Description: Soar tells the story of two best friends, until a fateful day came along, causing one to be left behind.
This story is told from the perspective of an unnamed main character, who has recently lost her best friend. In the midst of packing up her best friend’s things, she reminisced about the good times that they once had, and wonder how life would be like if her best friend is still around. Paper aeroplanes play a huge role in this story, they represent the best friend’s dream of becoming a pilot and being able to fly feely in the skies. Hence, they symbolise the presence of her best friend after she has passed on.
My story follows the 3 Act Structure and is told in a chronological order. Flashback scenes are used to kickstart the story, followed by the present scenes. The present scenes are ordered in such a way that they are a mirror of the flashback scenes, i.e. the flashback scenes starts from the indoors to outdoors, the present scenes start from outdoors and work its way back indoors. The story is told in this order to show that all the events have come to full circle and I am able to bring it to an end properly.
In order to differentiate these 3 acts from one another, contrasting colour palettes were utilised to give each of them a distinct mood.
- Joyful flashback scenes feature pale and washed out colours to represent the past.
- When the main character is brought back to reality, the colours have more contrasting tone, representing the lonely and bleak reality that the main character is unable to escape from.
- As the story ends with the main character accepting this reality, bright and vibrant colours were used to represent her letting go of the loss of her best friend and moving forward in life.
As the first act and third act have livelier moods, they share the same set of sounds. On the other hand, darker sounds are used for the second act since the mood is solemn.
Sounds with an asterisk* are foley sounds made by me.
- *Ambient noise: The underlying sound throughout this act is an ambient noise that I recorded from my home, so it’s not exactly a foley sound. I felt the need to use ambient noise as it makes the film feel more lively and less still.
- Birds chirping: Dead character’s theme music. Since the dead character loves planes and longs to fly in the skies, I felt that a bird would be a good representation of who she is. She is free-spirited and cheerful, bringing joy to her best friend. The chirping sound lifts the mood and gives the act a warm feeling.
- Paper sounds: To represent paper aeroplanes that play a huge role in this story.
- Aeroplane taking off sound: To represent dead character’s ambitious dreams of being a pilot and soaring in the skies.
- *Echo sound: Foley sound made by hitting my hand against the washing machine. Used in the bathroom scene, apt since bathrooms are often echo-y and have good acoustics.
- *Grass stepping sounds: Foley sound made by pressing down on a bag of plastic bags repeatedly. I then speed up the recorded sound to make it resemble sounds made by running on the grass.
- Tree branches rustling sound: For the scene where the paper aeroplane is stuck in the tree.
- Cart rattling sound: For the scene where both characters are playing with the shopping cart.
- *Loud thud: To suggest a fatal accident that cost the dead character’s life. Brings the first act to an abrupt end and transitions to the second act. This sound is achieved by releasing a stretched rubber band against a cardboard box, then amplifying the sound many times to make it more impactful.
- Ears ringing sound: To represent the main character being brought back to the bleak reality, this sound suggests that she has woken up from a state of daydream where she imagined what life would be like if her best friend is still here with her.
- *Sound of silence: Contrary to popular belief, silence does have its own sound. It is often known as tinnitus, which is a constant ringing or buzzing sound. However, it would be impractical to incorporate a ringing undertone throughout the second act since it would only annoy the audience and drive them mad. Hence, I used a dull humming sound as an underlying sound instead. This dull humming sound gives an eerie vibe, portraying the loneliness that the main character is now experiencing. As time goes by, the humming sound gets louder and louder, representing the deafening silence. This sound is the freezer sound that I recorded, I felt that it’s apt as well since the freezer is cold and is representative of the void in the main character’s life.
- Soft thud: Brings the second act to an end and transitions to the third act. It suggests that the main character is closing the door of the past and moving ahead to the future.
Reprise of Act 1’s sounds – birds chirping and aeroplane taking off sound.
- Bird chirping: Suggests that even though the main character’s best friend may be dead, there is a sense of joy and comfort knowing that her best friend still lives in her heart. She is letting her friend go, knowing that they share many priceless moments together.
- Aeroplane taking off sound: Letting her best friend go, allowing best friend to soar freely in the skies like how she had always wanted to.
Because we are using still images, we have to pay even more attention to the sounds used since the images won’t be able to ‘distract’ the audience from the sounds. That’s why this assignment is challenging since not only do we have to focus on the visuals, we have to be extra sensitive to the sound too. This is the first time that I’m learning to incorporate sounds to convey mood, instead of simply using music to do the same job. Even though sounds themselves are pretty neutral, but they can still convey mood when used in the right context. For example, typing sounds do not really convey any emotion. However, fast typing sound can suggest a person in a rush, or slow typing sound can suggest a person who is inexperienced with technology.
For this project, I ensured that all the sounds incorporated have a meaning and purpose, they are not incorporated just to fill up the silence. Speaking of silence, I also had to learn when to give the sounds breathing space. In my case, I used silence as an impact tool, to emphasise on an important moment. I have a lot of respect for sound designers now. The sounds that they make play a huge role in storytelling as well.