It’s night and I’m in a forest with Tim waiting for him to get his gear ready so we can record a wilderness soundscape for a movie we’ve been working on called Young Goodman Brown. Adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story of the same name, the movie has been an unexpected one-off. Shot on a Panasonic DVX 100 and its sound mixed and recorded on a separate unit, Young Goodman Brown has given us the chance to gauge what our technical capabilities will be coming into the rapidly approaching Ameviathan: The Green Machine. As is always the case though, the one-off has taken on a life of its own.
Details have become absurd. We’ve just recorded footsteps on fallen leaves. While the footfalls don’t sound exactly as Tim thought they would, I’m thrilled with them. The nature-scape, however, is posing other difficulties. For starters, there has been a lot fumbling in the dark of the Jersey bush. Evidently I have far too many CDs in my car. Then Tim treads on a plastic flavored milk bottle that makes an impossibly loud sound. A discussion of milk bottle sonics ensues and then the conversation shifts to why we can’t record the nature-scape. We pause a moment and listen for birds. We don’t hear any. Then we listen for wind. We don’t hear that either. What we do hear are a lot of cheap car mufflers, jet planes and what is very possibly an infinite horde of random and unidentifiable machines. In a master-of-the-obvious flash it dawns on us that we aren’t in a forest at all, but a wooded lot across from an apartment complex in the New Jersey sprawl.
It is here that the wilds of Jersey become like the wilderness Goodman Brown finds himself in. Certainly, Jersey is a different type of wilderness, but one nonetheless that refuses to let us mow out our soundscape. And like Brown’s wilderness, ours also transmogrifies into a hell. Frustration sparks resignation, which become the flames of failure lapping higher and higher till all New Jersey is an inferno. Accordingly, like Brown, we do the only thing we can. We flee.
The question is though, is Brown ever tempted to go back into the forest again? Personally speaking, I know I’m ready to jump back into the creative pyre the first chance I get.
I hope you enjoy Young Goodman Brown as much as we did making it.