Saturday, December 31, 2016

The 15 Best Things Jen Said In Her Sleep This Year




Whatever else it's been, 2016 has been a prolific year for Jen's subconscious ramblings. Here are the best of the best:

1.
"There's two of you... You're the original, and the other one... I'm holding one of you in my hand, and the other one's on the ground. You're all doubled up."

2.
Jen: “You have something.”
Me: “What do I have?”
Jen: “I asked you first.”

3.
Jen: "You should make your own kind of soap with all the different flakes."
Me: "Um... why should I do that?"
Jen: "Because that's what everybody does."

4.
"It's you. That's all there is to say about you bald people... Yeah. You ride around on your mongoose."

5.
"Do you like kitties behind their backs? How many of them are there, and how many want to snuggle you?... A plastic dinosaur."

6.
"You still live here. You're on the right side of things... The place where all the bald people go hang out."

7.
Jen: "You should have yourself made into a sticker."
Me: "Really? What kind of sticker?"
Jen: "Like a picture of any of your other ideas... it's just a whole different worldview."

8.
Jen: "You're like Mr. Fix It."
Me: "Really? Why's that?"
Jen: "I'm not sure why this or that question is asked of me."

9.
"You've got a lot going on with the cat situation... The cats are probably running their own booth... They're having all the people talk about different stuff... Stuff that's not important except to another kitty."

10.
"All of it makes a square... All of the different shapes that you make... It's what you've got going on. 'Cause you don't know anything about anything."

11.
Jen: "Get you a snow cone."
Me: "Why?"
Jen: "Because you ordered that. It's not very substantial, but you could have it."

12.
Jen: "Kitty walks to the store."
Me: "What does kitty buy at the store?"
Jen [indignantly]: "It buys the things it needs. It's not the same every time."

13.
Jen: "We need to talk about your wingspan... none of the facts are accurate."
Me: "What exactly is it about my... wingspan that we need to discuss?"
Jen: "I'd rather not get into it. You're making this harder than it has to be."

14.
Jen: "Can you write your first name... and your last name... on a piece of masking tape?"
Me: "Um... Sure, I guess. Why though?"
Jen: "We'll get to that." [rolls over, stops talking]

15.
Jen: “You’re the only one.”
Me: “The only one what?”
Jen: ”The only one like you.”
Me: “Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Jen: “It’s just biology, sweetie. It’s not that special.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 In Review: Highlights of Sound Design + Original Music


Huge thanks to all the collaborators who shared opportunities to create this year. 2016 marked the opening of Junior Birdman Audio, our new recording studio in Northesat Minneapolis, and the genesis of many exciting projects. Providing services ranging from voiceover recording to original music to final mix, in media from film and animation to ads, industrials, VR, and e-learning, serving end clients from indie filmmakers to companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, 3M, Medtronic and Best Buy, we covered a lot of ground this year.

Looking forward to more in the days to come! In the meantime, here are just a few of the projects that made this year special:

PERSONAL SPACE



Above: sound edit + mix on "Personal Space", a tense thriller directed by Andrew Hunt and one of two shorts featuring our work that premiered at 2016's Z-Fest. The film won Best of Fest and a host of other honors at Z-Fest this year; it also earned a nomination for Best Audio/ Sound Design. more info

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OTHER FISH: ORIGINAL MUSICAL SCORE + SOUND DESIGN FOR ANIMATION



Above: trailer for the animated short "Other Fish", featuring an original score, sound edit and mix by Junior Birdman Audio's Mike Hallenbeck. The film was co-directed by Josh Roush and Josh Stifter. It features voice acting from Michael Parks ("Argo", "Django Unchained"), Harley Quinn Smith ("Tusk", "Clerks II"), and Jacqui Duncan ("Old School", "White Lines"). more info

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BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF MN: "WE'RE HERE"



Above: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota's "We're Here" campaign. Voiceover engineered at Junior Birdman Audio by Mike Hallenbeck. more info

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SOUND EDIT/ MIX FOR VIRTUAL REALITY: SUNKEN FOREST



Above: excerpt of a virtual reality experience from Honey VR. Here the viewer encounters a mermaid, and follows her on a journey. Sound edit and mix by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio. more info

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BOOM TOWN: ORIGINAL MUSIC, SOUND EDIT + MIX FOR DOCUMENTARY



Above: highlight reel from "Boom Town", a forthcoming short documentary about the proprietors of a fireworks shop in Nevada. Sound edit, mix, and all music in this clip by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio.

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SOUND DESIGN FOR MEDICAL ANIMATION: UCB MECHANISM OF ACTION VIDEO



Sound edit/ design + mix for this MOA (Mechanism of Action) video promoting the pharmaceutical company UCB. The piece explores various pharmaceutical approaches for the treatment of epilepsy, including calcium channel blockers, SV2A ligands, and glutamate antagonists. more info

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BIM BAM BRANDING BUMPER



When the San Francisco-based Jewish educational resource provider G-dCast decided to re-brand as Bim Bam, they invited me to provide a musical arrangement for a new bumper to preface videos and marketing content. Below, you can see and hear what we came up with together. more info



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AMYE SCHARLAU PROMO VIDEO: SOUND EDIT + MIX



Above: sound edit and mix for this highlight reel promoting the services of hypnotist Amye Scharlau. more info

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SOUND DESIGN FOR ANIMATION: INFESTATION



Above: Voiceover performance/ engineering, sound edit and mix for "Infestation", a creepy crawly experimental short animation by Cable Hardin. This short has had quite a festival run so far, and we're really proud of it! more info

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ORIGINAL MUSICAL SCORE FOR SHORT FILM: BREATHLESS



Original musical score for a short film, directed by Ben Enke, that celebrates the romantic relationship between Batman villains Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

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OH DEER: ORIGINAL MUSICAL SCORE AND SOUND DESIGN FOR ANIMATED HOLIDAY CARD



To celebrate the 2016 holiday season, we teamed up with Rockne.Digital to bring you the story of a reindeer who finds an innovative way to fly. Original music and sound design created by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio.

