A while back I had the opportunity to work directly with Sound Editor Richard Hymns - we flew him in an he and I spent about 3 days in my studio working with me to tweak some sound editing + design for the short film "Ana's Playground".
At the point at which he came in, the entire soundtrack for the film was mostly complete. We were chatting over lunch one day and he asked how I usually work when sound editing - if I worked in an "element-by-element" or a "scene-by-scene" protocol. I realized at that point that I had gone scene-by-scene, creating the soundtrack for the entire scene before moving into the next scene - amb/bkgrds/fx/foley all being cut into the film at the same time to create a more "finished version" of what the scene should feel like before moving onto the next shots. Richard confirmed that he can't work any other way but to build the scene top to bottom before moving on.
Last year I sound edited the feature "Stuck Between Stations" - a drama with very little action, much different than "Ana's Playground". This time, I found myself working in the opposite fashion - cutting in amb/bkgrds beginning to end before moving onto foley, then fx, etc.
I'm working on another short film right now and I'm finding I'm having much better luck building scene-by-scene than I would have going element-by-element.
Do you find that the way you build the soundtrack to a film depends on the type of story? The genre? The length of the film? The director? Does it change for you every project? Game time decision?