An unidentified flying object crashes through the Statue of Liberty and buries itself in Manhattan. The night it hits the island's financial district, kids are having a party on the roof of an apartment building nearby. They are in their 20s, successful, and mostly beautiful. While filming the party, one kid catches sight of the object as it burns through the atmosphere, flies directly through the Statue of Liberty's head, and disappears out of sight.
"Oh my God, oh my God," he says.
The film recovered and sold to a production company in Los Angeles. "The sound is all out of sync," the director says. "We can see the collision before we hear the crash." The chief sound editor nods and takes notes. "And the dialogue is wrong. I want to hear that guy--" He points to one of the successful, particularly beautiful kids -- "I want to hear him crystal clear. Bring down the camera man and bring him up, you understand?"
The chief sound editor is insulted by the question. "I know what the fuck I'm doing. I've been doing it for two decades, studied with the best, and worked for men whose vision would grab your puny mind and BLOW IT AWAY. Whereas you, on the other hand, haven't made a picture worth watching since your mom taped your very first bowel movement." He doesn't say this. Instead:
Progress is good. There are a few snags in post-production -- some dialogue needs to be replaced and it is difficult to track down the kids from the party. The successful, particularly beautiful kid who has become the lead of the film is in fact missing. His parents have filed a report with the police, and his picture is posted downtown along with many others not seen since that night. In a press conference, the mayor states that there are "no known connection at the time" between the recent surge of disappearances and the crash, though he assures the public that the federal government in cooperation with state and local officials are doing all they could to ensure everyone's safety.
Fortunately technological advances in the field make it possible and even cost-effective to recreate the lead actor's lines synthetically, which pleases the director, though it leaves the chief sound editor with many extra late-night hours during an already over-long week. But his work is good. He is able to clear up almost half of the kid's lines, and there is agreement amongst his team that the synthetic lines are quite good, and in some cases delivered better.
The media blitz begins as construction and police vehicles quarantine the area of the crash.
"You can't buy this kind of publicity," the director says, watching the crews work on the screen as all over the city billboards and other print ads go up. The marketing team is experimenting with a new form of ad: a projector beams the film's central image -- the Statute of Liberty -- onto the wall inside the Union Square subway station. As commuters pass by, they interrupt the projection, triggering an image of the Statue crumbling so that it appears their own shadow is knocking down the Statute. It is similar to the ad a major broadcasting station used for their news show -- "Just amped up a bit," explains the director. He is excited; it seems as if forces beyond his control have conspired to make this film a undeniable comeback from what he is not quite ready yet to identify as a slump. He goes to bed with the TV on.
New Year's Eve comes and goes quietly in New York City.
January 2008: the film opens to number one at the box office and word of mouth is good. The crash site remains quarantined, though clean-up is delayed due to a sharp spike in sick days taken by the crew. Everyone comes out saying, "It reminded me of 9/11," and there is almost universal praise for the leading man. In the harbor it is only a matter of days before boats will be able to recover the Statue's head. There is debate over whether it can be re-attached, or if not, perhaps rendered holographically.
Sound moves slower than light, which is why you see a collision before you hear it, though it is SOP for sound editors to correct this for movie audiences.