity
Production Mixer Chris Munro, CAS;
Re-recording Mixer Skip Lievsay, CAS,
Re-recording  Niv Adiri
Re-recording Christopher Benstead
Scoring Mixer Gareth Cousins
ADR Mixer Chris Navarro, CAS
ADR Mixer Thomas J. O’Connell
Foley Mixer Adam Fil Mendez

Animated Picture:
Frozen
Dialogue Mixer Gabriel Guy
Re-recording Mixer David E. Fluhr, CAS
Re-Recoding Mixer Gabriel Guy
Scoring Mixer Casey Stone
Foley Mixer Mary Jo Lang 

Television Movie or Mini-Series:
Behind the Candelabra
Production Mixer Dennis Towns
Re-recording Mixer Larry Blake
Scoring Mixer Thomas Vicari
Foley Mixer Scott Curtis.

Television Series – One Hour
Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere
Production Mixer  Ronan Hill, CAS
Production Mixer Richard Dyer
Re-recording Mixer Onnalee Blank, CAS
Re-recording Mixer Matthew Waters, CAS
Foley Mixer Brett Voss.

Television Series – Half Hour:
Modern Family: Goodnight Gracie
Production Mixer Stephen A. Tibbo, CAS
Re-recording Mixer Dean Okrand
Re-recording Mixer Brian R. Harman, CAS

Television Non Fiction, Variety or Music – Series or Specials:
History of the Eagles – Part One
Re-recording Mixer Tom Fleischman, CAS
Re-recording Mixer Elliot Scheiner

Technical Achievement Awards:
Production: Sound Devices, LLC – 633 Mixer/Recorder
Post-Production: iZotope – RX 3 Advanced

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Captain Phillips, Gravity Among 61st MPSE Winners

captain_phillipsSunday evening the Motion Picture Sound Editors presented the 61st Golden Reel Awards at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles. The show began with an opening address from MPSE president Frank Morrone. George Lucas was in attendance to present the Career Achievement Award to Randy Thom. One of the more touching moments of the evening came when a special tribute was made to sound industry pioneer Ray Dolby by Walter Murch.

In all, 24 statutes were passed out in television, film, doc and interactive media categories.  Among the television honorees were Deadliest Catch, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy. The feature film winners included The Great Gatsby, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Frozen, and Epic.

A complete list of winners is below:

Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Sound Effects & Foley
Gravity
Supervising Sound Editor: Glenn Freemantle
Sound Designer: Glenn Freemantle
Foley Artist: Nicolas Becker
Sound Design Editors: Niv Adiri, Ben Barker, Eilam Hoffman

Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Dialogue And ADR
Captain Phillips
Supervising Sound Editor: Oliver Tarney, MPSE
Supervising Dialogue Editor: Bjørn Schroeder
Supervising ADR Editor: Simon Chase
Dialogue Editor: Rob Killick

Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Music

The Great Gatsby
Supervising Music Editors: Jason Ruder, Tim Ryan
Music Editor: Craig Beckett

Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Music, Musical Feature
Frozen
Music Editors: Earl Ghaffari, Fernand Bos, MPSE

Best Sound & Music Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue & ADR in an Animation Feature Film
Epic
Supervising Sound Editors: Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, MPSE, Randy Thom
Sound Designers: Randy Thom, Jeremy Bowker
Supervising Foley Editor: Luke Dunn Gielmuda
Supervising Dialogue Editor: Brad Semenoff
Foley Artists: Denise Thorpe, Jana Vance
Foley Editors: Benny Burtt, Jim Likowski
Dialogue Editor: Michael Silvers
Sound Effects Editors: Leff Lefferts, Andre Fenley, Kyrsten Mate, Kent Sparling
Music Editors: Lisa Jaime, Bill Abbott

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