The Fantasia International Film Festival is currently taking place (virtually) until September 2nd, with standout titles such as The Reckoning, Undergods and Barbara screening the genre-focused festival. It’s only fitting that Scream favorite, David Arquette, has two films in the mix: The horror/thriller 12 Hour Shift and the outrageous wrestling documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette. Besides both these films starring Arquette, they share something else in common: Supervising Sound Editor Jacob Bloomfield-Misrach.
So what does a Supervising Sound Editor actually do you might ask? If you have seen the trailer for 12 Hour Shift (above), when the blood squirts in Angela Bettis’s face, Jacob is the man responsible for that sounding as real as possible. The same goes for the glass being broken on David Arquette’s head in You Cannot Kill David Arquette (below). This part of the filmmaking process is not always touched on, so we spoke with Jacob more in-depth about it below. He also talks about what audiences can expect from 12 Hour Shift and You Cannot Kill David Arquette. Read on to enjoy the full interview!
Dread Central: You have two films currently screening at the Fantasia Film Festival. 12 Hour Shift and You Cannot Kill David Arquette. Sound-wise, the two films seem very different. Can you talk about this?
Jacob Bloomfield-Misrach: 12 Hour Shift is a fantastic psychological thriller and YCKDA is an epic, wrestling comeback story. Sonically they are totally different. 12 Hour takes place in the middle of the night. The hospital is quiet and eerie. Things like the soda machine and the fluorescent lights are unusually loud. It’s a pretty intimate film, even though it’s full of stolen organs and stabs to the face. YCKDA on the other hand is full of arena crowds and massive body slams. Totally different but both totally fun to work on.
DC: In the 12 Hour Shift trailer, blood directly squirts in the face of Mandy (played by Angela Bettis). To give readers an idea about what exactly a Supervising Sound Editor does, is your job to extenuate this?
JBM: Haha. I’ve never been asked quite in that way, but yes! My job as the Sound Supervisor was to make sure that when blood squirts directly into Mandy’s face, that the audience feels like it’s right in front of them. That requires me and my team at IMRSV Sound to find the perfect squirting blood sounds. Sometimes that’s with a sound effect and sometimes we have to get our hands wet.
DC: Is blood in particular supposed to sound any different than other liquids?
JBM: Oh yes. It’s actually amazing how different liquids can sound. It’s all about density and weight. Blood and plasma have some real heft to it. Almost like paint. Water, coffee, rain, soup, and all the rest have their own sounds and textures to them. The most important thing when sound designing is to get it right. If it’s the wrong sound it will send up a red flag for the viewer. Their brain will know something isn’t right, even if they can’t put their finger on it, and that takes them out of the film. My job is to pay attention to all of the little details, to make sure the audience is hooked from start to finish.
DC: Was You Cannot Kill David Arquette a lot more challenging, sound-wise, because it is a documentary and you couldn’t control a lot of the sounds during filming?
JBM: Great question. Documentaries tend to have rougher sound because it’s being recorded out in the world. Dogs and sirens and airplanes are constantly getting in our way. Those elements can be distracting, so it takes a lot of surgical work to get them out of the way of the dialogue. But in narrative films we’re constantly doing battle with the hidden lavalier microphones. Those pesky buggers hiding under clothing are noisy. So that element of a narrative can be really challenging as well, even in a narrative film like 12 Hour. All films have their own challenges. That’s what makes each project unique.
DC: You Cannot Kill David Arquette looks pretty crazy with glass being broken over David’s head along with him getting whipped on the back with something. What was the craziest sound you had to focus on for this film?
JBM: Arquette goes down to Mexico to train with the Lucha Libres. The audio we had for that was very raw. There was a super loud mariachi band playing during one of those matches. Trying to clean up that audio so that we could hear David talking, while also enhancing the insane wrestling moves that those guys were doing, flipping all over the place was pretty challenging. But I love how it turned out. It’s raw but it’s really cool.
DC: Does the horror genre tend to have a different set of rules for you to follow, sound-wise?
JBM: Yes, in horror films we’re allowed to have a little more fun. We’re not as tied to what’s “real” or “correct”. Sound designing a horror film is all about what is going to make the audience jump out of their seat. Things have to be bold and loud. Dynamics are very important as well. An impact will feel louder if it’s really quiet a moment before. It’s that push and pull that keeps it tense.
DC: How did you get into the business of being a supervising sound editor?
JBM: I’ve developed the skill of knowing how a finished product should sound. There are sound guys who might be able to edit dialogue better than I can or create footsteps faster than me, but I have a good birds-eye view of how it should all fit together. I work as the team captain. It was a long road to get here. I started out as a boom pole operator and then worked my way up as a dialogue editor and sound designer. Now I primarily act as supervisor or as composer, which is my other favorite thing to do.
DC: Out of all the films that you’ve worked on is there one that you are most proud of? Or one that you think best represents your work?
JBM: I genuinely love every film I work on. Maybe it’s the luxury that I get to pick my projects, but I invest a lot of myself into each project. I was the supervisor for Crip Camp this year, which was an amazing experience. YCKDA and 12 Hour were also top favorites for me. They were so fun, and the team at HCT. Media and Christina Arquette were fantastic to work with. I give a lot of credit to the directors as well. Brea Grant (12 HR) and David Darg/Price James (YCKDA) are all wonderful and talented people. I love my job when I get to work with people like that.
DC: What are some of your favorite scary movies?
JBM: It’s probably lost its cool factor by now, but I got to see The Blair Witch Project in the theaters when it came out in 1999. It wasn’t so much that it was super scary, but more that it gets under your skin and sticks with you. I remember leaving the theater and going to the cabin where we were staying. My family was on vacation, and it happened to be in the woods. Oh man, I did not sleep that night.
Did you enjoy our exclusive interview with Jacob Bloomfield-Misrach? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.