Sound Stories #004 – How Sound Sets the Scene

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    What does sound got to do with it? According to Mark Vogelsang, Director of Audio for Visual Media at OIART, “Everything.” From the way you incorporate historical and cultural auditory considerations into your films and videos – to the way brand ‘sounds’ (like the Star Wars Imperial March) can transcend their original intention, Mark shares the impact of sound considerations on storytelling authenticity.

    Explore Voices.com.

    TRANSCRIPTION SOUND STORIES #004

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Hi there. And welcome to another episode of Sound Stories, an inspirational podcasts for creative professionals and storytellers who want to improve their lives at home and at work. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli, your host and co founder of voices.com. Today, I’d like to welcome Mark Vogelsang. He is the
    Course Director for audio and visual media at the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology. Welcome to the show, Mark.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Thanks.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Can you share a little bit about what you do there?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Sure. So I take care of all of the audio aspects of anything to do with the moving image. So that has to do with live like theater aspects of sound design, gaming, TV, and film specifically. And we look at all the ways that we can put sound stories together, with stuff we’re going to talk about today, Foley and music and sound effects. And it takes us a year to get through that, typically around 60 students. And they all go out to the wonderful world of sound and do wonderful things.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah, I’ve heard, it’s like the Ivy League school for audio recording. Here in Canada, there’s really nowhere better to go.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yeah, we take it very seriously. All the instructors at OIART take their courses very seriously. And we also do understand that these students have our name on them when they go out. So we’re very proud to teach what we teach and we live vicariously through them as well.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Indeed. And I’ve been to the school, obviously speaking there every year in your class, getting to see the benefit of all the wonderful teaching that you do. And something that always comes across in any of the classes is authenticity. Whether they’re building sound around an audio play, a drama, something like that. Or maybe you’re trying to get them to design sound around what they’re seeing on the screen like an animated shot. So I really was curious to know, what does it take to create an authentic sound
    design?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    It’s huge. It’s something that’s becoming actually quite a bit more popular for whatever reason, partially because we can do the research much more efficiently. In any production we really distill it down to three areas. One being the authenticity in historical aspects, two being the cultural and geographical authenticity, and one that you guys would know very well is branding and genres based authenticity. And we don’t always use all three of those categories in every production that we do, but the evaluation
    is absolutely massive and integral to really put your hands in the guts of the audience and move them the way that it was intended to be moved, starting with the script.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Indeed. So if we’re to kick it off here, what is the first thing that people should be thinking about?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    The historical aspect is most likely the most prominent part of the authenticity. It’s something you really can’t get away from. An example being the term is period pieces. If we’re in 1960, we’re in a bedroom
    and there’s an individual, listening to music, the authenticity that song actually existed at that time is very important. Especially if we are in that world with the actor, meaning that the music is coming from
    their stereo system. There’s certain directors like they’ll give you an example, Baz Luhrmann with the Great Gatsby where they have authenticity in the music, but they also start playing very modern songs,
    which is an interesting blend that’s happening, clothing, shoes, transportation is a massive one that I find. I grew up on a farm so I know the difference between a John Deere 4020 diesel engine and a brand
    new diesel engine.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So transportation is a massive part of the historical authenticity. And right down to species of animals and insects and birds. Making sure that we researched that they aren’t extinct or, what existed in this area at this time. And using the internet and places like the Cornell lab to do the research, the locations that they existed at that time. So it’s quite huge. And it’s fun. It’s always interesting to at times book or rent an old 78 Oldsmobile to sample the doors and the tires and the mufflers and the engines and the cliques and all of that type of thing. So there is a world outside of actually editing sound, just the research aspect of the authenticity that you tend to fall in love with.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow. So when you say there’s a research aspect, does that mean that there were people actually on the film crew or the sound designer, whoever it is that is actually tasked with finding what that sound would be, the authentic sound, and then tracking it down. I don’t know, maybe they have to go on Kijiji or something like this where they’re like, “How do we even find this? Like, this is obscure.”

