Guest Contribution by Pierce O’Toole
Writer/Director Pierce O’Toole shares his thoughts on music and sound design, and how they play into his creative process.
As a writer and director, my biggest concern on any project is the story. Every project has a story that you are trying to tell. When I approach sound, the lens I view it through – or the speaker I hear it through, I guess – is one of story. While this is true of every element of the filmmaking process, sound is unlike any of the others because it’s the only element that follows me through the entire process.
When I begin writing, music is very important. At first, it’s just something atmospheric or energetic, like The Album Leaf or Daft Punk. As I get further along in the writing process, I get a better sense of the story and the tone. At this point, the music has to match. If it doesn’t, it can make it harder to write. I build playlists that I listen to on repeat. I’ve had several roommates that hate me for this, especially when the playlist is less than ten songs. I don’t ever tire of the music, no matter how many times I listen to it, because that music helps put me in the world of the story. I’m not listening to the music; I’m absorbing it.
Guest contribution by Tom deMajo
A special thanks to co-founder Tom deMajo of the game studio Quartic Llama. Tom is an artist and sound designer who currently resides in Dundee.
Earlier this year, Quartic Llama was approached by the National Theatre of Scotland to make a game as part of a city-wide trans-media project called other, supporting the theatrical debut of “Let The Right One In”- a contemporary vampire story. They were keen to see if it was possible to make a game which could incorporate the work of local writers, musicians and artists, and for it to take place in the city. They were interested in finding ways that theatre and digital art/games could work together, and were very proactive, supportive and open to new ideas. We agreed that this would be an amazing opportunity for an experimental, location- based horror sound game, and in a unique partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland, we developed other.
other takes place in the city of Dundee. This atmospheric old map comes from the Dundee archives (used with their kind permission for the game and associated content).
other is quite difficult to define, but we ended up calling it an “alternate reality sound game”. This highlights the relationship the game has with traditional ARG’s which take place in the real world, and is a good description of the experience; other uses sound, interaction and your location to distort the world around you, and blurs the distinction between reality and fiction, and between game and theatre.
I’ve been a bit remiss in my duty lately, and there are several people who need to be thanked for their contributions on the site. To begin, let me thank two gentlemen who contributed in May:
…And for June:
And finally, the new faces around here:
- John Black
- Cormac Donnelly
- Sam Ejnes
- Johsua Kaplan
- Doron Reizes
- Marie Tueje (who is just joining the site now…Welcome!)
- Everyone else from the community who stepped forward, willing to volunteer their time to the site. We truly appreciate the amazing response the call for help received.
Thank you, all!
Guest Contribution by Matthew Marteinsson
At first listen you can tell Mark of the Ninja is a game with a wide dynamic range. The game is all about being hidden and safe or out in the open with the danger of being seen. A very binary visual contrast between being hidden and visible informs the player clearly which state they are in. When hidden, the player has got time to observe what guards are doing and plan your approach. When they’re spotted, it’s a hurried dash to get back to a hiding spot or take out the threat. So how did the audio support having such big contrasts in gameplay?
Well, the flood gates certainly opened up at the end of the month…didn’t they? We’ve got a lot of people to thank for their guest contributions to April’s theme (and a few welcomed off-topic contributions). So, I’m going to get right to it!
A hearty “Thank You” goes out to…
Thanks again to all of you. And to the rest of our community, remember that we always welcome guest contributions on the site. If you’d like to share your knowledge with the rest of the community, don’t hesitate to contact us.
…and don’t forget to check out the articles posted by our contributing editors as well, if you missed any.