Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Blog!

Shipping this blog to daycare.


You know me. I tend to overwrite. Sue me.

Mincing the words this time.

The well of "Notes from a Sound Guy" has dried.

Following my muse and starting a new blog.

Also, I'm not technically a sound guy anymore so addressing the world via this medium would be a little too much like lying.

Lying generates bad karma.

Maybe my next blog will be a buddhist tome.

Time will tell.

Signing off for the last time,

(or until i announce my new blog here)

Ryan the Sound Guy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Miguel Cabrera: The Patron Saint of Awesomeness

Hey there sports fans!

Perhaps the best secret that this blogger has kept from his loyal readers is how much he loves baseball. Don't get me wrong. Anybody who interacts with me in the realm of reality during late spring, summer, and early autumn knows that I'm a baseball fanatic, but in what is supposed to be my online testimonial, I've given little attention to my love of America's Pastime a.k.a. The Greatest Game on Earth a.k.a. God's Gift to Earth a.k.a. the Jesus sport (I pray that God forgives the egregious blasphemy of this. Though I do believe that were baseball invented during Jesus' time not only would he have been an avid fan, but a heck of a shortstop in his own right. Again, God forgive me.)

At it's heart baseball is a romantically simple game and the reasons why I love of it are romantically simple as well. In fact the reasons why I love it are awfully similar to the reasons why one may love another human being, or pet, or ubiquitous gadget of the moment (i'm looking at you, iPhone addicts). In fact, I'd go as far as to theorize that theres a reason why single guys flock to the game in the summer months and their relationship with it flourishes during a time that any red-blooded human being yearns for steady companionship. There's just something about the warm weather and long days that inspires this feeling. Or maybe it's just the need for a person to rage about bad summer movies to (I'm looking at you, Knight & Day).

What's in my love of baseball? Let me break it down for y'all.

Baseball is a committed and dedicated game. It shows up everyday without fail deterred only occasionally by the rain. Come home from work and there it is to greet you with wide arms, bringing you your slippers, and a cold beer to sip while you sit in a meaningful three hour conversation with it in which you muse about the ironies and complexities of life.

Baseball isn't a jealous game. It won't tear you a new on if you miss a game. In fact it gives you 162 of them every year thus encouraging you to have a life outside of it.

Baseball accepts you for who you are on the inside. Ugly or good-looking. Young or old. Intelligent or not so much. Rich or poor. Short or tall. Tea-toter or raging alcoholic. Baseball only sees what's inside and if you love it, by god it will love you back. There's no such thing as unrequited love or rejection with baseball (that is unless you were a Detroit Tigers fan in 2003).

Baseball actually likes hanging out with your friends. Not a selfish game, baseball invites even your most obnoxious friends to hang out with it on a nightly basis. And, really digs drinking with you too.

Baseball understands that you'll sometimes forget. A lot goes on during the course of the season. Information piles upon information and sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything. Baseball doesn't get upset if you forget a detail or two. It will kindly remind you that Miguel Cabrera is leading the league in batting average or that Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs in his career or that tomorrow's game is a day game, or that the Chicago White Sox won 20 of their last 25 games or that the Minnesota Twins are satan incarnate. It won't stop talking to you, argue with you, or call you inconsiderate. It empathizes.

Baseball in in tune with your emotions. Your team is in a slump. You need space. Your team is kicking ass. It gets crazy excited and pumped up with you. There's no need to explain yourself to baseball. It gets you.

Baseball is a patient game. It doesn't allow itself to be rushed along by time or a clock, but develops, progresses and grows gradually ending only on mutual terms when each team has had their say in matters and done all that they could to make it work.

Baseball is perfect. The most beautiful game in the world and it's all yours.

Now to do you get why I adore baseball so much?

Or, maybe you just think that I REALLY need a girlfriend.

Ryan the Sound Guy

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hiatus Schmiatus/For the Kids/et al

Ground control to Major Thelonious, commencing countdown notes on hiatus

April 22, 2010. The date of the last post on this blog. Some might call the past 2+ months a hiatus. I'd still call it blogging.

Legendary (and eccentric) jazz pianist Thelonious Monk is as noted today for the uniquely shaped melodies that he composed as for the unique spaces that he placed in between the notes that made up those melodies. Miles Davis was heavily influenced by Monk and touches of the pianist's spacious style can be heard all over Davis' later period work (Bitches' Brew, in particular, where one often has to listen very attentively in order to catch Davis' trumpet).

Last year mega-director Steven Soderbergh, helmsman of films such as the Oceans series and Traffic, stopped by NYU to deliver a lecture to the debt-ridden students in the MFA program. In it he described himself as a synthesist and went on to explain to us what exactly that a synthesist is the type of artist who takes in numerous external stimuli, processes and reflects on them, and creates something unique that is an expression of this work.

Oreo cookies are known not for the chocolate cookie discs, but for the spaces in between them.

What's my point? Two months without blogging, were just as expressive, honest, and substantial as two months full of blogging. Just as the spaces in between Monk's notes express, just as the cream in the oreo is more famous than the cookie, and just as the time of synthesis is needed in order to produce meaningful work, these two months were, if not necessary, then definitely honest.

