Backstory: The Best Confession

by Emon Hassan on August 13, 2005

Length: 3 min 31 sec.

We’d just finished recording voices for ‘Flashforward’. On my hour and a half long train ride to Brooklyn College radio station, I had quickly written a two page idea. It started with nothing except that a guy’s voice says ‘Linda, I have a confession to make’. She says, ‘I know what it is’. I kept on writing and found myself thinking it would be cool to do something different with the same lines. I didn’t know what. I wrote a bit more and later typed up the pages at the studio quickly.

Now, the night before I was listening to Erik Satie’s ‘Trois Gymnopedie’ which happened to be on the same CD as the ‘Enchanted Lake’ piece. I found myself listening to it over and over again. I knew I had to use it somehow. Since I had the CD with me the next morning, I realized that it would make a perfect accompaniment to the second piece, which I had, by now, titled ‘The Best Confession’. I asked my friends, actors Don Downie and Candice Holdorf if they’d do me a favor and record the second one very quickly. I played the music for them a couple of times to create a mood. They were fabulous. The recording was done very quickly, and soon they left.

Later, I found myself sitting down at the computer with no idea how to make the piece work. My only condition with the Erik Satie piece was to use it in its entirety. I didn’t have 3 mins 31 seconds of dialogue. The confession concept was there but I didn’t know how to make it sound modern and not just two people talking. I didn’t have SFX I liked, so I had to design them. For example, the confession eraser machine sound was created by fusing a seat belt click and a computer beep and phasing it backwards. Also I wanted the last note of the music to hit at just the right place. It was tough. I tried several ideas until it all came together.

Now sound designers do it all the time, nothing new. But for me, it was magical since the story, mood, pacing, feel was created that very day.

Creating a story and shaping it into a final product wasn’t new to me at that point. In October, I had participated at the Cinemasports competition in NYC. I’ll tell that story some other time when I have the video stream available.

So, what’s the point of telling these stories about the radio plays and the movie? I’ve found myself, since Cinemasports, insanely attracted to situations where there is a race against time. I also realized how much I went with my instincts and how they’ve rewarded me.

There is also a lesson in this, and that may not have come off clearly. I couldn’t have done any of that alone. No matter how much of a genius you are (neither am I), you can’t do everything by yourself. When I had to find actors to do the voices, I called my friend Don right away, because he is someone I could trust with my material. He came through in the eleventh hour, again. I needed a female voice, but with such a short notice it’s not always possible. Then, I remembered Candice Holdorf. She had auditioned last year for my short PRETTY, and Don had read with her. I wanted to find a way to work with her, so I gave her a call. This was the first time I’d called her after that audition, and it was the night before the recording, at 10 PM. A true professional that she is, she was up the next morning at 8 AM, and traveled a hour and a half to BC studios.

It wasn’t just the recording of the plays that was filled with lessons or surprises. It was the events leading up to that day. Let me explain. I’d met Don because a friend of his auditioned for a role in my movie. She contacted Don later and told him about me looking for actors for my radio plays as well. Don followed up for the radio plays and ended up being cast as Mark in my short. I found out he lives just 6 blocks away from me. Candice auditioned for the short a month or two later after Don was cast to play opposite his character. I’d seen her info on Shooting People. 3 months later, I call her up out of the blue for the radio play. The next thing I know, she lives on the same avenue Don and I live on, just blocks apart. Carol Jacobanis, who I’d contacted after seeing her info on ‘Backstage’ told me about Shooting People just a month or two before I saw Candice’s information. When I was in need of an actor to play Stacey after letting go of an actor just two weeks before shoot, Don brought me Guenia Lemos. I don’t know about you folks, but stuff like that really, as the Oracle said, bakes my noodle. I have several ‘Karmic’ stories like these. At a later time, friends.

In summary, my current movie project is on a much, much larger scale than what I’d been part of previously. I believe the stars will line up the right way. I have come to know some new people in the past few days who will take this new journey as a team. As I see it, this latest project may just be the first move in a bigger chess game. Who knows what will come out of this? Maybe something bigger and greater than we’d ever have expected.

If we can live life not knowing what the next minutes have in store for us, then a movie project like this is a walk in the park.

A math professor of mine once said to me that stuck with me and sort of summarizes my approach to life, “If you see light at the end of the tunnel, you’re facing the wrong way”.

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