When Jamie Kirkpatrick finished putting his sensitive editing skills to our footage it went out to sound and music. A new journey for me who had never ventured this way before.
Sound Design was Andrea Bella and ADR Michael (MIscha) Feuser a husband and wife team who operate in a basement studio in their apartment in Park Slope Brooklyn. Amazing! They made field trips with microphones to many of our locations to harvest. They brought a Foley Artist over from Germany who worked with antique cloth for Grandma and Anna, the tinkle of china, the rattle of cicadas ... breathtaking detail to an already rich palate.
At some point Andrea asked me if she might attempt a sound montage to accompany the visual one Jamie had so incredibly rendered from my scribbles on the page. Absolutely! What a brilliant idea, and its execution only heightens the moment.
Mischa filtered out generators and airplanes ... magic ... they worked with the actors in ADR in an unusual, more organic way, in front of a screen, and listening to the cadence of their own voices to recreate the mood, the words, like music, no bells and booths. Melissa and David were there together, overlapping, competing for number of takes, remembering the moments and giving them to us again. It was beautiful. A nice way to work. Very generous actors. We are so grateful.
While the sound design is in progress I started meeting with Sarah Plant, our composer. Sarah is a very gifted professional working out of an attic studio in the country. It's amazing what and where Mac equipment allows people to work. Quality of life.
Sarah asked me to give her a list of the music in my car. We've known each other for years, but never in this way. I give her that list. My tastes are eclectic from Cecilia Bartolli to Kanye, which I listen to with my son. She asked me what I was looking for ... that was a nice question to be asked, because I knew the answer to that and would not have known how to express it otherwise. I was looking for 'Puckish'. playful, magical, slightly ominous but you know it's all gonna work out in the end type music. If I had to quantify it in Shakespearean tones I'd liken it to' Midsummer', a place and time where it's all possible and gonna happen anyway, so why sweat it?
Sarah's music did all of that and more. The score on its own tells a story, and with pictures ... breathtaking moments which couldn't have happened any other way. We talked about instruments as characters. She'd heard Sadie as a cello, and sometimes in triplets and ... it's a lovely score. She wrote it a woman possessed. It was beautiful to be a part of this type of creativity. We are so honored to have her music to enhance our delghtfully simple and lovely story.
The opening credits music was a fluke, and one, like so much else on this film, filled with serendipity. We recorded the score in Woodstock over a 2 day period. Sarah had invited incredible musicians to play for us, and they said yes! For fun she had asked each of them to improvise to an Afro-Caribbean piece, "Chocolate" she had written for another film but which appears in the Racing Daylight Dress shop scenes. The second day of recording Sarah says,
"You've got to hear the music Tomas improvised."
She says it several times during the day, I never hear it, too much going on, until I'm on my way out the door and she says, you have to hear the Tomas solo. I do. It's amazing to me. I ask her to please send me the track because I have an idea to use it for the credits and want to send it to Jason Martin who is editing that compelling sequence with photos culled from the Stone Ridge Library collection.
Sarah sends me an mp3 with the caveat that she thinks it's too Latin sounding to set the tone of the film. I listen to it, and I agree and reply that I thought just the cello track would work, and isn't that what she played for me? She sends me the cello articulated and it's exactly as I'd heard it; wild and daring, and timeless. But she tells me that she played me the tracks overlayed, and that the cello alone might be a good idea, but it's not how she played it for me. Funny that. All I heard was the cello, when she played it, and Jason Martin said it fit perfectly. Meant to be. Thank you, Sarah and Tomas.
Thank you Andrea and Mischa who put this film together with such love and care and taste and talent ...I truly admire artists, and was so fortunate to have found so many willing to collaborate, at such a high level, on RACING DAYLIGHT, our collective film-that-could.