Making Mank’s Vintage Hollywood-Magic Sound – An In-Depth Interview with Ren Klyce

For Director David Fincher’s latest film Mank — now available on Netflix — he’s teamed up once again with his long-time collaborator, supervising sound editor Ren Klyce. Here, Klyce shares details on creating an ‘old Hollywood’ feel by working in mono, adding patina layers of analog equipment hiss and natural ‘theater’ reverb, and creating a special filter modeled after the original Citizen Kane .

Jennifer Walden
December 10, 2020
A Sound Effect

Fight ClubSe7enThe GameThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac, Mindhunter, House of Cards, Panic Room, and the list goes on — these are just some of the amazing projects that Director David Fincher and supervising sound editor Ren Klyce have worked on together.

One of the hallmarks of Fincher’s films is the attention to detail, and Klyce is an apposite candidate to fill that bill sonically. The seven-time Oscar-nominated sound supervisor/sound designer is never short of creative ideas and solutions, as he demonstrates most recently on Mank.

Mank is a biographical drama on how Citizen Kane came to be, who the writers were (Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles), and what the extent of their collaboration was on the film.

Fincher wanted Mank to have an ‘old Hollywood’ feel, so Klyce comes up with a multi-step sonic patina process that includes running the mix through a filter modeled after the sonic shape of the original Citizen Kane film, adding layers of analog film equipment noise and hiss, and adding in natural reverb created by playing the final mix back on a scoring stage and capturing the room bounce.

Here, Klyce shares enlightening and amusing details on how they achieved that patina, the important role of Foley, orchestrating sound effects and music, and so much more!

Read the full interview

Composers of the Year Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: “It’s Been an Intimidating Journey”

With Mank and Soul, the two musicians stepped out of their comfort zone in 2020

Michael Roffman and Spencer Kaufman
December 18, 2020
Consequence of Sound

Our Annual Report continues today with the announcement of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as our Composers of the Year. Stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles in the days and weeks to come about the best music, film, and TV of the year. If you’ve missed any part of our Annual Report, you can check out all the coverage here

“You’re naming us Best Composers of All Time, right,” Trent Reznor asks over the phone. His partner-in-crime Atticus Ross laughs on another line. He’s joking, of course, but he’s also not exactly out of his element. While all-time might be a stretch — at least, for now — the two are certainly in contention for the last decade. After all, it’s been a wild 10 years for Reznor and Ross, one that began with a deafening bang.

That big bang arrived at the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011, when Reznor and Ross triumphed over the likes of Hans Zimmer and Alexandre Desplat to win Best Original Score for David Fincher’s The Social Network. Their debut score wound up being an opening salvo as Hollywood came calling — and fast. Since then, they’ve amassed an eclectic resume that most composers spend decades building up.

They’ve worked with veterans (Peter Berg, Susanne Bier), they’ve gone indie (Jonah Hill, Trey Edward Schulz), they’ve even found success on television (HBO’s Watchmen). Yet none of their collaborations have felt more succinct than their ensuing work with Fincher. They’re the Bernard Herrmann to his Alfred Hitchcock, the Giovanni Fusco to his Michelangelo Antonioni, the John Williams to his Steven Spielberg.

It’s a fitting marriage, not only in sound, but also in mind. Fincher is a perfectionist — meticulous for details, particular with pictures — and that ideology is right in line with Reznor and Ross (see: Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels). The two parties are carnivorous for challenges, and their working relationship has been nothing but a series of hurdles. Hurdles that have only notched higher and higher as the years pass them.

Mank is by far their most arduous collaboration yet. As if making a movie about the greatest movie of all time wasn’t tough enough, Reznor and Ross tasked themselves in using only period-authentic instruments from the 1940s. It’s a major departure from anything the two have done up to this point, eschewing their industrial minimalism for a dusty assortment of horns, swinging tempos, and nostalgia-tinged sounds.

Yet Fincher wasn’t the only call Reznor and Ross received, as far as 2020 movies are concerned. Pixar also rang for their latest spirited venture, Soul. Working alongside Inside Out director Pete Docter, the two composers dove headfirst into the sprawling, animated underworld. Together, they dreamed up a specific piece of music for each one of the film’s imaginative locales: The Great Before, The Great Beyond, The Astral Plane, and The You Seminar.

