New York—Good Time, the new thriller from
directors Benny and Josh Safdie, tells the story of a bank heist gone wrong.
The film, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival and has attracted wide
critical acclaim, stars Robert Pattinson as Connie Nikas, a thief who robs a bank
in Queens as part of an ill-conceived scheme to get his mentally handicapped
brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of jail.
Alchemy Post Sound provided Foley effects for the film, supporting its riveting action, vivid
imagery and dark humor with creative
sound. Working under the direction of Supervising Sound Editor Ryan M. Price,
MPSE, and Re-Recording Mixer Evan Mangiamele, the Alchemy team (consisting of Foley
artists Leslie Bloome and Joanna Fang and Foley mixers Ryan Collison and Nicholas
Seaman) produced a vast assortment of custom sounds in preparing the film for
festival screenings.

Sound plays a critical role both in setting the scene and creating
the film’s tense atmosphere. “Good Time is
a very intimate, gritty film,” explains Price. “The sound needed to have a lot
of texture. It needed to make you feel that you were in New York, in a car with
the actors and being chased by the police.”

Mangiamele adds that while the Foley needed to be realistic
and blend with the production sound, it also had to have a musical quality to
integrate seamlessly with Composer Daniel Lopatin’s score, which is featured
prominently. “Benny and Josh were really psyched about the score and wanted it
to drive the soundtrack,” he notes. “Sound effects are woven in with the music
and dialogue in an interesting way.”
Having collaborated previously with Alchemy, Price felt
confident that they could deliver Foley effects that met the creative need, and
do it efficiently. “The turnaround was tight,” he says. “When the film got into
Cannes, we had to move at a fast pace so, for me, it was important to work with
people whom I knew were dependable. Alchemy is my go-to facility. They do a
great job and I trust their crew.”
One memorable use of sound occurs early in the film. Connie
and his accomplices are fleeing a bank after a hold up when a dye pack hidden
among their loot explodes and releases an aerosol jet of red dye. Alchemy’s crew
added to the frenzy with a dense mix of sound elements. “We took compressed air
and gently worked it in as the bag of cash opens,” recalls Fang. “Then, as it
explodes, we went crazy. You hear money and plastic flying everywhere. The air
sprays viscously as the characters are doused with dye.”
The film’s setting in a rundown section of Queens and cast
of low-life characters had a big impact on Alchemy’s approach to Foley. They
went to considerable lengths to replicate the environments pictured on screen and
mimic the characters’ personalities through their body movements. “The
characters in this movie don’t have a lot going for them and the actors do a
wonderful job in bringing that out,” notes Bloome. “We wanted to support that
in their footsteps.”
Similarly, the film has a very distinct visual style.
Cinematographer Sean Price Williams shot much of the film in tight close ups
with a hand-held camera. That lends the action a sense of immediacy and realism
that the Foley team sought to match. “Scenes like these are very challenging to
capture on the Foley stage,” says Bloome. “You want to get the sync
right—that’s important—but you also want to capture the actors’ performances,
and you’ve got two guys running down a street with stolen cash and you only see
them from the chest up.”
The Foley team had the most fun with a scene where a fleeing
robber runs into a large window and is captured by police. It includes
shattering glass, snapping handcuffs and crunching bootsteps as the perp is led
away.  Bloome and Fang created the
initial crash by smashing a brick through a giant piece of a plate glass. “We
have a very large, dedicated glass pit that we smash stuff in,” says Bloome.
“It allows us to do massive effects that at other places might be impossible or
would decommission a room for hours.”
Although most of the sound effects in the film are
realistic, the shattered glass is purposefully over the top. “Part of our job
is to help preserve the first-time viewing experience of the audience,”
explains Fang. “We wanted the crash to be just as impactful and out of nowhere
for people in the theater as it is for the characters. It’s sudden, it’s
painful and it’s loud.”
Although the project had a tight deadline, Fang notes that
Alchemy is used to pressure, having worked on many independent films with
festival commitments. She adds that the Foley work was split between two crews
so that they could meet the deadline without shortchanging creativity or
production value. “For us, it’s all about the story and making the characters
feel real and alive,” Fang observes. “We are really good at making use of the
budget and doing a great job in a limited period of time.”
About Alchemy Post
Alchemy Post Sound is a 3,500 square foot, dedicated Foley
studio designed specifically for Foley by resident Foley Artist Leslie Bloome.
The company’s Emmy Award-winning staff has created sound for numerous major
feature films, long-running television series, independent films and popular
games. Alchemy’s services also include music recording, live performance, video
production, ADR, and sound design.
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