All posts by t_euyang


In film, sound is, and should be, at the back of the viewer’s mind.  Directors cannot write off a mistake in sound in the same way that they can talk about the exposure being off.  When sound is off, the viewer is taken out of the film’s world.  So many student films, including ones I have made, suffer because we do not record sound properly or do not have the time to create a full sound mix.  The ambience can be too loud, ADR is improperly mixed in, and every now and then a distinct buzzing persists in the background.  In Hollywood, studios have months to nail down every sound effect for movies.  They sit in huge rooms with theatre quality sound systems and meticulously listen to every detail. 

The TV world is a little different.  The sound mixing rooms are still very impressive, but the turnaround for each episode is much quicker.   We were lucky enough to talk with John Cook, a CC alumnus, who has sound mixed for titles such as Parks and Rec, Hello Ladies, and The Office.  When we met with him, he had just finished mixing an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Andy Samberg’s show.  John and his partner only had a day to mix the episode, which they said is typical.

Their schedule is especially impressive when one takes into account the amount of different sounds present in a show or movie.  Sound mixes for TV shows and films are incredibly intricate, and often are enhanced with — or completely comprised of — sounds created and recorded off set.  These sounds are called Foley or just sound FX.  Foley is custom-created for each show, while every studio has a sound library full of FX, which they then incorporate into their content. Sound mixers often have to change the sound’s EQ (which frequencies we hear), otherwise the sound effects will sound out of place.  The same goes for ADR, or Automated Dialogue Replacement.  If someone mumbles a line on set, actors will go into a studio and re record their lines. The lines said in the studio sound much different than those recorded on set, so the trebles, mids, and bass must be modified.  Luckily for John, he has some pretty sweet tools to help him out.

For the class, I chose sound as my area of interest because when I graduate that’s the world of show business I would like to enter. So please excuse me while I nerd out for a second. As I mentioned above, one of the most difficult things is making Foley, FX, and ADR sound normal. I’ve spent an hour working on thirty seconds of dialogue and it still doesn’t sound right.  But John! John has an app for that. It literally analyzes the sound for maybe fifteen seconds and then spits out something close to perfect.  I was so taken away I accidently said, “That’s wicked,” really loudly. But it truly was wicked, and I’m really happy I got to see it with my own eyes.

An LA Love Story

Many people’s impression of Los Angeles includes vanity, traffic, and entitlement.  None of the above impressions are wrong, and I can certainly see how this city could leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.  I have been lucky to travel here a couple of times, but staying in a hotel with my mommy and daddy is a lot different than trying to find a job here.  As excited as I was to come spend a month in the sun, I knew that Los Angeles as a life decision is something to approach with trepidation.  That being said, I still got a dumb haircut to fit in. 

That’s me with my dumb haircut and In n’ Out

 As the trip has developed, so have my feelings for LA.  I think I like her. Like, like like her.  Sure.  We’ve sat next to a Lamborghini in traffic, which begs the question of owning and driving a Lamborghini in Los Angeles.  But who cares?  I don’t.  I didn’t even take a picture. That guy made a bad decision.  And sure, traffic is bad, but our professor knows how to drive in Los Angeles and takes us off of the 405 and onto Cahuenga and then on to the 10 so we can skip the traffic on the 101 that stems from construction on Melrose. No matter how much traffic there is, Clay can get around it.  But more importantly, everyone we’ve met seems immune to the traffic.  They’re excited about what they’re doing and couldn’t be happier to share their stories with us. 

Los Angeles traffic?
Los Angeles traffic as seen by locals.

And I’m not just talking about the established Colorado College alums we have met.  Their happiness is understandable, and certainly something to strive for.  What made a more tangible impact on me was a dinner with people who did not have CEO or Head in their title.  The CC alumni office and our professors Dylan Nelson and Clay Haskell put together a party for the 9th anniversary of our amazing class, On Location: Hollywood.  We had the pleasure of meeting young CC alums, most of whom had taken the class, who were just starting their journey in the entertainment industry.  Some were writers, some were in casting, some were acting, and some were working at an agency.  There was even a guy who had created a virtual reality system that would work with an iPhone.

Each alum was open about their experience living in Los Angeles, which inevitably meant that they had a rough six, seven, or eight months fighting to pay for rent and food.  But all of them had come out of it, or were at least were on their way.  One message rang true for all of them.  If I’m not persistent and if I’m not willing to put in the hours, someone else is going to take my spot. All of them had put in the work, and it paid off.  To me, there’s nothing more just or satisfying than that.

So yeah, wading through traffic on Sunset Boulevard sucks, but LA is a city where most people are working hard and want to achieve something. That’s kind of a beautiful thing, and a beautiful thing that I hope to be a part of someday.


Thomas Euyang