So I've read it and now I've heard it.

How many people have heard such a thing? What does it mean (other than the obvious) and what can you say? Might it also mean that these things can be lower in the mix and should be so that we don't hear them on a concious level?


This is a major pet peeve for me. Funny story: in one session i had, the director was jiggling his foot during a scene, which was causing the chair to squeak a little. Afterwards he said "i don't know about that bird, can you take it out?".

But in all seriousness, it's easy for an inexperienced (and maybe experienced) director to become attached to what they did or didn't hear on set, or to the guide track that they've been listening to throughout the picture edit. Then, when they notice something new that they hadn't expected, they can be automatically resistant to it.

Mainly, i think that if they're noticing it, perhaps i haven't integrated it as well as i could. Ideally, if i've done it right, the director will feel the effect it has and welcome it, rather than have their attention drawn to the sound effect itself.

On the other hand, maybe they're focusing too hard on listening, instead of feeling the ebb and flow of tension/mood/emotion and whatnot. In this case, i'd explain what my intentions are for the sound, and the thought process behind it. Then, maybe, they'll be more receptive to the effect that the sound has, or perhaps we can then come up with something the director likes, which has a similar effect.


The way I read your sentence gave me this idea: You're presenting your mix (we'll say it's the tank scene in Saving Private Ryan) and he immediately hears the chickens clucking instead of the boards falling. "But there aren't any chickens in this scene!"

At that point, I feel like his statement is completely relevant because it's showing that at least one person is seeing through your sound design on first listen.


To me, it means the director might not be using sound to it's fullest potential. I obviously don't know what was filled in the blank and what the context was, because of course "This film doesn't have any dinosaurs in it" is a valid thing to say when you're working on a Western film, but when sound is used cleverly to forward the story I think it can benefit the audience's experience.

Your reference to show them is here:


Read the section entitled: Darkness Around the Edge of the Frame


Writing for Sound


Starving the Eye, The Usefulness of Ambiguity.

  • fill in the blank…dog bark, thunder, etc, general background sounds, car
    – Chris
    Feb 25 '11 at 21:33
  • Take a dog bark. It's all about context. The movie is from the POV of the burglar in a nice neighborhood. A dog bark in that context can be dangerous to the protagonist burglar and can create a sense of urgency to get out of there. On the other hand, in a horror film like Scream where the killer is in outside your house in the neighborhood, not having a dog barking there is dangerous to the protagonist being hunted i.e. the neighbors might be woken up by the dog barking and something going on in the neighborhood - if it's silent, it's more dangerous to the person being hunted. It's all context
    – Utopia
    Feb 25 '11 at 21:39
  • True. POV is important
    – Chris
    Feb 25 '11 at 22:19

Maybe he was influenced by the productiondepartment?

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