Tuesday  February 26, 2002


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I nearly forgot to mention one of the most enjoyable aspects of our frantic reshoots.

While editing the film over the last several months, I periodically jotted down notes on various missing sound elements. Among these were ADR (additional dialogue recording) which includes off-camera lines, lines that were, for various reasons, garbled or inaudible and sound effects, including dogs barking, train whistles, traffic sounds, chirping birds, etc.

Prominent among the latter category were the many sounds associated with police cars: sirens, the PA, doors and trunks slamming and opening and the sounds of the engine being started, shutting off and running. During production, whenever we had a scene in which the police car was zooming to a crime scene we turned on the flashing lights but never used the siren. I didn't want to disturb the neighbors more than necessary (especially at night) or create an editing nightmare by interfering with the actor's dialogue.

Bill & Lowell get ready to fire 'em up in the J & I Cafe

We had our patrol cars available to us a few days prior to the shoot dates, so I arranged for our sound guy, Alan Green, to meet us at the SAPD Police Academy where we had secured permission to drive around their training track while recording the sounds of the siren. The academy is about 20 minutes south of San Antonio off I 35. Someone had to drive the patrol car down there, so I volunteered. How often does one get the chance to drive a fully equipped Police Interceptor on the interstate? With Fernando riding shotgun and Alan following in his pick-up, off we went.

The view from behind the wheel of a patrol car on the highway is pretty sweet. You know those assholes who never yield in the fast lane? Oddly, they have no problem getting over when you're driving a police cruiser.

The real fun started on the training track. The track is a fenced off area behind the academy buildings of several acres with a network of roads and orange cones. There are various hairpin turns, stop signs and straightaways and even a rectangular section with oil on the tarmac to practice skidding.

I spent the afternoon driving back and forth really fast with the siren blaring while Alan recorded the sound from various different angles for specific scenes in the film. For the Pig Stand scene we got the sound of a patrol car passing in the background (Morning looks up as the car passes and says "Fat cop" to Francis, who laughs); for the Carol scene we used one of the several siren variations available for the sound of an ambulance approaching from the distance; for the scene where Mather robs the Food Mart we got the sound of the siren as the patrol car approaches and screeches to a halt.

At the end of the day, I added some good texture to the film -- and had a hell of a lot of fun.

- Joseph Pierson


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