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely eBay, Kijiji, Wikipedia, they’re all your friends. There’s an interesting story about David Fincher. He works with an individual called Ren Klyce. And the curious case of Benjamin Button is if you haven’t listened to that film, you should listen to it for historical aspects. And one example would be how extreme do we go with this information. There’s a lot of scenes on porches in that particular film in retirement homes and with elderly individuals.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    And they had to rig up sunglasses with microphones and go into retirement homes to authentically record how elderly interact with each other in the South. They couldn’t stage it because human beings don’t react when they know the same, they know they’re being recorded. So the scale of  authenticity, historical wise, you can go to great extremes one way, but you’re right. Sometimes you can’t find that piece. You can’t find that engine and you do just have to settle for finding something similar.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Something close enough, right? Something that is authentic. I think there’s a story I’ve heard over time, I can’t remember from whom, but it is true. Someone was looking for this very particular sound from a certain species of frog. Now, this frog actually was way over on the other side of the world from where they were. And they had to face the whole, do we travel and spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to capture the sound so it’s authentic or can we use a species that is nearby that sounds close enough for this nature documentary, what should we do, right?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. Planet Earth is a great example of that, where you have to draw that line where, do you believe that people, the consumer will actually know what the difference between that real frog and something that replaces it. And that’s the genre based idea of authenticity, where in documentary you were doing a lot more research than you are and say, drama. Where drama, you can get away with a lot more. If you are actually documenting a species in a certain environment, the authenticity is much
    greater, the value is much greater there.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    But something I want to mention in that goes into your world, if you can’t find a specific sound, it’s not uncommon to go to a voice actor to see if they can create that sound. I remember working on a production where we couldn’t get our hands on some Clydesdale horses to record their vocal aspects. So we were mentioning this and an individual overheard us in the studio talking about it. And they came right up to us and said, “I’m pretty good at horse sounds.” And we stuck a microphone up and sure enough, it was exactly what we were looking for. So we were able to authenticate the voice of the Clydesdales, not through recording it from the Clydesdales, with the Clydesdales, but from a voice actor or human being attribute.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Well, lots of voice actors do, as you say, have to come up with some creative solution to a sound effect that is either not there or they can’t figure out how to make it, or there’s a narrator, Katherine Kellgren. And she had to do an audio book recording as a narrator, who she’s doing all the voice parts, everything surrounding characters that could have been animals or what not. But there was one in particular where she actually had to look up how that animal sneezed.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And she’s like, “Oh, am I going to sneeze as this animal?” And so she found a sample, basically listened to it on a site, probably like the archives that we discussed earlier. And she was able to authentically, especially could interpret what that was to put it into the character.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. That’s a nice segue into the cultural and geographical authenticity. I remember, because culturally you can have dogs they create certain noises. And I remember editing this scene where this dog was running with their owner and they stop at a four-way stop. It was a dog that was air quotes, “A horse dog versus a sporting dog.” But the only recordings we could find was a sporting dog for that specific breed, but it was so controlled and like a hunting dog type of thing.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So we ended up having to go out, instead of cutting those in the authenticity would not work because the breathing of the dog at the stop sign was so controlled, like a sporting dog, but this was a horse dog. So we had to go out and find a more authentic horse. Horse dog breathing sort of noise. We had to go out and get trainers and spend money and find the time to record the breathing of a dog. So we could authentically create that four-way stop seeing with the running the owner and the dog.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Is that just like really high standards Mark? Or is it expected of everyone?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    It’s not expected of everyone. It depends. You get the idea of who you work for. Certain producers will have that conversation up front, how authentic. Right now I’m going on to a feature film where the authenticity is the last thing we’re thinking about. And then in 2017, I’m heading out to Belgium to work on a feature film that’s absolutely 110% authenticity. So it just depends on the production. And it’s usually a conversation right up front that you have, because it is a lot of work. It’s a lot of extra money and a lot of extra work to be extremely authentic versus other ratios that you could have. Sometimes authentic and sometimes not. So well, that is a conversation between the producers, director and the sound team.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. Likewise, when you mentioned culture and geography and location base authenticity, we also have to remember that the actors, they might have accents or something that is related to that area. Like the movie Fargo, for instance, you’re going to want to have a certain kind of sound. Now I know that isn’t necessarily where your responsibilities would come in a sound designer, but how much attention to detail is paid there from your perspective.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Dialogue is the aspect dialects in general, that the consumer will latch on to first. Deciding for themselves how authentic or inauthentic it is. And it’s an interesting conversation we could most likely make a whole podcast out of that because there’s so much thought and attention that goes into the
    dialogue recording. My job would be, after the dialogue has been recorded on location, there’s not much I can say to the actors at the time how authentic their actions are.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    And sometimes they’re very authentic and sometimes they’re not so authentic. It’s more after the fact where something like the automated dialogue or ADR, when we bring the actors back into rerecord that
    my evaluation as a supervisor, I have to make sure that they’re sticking to the authenticity that they created, whether that’s completely authentic or not. So if they have a certain dialect and accent that they’ve created, even if it’s not that authentic, that becomes the new bar of authenticity.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    When you rerecord the actor has to remember my accent existed in that way. And that’s sort of my job in the editing part of it is to evaluate that and make sure we don’t cut from one scene. And it’s one accent from one actor that was recorded two months ago to the next scene, which was two months
    later that this slang or the dialect doesn’t change between those. So that’s one part of the evaluation. But dialogue in general can ruin that concept of authenticity. Can take the audience right out of it immediately. Maybe the most sensitive part of all of the aspects of sound that we deal with.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And that’s definitely a casting decision. If someone is a director and they’ve clearly hired people to do something and they want a certain accent or a dialect being spoken, then it’s really up to them because you can only work with what you’re given.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. Dialogues interesting because it’s the most controllable aspect of storytelling. So I can use the dialogue to tell the most obvious aspect of the story it’s the most sensitive, but it’s the least amount of control that I have. Because all of the decisions previously have been made, our responsibility up front is just to record it. And make sure we have the least amount of impeding factors. And then all of the other attributes around that. So the other sound edit. That’s where we start looking at how much control do we have over everything else? Transportation, Foley, atmospheres, air tones are very interesting. A really cool story about geographical authenticity. I remember looking at a scene in New York around 1930. So between March 1930 and April 1931. And it was a scene in the location where the empire state building would have been constructed at that time.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    It wasn’t visually there, but you had to remember, right at this time in this geographical location, the empire state building would have been being constructed. So that clanging, that those metallic impacts would have to be in the atmosphere, backgrounds edited in there, even though we don’t visually see them, they belong to that culture on that geographical and that historical location.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So that’s pretty interesting to think about what we visually see in the scene and culturally, geographically, historically, and what we don’t see that we still have to authenticate. And anyone who has, you always have to be sensitive to the demographic that’s going to consume the media things like