What have I been doing for two months? Researching for my next screenplay: Synthesis. Watching a lot of baseball, LOST, and movies, and reading: Creme filling. A lot of nothing: The spaces in between notes.

After two months of relative inactivity you may be wondering what spurred me to finally revisit this old sounding board. The answer: my summer gig teaching high school kids filmmaking. It's strange how a whole day spent instructing young students the art of expressing themselves via the mediums of film and video can fire up one's own expressive motor. Strange to look in the eyes of these kids and see in them a voracious hunger to develop the tools needed to become great filmmakers and strange that they're looking to me to show them. Strange how eager they are to hear about my films and my experiences as a filmmaker, who my influences are, and what my process is.

I finished today literally pumped that I get to help these kids bring their dreams to life and I can't wait to get on set with them again to see how they've synthesized what they've experienced and been shown. This was all that it took to catalyze me and return to the blog.

Maybe it's because today was the first nice day in a string of absurdly hot ones in this city, maybe my blogging conscience was screaming at me to get off my ass, maybe I want some oreos, what ever it was the space between notes finished synthesizing into this new note from the sound guy you all know and tolerate.

Special thanks to Monk, Soderbergh, and Nabisco.

Ryan the Sound Guy

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Looking Around My Room, I Wonder...

...When did I get all of this crap?

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could just snap your fingers and find all of your stuff packed and loaded into the u-haul when you were in the process of moving? I mean I would willingly unload the truck, it's just getting all of this stuff together that's going to take forever.

It would also be awesome if I was organized to begin with. Then the task wouldn't be so daunting.

What if there was a service that airlifted your room as is and just dropped it in it's new location?

Or like a gigantic suction tube, that that sucked it all up into the truck and spit it back out into the new apartment.

Or like one gigantic suitcase, big enough for furniture and all. Sure it would be heavy, but it's nothing that a good dolly couldn't tackle.

Matter of fact, why isn't there an iPhone app to make moving more painless?

Or an iPad app?

Initially I thought it was a waste of money, but if the thing could break down my futon for me I would willingly give Apple more of my hard-borrowed money.

Thinking about it, one really has to be unhappy with the state of their current accommodations to willfully undergo the arduous task of moving. The only thing less exciting than it is probably taking a punch in the face from Mike Tyson in his prime. Or even Mike Tyson now. Though I think that if Mike Tyson asked to punch me in the face in exchange for doing all my packing and moving for me I would strongly consider it. Sure it would hurt, but I'd have so much moving-free time to convalesce.

Ryan the Sound Guy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Happened?!?

From Manahattan: "Talent is luck. The important thing in life is courage."
Damn, this man is a genius...

After only four hours of sleep I woke up Monday morning with a ridiculously fierce chest cold and a severe realization that there were only two weeks of school left. Such extreme circumstances are capable of bringing only one question to mind: What the hell happened?

This school year is easily traceable in terms of my mood and energy level. If I were good at math and charts and graphs and all the stuff that I ostensibly avoided by studying film, I would draw up a diagram that shows the correlation between the progression of the year as it related to the devolution of my energy, ambition, excitement, etc. Since the final product of the year will be birthed next weekend when I show my second year film to New York's unforgiving public, it seems fitting that I divide this arduous journey which I am near completing into trimesters.

Trimester 1: Late August-Early October

Distinguishing Characteristics:
Energetic, excited, inspired, ambitious, and imbued with a general sense of invincibility.

In the throes of my favorite part of the filmmaking process, writing, I was inspired by every single little thing that happened to and around me. The Tigers were leading their division and on their way to a playoff berth! Inspiration. My friend, Cathlin, arrived in New York City! Inspiration. They put extra rice in my burrito at Chipotle! Inspiration. I felt unstoppable and on my way to an incredible year.

Trimester 2: Mid October-Mid January

Distinguishing Characteristics
: Anxious, nervous, self-doubting, exhausted, and imbued with a general sense of being in over my head.

By far the most exhausting period of my life and one that was well documented here in this blog. Began by the Tigers blowing their playoff chances in a tie-breaking game with the Minnesota Twins. Proceeded to me somehow finishing production on my film and crewing on seven other films as a sound recordist. Ended with my being a shell of the man I was before.

Sidenote: I've always had this inability to get stressed when the situation calls for a need to feel stressed. It's a little bit persistent optimism a little bit naivete, but I think it's a reflex that most people have for a reason and is both a blessing and a curse not to have. Stress is what kicks us into high gear and helps us perform when circumstances are dire. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm a generally easy-going guy. This doesn't change when I'm under pressure. Probably the reason that my shoot went as smoothly as it did and I made through the rest of production period with my mind in tact. Definitely the reason why my shoot should have been a complete disaster. Where I lack stress I maintain neurotic anxiety in abundance. Balance?

Trimester 3: Late January-Present

Distinguishing Characteristics:
Exhausted, disenchanted, lonely, and imbued with a general sense of inspiration (?)

