By Patxi Elizalde
Sound is Everything
Today was a cool day. Not only did we have the opportunity to listen to the legend Dave Dye speak LIVE, but we also received an amazing agency showcase from Jungle Studios and Native Music on sound design and music in film and advertising. Unfortunately, not much brief work was done today, but man, did we learn a hell of a lot.
I’m not picking a favorite, as both presentations were awesome and inspiring. However, I feel that most people will be writing about Dave Dye’s talk, so I will put his teachings in practice and “do what no one else is doing.” So, in this specific case, I’ll talk about sound design.
Going into this showcase, I had no idea what to expect. I had seen and laughed at a whole lot of ‘Foley’ youtube clips in the past, and was really hoping this was something they did and that they’d talk about that today. To my enjoyment, they did far more than just talk about it. They let us LIVE IT. For those of you who have no idea what ‘Foley’ is, it’s essentially the reproduction of everyday sound effects for use in movies, tv shows, ads, etc. The greatest thing about it, though, is that these guys create everyday sounds out of everyday materials! For example, clapping two coconuts together to recreate the sound of a horse walking (not exactly an everyday sound…or material but you get it).
Anyway, in our class today, they gave us the opportunity to re-do the sound effects for the iconic cricket bat zombie smash scene from Shaun of the dead (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n0CVsx5RTM 3:54). Lucky (or unlucky?) for us, re-creating these sound effects did not involve any murder, blood, or disrespecting the undead. Instead, we used food and our voice boxes.
The whole process was incredibly funny. From watching Andy let out his inner demons into the microphone, to observing Lucy combat Experian-induced stress on a head of cabbage with a frying pan. The best part was that, as ridiculous as we all looked, each sound served a genuine purpose. This was evident at the end of the talk, when we were showed the scene again, this time, with our own sound effects. It all just… worked. This time, I couldn’t hear Dean squishing a watermelon with his hands, or Josie beating the hell out of some loose greens. I could hear Zombies’ heads cracking open, blood spurting, bones crunching, bodies being smashed. Vividly.
Anyway, as a person who really appreciates sound and music, I loved the showcase. I learned so many new things and felt inspired to make more music on my own. I was so impressed with their work, and I now have a completely new understanding of music and sound in video. I’m not sure I can ever watch a movie again without thinking about what sort of household items were used in the making. How did they create the sound of the Titanic crashing into an iceberg? A stick and a few tomatoes? What about the punches in fight club? A shoe and a basketball?
Plus, even after all the seemingly tedious work and rework behind the scenes, all these guys looked so happy and in love with their jobs. That’s so special and something I strive for wherever I end up. Great day. Lots of food for thought.
The copy scores 70.5 in the Flesch Reading Ease test