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Meet the Cast & Crew – Linze Valk: ‘Someone who is easily satisfied won’t make anything good’

The filming and editing have been finished for some time now. Still, at least there is one person working hard to give the film that little extra. Linze Valk is the sound engineer behind the scenes, who has to take care of fitting music and the right location sounds. And he’s definitely going to succeed in that. His secret? ‘The bathrobesyndrome’.

“If I’d be working on this fulltime, it would at least be a month’s work.” Linze says this with a steady voice. Routinely almost, as he has been practicing in the sound industry for donkey’s ears (pun intended). However, his words still render his passion for his work; “The music for Who is Alice is partly finished. From the beginning I already had something atmospheric and minimalistic in mind. I think it will become beautiful.”

Empty canvas
Linze has his hands – and especially his ears – full working sound design. All music, each conversation and every little sound; it has to be pitch-perfect. Also for sound goes; less is more. “Sound conveys the same principle as image. The most simple, straight forward shots are most effective. Therefore, simplicity is key.” According to Linze, the film emanates simplicity to the same extent. He’s probably right: ‘Life is simple, not easy’, must be the film’s tagline for a reason.

For Who is Alice he was given carte blanche with respect to music. “The fun thing with soundtracks is that you get to start with an empty canvas. ‘Do whatever you like’ is in short the thrust of the briefing that I get. Of course, that is not entirely true, as just with cinematography, the music should always be in favor of the story. Furthermore, it should emphasize and strengthen the image and the emotion that we’re trying to render with the viewer. Nevertheless, how I do so, is entirely up to me.”

Samples
Luckily, Linze has enough resources available to determine that. “Nowadays the possibilities with technique are endless, also with sound and samples. Carrying instruments around for recordings is hardly necessary anymore. Often I manage with a few samples, and can I leave the whole orchestra at home, ha-ha.”

That however, does not mean that Linze is not musically talented. In contrast, the sound engineer explains: “I am not exceptionally musically brilliant, but I am good with samples. Apart from that, I mostly just compose what I deem beautiful. I am stubborn, which makes my craft more fun, as I can integrate a chunk of my very own passion in my work.”

Uncertainty
There is also something called the ‘bathrobesyndrome’ as Linze likes to call it. “In the morning, when I’m still wearing my bathrobe, I already start working. When I’m still in my bathrobe, working in the evening, I realize the day is already over. I completely forget track of time when I am working, and it also feels that way. That is because it is my passion as well: my hobby is my work which also works the other way around. I never have the feeling that I lost my hobby, or that I am working altogether.

However, that passion also got a flipside he admits. “It goes hand in hand with perfectionism. I actually never feel that I completely succeeded. At the most I can say: Well, this does have something’, or something like that. I think that stems from a fundamental uncertainty, a doubt about everything. Actually that is not a bad thing per se, as someone who is easily satisfied with his or her own work, won’t produce anything good.

Contortion
It comes as no surprise that Linze wants to make beautiful things. There is no lack of ambition, that’s for sure: “Features remain the ultimate projects for me. Therefore we are working hard to establish a platform for film in my home province ‘Friesland’. I also like to compose music for TV series and documentaries, as a series is actually a kind of film, cut into pieces. Therefore it offers just as much challenge as the sound- and music production for a big feature.”

Especially when the series or film resolve around a central theme, “as that forces me to get the most out of the theme or subject musically. That makes it possible to explore the content in depth. Even more so, you will have to. Because that’s what it’s all about. Music is not only atmospherical, it should also achieve something. It has to move audiences in a certain way, and every now and then, dissonant tones are required.

Interview: Jeroen Schalk
English translation by: Judith Boeschoten
Photography: Hans Tibben

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