So, yes, it’s been a year for Reznor and Ross. In celebration, Consequence of Sound spoke to the award-winning composers about their outstanding run through the past and purgatory. Together, they weighed in on their long-storied history with Fincher, flexing new muscles with old instruments, the differences in working with animation, and past scores that inspired them. Needless to say, there are many decades to come.

Read the full interview

Netflix Playlist: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross “Anatomy of a Score”

Netflix
December 9, 2020

Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross discuss the unique style, sound, and authenticity of the music in Mank and their approach in tackling the unique challenges presented while scoring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

𝙸𝚗 𝚜𝚎𝚕𝚎𝚌𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜 𝙽𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚖𝚋𝚎𝚛 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚗 Netflix 𝙳𝚎𝚌𝚎𝚖𝚋𝚎𝚛 𝟺

The People Who Can See Inside David Fincher’s Head

The famously meticulous Mank director is surrounded by collaborators tasked with turning his most ambitious ideas into reality.

David Sims
December 9, 2020
The Atlantic

Early in Netflix’s Mank, the screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman) ambles onto an outdoor movie set, where he bumps into an array of glamorous characters. In a scene full of repartee with real-life figures such as the actor Marion Davies, the film honcho Louis B. Mayer, and the mogul William Randolph Hearst, the visual details of the environment might seem unimportant. But to Mank’s director, David Fincher, they mattered. “The grass was not to David’s liking, and the sky was not to his liking, so all that’s been replaced,” Peter Mavromates, his co-producer, told me. When making a movie, Fincher literally controls heaven and earth.

That example sums up the capricious-sounding, godlike power of a director, especially in the age of digital filmmaking, which allows for total command of every frame. But as with all of his movies, Fincher’s vision for Mank was realized by a group of dedicated collaborators, most of whom have worked with the director for many years across projects. This film, which Fincher mulled for nearly three decades, is unlike anything he has made before. An unusual-looking-and-sounding film set in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Mank reflects the aesthetic of the 1930s with its black-and-white cinematography; an echoey, old-fashioned sound mix; and a brassy, orchestral score. But Fincher also wanted it to be a distinctly modern film, which posed many unique and fascinating technical challenges to the creators charged with bringing his lofty ideas to life.

Read the full profile

X2X: Glimpse into Future Filmmaking with Mank

How will filmmaking adapt in the post-Covid era? A glimpse into the future is afforded by Mank, the forthcoming Netflix feature project directed by David Fincher and spearheaded by producer Ceán Chaffin. More than a love letter to a catalog title, Mank is a glimpse of the complex interplay of human creativity and the filmmaking process as practiced in Hollywood’s golden era.

December 9, 2020
X2X

Fincher is known for working in the vanguard of filmmaking technology. Examples include a very early digital intermediate on Panic Room – the first ever in a facility designed for the purpose – and Zodiac, one of the first major features to be shot almost entirely digitally. The remote collaboration envisioned by futurists at the dawn of the internet era was already common practice for his team long before the pandemic.

“Fortunately, we have not missed a beat,” says Chaffin. “We are working now exactly how we mostly could have been working the past ten years, which is working from home during post.”

But the virus and its requirement to remain physically apart may constitute a final push for the industry at large. All the attributes of true remote connectivity – reduced travel time and its attendant benefits in terms of stress, pollution and time savings, enhanced with rapid feedback, superior organization and a centralized database – will still be applicable when health concerns subside.

A canvas of the top pros on David Fincher’s team indicates that while the pandemic naturally raises stress levels, the need to work separately has been essentially a non-factor in terms of their ability to collaborate efficiently and keep the production on track.

Fincher came to the project with a mandate that the production work with the PIX production hub. Chaffin, who has made nine films with Fincher, says that the system is an essential tool for collaboration and input.

“This is how we have worked for a long time.” says Chaffin. “David feels the team is making the film with him, sharing in the problem-solving. Even when we were in the same building, David was often responding exclusively through PIX. His preferences and concerns are there for everyone to refer to. You don’t have to go find that one email, or remember a comment someone made on their way out the door.

