Soundscape: Script

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Drawing ideas and inspirations from movies such as Paranormal Activity (2007) and Blair Witch Project (1999), based on psychological element of inducing fear. The popularity of these movies were based of forcing audiences to use their imagination through the use of sound design techniques and very little but yet, powerful visual cues. So therefore, I had included these two movies within my blog posts of case studies (refer to relevant blog posts).

Initially, the story of my soundscape was to base it in a woodland setting, introducing the idea of isolation and vulnerability (two emotional states that successful horror film conveys very well to their audiences); a mother and daughter dynamic, where you are the mother and you’re lost the in woods trying your best to locate your where about geographically, whilst simultaneously, trying to calm your daughter, from a panic/crying state. An unknown presence will then be introduced sporadically until nightfall, where a full predator and prey sequence would commence.

I had learned from my 3rd year of Sound Production that writing a script for soundscape (or general writing in the matter) is not one of my best traits, by any stretch. My script was criticised for being “too on the nose” by my tutor and I had always knew the level of my literacy have always fallen a bit, short and so, I had decided to seek out someone that were more capable to tackle a script that I will need for this project. Luckily, I have a friend who studied screenwriting at Stirling University and he had agreed to co-write the script for my soundscape. A meeting will occur during the Christmas holiday as discussed to start building the script. Hopefully, the script after the holiday will enable me to gather the relevant resources I need for the project, such as voice actors and additional audio assets.

A screenshot below is of an e-mail exchange between Philip and I in relation to my soundscape script initiation. This particular e-mail illustrates a little into Philips degree and background.

It reads:

“Hi Scott

My degree was in Film & Media at Stirling University from which I graduated with a 2:1 grade. I studied modules on screenwriting, genre, Scottish TV amongst others. My dissertation was a screenwriting one for which I was required to write a screenplay, a treatment for the screenplay and an essay about an aspect of screenwriting related to the script I had written. I completed my work on biopics, for which I wrote an essay on the clash between historical accuracy and the needs of a functioning narrative in any biopic. My screenplay was based on the battle of the electrical currents in the late 19th century and focussed on the clash between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla working for the Westinghouse Electrical Company and how out of this came the creation of the electric chair in America at this time.”

Devil

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They say best ideas come at night and I certainly think this could be the case; as I was ready to be fast asleep in my bed one night, I was thinking of the script in a specific manner so that I would have more to discuss with Philip when we meet to amalgamate our ideas and thoughts together. And it was during this time that I had recalled a film called Devil I had seen some years ago by M. Night Shyamalan. The story is set within an elevator with five characters, systematically dying, one by one every time the lights from the elevator turn off. The remaining characters of the story (and the audience) are left guessing as to who the killer (or this story – the Devil) is. I found this concept of being based within an elevator to fascinating and interesting when I had first seen the film, adding the element of claustrophobia; where the characters have literally nowhere to run. This effectively gives each scene subsequently after the first death even more chilling and intense as the characters and the audience are forced to view the situation face on and backed up against the elevator’s wall. As a result, I have decided to switch the setting into a confined space so that it would add claustrophobia as an addition element to help induce fear. Further case study of this film will need to be done, not for just for audio design but also to draw some inspiration from its plot.

Conclusion

As my soundscape does not contain any visual content, the plot of the story will be considered equally important as the audio as the quality of the script can determine the users’ experience; a badly written script for my soundscape can lead to users to disengage from the experience, ultimately, this will affect the outcome and the effectiveness of my sound design techniques. In a way, my sound design almost seems as though it is there to compliment the story however, it is quite the opposite; as the script will be written around the sound design technique to induce the emotional arousal of fear. As it stands, the scenario of my soundscape will now be based within an elevator, or in some sort of confined space. This idea is drawn straight from Devil due to the inclusion of the additional element of claustrophobia.

Reference

Blair Witch Project. 1999. [Found footage psychological horror film]. Directed by Daniel Myrick. California: Artisan Entertainment.

Devil. 2010. [Supernatural horror film]. Directed by John Erick Dowdle. California: Universal Studios.

Paranormal Activity. 2007. [Independent found footage supernatural horror film]. Directed by Oren Peli. California: Paramount Pictures.

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