Hello! My name is Max Baler, and I am a Film student at Freestyle Academy. Over the last two years I have learned photography, directing, acting, storytelling and sound design. In my free time, I enjoy making music, listening to loud music, hanging out with friends and playing video games.
For my Senior Showcase, I am excited to present my Senior Narrative and Senior Zenith projects, the two films I made while at Freestyle Academy. Since I was only in Film for one year, my Senior Narrative was essentially the Junior Narrative: to convey a story without dialogue. I collaborated with my partner to storyboard, direct and edit the film, while I alone completed the foley and sound design. Though I worked on the pre-production and production of the Senior Narrative, I enjoyed working on post-production more, especially on sound design. When it was time for the Zenith project, my partner did more of the pre-production and I did more of the post-production. Although we could have had dialogue and recorded sound on set, we thought that making the movie without dialogue would fit the story better. Although these were my first two films, I feel like they are significant steps in my creative life.
In particular, I would like feedback on the sound design of the two films. Did the music help convey the story? Were the sound effects accurate to real life? Did the sound seem like part of the film or did it stand out on its own like it wasn’t supposed to be there?
Next year I am studying Business Administration at Sonoma State University. Although I am not pursuing a film-related major, I hope to continue making films in my free time. If I go into the marketing side of business, I would feel confident in creating commercials.
My first big film project was to create a 100 card storyboard and create a compelling visual narrative without dialogue. We then had 4 months to plan, shoot and edit the film.
Making sure the film felt as normal as possible without dialogue was very important to me. I created the story to make sure that it took place in the normal world but that there were no scenes where it would have been better with dialogue. Having no dialogue also meant not recording any sounds on set which meant all sounds needed to be added in post.
Editing the sound was definitely my favorite part of the whole project. I loved taking what was essentially a blank canvas and being able to control what audio the audience would receive from the world. The satisfaction of finding a random clip of a spray bottle and making it seem like it was natural recorded on set was very satisfying. I definitely learned how important sound is in conveying the emotion of a scene and how much it can make or break a film.
This project is the culmination of everything I have learned in the past two years of freestyle. Together with my partner Ben Cornell, we created a Twilight Zone inspired short film.