    were they alive during that time? Because that’s how authentic do you make a scene? Greatly depends on the demographic that’s going to consume it. They will be the first ones that will contact or email to say, this is inauthentic. This is not how it sounded at that time.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    One great film to experience that it would be Fury, where they went to great lengths to sample the tanks and the artillery to know what it was like to feel that whizzing by your head. And they had on staff, individuals that had experienced that environment to authenticate. Yes, this is how they should be sampled and how they should exist in the film. So that’s every sound editor’s dream is to have that sort of staff to confirm not always the case, but that’s a lot of the design aspect of sound design. It’s not always the fun, cool sounds. It’s a lot to do with that research. What will set the consumer into this scene at this time.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And to have those people who were there, who experienced it themselves, maybe even ran the machines. They have a memory, they have some kind of that sound is rooted somewhere in their minds. They can hear it and they can tell you. And of course, they’re going to be times where you’re looking so far back that no one knows what this particular thing sounded like. Maybe you reconstruct, you try to look at something, you build it and you make it work. But this just comes to me now. But just thinking about just the art of preserving the sound, because sometimes something does not exist. They don’t use it anymore. And that sound could be lost forever unless someone has documented it somewhere.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. That I’ve become addicted to that. It might be my age, but when I travel now with technology, I can bring a small recorder with a pretty good microphone around with me. And something we’ve discussed before that idea of extinction existing, outside of a species. One example, being the
    extinction of certain types of engines. I know what type of engine that exists on my parents farm in Saskatchewan, that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s not being made, the engines weren’t maintained. So a lot of them just don’t run anymore. And my dad has that engine. I’ve sampled it many times this diesel engine. And I know that engine will be extinct one day and I have so many recordings. Things like that in my travels where the extinction concept, you have to think that it exists outside of the species in being
    in sound specifically.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And that happens with a folk song. Anything I can just remembering the people going up in the Appalachian mountains with their wax cylinders, getting down all the stories, all of the songs that the words that people use in their tunes, the melodies, and in that legacy that we have from that. So
    imagine a hundred years from now, maybe some of those little samplings you put on your phone, or however you captured them. They could be quite useful to somebody.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    I had a student ask me that saying, “When I go home for Christmas, I really want to record some stuff. Is it okay that I record it on my phone? Because that’s all I have right now.” The answer is always yes. If he asks me, “Can I go home with my wax cylinder?” I would have said, “Yes, of course, go home and just record anything.” I consider it like smelling most sound designers whether it can conjure up a very emotional state when you listen back to recordings. My grandfather on my mom’s side was great for that. He recorded us as kids and I listened back. That’s the only recording I have of myself, one single recording at Christmas. And it’s so nostalgic, I can hear that TV that’s CRT TV that he had the claim. I know the pots in the background. I know those pots that my grandmother had. I know I can hear the footsteps. I can hear that shag carpet, the kids like running around them, that type of thing. So it’s interesting to consider that extinction outside of species.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. We’ve been looking at the recent past and maybe people who’ve been alive and remember these things. But then you’ve got, a film like Lincoln being made. No one ever heard his voice who was living now, it was not recorded on anything, but there were however firsthand accounts of people who knew him, who would write down attributes about his voice. And so, Daniel Day Lewis, the actor was able to take those notes and get an understanding and inform a picture of how this figure was not the Disney
    version of Abraham Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents with his big booming base.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    He was literally more of a tenor voice. He almost sounded whiny to some of the people who were not quite fans of his. So whatever we can get from history, what it tells us from these different accounts, be they from someone who was like a friend of somebody, or maybe an enemy, they’re all accounts that we should be taking into consideration when we’re thinking about authenticity.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yeah. Lincoln is a great example. Actually they record the room tones in Lincoln’s rooms. And I remember having conversations with many people that they felt very uncomfortable because of the authenticity of his voice, which is a whole other thing. A lot of people don’t know that they are uncomfortable with the authentic version rather than the sound designed version, drum kits in general.  That way when you stick a microphone in front of a Gretsch old drum kit, everyone likes the name Gretsch. And a lot of students are like, “That sounds really dull and not bombastic.” They’re not happy with the authenticity. Lincoln is a great example if any of the listeners haven’t watched or listened to Lincoln. It’s a great example of going to great lengths to authenticate voices and air tones and any clocks
    and door handles in that type of thing.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That’s awesome. Now I know there were three we’ve gone through one and to recap, the first one was about the historical authenticity. Secondly, we looked at cultural and geographical authenticity. And lastly, we’re going to talk about brand.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yes, branding and genre is to me, I worked on in advertising for a while. And branding and genre based authenticity is extremely difficult because it really first exists as vapor. It’s just an idea of, to give you an example, the Duracell battery, it’s three syllables, “Duracell.” And if you look back at the old commercials, I can picture those meetings of, “What should that branding sound be at the end of the Duracell commercials?” And it’s a sequence of three that for the syllables of Duracell and listening to that Duracell brand sound, it’s just three notes. It’s very simple, but it’s so powerful. And that’s the power of branding authenticity with sound that it can be used for other reasons. And a great example of that is the Imperial March from Star Wars.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So that orchestration, it’s a branding of the pure gold troopers, right? Where you could use that sound in a commercial for the boss, walking down the hallway to fire the employee that you know, and everyone would know, “Oh, that’s the Imperial sound and something bad is going to happen.” So
    branding and genres based authenticity becomes powerful outside of its first intention, which would be to represent the brand. Another example would be Jaws. Where the dun dun dun dun could be used anywhere else, culturally, geographically, to tell a whole wide variety of stories, same thing. You’ve got the boss walking down the hallway closeup shot of the feet, walking very fast. You could put Jaws under there. It’s a brand that exists to be utilized for something else.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    The semitones are very powerful. It’s just a half step, right? It’s something that is ominous sort of lurking. And I’d actually just saw some kind of a video recently where that showed the scene of  someone’s leg, just dangling. And by the way, “Oh, just swimming in the water,” and they don’t know
    the sharks coming, but the audience does.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yes, exactly from that branding. The iPhone is an interesting one. Any sort of Apple sounds. The branding of the possible iPhone or the most popular iPhone ringtone is something that comes into conversation every single scene where an actor interacts with an Apple product. Or which one are we
    going to choose? So the audience knows and it’s like I can’t remember there’s two names marimba or something. That’s so popular that everyone chooses, that you have that discussion right there and then. Or which one do we use?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Which is going to communicate best to this demographic launching. So it’s branded to the iPhone that everyone knows when you play that sound. I wanted to mention one other thing too that’s very interesting, because you can brand historically. The idea of a phone ring, which was branded into the concept that if a phone rings, every human being that interacted with it knew to stand up, go to that physical device, pick it up and say something, right?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    And then there was the transition from those, the old Bakelite phones where you could actually change that branding sound to tell you to answer that. And the example would be like an MP3. And I remember that transition. And so we’ll allow the listeners if they’re old enough that you’d be standing around a group of people, a very terrible MP3 would start playing and someone would wait like 30 seconds and they would pat their sign make, “Right, that’s my,” signifying that I should answer the Bake. That was that new branding of this sound belongs to this phone. Now is the cue for me to answer it where before it was the typical ring, ring. Which is you can historically brand that idea, which is always interesting. And I remember that transition, which is always a fun thing.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And you can even pick the historical ring, for your ringtone, like instead of having marimba or whatever it might be, you’ve got like, “Ring, ring.” It’s hilarious. Because that has changed the way that we know to pick up a phone has changed. But also even just like saying, “Oh, hang up the phone now.” You say that to someone younger they’re like, “What do you mean? Hang up the phone.”