Edit film. Screen to class/faculty. Get ripped apart. Fix film. Screen to class/faculty. Get ripped apart. Re-edit/fix film. Screen to class/faculty. Get ripped apart. If you've noticed a pattern here, it's because there is one. There's nothing more demoralizing than working on something that you've put your heart into and seeing it not work they way you had originally hoped in the writing stage. Granted, our films (alternate reading: lives) are treated as works in progress until we get to the end of year screening (alternate reading: the pearly gates), the fact remains that art is made for an audience and if the audience doesn't buy wholesale into it and love it, the artist feels as though they've failed. I realize that it's a teacher's job to be critical, but damn, you can at least tell me what actually works in my film as opposed to relentlessly hammering on the things that don't. (I've since gotten compliments on the story, acting, and editing.) It's been a rough 2010, but I'm inspired by the horizon and the ideas that I have simmering in my head right now that will find their way onto paper this summer.

So as I continue to fight this awful cold and catch up on all of the end of semester projects that I've successfully procrastinated on doing to this point, I have a general sense of what happened. I had experiences. You know those things that make up life and that we're supposed to learn from. A hard year it was, but I can definitely say that I've grown from it, both as a filmmaker and an individual. There's this old quote from Thomas Carlyle that I remember hearing when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school on the basketball team and getting VERY little playing time despite working hard in practice everyday. It went:

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.

I'll be damned if anybody ever calls my soul weak...

Ryan the Sound Guy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boca Meatless Chik'n Nuggets

I like Boca, it's Nice.

Remember a while ago when I used this blog as a medium for complaining about the inequality between the insurmountable intolerability of Tofu Pups and their interminably instant ease of preparation? Oxymorons aside, I had another ridiculously long day in which I didn't get home until 11 pm after leaving my apartment for school at 9:15 am. Needless to say I wasn't in the cooking mood. Needlesser to say, I didn't have any Tofu Pups in my fridge.

Given that it's been a good week since my transition to non-contrived vegetarianism, I decided to take a trip to the grocery store yesterday to explore what the Spanish would call opciones para mi sustenance when I stumbled upon a miracle.

Maybe I was too tired to be super-discerning. Maybe the consuming of anything edible would have satiated my hunger enough for me to fall asleep. Maybe I dreamt the whole thing (including this blog post). But, I will go on record as saying that Boca Meatless Chik'n Nuggets have delivered fast, quick, and delicious food where Tofu Pups failed oh so miserably.

10 minutes in the oven and a little hot sauce and ranch dressing later I have a ridiculous grin on my face that has nothing to do with the awesome weekend that's just over the horizon or the fact that the Tigers staged their second incredibly awesome comeback of the season today.

Thank you, Boca. It's good to have a friend like you as a beacon to bring me home on manic days such as these.

Now, I pass out...

Ryan the Sound Guy

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Rodin and I would have been bros.

Decisions. We make a countless number of them everyday and don't even think twice about most of them. Remember this morning when you pressed snooze half a dozen times? That was a compilation of a half dozen decisions. Remember when you had to choose between the t-shirt or the ascot to accompany your tweed jacket? That was a compilation of a half dozen decisions. Remember when you decided to cross the street against traffic and flip the bird to the cabbie that almost took your life? That was also a compilation of a half dozen decisions. In my life and time I've found that decisions can be lumped into one of two distinct categories: Convictionariables and Noncertainafiables.

The first category is easy to define. You're in a situation in which you know for a fact that what's in your heart is what's true. Examples of this are when you decide to step over dog excrement on the sidewalk, when you take your first sip of beer on a Friday night and know that it's going to be a solid weekend, and of course when you turn on the TV to find the episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on where Carlton overdoses on amphetamines at the school prom and you know that that particular half hour of your life can be spent in no other way but watching it. Certain things are able to exist beyond reproach or argument. Convictionariables are these such things.

Noncertainafiables are those things that are capable of being deliberated over eternally. Things that you can never be really sure about and will spend the rest of time second guessing, vetting, and doubting. Examples of these include whether to become a dog owner, choosing between regular fries or sweet potato fries, or deciding whether modern art is really worth your time and attention. (People will tell you over and over again that the MoMA is SOOOOO cool, and you'll be inclined to believe them despite how pointless most of it is to you. It's a vicious cycle.)

I find myself caught in one of each these days, but will use this post to speak on the latter. The noncertainafiable in which I find myself trapped is that of choosing a new apartment. (Cue foreboding music.)

I've always been a very indecisive guy in general. It's a component of my Achilles heel. So when it comes to making a critical decision such as where I'm going to be living for the next year, I buckle under the pressure and prolong the inevitable, convinced that I am capable of exploring each and every one of my options before I have to make a decision.

Not possible.

Apartments fly on and off the market in this city faster than you can whip out your check book to make a deposit. (I feel like that sentence is pretty flat in this context, but would be a pretty juvenile yet clever euphemism were this blog more lurid.) And, it's people like me who end up in overpriced East Village crackerjack boxes because they move to slow.

I've been told throughout my adult life that I have to eventually learn to grow out of my slow moving ways and be more bold and decisive so this situation is nothing new. But, until I make that change I'll leave you with this inspiring example of bold decision making:


Ryan the Sound Guy