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Monday, 08 November 2010 23:13

Sounds of Silence

Written by  Gordon Meyer
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Earlier this year, veteran Soundman MacAulay Flynt joined Writer/Director Heather Hale’s production crew in North Carolina to shoot the indie thriller Insecurity, starring Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), Emmy-winning Actor Edward Asner and rock legend Meat Loaf. The film is about an organized crime family’s attempt to infiltrate the Witness Protection Program in order to kill the assistant district attorney who’s prosecuting a murder case involving a prominent member of the crime family. The plot’s complex cat-and-mouse game features a number of action sequences.

Shooting on a budget of under a million dollars in small towns with limited production resources definitely challenged the crew’s creativity. For example, while shooting a courthouse scene that depicted a large press contingent swarming the trial participants for comments, there were too many actors with speaking lines to mic everyone. “There was so much going on that we had to use a boom, rather than attempt to mic individual actors,” says Flynt. “We ended up dressing our boom guy in wardrobe so that he looked like he was part of the news crew. His mic was live and [it was] used to pick up everyone’s dialogue.”

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Hale staged several key scenes in moving cars and trucks. For the film’s final shot, Hale had Meat Loaf drive away while singing a song (which would fade into a fully produced version of the song for the closing credits). “Because [Meat Loaf is] a classically trained vocalist, every time we did a take, he would come over to me so he could listen to the playback,” explains Flynt.  “After we wrapped, he told me I was the first sound mixer he worked with who didn’t feel invasive. I was very flattered by that comment.”

One memorable scene took place inside a Mack truck. “I had to position myself in the back of the truck’s cabin while Meat Loaf drove,” Flynt says. Between the road conditions and the sound of the truck’s engine, it became a really noisy environment –– too noisy, in fact, to get a clean recording of Meat Loaf’s dialogue. “What we finally had to do was get him to get the truck up to a certain speed [and] coast while we shot the take and then get back up to that speed so we could do another take.”

In another scene, Flynt had to spend an hour and a half in the trunk of a 1986 Pontiac. “We had two RED cameras on the hood, and there was literally no where I could be except [inside] the trunk,” Flynt recalls. “It was about 98 degrees that day. Eddie would be driving and doing the scene, and as soon as it was over he’d come back to make sure I was OK and had plenty of water. He was very attentive [because] it was hot. I had a flashlight in my mouth and was mixing in the trunk with the XLR cable coming through a hole I found in the trunk. The cable went through the back seat and then down [and] up through the center console in the front seat of the car with an interior windscreen on it. While it worked out really well and we got perfect sound, I think I lost 10 pounds that day.”

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