In a World...

By Jared Young

Mailed on August 23, 2013

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Dear Laird Fryer
ADR Mixer

Dear Laird,

You're pretty new to the world of Hollywood post-production. After a couple years in the business, I'm sure you're beginning to get the hang of things. You know, run an R-Bass sub-harmonic enhancer to beef up production dialogue and EQ the room out of a track - the basics.

In a World…, the new flick you worked on with Lake Bell - which she wrote, directed, and stars in - takes place in the present, but not, it seems, the present that we live in. Some alternate dimension, rather, where the art of the trailer didn't evolve to favor earnest montages and driving beats. Where Don LaFontaine's famous ice-breaker, from which the film gets its title, yet holds enough cultural relevance to change a young woman's life.

Do you ever wish that you were born a few decades earlier so that you could have been around for the golden age of the voice-actor? The same way, say, that young writers look back reverentially to the glory days of publishing in postwar New York, or young filmmakers might dream of travelling back to the early 70s to hang out with Scorsese and Spielberg and Lucas and Kasdan at their crash-pad on Nicholas Beach. Because, yes, the era of the omniscient and authoritative V/O certainly seems to be ebbing. Jeff Bridges is narrating Energizer commercials, Matt Damon is the voice of TD Ameritrade, and even in the depressing world of low-cost corporate videos there's a clear bias towards more authentic, conversational, "real" voices.

Or maybe it does take place in our world. You run with that crowd now--you tell me. Maybe this is less an alternate dimension and more of a quick glimpse into a cloistered Hollywood subculture. Whatever the case, the trick that Bell had to turn - finding a way to fit her cutesy rom-com plot, which follows the daughter of a notable (and misogynistic) voice-actor as she breaks gender barriers and finds love, into this weird, byzantine universe - is a trick of tone and consistency. Something that you're probably familiar with: getting the levels right.

And Bell manages it, for the most part. The absurdity is dialed up, the quirkiness is equalized. But it's the relationships - between father and daughter, husband and wife, mentor and mentee - that sit at the top of the mix and provide a richness of feeling that is, I guess, somewhat surprising for a movie that reaches its climax at the Golden Trailer Awards.

"Reaches its climax"? No, wait. That sounds wrong. Let me try that again and you can lay it over with a little Mono R-verb preset.



There we go. Nailed it.



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