Take a moment to think about your favourite film. What is the soundtrack like? Besides music, what other sorts of sounds are used to create a unique world? Subtle, yet essential, soundtracks can become afterthought in the visually-oriented world of film, particularly at an amateur level.
The Yukon Film Society hopes to shed some light on the topic by offering a new one-off workshop, led by local musician and sound technician Jordy Walker.
Walker's lifelong interest in music, theatre and film has led to his 15-year career making music for film productions, particularly documentaries. For the past five years, he has also been designing and mixing sound for film.
“I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of creating music to accompany a visual or narrative medium,” Walker says. “I just find it very exciting to see and hear a visual and auditory medium working well together.”
This is particularly relevant in the film world, where audio contributes to the story on many different levels.
“I've been fascinated with sound mixes in films and how sound is put together for films, what it adds to films, etc.,” he says. “It’s a realm where a lot of technical and creative work is put in to sculpt the emotional environment for each scene and to drive the narrative and tone of the film.”
Heavily involved in the local filmmaking scene, Walker noticed that, when he was doing sound mixes for local filmmakers, there always seemed to be more creative and conceptual options to discuss than time or budgets allowed.
“It’s an industry-wide practice that sound always comes as one of the final steps in a film and is on a very tight timeline and budget,” he explains. “As someone who spends a lot of time working on sound for films, I would love to see the Yukon film community put more resources and preparation into the sonic environments of their films.”
When the Yukon Film Society approached him with the idea of a two-day workshop in November, Walker saw it as a perfect opportunity to offer education on the topic.
“I thought it would be nice to have a venue to look at some of these issues with a more specific focus and look at ways that filmmakers can be more prepared and involved in the development of their film’s sonic environment.”
The workshop will take place on Nov. 7 and 8, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Yukon Film Society Office. The workshop is mainly geared towards people who are already involved in filmmaking, though it is open to anyone interested.
“The workshop is focused on creative use of sound in film and sound as narrative device,” Walker says. “People who are film fans or are musicians/sound technicians interested in sound for film will gain further understanding of how sound for film is conceptualized and what exactly sound is doing to enhance the audience experience.”
He explains that participants will gain new perspectives on how to use sound creatively, how to conceptualize the role of audio in a film from its earliest stages and what a film's sonic aesthetic could be.
“Over the course of the workshop, participants will record and edit a short sonic narrative (without words), which will help them realize what is needed for sound to deliver a story, let alone enhance it.
“We will spend the second evening of the course in pairs, editing audio we have gathered, so some familiarity with audio or video editing software is useful. However, because participants will be working pairs, if one person has less experience in that field, we will pair them with someone who has more experience.”
Walker hopes that participants will leave the workshop with a deeper relationship to sound, and with more ideas for how to use it in films. He looks forward to the discussions that will be sparked by the sonic narrative exercise.
“I'm excited to hear how all the participants hear the world.”
The workshop Post Production Sound Design with Jordy Walker will take place Monday, Nov. 7 Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Yukon Film Society Office, located at 212 Lambert St.
To register, or for more information, please contact Andrew Seymour at 867-393-3456, or by email at Tech@YukonFilmSociety.com