Late yesterday afternoon I attended an ioLA screening of Chris Kenneally and Keanu Reeves‘ Side By Side, which I’ve seen three times and have been praising for several months. The idea was to (a) show it to a friend and (b) take notes and pics during the post-screening q & a with, among others, Kenneally, Reeves, music-video guy Chris Robinson and Dark Knight Rises dp Wally Pfister.
But there was a problem with the sound coming out of two large speakers. Side by Side sounded murky and bassy and echo-y. You couldn’t hear the consonants with any clarity. So I asked an ioLA guy who was standing off to the side if they could please turn up the treble and lower the murk. The guy did nothing for about three or four minutes. I went up to him again and asked if he could please adjust the sound. So he walked to the rear of the seating section and stepped into a glassed-in office or control room or whatever, and he told two or three people in charge. As I stood nearby waiting for assistance, they all began huddling and conferring with each other. I was watching the huddling and whispering and asking myself, “Why are these people not trying to fix the sound?”
Clearly they had no interest in doing anything in a constructive vein. Not for a second. What mainly concerned them, it seemed, was that I had asked for a sound adjustment.
This is what little people who don’t “get it” always do when someone has an issue. They stand around and huddle and look at the complainer and huddle some more and whisper urgently to each other and try and decide how to deal with the complainer rather than fix the problem.
A guy came out and said they don’t have the expertise to finesse the sound because they weren’t familiar with the complex sound board controlling the speakers. “You can’t just give it a shot?,” I said. “You know…just fiddle around with it? You just need to up the treble a little bit.” The guy was hostile and contentious. Nobody else had complained, he said. Then he asked me if I had paid to get into the screening. I said I’d been invited by Kenneally, but that I’d be happy to pay them if that is what it would take to fix the sound. Then he said “we’re not a theatre” and they don’t have the ability to deliver tip-top standards, etc. Things got testier and our conversation deteriorated from that point on. I finally gave up and went back to my seat. Two minutes later a security guy came over and said I had to leave. Fine, no problem, life is short.
The video of the q & a, copied from ioLA‘s live-stream, doesn’t get going until after the four-minute mark, but the video quality is obviously not that great and the sound is clearly awful in the early stages. The people who told the security guy to kick me out are (a) the dark-haired woman wearing the white jacket and (b) the guy who does the initial introductions.
HE to filmmaking community: Please support ioLA, the one place in Los Angeles to screen your film and do a q & a.