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Feeling Sick at the Oscars

Why are the so-called sorcerers of sound routinely shafted?
Brian Anderson
Κείμενο Brian Anderson

No, I didn’t watch the Oscars. Why would I? I did a pretty miserable job keeping up with movies this past year – I think I saw one, maybe two new films? – so it would have been pointless on that score alone to have sat and watched another sad and irrelevant awards show spectacle. I can simply read (like I’m doing right now) about all the aging white folk who took home awards, you know?

But beyond that, beyond all the red carpet pageantry and all the breathless freaking out over that stuff somehow being important, it’s this whole idea that what we see in films – people or animations on screen, “acting” – trumps all that just doesn’t sit well with me. This cult of character is next in a long windrow of shit that unsettles my stomach.

Why? Because sound makes a film. It’s often in the best films that sound (and I’m not talking about soundtracks) is cooked up so realistically and naturally that we can’t even tell it’s there. Yes, there are Oscars given out for sound mixing and editing. And from the few movie awards programs I’ve actually seen, it’s pretty great to see the nerdery that is the sound mixer or editor’s lot take the stage and not blather off canned platitudes to world peace. They look like actual, honest and decent human beings who work hard at their craft, and seem generally honored to have been given the nod.

But even still, you hardly ever see the guy who brings cinema to life, the Foley artist who literally reenacts entire films by himself in dark studios, dicing frozen cabbages (ideal for simulating the sound of some poor sap getting his head chopped off) or pawing at a box of sand with customized coconut-shell gloves (this gives you a nice, distinct horse’s gallop), getting the credit he deserves. And that makes me wanna hurl. Why are the so-called sorcerers of sound routinely shafted?

In that spirit, and because it’s Monday and I’m feeling cranky and decidedly lowbrow, here’s a simple DIY Foley how-to, courtesy musician, writer and robotic artist Sarah Angliss, to replicating the variable, offensive sounds of someone barfing their face off in disgust. You’ll need one can of baked beans, a half liter of water, one bucket, one mug, one actor friend “with a sterling consternation,” a microphone and editing software with reverb.

Read the rest at Motherboard.