Of many panels that took place over the course of the 2023 SCAD Savannah Film Festival, the industry’s brightest in sound design, including many SCAD alums, spoke about their work and recent projects for “Artisans: SCAD Sound Spotlight.”
The panelists included Ian Chase (B.F.A., sound design, 2017), Julie Diaz (B.F.A., sound design, 2016), Jacob “Young Thor” Flack (B.F.A., sound design, 2014), Brent Kiser (B.F.A., sound design, 2006), Andrew Twite (B.F.A., sound design, 2006) and Alexandra Fehrman, CAS. The panel had the opportunity to work on Everything Everywhere All at Once, and they were able to speak about that experience, including the fact Mandarin and Cantonese were both spoken in the film.
“That’s really what I leaned on with Daniel Kwan and one of the assistant film editors for,” said Diaz. “They really helped me to figure out the best performances that we got out of the ADR, and match that to the tonality and the emotion that they’re speaking with in the production. I don’t know Chinese, so I didn’t know which inflections were correct or not, but it was really quite an eye-opening, different perspective and skill set that I have now because of it. I’ve worked on a couple projects [with] other languages, and [it is] something to really pay attention to, and just because I don’t know it personally doesn’t mean that I don’t have to pay attention to it. So leaning on people to help me with that.”
They also broke down taking on different multiverses in the film and if there was a specific idea or vision with each one to make the experience different for the viewer.
Flack explained, “It was kind of a blend between effects and BGs. But basically, when the universes are, the multiverses are changing so fast, you’re not going to go and have these eight-track deep beds of BGs. It’s just not going to be heard. So you really do need to find that really defining sound of that space. What’s it going to be? Are we in the park? Do we hear just a kid laugh briefly? When she’s in the Asian garden, and we hear a bird from that garden that we’ve heard when we establish the sound earlier in the film….you might hear just a tweet of that bird, or when she’s on the street spinning the sign, we don’t need to hear anything, but maybe just a car horn for that brief moment.”
“It’s just those quick little sounds that you might’ve established earlier on in the film, and now you can just throw it in quickly as it’s shuffling between them,” he continued. It’s not a layered thing. And there’s so many other layers. I was trying to make it a little easier, so there’s not so much to scrolling of full sound design music. So I just wanted to give a couple of little BG elements. Though, when I had the space, I did keep them pretty wide. But when it was going fast, to just make it thin with those defining sounds. I think you figure it out as you’re going along.”