1. Production audio was plagued with noise and ADR wasn’t an option for the main actress because she lived in California. ADR was an option for the other actors, but wasn’t used for the sake of consistency in sound quality (especially for the dialogue between the boy and girl in the woods). RX6 Advanced was used to improve every line to some degree.
2. Background sound effects were used as an opportunity to give both an emotional perspective to characters and what their surroundings are like. At the girl’s home “cheerful” birds gave the sense of peace and safety. However when the cat escaped, a rapid birdcall brought higher in the mix with a fast car passing by and slightly aggressive wind gave a mild feeling of anxiety. It was also used from a technical standpoint to guide the audience’s ear to pay attention to sound, momentarily losing their attention on sight making the cat escaping more sudden. Crows were used when the girl arrived to the woods to give a sense of dread. I also remembered a scenario from the Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indian Jones narrowly made it under the closing door after stealing the golden idol. Supposedly Harrison Ford gave an unscripted quick glance to the upper right side of the frame. The sound of crumbling rocks off-screen were later used to give motivation for this moment. In Girl Disappearing, crows were panned accordingly to where the girl was looking, giving motivation for these glances. When the girl is deep into the woods attempting to retrieve her cat, birds and insects can still be subtly heard. However once the boy enters the scene they’re dropped out almost completely emphasizing that she’s alone with a stranger. When it cuts back to the mother preparing breakfast a similar technique was used. The lack of music and environmental sounds coming from outside of the home emphasizes the girl’s absence. At the boy’s home, where men that kidnap children for sex trafficking, a large dog barking, larger vehicles (like vans) driving by, and a couple fighting is meant to tell the audience that this area is not as welcoming as the girl’s home. Children playing were also used once we arrive to the boy’s home, but they’re brought up higher in the mix when the adults are talking about selling the girl they just captured. I was on set as part of the location audio team and while filming this scene children began playing outside in the neighbor’s yard. This gave me an uneasy feeling. We were filming adults buying a child and these children outside didn’t know about it. I wanted to replicate this feeling in the film. It also begs the question to the audience, “How many other children have been sold in this neighborhood?”
3. My mom’s cat constantly purrs so I recorded him purring. It feels cool putting sounds personal to me in films.
4. I broke off a limb filled with leaves and recorded it in an isolated setting. Anytime I wanted to add the sound of leaves blowing, the recordings in SCAD’s sound library had other environmental sounds with it. Adding them would’ve made the backgrounds too busy.
5. Creaking doors and cabinets emphasized the character’s living conditions. Doorknobs and doors closing were also made heavier at the boy’s home to give a feeling of being helplessly trapped.
6. The girl’s screams at the end were heavily muted through the glass for two reasons. First is if she could be heard then the mom should be able to hear her, which would be frustrating for the mom not to react to. The second reason is that it’s scary knowing no matter how loud you scream you won’t be heard.
7. Choices in wind for a scene are always something I take my time to choose and for this ending I wanted it to be a singular lonely gust of wind.