Austin at SXSW 2013: Stuck On On's Repeat Success
Austin-based audio and visual post-production company Stuck On On worked on six films set to screen at SXSW 2013:
- Matthew McConaughey-fronted Mud (Debbie's review)
- Local filmmakers Richard Linklater's Before Midnight (Debbie's review)
- Emily Hagins' feature Grow Up, Tony Phillips
- Former AFS Artist Services Director Bryan Poyser's The Bounceback (Elizabeth's interview)
- PJ Raval's documentary Before You Know It
- Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews' Austin-shot movie Zero Charisma
The record-setting year marks the award-winning company's five-year anniversary, when founders Lyman Hardy, Parke Gregg and Allison Turrell (along with a silent partner) opened its doors in the Eastside with the mission to support and solidify Texas film's street cred. Before Stuck On On was a company, it was an experience Hardy had with a dining-room chandelier that refused to turn off.
And Turrell was stuck on post production after studying video art as a graduate student. She joined forces with Hardy and Gregg, who previously met through work in the film industry, during the summer of 2007. Shortly after, the trio worked on the LBJ documentary The Great Society, which is on permanent display at the LBJ Library and Museum, as well as Unconventional: The Story of Barnett Shale, which screened in 2008 on PBS.
Slackerwood: What has been Stuck On On's relationship with SXSW in the past?
Allison Turrell: Our relationship with SXSW is evolving. Lyman Hardy, our chief audio engineer and composer, has played SXSW in many bands (Ed Hall, Pong and Total Unicorn) over the years, so he's participated in the music portion. This year, Parke Gregg, our lead colorist, is leading a workshop: "Color Story: Adding Character in Post," with the makers of our color correction and finishing system, Assimilate. And I was a documentary screener a few years back, and that was super fun. We always participate, and at least two or three films we've worked on have screened every year since 2009.
Slackerwood: What got Stuck On On interested in these projects?
Turrell: We've worked with several of these filmmakers and producers in the past on other projects. There's lots of cross pollination. We worked with Jeff Nichols on his second feature Take Shelter (our review) a few years back, and when Mud started shooting, we joyfully joined the audio team. We worked with Rick Linklater on his Hulu show Up to Speed last summer, and then he asked us to work on Before Midnight.
We first worked with Bryan Poyser on the AFS Slacker 2011 remake (Don's review), and [producer] Megan Gilbride on Heather Courtney's Where Soldiers Come From (Jette's review). They called us up when The Bounceback started shooting and we jumped. We've been working with cinematographer PJ Raval on The Bounceback, and when he found out that Before You Know It was playing SXSW he talked to us about finishing it.
A few years back we worked with Emily Hagins, mixing her film My Sucky Teen Romance after it played SXSW and before it was bought by Dark Sky Films. So, it was a natural fit to work with her again on Grow Up, Tony Phillips. Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews called us out of the blue last fall. They were recent Austin transplants and friends of friends, and we saw a cut of their film and loved it, so naturally we wanted to work on Zero Charisma.
Slackerwood: What kind of work did Stuck On On do for these projects?
Turrell: Mud: Sound effects editing. Before Midnight: Color correction and finishing. The Bounceback: Color correction, finishing and ADR. Before You Know It: Re-record mixing, dialogue editing, color correction and finishing. Grow Up, Tony Phillips: Sound design, dialogue editing, re-record mixing and ADR. Zero Charisma: Color correction.
Slackerwood: Were there any challenges working on any of these films? If so, what sort of challenges did Stuck On On face and how were they resolved?
Turrell: There are always new challenges on every film because each film is totally unique. For example, there are several shots in Grow Up, Tony Phillips where the characters are playing videogames. We had to create, find and edit sound effects together to make it sound like they're playing a believable game. It can be tricky to make those sounds unique and work with the action, but in the end it's really fun. Without giving too much away, we also had some interesting requests to composite some VFX shots in The Bounceback. I'll leave it at that.
Slackerwood: How did Stuck On On handle the workload? Did the company receive these projects simultaneously?
Turrell: It's always a juggling act. Yes, we've worked on some of these projects simultaneously, and we're lucky to have many hands on our team when appropriate. We worked on Mud last spring, before Cannes. We worked on Before Midnight prior to Sundance. SXSW and Sundance are always crunch times. A film without distribution in place is always scheduling around the festival circuit. If a filmmaker can have some more time to perfect, or in the case of a documentary, more time to shoot, they will always want to use it.
Slackerwood: Has anything surprising or memorable turned up during the post-production work on these projects?
Turrell: The post process is always memorable. We get to hear quite a bit of backstory, which makes the projects even more interesting. It also illuminates why certain choices were made. Overall, it really illuminates how resourceful filmmakers are. Budget or no budget, people are creative mad scientists. It's really incredible to think how many people it takes to make a movie. So many details, and you're part of a constantly moving, evolving organism. We love the collaborative nature of it. I think the most memorable or exciting thing about the process is that we always learn something new as a result of our process.
Slackerwood: Can you tell us about any new projects Stuck On On is working on now or coming up next?
Turrell: We're in a lot of conversations with filmmakers, but we're not really at liberty to discuss at this moment in time.