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    There’s a lot that in language, even that can be authentic to a scene or how someone is speaking, but just thinking about companies and brands and just how story and way of knowing, is this authentic? Is it not? And can we pull on something that comes from that audience that time just thinking of Wally, you’re talking about the different sounds and what will people relate to. Every time somebody turns on their Mac, what happens? It makes this glorious baaaaaa kind of sound, right? There’s this more to it than that. But what does Wally do when he powers up? That sound, right?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yes.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    You recognize right away. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, like this is Apple.” Clearly Steve jobs had his fingers in that one, the Pixar and everything and his role in that. But it’s just like, you have to draw upon connections that people already have in their minds of something that you can be like, “Okay, I want to strike this court. I want them to relate to this. I want them to think back to this time. I want them to remember that smell,” whatever it is that you have the power through sound to bring them back into trigger that emotional response.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. The branding and genre based category pays extra attention to that. And I’ll give you an example. If we watch the series of Star Wars or Star Trek, there’s an expectation going into that film, whether the consumer is aware of it or not that the sound there’s a genre base sound that exists in that Sci-Fi series. If the authenticity falls short, they will comment. So here’s an expectation coming into a genre of Sci-Fi or Star Wars as an entity or Star Trek, that this is what I’m expecting. I’m expecting this huge dynamic range, these massive explosions, these really interesting sounds I’ve never heard before. And if they fall short, just like branding, if that Duracell, “Ding, ding” and whenever it was, did not communicate to the consumer, then ultimately it falls back on the sound team.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Right? So in the case of say the Star Wars movies, it would be someone like Ben Burtt, would this fall directly on his shoulders? What does that team look like of sound people? And how does, I guess that hierarchy work?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    It’s changing. I never got brought in on scripts before. So the sound supervisor, which would be, Ben Burtt style thing sound designer, supervising sound designer, they will be the idea’s person or the direct
    communication with the directors and the producers. So they will be in on all the meetings, the conversations or the vapor. And from there, they will know the staff. So their junior sound designers. They will know the sounds that we have to record. They will hire if they don’t do it themselves, they will be hiring the sound recordist. They’ll know who best to layers this as a sound editor. They’ll do a lot of it themselves as well, who experiments the most with sound? Who is a great with synchronization? That type of thing.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So someone like Ben Burtt will have the ultimate control creative wise, but his whole team will be on the same page as him. And I know Ben Burtt has actually been brought in as well as Randy Thom, to fix films that haven’t been working that are falling short of that authenticity or that genre based concept. And I believe if I remember the literature, it was Star Trek. Not the latest Star Trek, but the one previous where they couldn’t get it to that genre based sound and brought in, I believe it was Ben Burtt to get there to that authenticity concept, which he did.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, absolutely. You need an expert in that. And that’s why we’re talking to you today, right? To get an expert opinion in the authenticity of sound and how that really does affect every component, every aspect of a production.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yes. Here’s something I do want to say. The research and selection is extremely important, but then the concept of getting your research into the scene is something completely different. So a recent film, we were looking at getting certain birds into a forest as an example. So we authenticated the birds. We knew their migratory paths. We knew they would exist at that time in November in that forest. The next thing was after we had gotten those recordings authentically placing them in that environment, which is
    referred to as world dicing.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So world dicing is the concept of playing back the material in the environment it would actually exist. Which is the ultimate rather than synthetically doing it. And that those are the two options with software, getting it into the acoustic value of that room or that forest. The other option is world dicing, where we would take, inside of a car or that forest or a room, a speaker and play back those samples to make sure it’s authentically then placed in that environment acoustically. So there’s all these levels. Once that research has done that you have to look at as well.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh my goodness. Okay. So for those people who are listening right now, Mark, and they want to have amazing sound, they want to do this right. They don’t want to mess it up. They don’t want someone calling this thing. “You know, that scene where you,” that inconsistency, that whatever I picked up, how much of their budget should they be investing in having good sound?

