Cinema-scaping: aural and visual interplay with Limits

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I’m taking a rather backward approach to the edits for the short film. I’m scheduled to screen the first week of August so I’m staying on track. Yesterday and the day before I gathered more raw footage that I had been storing on an external hard drive. For the past several years as I wrote Consanguinity Disruptus, I documented aspects of the Limit Experience I was undergoing and that will be included in the narrative.  

I labeled each little snippet of video with details that might be pertinent when I try it out on the timeline as part of the story. Things like the light, whether it’s day or night in the shot, the overall action, and the dominant feel. For instance, some of the dusk footage has an impressionistic feel. Some of the midday scenes are quite bright in both appearance and mood so I’ve noted the light. The film is broken down into realms and each one has its own musical signature it turns out, as well as color field and rabidity or lack thereof, of motion.

Usually, I would continue in this visually dominant vein, working diligently on the visual skeleton of the film, but for the first time, I’m finding myself drawn to particular sounds and even specific instruments as I review the footage. I then hear the next part of the scene or act along with the instruments and augmented bits of nature or urban folie.

Having an idea of what kind of accompaniment I may need this early in the process is new for me. I find an autobiographical correlation in the fact that so many of my new friends are musicians here in my temporary location of Joshua Tree. It, too, is the silence. The lack of machines and cars leaves nature in the lead. My head has changed gears and now operates in conjunction with my body. Instead of leading, my body is calmer, leaving more space between steps and gestures. At the editing session I am more aurally opening to the space of the piece as if the sequence itself is a desert upon which the computer’s quill pierces pixel by pixel into the psyche of the story.

So far into the process I know that this piece is an exposè style empirically looking at the ramifications of incest on a life. Like the book I wrote previous to this short about the same topic, I’m using a mix of analytics and poetics to meet my style of expression. In fact, I don’t outright show the audience what’s going on until the last third because the story has somewhere else to lead them before that. There is something it must show them, some aspect of the heroine’s life that is a secret still, even to her. This is the essential nature of editing. I come to the table and am met by my partnering sound and image behind the facade of numbers and layers of the application’s interface so that the images can be arranged coherently.

Now that I have all the footage assembled in what’s still a chaotic mass of digital files, what Murch called fungibles, I’m going to take a look at sound design. My introduction to the narrative living among the images has just taken place. 

It interacts with me subconsciously now, even when I sleep or have a conversation. I had dinner with a vocalist here in Joshua Tree recently to address my interest in having her provide some vocals for the soundtrack. She wanted to hear the narrative of the story:

Sexual taboo listened to from the three realms of its existence: the violence of silence, the hallucinatory Limit-Experience escapades, and the blindingly chaotic beauty of creative potential.

I think that makes sense from an assiduously marketed non-angle. It integrates the visual language with the information and you come out with something like what I hear when I look at the sequence overall; I get a sense that sexual taboo has been exposed and broken open a bit more, releasing malleable potential as creative power.

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