Eu Dahm Jahng, who starts the fourth year of her major in communication studies, media and screen studies in the fall at Northeastern, landed a co-op at IFC Films, an independent movie production house. Jahng works in post-production, screening captions and subtitles to make sure they are accurate and occasionally transcribing movie trailers.
The production company is known for critical indie favorites like “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” but in recent years they’ve focused on spooky horror flicks like “Relic” and “The Babadook.”
IFC Films has been producing a lot of scary movies recently. Do you like scary movies?
They’re not my favorite. I’m not the best at watching them. I want to enjoy them. Seeing all these horror film fanatics, I wanted to know what all the hype was. But whenever I would try to watch, I’d always have to turn down the volume to the lowest setting or move the screen far away because it was so scary.
So when on your co-op did you realize you’d have to watch a bunch of them?
Pretty much day one. And the problem is I don’t just watch it once, I have to watch it at least three different times. So, yeah, it was kind of terrifying when I began the job. But once I watched a lot of horror, I started to get more used to it.
Are you ever able to get creative when transcribing the screams or gory sounds in a movie?
I have to focus on the dialogue more than the noises. Basically, the people who create the film give us the script, so I take the script, look it through and then write transcripts of the movie trailers using the script as a reference.
What was one of the coolest things you learned to do?
We do this thing called audio descriptions for our disabled audience. We make a separate audio file that includes descriptions about what’s happening in the movie for people with impaired vision. My job is to provide quality control for the descriptions and make sure what’s being described is matched with what’s going on. The tricky part is you have to make sure the description doesn’t ruin the suspense building up in a scene, or ruin the dialogue by speaking over it. They’re still a pretty new thing, so finding the perfect way to make one is sort of a work in progress.
What advice would you give to students considering this co-op?
My first piece of advice is they should be very organized. I’m often dealing with around 10 films at the same time and there are a lot of licensing agreements that I’m responsible for. Also, the movie trailer transcripts can be fun, but mainly it’s a lot of leaning into the computer speaker and making sure what you hear is correctly transcribed. Then you write down the timestamp for each piece of dialogue.
How long does that take?
It takes a lot of time. For example, a two-minute trailer will probably take me an hour to transcribe. So, it takes a lot of patience and organization.
Any parting thoughts?
I think when we think of the film industry, we’re immediately thinking about the glamorous side of it like the celebrities and the fame. This side of the work really reminded me that there’s so many people behind the scenes making sure that a film is properly produced or properly launched. Oh, and If you’re bad with scary movies, I’m not sure IFC is the place to start.
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