OS: What were some of the biggest challenges in recording for The Social Network?
RK: There’s two big scenes, in terms of mixing…the opening sequence, which takes place at a bar between Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend Erica Albright and them breaking up…Fincher really wanted to have the sound pressure level of the bar overtake their dialogue. Traditionally when you mix a film, you err on the side of caution, you generally have the dialogue very loud and the sound effects very low, so that you can make out all the words that are being said. Particularly with the script that Aaron Sorkin has written, it’s really rapid-fire, quick-paced, and you really have to pay attention to it. Our initial mixes of the film were very conservative, in terms of suppressing the background, suppressing the music and turning up the dialogue. But Fincher really wanted to turn that on its head and say, “I want this to feel edgy, I want this to have a sense of urgency to it and I want people to struggle to listen in and struggle to hear the dialogue because that’s more realistic.” And he wanted the experience for the audience to be a realistic portrayal of people in a bar. So when you watch the film, it’s almost impossible to make out the dialogue for the first few seconds of the film. It’s sort of David’s way of saying “Pay attention and hang on for the ride, because there’s going to be a lot of dialogue being thrown at you.”
And the second scene that was difficult was the Ruby Skye sequence, in which Mark Zuckerberg has a business meeting with Sean Parker, who’s played by Justin Timberlake. It’s in this loud club called Ruby Skye, which is an actual club in San Francisco and it’s one of those clubs that has the loud, throbbing subwoofer with the house music blasting on 11. David, again, wanted to have this music overpower the scene and have the dialogue just on the edge of intelligibility. So those were very challenging scenes for us to mix and to work into the soundtrack.