Keith Snyder
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I hear it was a nice weekend...

...but I was inside with Richard, both days, all day. Richard is my friend and ex-bandmate (the founding member of the Cosmic Debris, live recordings of which got reworked by bandmate Chris Meyer to become Alias Zone, which recently won an Indie award).

He's also an employee of Level Control Systems, which does the huge sound matrices for big Broadway shows, international theme parks, and stuff like that. This week brought him to New York for some Broadway stuff, so he came over on his off days and--

The audio for Sell in Hell is fixed.

This is the short film I sent to all the major film festivals before discovering (at a screening at Left Coast Crime) that the sound doesn't survive small TV speakers. My sound mix was very thick and detailed, with a carefully layered and pitch-shifted demon voice and a massive, hellish background soundscape. It sounds terrific if the viewing setup is in stereo, but you never know what a film festival committee will be using for their screenings. In a fast-paced, intellectual comedy, you don't want people straining to understand the words, even a little.

Richard's mix is, basically, mono. The voice has no processing (not even reverb), sits in the middle of the stereo field, and that's that. Same for the other demons. The only stereo elements are my ambient tracks: A "hellfire" sound (along the lines of the ship ambience in Star Trek, only deeper and more like a furnace), my "infinite number of telephones" track, my "infinite number of telemarketing demons" track, and a little harplike glissando whenever the product comes up. And they're mixed much lower now; the voice is quite definitely primary.

He also had some suggestions for trimming heads and tails of some shots, most of which I took, and for a change at the beginning, which I also took.

So now the brisker, more universally intelligible version will probably get tweaked slightly after I test it on a few TVs, and then it gets dubbed out to VHS, boxed up, and sent to festivals again--with an emphasis on comedy festivals, if I can find them.

One major item on the frustration checklist: Check!

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