Trent Reznor vs. Elvis Costello: Sound design & music in The Social Network
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Trent Reznor vs. Elvis Costello: Sound design & music in The Social Network

I was just being polite. I have no intention of being friends with you I’m under some pressure right now from my OS class and if we could
just order some food I think we should You are probably going to be a very
successful computer person But you’re gonna go through life thinking that girls
don’t like you because you’re a nerd And I want you to know from the bottom of my
heart that that won’t be true It’ll be because you’re an asshole Again it comes down to the director. We
first played that scene for him there because again the bar scene was shot with
you know there’s just the two of them there even though it’s a
busy bar and he was like, “Has anybody in this room been to a Boston college bar?
Because it doesn’t sound like one” and I was like “Yeah I went to Boston, I know”
Then you know what they sound like let’s get it going you know it’s it’s got to be a
busy bar you know I know they’re talking fast and there’s a lot of dialogue and
this is the opening scene of the movie the people are really listening you’ll
pick up the key points I mean with Sorkin’s dialogue it’s fast and witty
and so it was like I think people can get it they can understand this guy is
a genius, he’s smart but he’s socially inept and that’s pretty much the scene that’s
what I wanted to see they don’t have to hear every single word they just need to
hear enough to understand and feel for the scene. So the interesting thing is
when Mark leaves the bar here and he’s walking down a street and it’s a high
shot David wanted to hear the flip-flops so you’re I went to him. The flip-flops that
Mark Zuckerberg wears was really a big issue in the mix because I guess Mark
wore the Adidas flip-flops which are cloth so we had the Foley team walk it
in the Adidas flip-flops but they didn’t sound like flip-flops that you’re used
to hearing. So we play it for David “They don’t sound like flip-flops. I need, I need…” I
finally just said just go out buy the cheap plastic flip-flops have them walk
it again so what they did do was they re-walked the entire character again with
the plastic flip-flops and not only did they do that they added the slap at the
back of the foot one flop at a time so there was an editor that went through
and so I had a separate track so any time David said I don’t hear the flop on
the track I’d pull it up and it would be in sync BAM
there it is oh yeah that sounds right History repeats the old conceits The glib replies the same defeats Keep your finger on important issues With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues I’m just the oily slick On the windup world of the nervous tick In a very fashionable hovel I hang around dying to be tortured You’ll never be alone in the bone orchard This battle with the bottle is nothing so novel So in this almost empty gin palace Through a two-way looking glass You see your Alice You know she has no sense For all your jealousy In a sense she still smiles very sweetly Charged with insults and flattery Her body moves with malice Do you have to be so cruel to be callous And now you find you fit this identikit completely You say you have no secrets And then leave discreetly I might make it California’s fault Be locked in Geneva’s deepest vault Just like the canals of Mars and the Great Barrier Reef I come to you beyond belief My hands were clammy and cunning She’s been suitably stunning But I know there’s not a hope in Hades All the laddies cat call and wolf whistle So called gentlemen and ladies Dog fight like rose and thistle I got a feeling I’m going to get a lot of grief Once this seemed so appealing Now I am beyond belief I got a feeling I’m going to get a lot of grief Once this seemed so appealing Now I am beyond belief I got a feeling I’m going to get a lot of grief Once this seemed so appealing Now I am beyond belief I got a feeling I’m gonna get a lot of grief With that Elvis Costello track on there that you just heard Ok, do we want this kind of everything’s okay kids of college
tomfoolery type story you know? And I thought that seemed wrong So this is the first time I’d seen this music placed in this position It wasn’t
written for that scene And I’d like to say that was genius idea of mine but it
wasn’t So I’m sitting in the theater and I see that in all honesty I had goosebumps
and I felt “Wow, I did that!” you know? Now and it really impressed upon me how
different the film seemed from that point on it feels like a completely
different movie to me because it brings out more of an undertone that was
throughout the film anyway. It makes it much less friendly and much more
tension-filled and it’s really up there in the top
moments of feeling fulfilled by stuff I’ve done. Anyway, from that point on the
film kind of revealed itself as to what it needed then I knew what how willing
Fincher was to color outside the lines a bit and then we were off to the races
and then it became more traditional matching up music to scenes because now I
understood what he wanted. Yeah, we got into endless back-and-forth between
David and us about the way the piano should have a clear ringing vibrant- Do
you mean reverb? No, it needs to be a, you know, like back-and-forth
there’s probably say 30 variations of recording pianos in different places.
It was just about the mix and the type of piano that we were recording you know how it rang
out or if it felt lonely and that theme comes back a couple times in the film as
kind of a recurring echo of what Zuckerberg once was you know so we
recorded it differently and put blankets over the piano things like that to kind
of give him a sense of decline Interviewer: And just out of the music geekery there’s a
sustained D that keeps going through the whole thing Trent: Yeah Interviewer: What is
that sound? Trent: That was me with the violin just quick
back and forth tremolo that we then sent through an infinite reverb and resampled
and it has a real kind of moving organic nature to it but feels
synthetic but it still feels like there’s something real life in there
somewhere you

9 thoughts on “Trent Reznor vs. Elvis Costello: Sound design & music in The Social Network

  1. Welcome to Indepth Sound Design! Discussion and feedback welcome in the comment section. Don't forget to subscribe so you never miss a video!

  2. Really well done. And – appreciate Trent Reznor's commentary. Such a simple, minimalist and effective opening theme / motif. He's right – the music set the tone for the entire film, along with great sound design. (Love the flip-flops).

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