Monday, June 9, 2014

Sound Design

The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema
By David Sonnenschein

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

David Sonnenschein is an award-winning filmmaker and has been producing and directing films to expand our consciousness, maximize our potential, and heal the planet, since 1975. Trained as a classical musician, photographer, sculptor and dancer, Sonnenschein received his B.A. in Neurobiology and worked in the V.A. Hospital sleep laboratory to publish research articles on the physiological correlates to daydreaming. He then directed the educational film "PHAGE LAMBDA" for U.C. San Diego that utilized some of the first computer generated imagery in the world. At the same time he began studying Aikido and its healing art Kiatsu, which developed his capacity to work with the body’s subtle energies, as well as to treat physical ailments. He was accepted into the Masters program at U.S.C. Cinema School and was awarded the Verna Field Trophy for Best Student Film by the Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Union for his thesis film, The Owl’s Flight. Some of his other films include Super XuXa, Crystal Moon, and Dreams Awake. He currently experiments with image and sound in a variety of projects. In his book, Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema (Michael Wiese Productions 2001), you’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of the many facets of sound, how sound affects us physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, and the impact sound has in helping us to convey the message of our story in film

We experience sound (hearing), before anything else, while still in our mother’s womb and it’s one of the most powerful senses that helps to shape our world. David will teach you how to fine-tune your listening skills and apply what you learn to creating a story in film that will captivate your audience and transport them into another time and place.

You’ll receive numerous tools, techniques, and insights to help you use sound to make not only physical transitions (such as changing from one scene location to another), but dramatic transitions as well (such as a character’s emotional shift or arc).

You’ll gain a better understanding of the different types of sounds we hear such as concrete sounds, voice, environmental noises, and music. You’ll learn that it’s not just the words we hear from dialog, but the way they are spoken that communicates volumes of information. David also explores the inner workings of our ears and explains how we hear and how we interpret what we hear, which helps us to make better sense of what’s going on around us.

David includes several interviews with some of Hollywood’s Academy Award-winning sound designers and top filmmakers such as Dane Davis (The Matrix, Boogie Nights, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle), George Watters (Pearl Harbor, The Hunt for Red October, The Rock), Gary Rydstrom (Titanic, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan), Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., WALL-E), and Frank Serafine (Star Trek, Tron, The Addams Family). He also uses over 100 top films as examples including As Good As It Gets, Backdraft, The Godfather, Raging Bull, Schindler’s List, The Thomas Crown Affair, Top Gun, and The Conversation.

Sound Design is a must read for all filmmakers who want to enhance the story and characters in their screenplays and films, so their audience can feel more deeply about them. I also recommend it for anyone interested in learning how sound affects us in our everyday environments, so you can improve the quality of your life by becoming more aware.

To connect with David Sonnenshein, you can visit his website at and purchase a copy of Sound Design at Amazon , MWP, and other retailers.