I contacted Jeremy Peirson, the sound designer for Looper (2012), to talk about his role in the best received time travel movie in a very long time. What follows is a transcription of our phone conversation. Enjoy!
DS: For our theme on the site this month we’re talking about “time,” and I though it would be interesting to talk about Looper (2012) as a time travel movie and your work on that.
DS: When did you get involved in Looper? Were you asked early on, or was it just in post…?
JP: No. It was just in post, and it turns out that it was a lot later…I guess they had finished shooting about a year before I got started. Just because it was a low budget indie, and they were doing a lot of cutting. It turns out that it was a lot later than I expected.
Michael Theiler has posted a new article on Gamasutra in response to Rob Bridgett’s “After Sound Design”
I have been buoyed recently due to some excellent writings by Ariel Gross and Rob Bridgett talking about game development, and also by my own sense of belonging in the world of games. We are at such an exciting and interesting point in history as it relates to games, and there are practices and stylistic methodologies that deserve some discussion.
I mention Rob Bridgett, as he recently published a blog post about the changing role of the sound department in games. He sees sound department’s role as “principle collaborator to not just the overall project, but artistically, technically, socially and politically in the development of company culture”. This statement is one that rings true, particularly now. I think most game devs will recognise this, and game development companies the world over, if they are not already doing it, will soon be recognising the people in audio departments willing to put up their hand to fill these roles.
The London Film School is offering another one day workshop focusing on the role of sound in story-telling. The workshop will take place on Saturday, November 24th. They’re also offering a 20% discount to Designing Sound readers.
What is it that makes the dream sequences in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, Bergman’s WILD STRAWBERRIES and Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION so disturbing? What makes the ‘trip’ sequences in TRAINSPOTTING and EASY RIDER so real, the flashbacks in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and BLADE RUNNER so palpable, and the levels of time and memory in INCEPTION and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND so distinct and immediately recognisable?
In each case, the answer lies in the sound design.
In this new 1-day workshop, Dr. Gilbert Gabriel focuses on how characters’ subjective thoughts and feelings are signified in their experience of altered states such as those in dreams, intoxication, memory and flashbacks, terror and insanity. The workshop explores how pitch, rhythm, timbre, reverberation and fluctuation of sounds as well as the cultural import of music or song can significantly sway the emotions and audience interpretation of a film scene. It offers both a theoretical and practical way for directors, editors, composers, sound designers and screen designers to understand the relationships between speech, music and sound on film soundtracks.
For more details, and to register, follow this link. Our discount code is: Gilbert20%
Cross-posting from my personal blog.
In my last article, I talked about Semiotics and encouraged sound designers and editors to think of sound for picture as a language; or, at least, as a component of the language used by any given film. I’d rather not rehash the specific elements of Semiotics that were discussed. There are several ideas that I’m going to assume you’ve read and are familiar with as I proceed through this article. If you haven’t read that original article, I suggest you go do so now. The examples I’m about to discuss will have more meaning for you if you do.
I mentioned two possible approaches to applying signification in the development of a “sound language” for a project. The first is to work with existing signification, and the second is to develop your own; however, these do not have to be mutually exclusive. Both can contribute to your particular piece’s dialect. Remember that I am describing language as merely a “code” to convey meaning. So, meaning needs not be limited to ideas or thoughts. As such, let’s take a look at three examples of sonic code work, language, as used in moving picture.
Cross-posting from personal blog.
I’ve had two ideas take obsessive root in my brain recently. They’re not new concepts, nor are they new to me. My first introduction to them was 8 years ago now, but I find myself pondering them with the regularity that my dog wants food. [Now? Now?! ...........Nooooow?] They’re worth talking about in a public space, because I hope they’ll stimulate some engaging conversation in our community. There’s also the hope that said conversation will filter and focus these ideas into greater resolution for myself. If it helps others in the process, so much the better. These two concepts, as spoiled in the title, are deprivation and barriers.
I plan to cover these ideas over two articles. In this, the first, I’ll lay out my thoughts and musings on concepts introduced to me through the writings of Walter Murch and Michel Chion. They are two different arguments, yet I feel they are closely related and augment one another. In the second article, I’ll examine several scenes under the frameworks I present here.
The concepts (paraphrased):
- Deprivation of sensory information causes the viewer to extract greater meaning from art. (Murch)
- The Voice defines the barriers it transcends. (Chion)