Now that Inside Psycho is fully released and we’re already in talks about a Season 2 – I’ll begin sharing a few scenes from the series and how I approached the audio design in each.
Let’s start with a scene from Episode 1.
CONFESSION OF ED GEIN
I could tell by the script for this scene that the sound needed to reflect not only the situation – a police interrogation – but also the bizarre character of Ed himself. Not an immediately easy thing to imagine because there is no action in this scene. No movement. Just 2 people in a room talking. So this meant my approach to the audio could be far more impressionistic which I found exciting.
Overall, Mark Ramsey‘s script offered only minor audio direction – and for this scene there was none at all. I had a clean slate from which to interpret the scene. It should go without saying at this point – but putting on some headphones will give you the best experience.
First – the space. I imagined a small harshly lit interrogation room. 2 chairs, a table. A police interrogator on one side, Ed Gein on the other. The time period is early 1950s so no computers or other modern room tone makers can exist here. In that way the room is almost the third character in the scene.
But how to make a space sound bright? I chose the buzz of near failure fluorescent light along with dissonant mix of room tones. These along with the conversation were fed into a small room convolution reverb. But the main character of the room itself is really the ticking clock.
The ticking clock is an obvious design decision as the words “9 hours” is practically the opening line regarding the length of the interrogation. I thought it might be cool to turn the obviousness of the clock ticking sound into something more. So the clock establishes a rhythm – and the rest of the audio evolves on top of that. The room fades as the sounds of Ed’s character take over.
The sounds chosen were based on what we had learned about Ed Gein’s character up to that point. He was an odd handy man who liked to fix, tinker and take things apart – including people. He also robbed graves. While some elements of his home were kept strictly neat – it was largely a hoarder’s mess. I wanted the sound of this scene to reflect those parts of Ed’s character and then devolve into sheer dissonance as more of Ed’s depravity is revealed and confessed.
The clock is the only part of the sound of this scene that is locked into time. Everything else is found sound samples turned into instruments performed loosely over the clock’s rhythm.
I resisted the temptation to quantize those parts thus giving the scene an unsteady and almost functioning brokenness. Much like Ed himself.
Ed Gein’s “theme” is really more of a sound – it’s the low growling moan we hear at the conclusion of the scene. It appears throughout the series in appropriate places.
Stay tuned – more behind the scenes of Inside Psycho scenes coming soon!