As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…
Besides the obvious answer of, “DON’T!”
This week’s post was inspired by the use of the Wilhelm Scream in the film Warcraft, and various conversations surrounding its usage that spotted last night. One of which I got involved with, despite not having seen the movie. [ed. …and no. I don’t plan to…ever, if I can help it.]
Regardless of how you feel about it (I personally want the madness to stop) clichéd sounds can have their place, but it’s all in how you use them. If you absolutely must see if you can sneak it past the director and/or producer, then I can only see two ways of doing it:
- Bury it. Make it so that YOU have a hard time hearing it in the piece you’re working on. Only people who are actively searching for it should be able to find it. Don’t let it draw attention to itself.
- Use it in an exceedingly clever way. The problem with this is that as soon as someone has done that, you can’t use that approach again…ever. Sounds like the Wilhelm have been bouncing around for decades. It’s getting harder and harder to use it in a clever/subtle way. If you can’t do something new with it, DON’T! A good example of a clever use comes from Tron Legacy (2010):
There’s one other instance where it can be acceptable to draw attention to a clichéd sound, and that’s by turning it into a self referential joke. If you can make people who are sick of it laugh, then people who aren’t aware of it will probably enjoy the joke without the full knowledge of what’s happening. The film Over the Hedge (2006) did this very well with a mosquito.
And that’s about it. Anything other than these three approaches is likely to earn you the ire of soundies and the general populace. You have been warned!