    Mark Vogelsang:
    That’s always the tricky number. There is no magic number now, the best thing to do is grab someone for consulting and which is, as we discussed before, something I really enjoy right now, which is sort of a new part of my job is to sit down at script. So nothing has been recorded. We haven’t been on location yet, to sit down with the producers and directors and go through that script. So they understand this is where to save money. This is where to spend money. So it’s always based on the authenticity concept
    because there’s such a large scale. It could be $3,000. It could be $80,000 to get a same film, a similar film to authenticity.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So consulting is a big one at script time. So not waiting until that dialogue has been recorded on set. And  then the edit that locked picture occurs, and the dialogue editor is done. Then getting a sound designer on, get them on earlier. And it doesn’t cost that much more, but in the long run, it’s like getting a financial advisor before you make a big financial decision. It’s under the same umbrella as that. So consulting, finding someone to consult on that is huge. And any good someone with experience can look at a script and flag certain areas that are going to be troublesome or augment your story in a way that maybe you didn’t see previously.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Right? Yeah. Because you want to not only tell a good story through sound, but you also want to tell one that people will actually get to hear. Because if you’re not adhering to certain standards, even for sound levels or for any other number of different regulations that I’m sure out there. Then you may make this amazing film or production or audio drama or whatever only to be told, “Oh, go back to the drawing board or we can’t use this or sorry, your film is not able to be nominated for this festival.”

