SDFP Participant Benefits

Comments from SDFP Webinar participant sound designer Paolo Armao (Italy):


During a Skype call before the Webinar started, David asked me: “Think about the way you should communicate with the director: has he/she a verbal/conceptual/visual personality?”

I would like to bring here an experience I had some years ago, while working on a short film directed by four guys having an extraordinary traditional animation background (that is: visual personality).

The name of that short is “The Naturalist” (2007), and you can find it here.

During our first meeting, while we were analyzing the storyboard scene by scene, I noticed that we were using different adjectives to describe objects, shapes, feelings…

I can perfectly remember that for a particular scene, where a human barefoot smash a frog, one of the co-directors said: “audience mustn’t laugh and mustn’t get nauseated. This is a Dark-Humor short, if you manage to achieve both of those things, then it should work”.

So, I annotated DARK/HUMOR on my notebook.

A couple of days after that meeting, I was in my studio fully involved in a trial-and-error process, looking for the perfect sound for that sequence.

Both Dark and Humor” – I said myself – “It should work”.

At that time I was studying David’s “Sound Design” book in which he meticulously describe how to realize Visual (Sound) Maps.

I closed my ProTools session, and I started drawing:

The day after I emailed them the map, they came back with some corrections:

Describe the story flow using simple lines was so natural to them: they can easily think “visual”!
From then on, during foley recording session as well as during the final mix, I always brought that scheme with me.

The short has been selected at the Festival Of Cannes 2009, and I’m sure that’s also because we found the right medium that we used to share ideas during the whole project.

I’m now working on a short film that during opening sequence shows a desolate Garden of Eden, the moment after Eve ate the apple.

While the director wants to point out that desolation with heavy air noise, no birds, no insects and no animals AT ALL, music theme is extremely positive and optimistic (major chords has been used to obtain a sweet melody).

“Music do not support the story in the opening sequence!” someone wrote me on the text-chat after that I screened that scene during the second lesson of this Webinar.

How should I explain the composer that the music doesn’t match the mood of the film there?

(I should probably use the visual map once more).

David asks me to answer some questions before starting my attempt in solving the problem:

“How does he compose music?” (methods, approaches, decision-making processes)

“How does he communicate?”

“Does the composer you’re working with have good/bad relationship with sound designers? Why?”

As part of the team, we should always try to understand the people we’re working with: their background, the way they communicate as well as their needs.

Since this Webinar has started, my mental processes suddenly changed, thanks to a smart collection of tools and suggestions that I received from David and all the other participants coming from all around the world.

One Comment on “SDFP Participant Benefits”

  1. gustavopyl Says:

    Yes, Mr. Sonnenschein`s approach is excellent. I like to use it to shortfilms too. There was a short film so full of music that was almost boring. The map was usefull to concentrate in the story in order to differenciate scenes with other sound elements that could counterpoint or play with music. This way the music was integrated instead of using the rest of sound elements just for fill in the gaps between song and song.

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