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Hi folks.

I’m currently writing my dissertation on sound design for animation for my university honours project. I’ve got more than 30000 words would you believe.

Anyway, in the last chapter which I’m currently writing, I have to compare my sound design to the work of others. I have no idea how to about this, my brain has gone blank and I need some inspiration.

So my question is, If you had to write about 3 pages comparing a sound design you did for a film or animation to somebody else’s, how would you go about it? What criteria would you choose to compare your work?

Go for it and brainstorm for me!

  • Kind of related: socialsounddesign.com/questions/18766/… . Your practical assignment might depend on other things than looking for truths, but nevertheless, you're struggling with the same problems of criteria and definitions in assessing sound design. – Internet Human Apr 5 '13 at 22:06
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I think you'll get the best results with a litle structure:

First off, choose a specific work both of your own and of someone else's to compare. This limits the scope and offers a degree of focus that you won't find elsewhere. If you try to compare your general style to that of Chris Boyes then you're just going down a rabbit hole. Put your best work up against a specific work that's in a comprable genre.

Second, define the things that you'll compare. You may not have to do this overtly in the paper, but at least have the list in bullet points next to where you're doing the actual writing. Some suggestions:

  • technical proficiency
  • non-literal design (elements and moments that don't match picture directly)
  • emotional impact
  • negative space

Last, wrap up and critique. The more honest you are the better.

my .02

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I'd say simply comparing your work to someone else's is a very broad topic.

The first thing I would do would be to pick a piece of mine from a common genre, or a genre of particular interest to myself, eg. suspense-based horror. I then would choose a few particular films, or sound designers renown for their work in these genres who I gained inspiration from, and start from there.

Pick apart your own piece, layer by layer, describing what you were thinking and where you drew inspiration from, for each part. Describe your process and methods and continually cross-reference with the 'case study' films and artists you've chosen, discussing how similar things were achieved in these other pieces, eg. particularly effective off-screen effects, use of silence, ambient backgrounds etc.

You will not be able to discuss everything in each piece, so plan and structure what you intend to write about well. Don't compare all of your piece with all of another three pieces; simply compare where appropriate: "in scene ABC I left a period of silence because XYZ. A similar technique was used by Joe Bloggs in Horror Movie..." and so on.

Wrap the whole thing up with a conclusion on your own methods and techniques, and possibly some self-crtitique and thoughts for the future.

I think it's important to remember, on pieces like this, that there's no real right or wrong answer. As long as you back up your discussion and opinions with plenty of referenced material then you should be safe!

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