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Onward!

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More sound + music by Junior Birdman Audio for branding

More sound + music by Junior Birdman Audio for animation

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Carrie Fisher




To be sure, Carrie Fisher accomplished more over the course of her life than portraying Leia Organa. And like most of the "classic trilogy" Star Wars cast (except Harrison Ford, and I guess Anthony Daniels), she spent quite some time trying to escape her role in the SW films as a career-defining fact. But when I saw Star Wars for the first time as a kid, it changed my life immediately-- it's one of the big reasons I work in audio now, looking back-- and anyone involved with it had a kind of mystic aura when I was a kid. OK, they've had a mystic aura forever.



Chris Taylor's fascinating book "How Star Wars Conquered The Universe" relates that Leia's storylines were continually chipped away by script revisions-- to the point where her character was vastly underused in the films, along with Fisher's immense talent. Still, from the social media reaction I've been seeing, many people I know (especially women) have gained tremendous inspiration from Leia, and from the actress' strength in battling mental illness and substance abuse.



Fisher's salty, self-deprecating humor was a rare treat. You watched one interview or one celebrity roast, and you kind of wanted her as your permanent house guest. If you ever get the chance to watch a filmed performance of her Broadway show "Wishful Drinking", do yourself a favor.



It was a thrill to see her reprise the role of Leia in "The Force Awakens" last winter-- General Organa nowadays-- and it was fitting that George Lucas owned her likeness no longer. Somehow Fisher's personality shone through, and the character was who she said she was. The life lived in the interim had seen to that.



So it's a staggeringly sad thing for her to have departed this life at such a young age. The news hit me hard, as it did many others. But I'm buoyed by the words posted recently by my friend Josie: "Since childhood I have attempted, again and again, to emulate her fierce energy, her quick wit, her profound strength and wisdom while fighting for what's good and what's right. No one compares." Is she talking about Fisher or Leia here? Not sure. Don't care. Amen either way. Especially if it's both.

Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for everything.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Ho ho ho": What Jen's Been Saying In Her Sleep, December 2016




Low quantity, high quality, and the usual mix of incoherence and undeniable fact this time around:

“Draw some clouds. All the regular kinds of clouds.”

“Do you sleep here?”

“You take up space… It’s the middle of the night, and you don’t have your shoes on.”

“That’s what you say. Ho ho ho.”

Happy holidays from Jen's subconscious!

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sound Edit + Mix For PSA: Rochester Motor Cars/ Channel One Food Bank




A recent spot for Rochester Motor Cars' campaign to raise $20,000 for Channel One Food Bank. Sound edit + mix by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio.

More branding work from Junior Birdman Audio

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Happy Holidays! Animated Greeting Card


Regardless of your faith (or lack thereof), here's an animated greeting card that we hope will brighten up your holiday season.

We've teamed up with Rockne.Digital to bring you the story of a reindeer who finds an innovative way to fly. Original music and sound design created by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio.



Enjoy! And Happy Holidays to you.

More corporate/ branding work from Junior Birdman Audio

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Junior Birdman Audio home page + contact

Mike's studio Junior Birdman Audio on Facebook

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Film Update: Winter 2016


Some news about recent film projects featuring sound design and original music we've created at Junior Birdman Audio:



OH DEER

On December 8th, the 2016 Minnesota Electronic Theater showcase will premiere "Oh Deer". This comedic animated short celebrates an ongoing collaboration between my studio Junior Birdman Audio and the animation/ design house Rockne.Digital. The idea germinated as a brief 4 or 5 second holiday greeting that we could send out this winter, but rapidly mutated into an ambitious tale of inept adventure reminiscent of "Wallace and Gromit". I provided all things audio, from an original musical score to sound edit and final mix.

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PERSONAL SPACE

Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival and Hollywood Just4Shorts recently screened "Personal Space", a short film I sound edited and mixed in 2015. Continuing a successful festival run after sweeping the major awards including Best of Fest at its Z-Fest premiere, it recently won Best Short Film at Hollywood Just4Shorts.

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DEUX CHAMPS

An experimental short documentary concerning a double exposure of Marcel Duchamp, Deux Champs has been making quite the festival rounds lately. Here's a complete list of screenings to date:

Analogica Film Festival, Italy, 2016 (upcoming)
Weyauwega Film Festival, Wisconsin, 2016
Antimatter Media Art Festival, Victoria B.C., 2016
Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, 2016
Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, 2016
Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, 2016
Anthology Film Archives, New Filmmakers, New York, 2015
Compliance Division, Portland, 2015

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OUT IN THE COLD



I mixed this documentary feature back in 2015, and it's now available on Amazon Video. The film chronicles the often harrowing adventure of director J.D. O'Brien and a friend as they leave the comfort of their homes to explore what the homeless experience during a freezing Minnesota winter. Find out more about Out in the Cold here.

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AMERICAN BEAST: THE SOLITUDE SAGA CONTINUES

It's been known by many names, from "Bosque Macabro" in Portugal to "Beast of Prey" in the UK. At last, the anthology horror film "Solitude"-- for which I provided sound edit, mix, and some original music cues back in 2014-- is available on DVD in the US, replete with the brand new title "American Beast"! I'm pretty sure I've never worked on a project that wound up with as many as four official names before. Good to cross yet another such career threshold.

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More sound + music by Mike Hallenbeck/ Junior Birdman Audio for animation

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More film music by Mike Hallenbeck/ Junior Birdman Audio

Junior Birdman Audio home page + contact