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  • Writer's pictureBen Anstruther

Editing, Sound and Score

This is my final post discussing my ideas for how to execute the film. I should preface this by saying that these ideas only make up the foundation of what I hope to achieve with this film, hopefully when I get HoDs on board then we build on and develop – or even disregard – the thoughts I have outlined here.


 

Editing

The editing will follow the structure of the story. In the first act of the film, the cuts will more or less of equal length, quite slow, balanced, not cutting across the 180 degree line. I hope what this will do is to emphasise the monotony of Nina’s life and her working days – everything feels the same with little variation.


As the film progresses the cuts will become more erratic – faster with no pattern, fragmented – jumping the line, lots of close-ups, so we can try and make the sequences where Nina is desperately trying to find the evidence frustrating, enervating and somewhat disorientating to watch.


Another important thing to bear in mind with the edit is the focal length changes. They should be a natural part of the film and not something which takes the viewer out of the story. I don’t like to shoot coverage, I know that’s probably quite poor practice but there’s nothing In find unique and interesting creatively about doing that so the test shoot is going to be invaluable for that reason.


A final thing about the editing is, after speaking with Chris my screenwriter tutor, it has been recommended and I agree that some humour should be incorporated into the film. It’s not a comedy and any humour will come from the characters’ interactions with each other. It’s not going to be particularly broad like The Office or Fawlty Towers and it certainly isn’t going to be sweary like The Thick of it. It’s really important therefore that the editing is done as if it were a drama and not draw attention to lines that are supposed to be funny. Annie Hall is an amazing example of edit for laughs, especially the family dinner scene, but I like the approach, and sorry to cite this film again but it is one of all-time favourites, that was taken in Withnail and I where the editing is subdued and focussed on the characters.



Sound

Sound is now I think the thing that I really feel makes films worth seeing in a cinema, things like Oppenheimer, Top Gun: Maverick last year, so with the hope that this project may make it to some festival screens down the line.


Sound is the department where I have the least amount of technical understanding so I can only really describe what I want to achieve. Similar to the editing pace, the sound needs to build up and intensify over the course of the narrative. My idea currently, and I think this is more akin to reality, is not to have a complex atmos track but a focus on individual sounds. When I am stressed I tend to pinpoint individual things around me which amplify my emotions rather than the sounds of the all-encompassing environment around me.


We want the audience to have a visceral reaction to the film and sound is integral for us being able to achieve that. One way we hope to do this is at the start of the final act, two characters have a volume argument where in the script, their dialogue is overlapping. Not being able to hear characters clearly can be frustrating from an audience’s perspective so have that in the film is going to help capture the frenzied environment. Uncut Gems does this so brilliantly.


Another thing we are working on is creating and building up a library of everyday sounds which are harsh, annoying and make people squirm from their unpleasantness. Building this library has helped with the script writing as I have been able to incorporate these sounds into the film which will hopefully make it more textured sonically – I don’t if that’s even a thing.


Some of these sounds include: aggressive nose-blowing, printer sounds, alerts from laptops, old doors sticking and needing oil, chairs scraping over a threadbare carpet, paper being scrunched up, monotonous room tone which sounds a bit like a distant fridge, distortion.


I hope to continue to build this up especially as the script is being developed.


 

Score

Finally the score. I am extremely excited to say that my cousin, Sam Gellaitry, who makes music professionally has agreed to make a short piece of music for us for one of the climatic scenes in the film. He has made music with a number of note-worthy people PinkPantheress and works currently with Skrillex and Fred again.. This will be an electronic piece will serve solely to amplify the tension rather than detract from it – I can’t imagine it will even be more than a minute long. I am really very grateful that he has decided to help out.

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