Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two

More Cowbell!

I've been practicing cutting sound for the past two months. But today is the first day I'm doing something that's going to actually end up on TV, which is pretty exciting. I'm creating the ambience and backgrounds for a courtroom/detective drama made by Hallmark. In 'the biz' we call backgrounds "BG's" - short for "backgrounds" of course. But does that make any sense? I mean, how many syllables is "backgrounds" vs. "BG's". I dunno, it's just the lingo.

Other fun lingo words - the general hubbub and clatter of a crowd of people in the background is called "walla" - and one of the cardinal rules of walla is that there is no discernible English word in it. If there is, we cut that part out, invert it with a digital sound processor, and slip it back in. I've heard this is because when movies and shows get dubbed and sent overseas, they will reject anything with obviously English words in it... but I don't know if that's really true yet.

So it's interesting, building the "soundscape" of each of these scenes. There are only so many ways to cut an indoor environment - normally it will consist of roomtone, some sort of AC sound, walla (if there are people present) and maybe some distant traffic, like you'd hear through a window. But each environment has to be unique, too - otherwise you run the risk of every indoor location sounding just like all the others, which will subtly ruin the atmosphere.

Of course, I have a strong temptation to put silly things in. At the moment I'm fixated on that SNL sketch with Blue Oyster Cult recording "Don't Fear the Reaper" - and Christopher Walken keeps exhorting them to put in more cowbell. But, as this particular drama takes place in downtown L.A., cowbell would seem to be vastly inappropriate. Okay, I'm really just kidding anyway - I want to do this exactly right so as to inspire confidence in my employer.

But I'm thinkin' about that cowbell.

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