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. At the Forest City Film Festival that was the speech I did was exactly about that. “Show of hands, how many people have a great story, but it’s lying stagnant in the festival market.” What’s interesting about that is during that time, the festivals and submissions, and I don’t know what the reason is, often they will not communicate back to the submission, the content creators, that the reason that this did not get in was because of your sound.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    The visual side, the high resolution cameras are much more accessible. So sound sort of, it’s very fun to get the best cameras and the best lighting, but to think about sound secondary is where the danger lies. And a lot of the films, I got a lot of phone calls after that where, “Yeah, my film is stagnant right now, we don’t know why.” I listened to it and something like, it’s on average, 15 DB out of the loudness standards of the advanced television systems can be

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh my goodness.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    So things like that and the producers or directors like, “Huh, I didn’t, right? That’s not my job to know that. That’s why we need sound professionals in consulting. Because that should have been something that shows up previous. And there are in the last two weeks, since then 10 to 15 calls. 10 to 15 evaluations and they are all the same. They’re very simple fixes of things that could have occurred before the recording that could have saved them, the harassment of having to do it after the film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh goodness. And it always costs more after the fact

    Mark Vogelsang:
    It always cost more.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    When you don’t hire professional, obviously everyone listening knows that. But just to drive home the point, obviously there are people like you who do consult, and I want to make sure that before we’re done today, that everyone here knows how they might be able to get a hold of you.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Absolutely. My email will be on the OIART website. And if you just Google the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology, or O-I-A-R-T, it will come up right away. Or even my name. It will be easy one to
    find so.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And that’s Mark Vogelsang for anybody who knows. And your name actually we’ll end it here, but it’s pretty cool because it’s about sound, like bird song, right? We’re just talking about birds so.

    Mark Vogelsang:
    Yes. And I didn’t find that out for 20 years. That’s a really interesting story. I had a fascination with the concept that bird’s communicate… How they communicated through song. And we had our windows open in the farmhouse all summer. We didn’t have air conditioning. So I would just sit in the evening and at night going to bed, listening to these birds, communicating, thinking, wow, they are communicating through singing to each other. And then 20 years later, I’m on Yonge Street in Toronto at a restaurant and someone sees my debit card and they’re like, “Oh, Vogelsang. That means the bird is singing, or the bird song, but

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, how wonderful. Thank you for tuning in, and if you haven’t already done so, I’d like to invite you to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, as well as give us a rating. We love hearing from you and gathering your feedback. Once again, I’m your host, Stephanie Ciccarelli. And I hope you can join us for our next Sound Stories podcast.

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    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

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