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MIKE HALLENBECK
ORIGINAL MUSIC + SOUND DESIGN FOR ANIMATION:
COFFEE CRUSH

A short (45-second) animation by Brian Thompson, "Coffee Crush" premiered over at the Crash + Sue's blog on Valentine's Day 2014. I provided sound design and original music for the film, which follows an alien who falls in love with a coffee pot.

Here's the finished animation:

I dug into the sound design intending not only to illustrate the visible actions, but also to imply that the flying saucer's interior was busy with intricate goings-on. I chose sound effects suggesting both physical machinery and digital signals, making heavy use of servo motor sounds plus contact mic recordings of hard drives spinning up, accessing data and so on.

We went a few rounds on how to depict the craft's engine. I started out accenting the craft's more sudden movements but leaving the engine as a mostly silent levitation device in between. Brian suggested the Jetsons cars as an engine idea to move forward with. I liked the drone concept but found the Jetsons versions a bit abrasive, so I came up with a happy medium that was a little more burbly and pleasant. I kept the directional accents to emphasize acceleration and changes in trajectory.

Brian wanted the alien to speak in a sped-up voice a la the minions in the "Despicable Me" films, so I performed some vocalizations and pitched them up appropriately.

As for music, I composed a playful yet simple score featuring celeste and strings, the latter mostly plucked but with a bit of tremolo for the pulling sequence as well. The mood shifts between light orchestral flourishes to a 1950s slow-dance ballad and back again. At times the music syncs with sound effects; at other times it anticipates or punctuates.

The film has had a successful run, garnering over 1300 views as of this writing. Thanks for joining me behind the scenes! Hope you've enjoyed it.

JUNIOR BIRDMAN AUDIO

SOUND + MUSIC FOR MEDIA

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