So there we were… secreted away in a black car; its windows darkly tinted; its passengers engaged in a clandestine operation to capture audio that had failed so many times before…

“Previously… on Road Less Traveled…”

“Hmm… Can you try it slower and with less emotion?”

PREVIOUSLY. ON. ROAD. LESS. TRAVELED.

(laughing) “Not like a ROBOT!

That was Jon and I, in my car, trying to record the “Previously” voice over for the opening of Road Less Traveled: Episode 3 – Vanishing Point. After several previous attempts to record the audio months ago, Jon and I finally found an opportunity to try again. In the parking lot of Tempe Marketplace.

We had headed out for a night to celebrate Jon’s 31st year (Happy Birthday, Jon!) and, after a great dinner and seeing The Losers (great movie, bee-tee-dubya), we went back to my car for some VO work. You’d think it not an ideal place to record sensitive voice over dialogue, but surprisingly, my Mustang is a fantastic isolated acoustic chamber. Though, if Jon had said “I think we’re gonna get jacked,” one more time, people would have heard me screaming obscenities at him.

Determining who would get the privilege, nay, honor (hahaha… yeah, right) of speaking the opening dialogue for the final movie was a challenge. Choose Samuel Merchant, the villain of the series to counterpoint Locke’s VO in Episode 2? Not to mention that Patrick, who played Samuel in the trilogy, has been working doggedly right along side me for 4 years now, and you’ve got a pretty good case for having him be the right choice. But what did it say about the film? Episode 2 – Path Not Taken ends with the re-emergence of Samuel Merchant, bigger, badder and smarted than ever. Episode 2 is our Empire Strikes Back, ending on a down note, an all-is-lost moment. The Webisode centers¬†entirely¬†around Samuel and his quest to destroy Locke once and for all. If we opened Episode 3 with Samuel in the lead, would it start the film off on the wrong foot? Who then to choose?

Enter Curtis McMillin, Jon’s character. I’ve made it no secret that I think Jon’s character is the heart of the trilogy (Curtis is the heart, Thomas is the soul), and I think opening with him gives the movie a bit of hope. The last time we saw him, Curtis was refusing to help Locke, choosing instead to go his own way and take the rest of the Phoenix Sanctuary with him. He played a major part in Locke’s virtual “You need to change” bitch slap, but he was the also Locke’s best friend; if the movie starts with him, does it give us a sense that we may see the two friends together again? Does it create a tension in the audience to want to see those two friends connect again?

You’ll have to be the judge of that.

Jon’s voice over performance, even in my car in the Tempe Marketplace parking lot, was spot on. With a lot of laughter, a few outtakes and even a Spanish version for the Bloopers, we got the take we needed. And we’re that much closer to being done.

DVD menu creation has started, FX are wrapping up… it’s close, people. Real close.

Stay on the run and we’ll see you all very soon at the Premier Night!

— Joe Holt