Read the full case study

Variety’s Music for Screens Week: Keynote Conversation with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Shirley Halperin, Executive Editor of Music at Variety
December 3, 2020
Variety

Scoring Films Allows Writers to Explore a Range of Styles

Members of Nine Inch Nails produce more than just rock content. During the keynote conversation with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, moderator Shirley Halperin dug into their scoring success on a range of film projects, from “The Social Network” to “Watchmen,” “Soul” and “Mank.”

Writing music for the screen has given the artists their fair share of challenges, the most recent being composing big band and orchestral scores. But without the opportunity to score films, the band members said they’d miss out on exploring the various realms of music.

“We feel really proud to be involved, and proud of the journey that we were put on,” Reznor said. “That’s one of the things that’s great about working on films. In our life in Nine Inch Nails, we kind of don’t know what to expect — we have a pretty good idea of what road we’re going to go down or what the future might hold. With film, it’s like you’re on a finite, intense journey that might lead you down paths that in our other lives we wouldn’t get to go on.”

Watch the Keynote Conversation with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross:

Watch the full video

Mank: Original Musical Score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

nin.com
December 4, 2020

Trent and Atticus’ score for David Fincher’s new film Mank is out now! You can find it in all the expected places:

Apple Music
Spotify
Amazon Music
TIDAL
deezer
napster

The score contains 52 tracks and is over 90 minutes of music from the film.

However… if you’d like the DEFINITIVE Mank musical experience, we’re offering the complete score along with an ADDITIONAL TWO HOURS of unreleased music and demos from the Mank sessions available exclusively at:

Bandcamp

These are additional and alternate compositions that didn’t get used in the film along with a selection of Trent and Atticus demos pre-orchestration. Obviously these are available in the format of your choice, including lossless.

Vinyl fans: we will be offering the score on vinyl early next year. The vinyl score will NOT contain the extra two hours of material.

Netflix’s ‘Mank’ to Submit Original Song From Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Clayton Davis
December 4, 2020
Variety

Mix Magazine 2020: The Music in Sound with Ren Klyce

Ren Klyce in Peter Elsea’s Studio (1984)

Larry Blake
November 5, 2020
Mix Magazine / SoundWorks Collection

Animated short for Sesame Street (January 17, 1984) produced by John Korty. Sound and music by Ren Klyce:

The Social Network Score Released in Dolby Atmos 3D Audio

October 3, 2020
NIN.com

This week marks 10 years since the release of the Academy Award-winning score for The Social Network. In celebration of the anniversary, Trent and Atticus have created a newly remixed version of the soundtrack in Dolby Atmos 3D Audio, providing an immersive listening experience. The new Atmos mix is currently able to stream right now on Amazon Music HD.

Look for this to become more widely available on other supporting services.

From Trent:

When we finished the score, we were in a phase where we intrigued by the possibilities of mixing in surround. At the time, 5.1 was the format of choice. Our intention was to spend three days after finishing the stereo mix and adapt it to 5.1… Thirty days later we finished! We found the material was very suited to the space and we went a little crazy

Jump to the present where atmos has become a viable format and we thought it would be cool to “adapt” the approach of the original 5.1 mix into the expansive canvas atmos provides. Our results are live on Amazon Music right now – check it out.

We were going to offer the option to purchase a download, but we couldn’t get it together to provide the most viable format (stay tuned). We are considering making some ultra HD Blu-Ray discs for your highest-quality Atmos listening pleasure.

Up next, The Fragile?

DP/30: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. “Watchmen”, “Mank”

“All in ‘Mank’ is orchestra or big band. There’s no one synth or one note played by us on the whole score.”

David Poland
August 10, 2020
DP/30: The Oral History Of Hollywood (YouTube)

They both took different roads to film scoring, which they have mostly (and most famously) done together. From 9 Inch Nails to Fincher to Watchmen, they have a unique one-off approach to every project. They took some time to chat with David Poland to chat about their work on The Social Network, Watchmen, Mank, and Pixar‘s Soul.

Shot via Zoom, August 2020.

Earlier DP/30 with Trent Reznor: Gone Girl