Audio Storytelling

Audio can make or break a story. It can shape appropriate moods for the underlying story or create awkward and uncomfortable pairings. One of my favorite movies is Interstellar, this is in large part due to the soundtrack (and the visuals are pretty fantastic).

While many critics have joked that the soundtrack is just Hans Zimmer falling asleep on his organ, his musical compositions complete the fantastic job of conveying the moods of the on screen characters to the viewers. If the movie stars are freaking out, so are you. One of the many stressful scenes involve the characters attempting to escape a high gravity planet. At first they think they are viewing mountains, but soon come to realize that these perceived mountains are giant waves. The music swells with their realizations and the viewer is left gripping their seat in excitement. Another beautifully composed song is S.T.A.Y. Snippets of this song are frequently used throughout the film. These scenes most often contain the main character and his daughter. The song not only signals that their relationship is important, but is moving in such a way to convey their stress and sadness. Have I said I love this movie already?

The absence of sound is equally as important. The horror movie Dead Silence utilizes the lack of music to indicate when the horrific element is nearby. It serves the movie well because, unlike other horror films, the soundtrack doesn’t necessarily give away when the scare will happen. You just have to wait in silence.

In response to Moon Graffiti, I found some of the sound effects distracting. Specifically the sounds of camera clicks, creating ripples in the sand and placing the flag into the moons crust. This might due to the fact that since the moon has no atmosphere, sound cannot travel. I guess it’s nit-picky, but I think it represented an instance where sound is actually distracting and unnecessary. Otherwise I found the story and acting captivating.

I really enjoyed the ds106 radio show. I made a comment regarding how I appreciated the narration in the second show due to the fact that it allowed for easier understanding about what was going on in the story. I struggled to follow along with the first one and distinguish between characters. I believe the first story displayed an instance where too much sound occurring (specifically on it’s own) can create confusion for the viewer.

The above examples regarding sound in storytelling show the major effect it can have upon them. To once again reiterate my first point, audio can make or break a story.