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…
I was looking through my notebook again, and I came across an idea I’d completely forgotten about. I’ve got a somewhat reasonable excuse as to why it’s slipped my mind though…timing. You see, this idea pertains to how we communicate with clients…or, rather, how they communicate with us…about sound. The idea came to me at the end of a project I was supervising, and I started working at well known post facility shortly afterwards. This is not a complaint, because I love working where I do, but my opportunities for discussing a project’s sound directly with a director or producer have been damned near non-existent. I’m not high enough on the totem pole at this place for that. Enough with excuses, the idea…
It’s common to talk about the characteristics the client is looking for in a particular sound. This is a very technical approach though, and it doesn’t necessarily reinforce what many of us want to see happen in film or game sound: earlier involvement, and opportunities to enhance the narrative. So here’s a not very brilliant idea to help us get into the director’s head, and just maybe get them to start thinking from our perspective every once in a while. Ask them to describe the sound using verbs and actions, instead of adjectives. The technical approach is fine; and necessary, honestly. We need that information too. [We don’t always want to create conflict with what they’re hearing in their head.] But get them thinking about sound as something that has it’s own motivations. It gets them to think about how sound can influence the scene, even if they’re not yet understanding that it can.
If you can get them to do this even once, you’re gaining more insight into what they want the scene itself to do…which in turn may give you ideas for how to approach other sounds within the same scene. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll plant a seed that will bear fruit in future projects.
Hi, thanks for this. :) Could I ask for some examples of some of the verbs that would be used in context?
Shaun Farley says
Certainly. I’ll pose these as questions, because you may need to ask in this manner to get the conversation started:
– Does this sound [define] something about the character/space?
– Should this sound [lull] the audience into a quiet space?
– Does the sound [convey] any meaning to the character?
– Should this sound [attack], or just [step] in?
– Who should this sound [scare]? The character, the audience, both?
– Do you want the sound to really [hammer] the point home?
The broadest example of would be to ask, “What do you want the sound to [do] here?”