Elements Movie

April 10, 2019

Last year I was tasked with creating a soundtrack to a short film by Joshua MacFarlane based around the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

 

The project was completed in collaboration with Amy Shields and Nicola Cassells.

 

One approach which influenced my work on this project is outlined by Hughes, Kidd and McNamara and their use of 3 dynamic and overlapping Principles of Practice: Artistry, Improvisation and Decomposition.

 

“The term artistry refers to a crafted process of research that occurs as part of or alongside creative practice. Improvisation refers to actions that take place during a research process that are spontaneous responses to unpredictable events and venture beyond the confines of predetermined design. Decomposition refers to moments when designed and improvised research processes deteriorate in confrontation with experiences that confound expectations of an orderly, rule bound, habitable universe.” [1]

 

This was particularly relevant when approaching the composition of the 4 pieces of music. My research into instrumental ambient music provided me with a clear plan of what I was looking to achieve. When this was then implemented in the studio with Amy and Nicola, improvisation took over and added new and unexpected elements which improved the work. As a result, my own plans for using certain themes and instrumentation were abandoned when we began to collaborate. The finished product benefited greatly by incorporating these ideas and methodology.

 

The completed film can be viewed below:

 

[1] Hughes, Jenny; Kidd, Jenny; McNamara, Catherine. (2011). The Usefulness of Mess: Artistry, Improvisation and Decomposition in the Practice of Research in Applied Theatre. In: Kershaw, Baz and Nicholson, Helen Research Methods in Theatre and Performance. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 186-188.

 

 

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James McLaughlin is a freelance Sound Designer, Producer and Live Sound Engineer based in Scotland with JMAC Audio.

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