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Director Matt Reeves and Sound Team Talk Cloverfield
I recently attended the first session of Film Independent’s annual Directors Close-up workshop at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles. The theme for the evening was Music and Sound in which Film Independent brought together an incredible panel including Director Matt Reeves (Let Me In and Cloverfield), Composer Micheal Giacchino (Let Me In and Up), Sound Designer/Sound Re-recording mixer Will Files ( Let Me In and Cloverfield), Supervising Sound Designer/ Sound Re-recording mixer Douglas Murray ( Let Me In, Cloverfield) and the moderator by Writer/Director James Gray ( Two Lovers, We Own the Night). The panelist dove deep into topics of sound and music and the role it played in making Cloverfield a thrilling cinematic ride. It was pointed out very early on there was no musical score in the film. Sound designers scored the film with high impact noises that kept you on the edge of your seat. Reeves wanted the film to feel as real as possible. “Sound was critical,” said Reeves. “Sound was going to fill in everything you didn’t see. The concept of Cloverfield was sound.”
Cloverfield was made on a strict budget and a majority of the money went into the visual effects. The filmmakers had to create a massive creature stomping through New York City without the audience actually visually seeing it. Clips of the film were shown then discussed by the panel. One particular clip I remembered was the scene the actors were in the underground subway and when the camera night vision was turned on, they realize they are surrounded by spider looking creatures all over the place. It was fascinating to learn that the sound the creatures made was nothing else than Reeves and his sound team at 3:00 am making loud noises then distorting them.
Will Files worked with Reeves on both Cloverfield and Let Me In, he mentioned, “Sound has a way of affecting you without you knowing you’re being affected.” The entire panel agreed that you want ideas to expand beyond just your vision. Directors need to input from the actors, sound designers and other s involved with a production because you will make a better film and ultimately tell a better story.