Hyperbolic Audio Mixes “Casting By” Doc – HBO Picks Up US TV Rights
October 10, 2012 by David Weiss
Following a successful premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, HBO acquired the U.S. television rights to the film. Casting By will be making its U.S. debut at the New York Film Festival this Friday, October 12th, and has been named of the top 10 films to catch during the festival by Flavorwire.com.
Casting By tells the unsung tale of the role of casting director in film and television. The documentary specifically follows the 50+ year career of casting pioneer Marion Dougherty as she transitioned from television casting from her 30th street brownstone to her days working for the Hollywood studios.
Director Tom Donahue follows the trailblazing story of Marion as she revolutionizes the role of casting director from an organizational function in which actors were slotted into roles that fit their typecast to a creative culmination with with directors and producers of a project.
The film features on-camera interviews from a number of Hollywood heavyweights including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Bette Midler, Glenn Close, John Travolta, Mel Gibson, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, John Lithgow, and Clint Eastwood, as well as some of the top casting directors and directors of today. Many of these notable names recall how either Marion, or other counterparts such as West Coast casting director Lynn Stalmaster, saw something in them as actors and created the opportunities for them to break into their career.
Donahue was directed to midtown audio post facility Hyperbolic Audio by the film’s music composer, Leigh Roberts. There, senior mixer Steve Bucino oversaw the project, with the help of Hyperbolic engineers Rodrigo Galvan and Ben Workman.
Since the project was targeting its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 10th, 2012, Bucino had only two weeks to work on the project – which included over 70 interviews throughout the 89 minute piece, as well as intercut sound clips from classic films highlighting some of the earliest works from the featured actors.
“Whenever you get that much footage of more than 4 years of interviews your going to have a challenge,” Bucino says. “Some of the guests in the film were interviewed several times in various locations on different equipment. What you’re left with are amazing stories being told with inconsistent sound quality.
“My goal was to make sure that the audience is engulfed in the story and the momentum of the story, and not aware of any of the technical drawbacks of this kind of format.”
The mix for the dialogue-intensive project was continuously evolving, as well. “New elements were often added to the mix on the fly,” adds Bucino. “The score was constantly being reworked and updated while new sound clips were being dug up to replace any problematic section that arose. At one point the opening sequence was revised and extended, all while we were in the mix phase.”
Due to the tight turnaround and constantly changing elements, Bucino took on the bulk of the dialogue editing and mixing, while the other engineers needed to work on music and sound FX. “Having Rodrigo and Ben available in our multiroom facility meant that when there was an open studio I could delegate what needed to be addressed next,” he notes. “It was really helpful to hand over a scene and say ‘Ok, these sections need Foley by the end of the day so we can move forward with the final mix’ and I knew it would get done.”
Throughout, Bucino worked closely with Donahue and star editor Jill Schweitzer to bring the emotion of the story to life.
Initial reviews by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety referred to Casting By as “nothing short of awesome”(Variety). HBO bought the U.S. television rights to the film the next day, and, as noted above, Casting By will be making its U.S. debut at the New York Film Festival on October 12th.
Companies: Our8’s, Kate Lacey, Creative Chaos, Genmaicha, in association with Tashtego Films
Director: Tom Donahue
Producers: Kate Lacey, Tom Donahue, Ilan Arboleda, Joanna Colbert
Executive producers: Steve Edwards, Ed Durkin, John Balis, Margaret Whitton
Director of photography: Peter Bolte
Music: Leigh Roberts
Editor: Jill Schweitzer
Supervising Sound Editor: Steve Bucino
Re-Recording Mixer: Steve Bucino
Additional Sound Editors: Rodrigo Galvan, Ben Workman
Sales: Submarine Entertainment