filed to Filmmaking by Jake Jurich on October 22, 2023


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The Tooth (IMDb, Letterboxd) is a 2023 proof-of-concept short written and directed by Greta Guthrie & Jake Lazarow (based on their award-winning feature script!!). Just like with their previous short Overlook, I served as a camera assistant on set and then handled the sound design + mix in post. This time around I had a much more direct hand in spotting and recording foley, in addition to my sound design touches and engineering ADR.

Lead actress Shannon Collis posing for a disposable pic in between recording ADR takes.

I created a spreadsheet where I spotted all sound design, foley, and ADR cues I felt were necessary. And over the course of April 2023, I gradually worked through every line of the sheet. Here’s my setup, working in Logic on the left, with the picture-locked cut of the film synced & displayed in center, and the master list on the right:

Jake & Greta couldn’t have emphasized enough how gross they wanted the short’s climactic tooth-ripping-out-of-the-ground to sound. With that, I developed a sound design motif of crackling, breaking, fraying—whether it play as roots or literal heartstrings. We also had many creative conversations about how the sound could help sell Sloane’s lapses into and out of a dream space. This is what I love about this process, taking abstract concepts from the directors and using a million bits of sound (and a billion intertwined filters on those bits) to bring them to life. The sound shouldn’t distract from the visuals; it should enhance it to create a new experience for the viewer that neither sound nor video could achieve alone.

I worked with Liam Nee to record the foley I had spotted for the project. In the video above, he’s painstakingly trying to capture every possible variety of sound he can get out of the bicycle. I just wanted a ton of textures to pick, choose, and thread together in the case of the bike. Synchronization was more important for elements like footsteps:

Here, Liam’s able to watch the live synced cut playing in Logic, while recording straight into the project file. This is exactly how we laid down ADR with the actresses, as well. As with everything, I tweaked the footsteps down to fractions of a second as I put all the final pieces in place.

I’m super proud of the work I did on The Tooth, and once again grateful to Greta & Jake for the opportunity to contribute to such a great piece!

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