Unveiling the Craft: My Producer’s Insight on Tone watching Danny Clinch

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a sound of definite pitch and vibration

Tone. It’s not just about the color bars and operating-level tone you see and hear at the start of a video. It’s about something more profound that resonates through every aspect of filmmaking. For me, that lesson hit home during a memorable encounter with two industry giants: Chris Stapleton and Danny Clinch.

BTS: Chris Stapleton and his beautiful wife, Morgane, filming with Danny directing near the stage

Picture this: Johnson Central High School gym, bustling with activity. Cameras poised, crews ready. Amidst the organized chaos, a simple call echoes through the PA system, but it’s not what you’d expect. Instead of barking orders, there’s a whisper, a gentle gesture. Danny Clinch, the director, quietly shares new ideas with Chris Stapleton and the cameraman beside him. A moment of profound humility and leadership changed my perspective on tone forever.

Instead of barking orders, there’s a whisper, a gentle gesture.

You see, I’ve always hustled hard in the world of filmmaking. For every job and every project, I give it my all. So, when the opportunity arose to work on a RAM commercial featuring Chris Stapleton, I jumped. Directed by the esteemed Danny Clinch (the man behind many iconic images and videos of Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Jay Z, and many more), it was a whirlwind of creativity. My unit team captured elements with the high school band, shots of the tour bus, and b-roll of Chris’s awards around the high school. It was a lot to cover quickly, but we managed to film everything on the shot list and a little extra. Yet, moments before a large audience entered the gym, The main unit was filming a sound check and close-up shots of Chris performing. These shots are always needed in music videos, commercials, or TV shows, but you want to maintain the audience experience, so they’re typically taken in advance. As we walked into the gym, I had a moment to observe, and that’s when Danny Clinch changed my view on tone.

From that day on, I’ve navigated my career with a newfound awareness of tone. Sure, there have been challenges and moments where my decibel level was tested. But I’ve learned to listen, both on set and off. And it’s a lesson that extends beyond filmmaking.

BTS: Chris filming with the High School Band

Since that day, I have had the honor of working on a couple of Netflix projects. Working with Netflix only reinforced this lesson of tone. Their meticulous attention to detail, especially in audio deliverables, is a testament to the importance of tone in every aspect of production. Every element, from dialogue to music to effects, is carefully calibrated to meet their exacting standards.

Netflix Audio Deliverables: (*Subject to change)

  1. 2.0 Print Master in the original language and fully mixed in a linear field monitoring environment, at 48kHz/24 bit, clearly labeled with the frame rate. Acceptance of delivery requires an approved Netflix QC report. Delivered as longplay (not reels).
  2. One copy of all final stems, fully mixed in the 5.1 format. Each stem must be separated and recorded in 6 channels in 48 kHz/24 bit and clearly labeled with the frame rate. Stem groups should be created as follows: Scripted Features and Series: Dialogue, Music, Effects. Documentary Features, Docu-series, and Unscripted Series: Dialogue, Music, Effects, Narration*, Uncensored Dialogue* (dipped). Comedy Specials: Dialogue, Music, Effects, Narration*, Audience* (*as appropriate). Delivered as longplay (not reels).

I now create time in my daily meditation to choose my tone wisely. Be more like Danny Clinch, a beacon of humility and leadership in a noisy world. In addition, like Netflix, I always pay attention to the smallest details. I use the power of tone to shape not just my work but who you are as a filmmaker and person.

So, as I reflect on the journey from that transformative moment in the gym to where I stand now, I invite you to join the conversation. Share your experiences with tone in filmmaking or any other field. How has it shaped your work and your relationships? Let’s keep the dialogue going. Comment below and share this story with fellow filmmakers and creators. Let’s amplify the power of tone and continue to inspire each other in our craft.

To watch the final spot, click on the image:

P.S. Thank you to G7 Marketing & Travis Television and the full RAM Production Team for this opportunity in my career.

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