I focused on sound in the short film The Amazing World of Cecily Blinkstop, as I will be the sound mixer as my role in the production process. The first thing I noticed, among three main stand-outs, was the use of room noise.
Room noise is essential in making this film what it is. Without the crickets and cicadas of summer chirping in the exterior shot of the house in the evening, or the sounds of the outdoors in that first long shot of the golden day, the film would not have the same feeling of nostalgic wanting that pervades each and every scene.
The second stand-out piece I noticed from the sound side of things was the use of silence. Silence in the film also plays a huge role in developing the plot and mood of the piece–the silence at the dinner table, the silence of Barney mentioned by Cecily as she prays to God, Cecily’s yearning for a companion to talk to and play with, etc… these develop the motif of silence and how the family refuses to communicate, and, that through this refusal, they can never move forward.
Finally, the score of the film does much the same as the room noise and silence put together. I would argue that it is difficult to develop motifs within a spare 17 minutes, but this is achieved not only through the aspect of the visual (the cranes), but through auditory stimulation. The music is at turns playful and mourning, especially when the low strings come in at the end of the film. Without the music, the film would not have the same tone (ha, pun!) and the ending would have seemed, at least in my opinion, far more ambiguous and hopeful rather than upsetting.
If I had not been focusing on sound the whole time, I would have missed the role it plays in setting the tone. Sound in films can be overlooked, as film is mainly considered a visual medium. But it is this combination of the visual and the audio Tory that makes film as a medium so complex and so compelling.
In short, sound plays a huge role in this film–and it will play a huge role in ours, as well.