What was your favorite sound design element of the film?
As a sound designer, my favorite moments in any film that I work on are the moments where I feel I get to include my personal touch, or my signature, to the story (and to the film as a whole).
In The Mediator, the element I really enjoyed was the use of the Indian’s whispers to lead us into the flashback. Carsten’s brilliant editing and keen sense of sound design gave me an awesome jumping off point, but I felt that this particular moment needed a sound element that was character driven and could really push the idea that we [as an audience] were taking a journey through the boys memory.
My hope was that using the Indian’s whispers might indicate that we were leaving the real world and entering [what the boy might consider] a nightmare. Implementing this human element as a sound design tool gives us a more profound connection to this boy and what he is feeling. I’m hoping that this helped in illustrating the tension between the boy and the Indian, as well as foreshadowing the face-to-face interaction that was to come.
How did foley add to the film?
First of all, I think that good foley can be an integral part of any film. This film, in particular, was very much dependent on well-executed foley.
As with any western, there are a lot of real world sound elements that are not always captured on set. I’m referring mostly to the horses, and all of the sounds associated. This includes their footsteps, their movements, the saddle, the stirrups, the bridle, and everything else that go along with a cowboy and his trusty companion (even the canteen if you’re paying close attention).
It was my impression from the very beginning that if we were going to create a visceral and lifelike environment for these rugged characters, we would need to do so by using (and even exaggerating at times) the real world sounds created by our characters. I feel that the foley helped us do just that.
In what ways did the music and the sound design coexist.
I cannot say enough good things about the score for The Mediator. I’ve worked with numerous composers over the years, but seldom do I collaborate with a composer that has the sound design of a film in mind from the get-go.
It was this enthusiasm for the sound design that allowed Brad and I to collectively bring elements and ideas to the table (and find ways for them to work together). For example, Brad would keep his orchestrations more subtle and subdued during moments that were sound design driven; and I would pitch shift my sound design elements in these moments to fit the musical key he was working in. Brad even incorporated some of these sound design elements into his music, making it even easier for our work to seamlessly flow together.