I’ve just been reading an interesting thread over on the gearslutz forum about whether the subject matter of ones work in sound post has a human effect & how that effect manifests itself. Have a read here as it is good food for thought… I remember thinking when I started 30 Days of Night that I was going to be spending a large part of my waking hours for the next six months hanging out in a cold sounding environment with a group of blood thirsty vampires, and it definitely has an effect. After the first few screenings and weeks on the job a certain amount of desensitization occurs and I remember while working on a scene where the little girl vampire gets an axe through the neck, that familiarity and context count for a lot. If someone walked into the room and saw just that scene they might well feel sick, but after watching it a few hundred times while reworking the sound for it, the effect for me was no worse than watching someone hit a drum – a necessary human coping mechanism.
But at no point are we not aware of the reality of the situation. Despite contributing to the maintenance of the audiences ability to ‘suspend their disbelief” we are also constantly aware that the project is fiction and we work on it with the memory of having seen previz and work-in-progress visual effects which looked fake. The same can not always be said of documentaries and I am sure working on some of them must be incredibly upsetting – one documentary I saw at a film festival a year or two ago would definitely fall in that category: Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion – a sad, beautiful documentary that is particularly relevant at this point in time.
But my ultimate respect goes to those in the medical industry: the doctors, nurses & surgeons who must be desensitized to the point of being unflappable so they can do their best work. I love my work, but as a supervising sound editor friend of mine (who has a few Oscars cluttering up his lounge) has said more than once ‘its not like we are curing cancer, is it?”
ps I am in the process of recovering from glandular fever, so my attempts at being prolific are going to be delayed somewhat ie posts will be sporadic….
ah virii, how i loathe thee…