Hidden People, Episode 2

Here is a link to Chris Burnside’s post about episode 2 (‘The Ant Farm’) and here is where you can hear it.

Much of this one is about discovering more about the relationships between the characters. I agree with Chris that the writing and acting are both very good. For example, I actually found myself feeling slightly embarrassed for Nissa, Alfie and Mackenna, watching through Shaylee’s eyes as Alfie (and, to a lesser extent, Nissa) ‘perform’ for her, trying to win her – and what they perceive as her ‘coolness’ – over.

As a post-production person, I listen to dialogue many, many, many times, so I get to pick up on every nuance, every inflection. And then make our background goings-on start to pulse with it.

Apart from two significant scenes, this has been my job in this episode.  The spaces the characters are in allow for a bit of first-person perspective – for example, filtering the music and chat for a closed bathroom door (at 6:56) allows us to feel we are seeing the cafe with Shaylee, observing the interpersonal dynamics, which prepares us for the next chunk of dialogue. This hopefully invites the audience to step outside of of the friendship and look in a more objective way too. It’s sooooo subtle, this stuff, and may not always have a big impact, but as my friend Maria said, “I had no idea how much you manipulate us”!

With all the time spent in cafes and bars this week, I have had to write no less than five pieces of diegetic music! However, that too has been a useful subtle tool, tailing the dialogue like a private investigator stalking a subject. Where, for example, does the rhythm section go temporarily when Alfie makes a particularly wild joke speculation…?

One last observation on my side of things, the final scene has the background rumble of a night time city ambiance. I really, really enjoyed making the score rise out of the tone of the city, like a demon rising out of the earth, obliterating the city temporarily then subsiding back into it. More opportunities for degrees of reality, as well as emotions, to be reflected in the soundscape.

My first audio documentary!

This is what I made in response to that call for audio documentaries that I posted about previously.

I have decided to continue this practice and interview some more people.  I hope to end up with a whole series!

I will continue to focus on hearing, listening and personal experience of the world.  I will also do my best to work with sound and music, building on what the interviewee is saying to make a picture for the audience of what the interviewee is describing.

This will double up as really useful research to supplement and enrich my reading, listening and viewing.

I have to admit to a few headaches producing this one.  Part of the issue is that I was working with a close friend this first time.

It was very tempting to use every tool in my box to tell the story that I hear from the interviewee – which may not be the same message as is actually being spoken.

For example, in this interview, Tom speaks both about his social anxiety and about his bad experience of school.  I use recurring instances of sound recorded in a primary school playground.  In one case I put this sound behind our explorations of his adult perception of social interaction.  In doing this I am inviting the audience to question whether childhood bullies have exacerbated the anxiety already brought on by the sensory onslaught and social differences associated with Asperger Syndrome.

Although Tom may agree with this implicit comment in this case, it has really sharpened my appreciation of the power an editor, producer, composer and sound designer have over what the audience hears and understands.

Even what I choose to leave in and take out, and the order I put them in makes a difference.  In this case is not chronological: the fragment about talking to fast food chain staff at the end actually came earlier in the conversation but, again, it felt right to come a full circle from adulthood to childhood to adulthood to see the (not entirely linear) continuum of experience on which a person’s world-view is based.

Here it is, anyway: