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Exercises: Film as Collage (Sound)

Keep in mind that the term "sound" refers to three audio tracks: to noise, music, and voice.

Watch--well, actually, watch and listen to--three film clips. They can be found on the CD that I distributed in class.

Write comments--a meaty, substantiated observation--about how sound is employed in one of the three clips. What does sound do for the clip and, by extension, the film? Ask questions, too. Do, however, watch all three clips so that you'll be able to follow your classmates' observations. (We'll read each other's work.)

Quickly read C&W's chapter on sound. It will suggest topics that you might raise in your own work. Mention the formal characteristics of the sound, certainly. (For example, is the music diegetic or nondiegetic?) More important, your work should comment on the function of sound. (For example, explain how sound creates spatial and temportal relations from shot to shot. Comment also on how sound situates viewers. Where does sound place you and me--the audience--relative to the film's action?)

A journal entry that does not focus on the function of sound will be considered "below-average" work.

Supplementary material: Read my interview with Walter Murch, the "director's cut" of an article that appeared in Film Quarterly (Spring 2000).

You can contact Michael Jarrett at jmj3@psu.edu.